for a really really long time, there were only two labels at the spice factory, cinnamon and nutmeg. every single spice bottle was labeled either cinnamon or nutmeg, and most of the time the factory machine got it right. nutmeg was labeled nutmeg, and cinnamon was labeled cinnamon.
only sometimes, the nutmeg was labeled cinnamon and the cinnamon was labeled nutmeg. “hey” said the mislabeled ones. “there’s something wrong. this isn’t how you’re supposed to see me.”
“that’s stupid,” said the correctly labeled ones. “I was labeled right, so if you think you were labeled wrong then there’s something wrong with you. the labels are never wrong.”
eventually, most people understood that there were mislabeled spices, and so then they allowed them to change their labels.
but oho! now some other problems were able to be spoken about. some of the spice bottles contained not cinnamon, not nutmeg, but paprika or salt or pepper. they said, “hey wait. we’re not mislabeled, we’re something else entirely.”
“oh,” said the correctly labeled ones. “that can’t be right. there’s only cinnamon and nutmeg, and that’s it! you can’t be anything else, you just want attention. pick one.”
eventually, people understood that there were other spices, but instead of taking the time to unsort and unpack all the correct labels, they just shoved all the spices under a new label, all-spice.
“hey wait,” said some of the other spices, who weren’t happy with the all-spice label, which was just as constricting as the other two labels. “this doesn’t feel totally right either.”
and we’re still working on finding the correct terminology for the rest of the spices. and it’s gonna be hard, and it’s gonna be confusing, but eventually we’ll do it.
and all the spices will eventually find an accurate label, if they want one.
SO GENDER’S A FUNNY THING