Monday, July 27, 2009
American Sickness Series: Anthropomorphism
One sickness that afflicts Americans more and more, but is seldom written about is anthropomorphism, or the humanization of pets. My theory as to why Americans place human characteristics on their pets is for the lack of affection between men and women, and parents and children even.
Single women are most often guilty of engaging in anthropomorphism. We often hear of the spinster who fills her void of affections with cats. But I would submit that married women are often guilty of it as well. Loveless marriage in the US is no longer the exception, but the norm. Pets often serve the purpose of providing women the "unconditional love" that they cannot get from their spouses.
This is not to get men off of the hook. Many men look to their dogs as the buddies they lack in human form. Many men would not think of going hunting, fishing, or camping without their dog in tow.
If you travel to other regions of the world, one thing that is striking to an American is the physical affection that foreign parents lavish upon their children. Given all the hysteria surrounding pedophiles coupled with the Anglo-Western culture of personal space that pervades the US, there is no wonder why children turn to pets for being starved for affection. We now have the first generation of females who don't "date," but hook-up for brief encounters of sex or near sex. This isn't affection contrary to popular belief.
There is nothing innately wrong with affinity for pets and animals. But the extent to which Americans replace human closeness with closeness with animals is one other sign of the decline of America.
The sad thing is that far too many Americans, women mostly, react with more alarm at the death of an animal than at the death of a human. This is how bad the problem has gotten!