Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Fault in our Dibs

It's not uncommon to hear people call dibs on the last slice of pizza or on the window seat on the bus. Logically speaking one cannot simply claim ownership over an object by merely uttering an inconsequential syllable and actually come to possess it; however against all rationality, the institution of "calling dibs", seems to be a widely understood and universal symbol to do just this.  

Interestingly, the origin of the dib dates back to an early 18th century children's game called Dibstones; where in the only ownership the players claimed was on a couple of stones used for the purpose of the game. 

Now, centuries later, perpetuated by pop culture and generations of drunk frat boys, this institution hits a whole new level. Instead of objects, dibs are being placed on actual people, and justified through ridiculous notions like the Bro Code or the Girl Code or other equally ridiculous generic rules that serve no purpose other than to encourage immaturity and sexism. 

The tendency of calling dibs on a person, the basic equivalent of urinating over said person to establish your territory, is objectifying, and at worst, dehumanizing. You see, when you call dibs on a human being you are reducing them to an object, you are claiming them as your possession. While you think you're expressing romantic interest, in reality all you are doing is exerting control over this person and their actions, reducing any possible relationship that ensues, to nothing more than a glorified form of slavery. By calling dibs on a person you are taking into account nobody's views but your own, you are disregarding the fact that the person in question has his or her own thoughts, feelings, and preferences. Thoughts, feelings and preferences that you need to respect. Think about it; disguised as a pillar of solidarity and loyalty, calling dibs is really just incredibly idealistic and selfish.

Except, of course, we've all done it. We are all guilty of unconsciously invoking this unwritten rule, and getting mad when someone else kisses the person that we've unintentionally placed our claim on or when the one you saw first ups and decides (how dare s/he!) to choose someone who isn't you. Yeah, we may deny it, but we've all been there. As much as it irks me to admit this, I know I have. 

You see, Cassius was right. The fault is not in our stars, or in our dibs, for that matter. But in ourselves, that we are underlings. 

And right now what we underlings need to do, is abandon this system of calling dibs. Just abandon it.