At this point, it’s clear that body-shaming affects everyone — too tall, too short, too masculine, too feminine — no matter what your body looks like, there’s probably someone waiting to make you feel bad about it. It’s disheartening. But society’s obsession with looks is so intense, it’s even starting to extend to our four-legged friends.Yes, you heard that right — people are actually body-shaming pets, and it’s become such a prevalent pastime that an Australian sketch comedy group called Collective Noun made a parody video about it.
You know how there are almost as many Instagram-famous pet celebrities now as there are human celebrities? And you know how celebrity Instagram feeds almost always make us feel bad about ourselves? Well, the creative folks over at Collective Noun decided to transpose that self-inflicted judgment onto the dog population to accent its absurdity.
See? Pups feel a lot of pressure to live up to an impossible level of cuteness, too! JK… but maybe not? While this video is obviously not being serious, it genuinely made me wonder — do pets experience body-shaming? Honestly, we will probably never know because we can’t, ya know, talk to them about it. I am a cat parent and a definite animal advocate, but pet owners complaining about people fat-shaming their pets is completely bogus.
People are body-shaming pets all over the internet, and since animals don’t have opposable thumbs that can type strongly worded posts in response to these shaming comments, their owners are doing it for them.
Fat shaming is not ok!!! Love all dogs equally!!! pic.twitter.com/zqoBqdcC1H
— cassAdy (@cassadykoch) February 8, 2015
People Magazine is fat-shaming dogs now. When will it ever end?!? http://t.co/lUKC0KDjIf
— Kaiser@Celebitchy (@KaiseratCB) July 14, 2015
i told my mom that my dog's tail was short and fat and she told me to stop body shaming dOGS LMAO SHES LEARNING FROM ME
— ˗ˏˋ isabella ˎˊ˗ (@imnotisabella) June 26, 2015
However, I think these defenders are missing something here. While I’m sure there is the occasional person who actually is fat-shaming an animal, in my experience, most people call a pet “fat” in an endearing way.
Case in point, these posts:
See? Calling a pet fat is often a sign of love, because most people think chubby animals are adorable. All this talk about pet body-shaming needs to end right here. Having a general concern for an animal’s health is one thing, but getting upset because people think their animal is being unfairly judged on their looks is not about the pet — it’s a reflection on the owner’s own insecurities.
I am completely against body-shaming anyone, even if they can’t understand what you’re saying, but I do think the above video makes a very good point (even if they didn’t necessarily intend to). The fact that animal body-shaming exists at all is a reflection of our own culture and its obsession with physical appearance. Thus, the video is much more a commentary on our own image issues and how they reflect onto our pets, rather than what our pets may or may not be feeling about their own appearance (which is most likely nothing at all).
Rather than getting our feathers ruffled over fat-shaming dogs, let’s use it as a lesson and an indicator of how much change is needed within our media and society. Yes, we should not be fat-shaming animals, but not because it hurts their feelings. We need to stop because it’s pervading the unhealthy habit of allowing physical appearance to remain the most important aspect of another being.