The aestheticism of animals

I never really thought about animals in terms of beauty and intersectionality. I say intersectionality as a word meaning different categories such as race, class, gender, ability, and other forms of identity interacting to as one to create oppression and discrimination. It came to me in lecture on Thursday. We began to discuss the way animals look and how they evoke different emotions to humans, who inevitably, decide most of their fates. Although it is difficult to see, I have come to realize that like humans, animals are on a hierarchy consisting of things we ourselves are critiqued on. How an animal looks determines how we react to it. The colors of the animal’s skin or their “race” may cause us to be more lenient to some rather than to others. Darker colors are associated with evil and negativity, while lighter colors provide something beautiful or interesting to look at. Gender is something that we also categorize animals into and many times, subconsciously, associate with human qualities. Class is something animals can be categorized into as well; the food chain provides a rough outline of what we consider to be class. Animals with prestige are big and bountiful, they are the lions and tigers, creatures we admire. The bottom consists of the “unwanted” the flies and insects most people kill or screech at the sight. Ability can be measured with animals as well; those who can and can’t walk are seen differently, just like humans. Most importantly, for this purpose, going back to the lecture is the aestheticism of animals. We as a society know what beauty looks like and it is no different for animals, we find them beautiful when they are pleasant to look at, when they evoke a warm feeling, when we wish to have them as pets. I find this topic very interesting because it seems as though our understanding of humans and the way we categorize ourselves has been passed down to animals and our view of them. My interpretation comes from things I see and personal experience, I hope that through the course of this semester we are able to explore this topic more and provide a sounder basis to my observation. 

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