Going under the knife: Ourselves and our pets

– Alison Bowerman, staff

How many times have you walked past magazines at the front of the grocery store and snuck a peak at the headlines? Sure, you may have rolled your eyes, but for some reason you were drawn to the bogus headlines or pictures of stars without makeup on.

Recently, I was in front of a young couple at the grocery store having this experience. The first magazine that caught the couple’s eyes had photos of celebrities wearing no makeup, plastered all over the front cover. They made their way though each photo, commenting on how different each individual celebrity looked compared to their usual celebrity shots.

“Oh my gosh, who is that?” the female said, while her male companion picked up another magazine. They were quickly sidetracked when they read the cover story; “Plastic surgery for dogs? That’s animal cruelty!” one of them exclaimed.

While I will admit I’ve often stared at my neighbor’s bulldog thinking about the amount of wrinkles on his face, a face lift never really crossed my mind. Why is plastic surgery for an animal, which we purchase, based on their appearance, so unfathomable? Maybe if some of the older dogs at the pound went under the knife they wouldn’t be constantly overlooked while potential owners play with the puppies.

There are only minor levels of communication between humans and their pets, but if you applied the process of picking out a pet to picking up a human being, it would be considered discriminatory. I think it’s far more likely for a child in a pet store to yell, “Can we keep him, mom? He’s so cute!” rather than, “Can we keep him, mom? He’s a fan of the arts!”

Why are we so shocked at the idea of an animal undergoing surgery to change their appearance, yet plastic surgery such as botox, breast implants and tummy tucks have become normalized? It seems far more reasonable that a dog would need to look a certain way than a human.

Altering our appearance sets unrealistic and, quite literally, unnatural standards of appearance.

I would rather be judged upon my personality, achievements and values than something that has been genetically altered, which I can’t call my own. The plastic surgery phenomenon only increases the likelihood of our value being judged on appearance. The best way to take a stand against this discrimination is to embrace our natural appearance, rather than conform to anyone else’s idea of beauty.

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