Humans Caged like Animals in Zoos Nationwide!!! Promoting the Study of Humans as Animals
You would never see a title this sensationalized in the news these days. Not unless you had maybe experienced the performance art work of Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Peña in "Undiscovered Amerindians." These two artists toured museums and pretended to be two indigenous people brought back to be showcased as a previously undiscovered tribe of people:
Some visitors were outraged and discontinued their memberships to the museums. Some people ate it right up, animalizing the couple in the cage. When revealed as performance artists, it was a provocative way to get people to acknowledge the animalizing of indigenous peoples.
On the flipside, anthromorphizing animals does not lead to great results either. It just as dangerous to anthromorphize humans as it is to animalize humans.
To some extent, we can only really make observations about the world around us by looking at ourselves, so this makes it okay, right? It may carry some of our bias (note that bias is a uniquely human quality), but it's a place to start. No harm really came out of us imposing our view on the universe, right?
But it's not really a bad thing, it was just kind of funny and inconvenient!
Galileo was sentenced to house arrest essentially for providing the world with a heliocentric theory of the universe that differed from the world views at the time, particularly the views of the church.
I'm sure it was super funny for him.
Science should strive for impartial observation. If it did, would people actually know the surprisingly unknown diversities of sex and gender in nature? Would they know it from an academic or scientific standpoint rather than from sensational magazine and newspaper headlines?
It is bad science to ignore the outliers. Come on, I learned this in high school.
If science was impartial, animals would not be anthromorphized. Science would draw on studies and examples from nature rather than assumptions and stereotypes of the human world. There are no doubt scientists who are doing this already, but they do not seem to have as much reach as those who are doing it conversely.
No matter how much of an animal rights activist you are, please remember: animals are not humans. Humans are not animals.
Why is it important for me to draw this line as absolutely inflexible?
Consent is More Important than Appearance
Men are socially excused from rape if a woman appears to be sexually presenting herself. ("Look at the way she's dressed! She's asking for it!")
A cleavage bearing top and/or short skirt is not equivalent to a red babboon ass. That woman is not asking to be raped.
CONSENT. It's a thing. Tell your friends.
Woman are constantly berated and punished for dressing in ways that show skin, that express sexuality, or express confidence or a positive body image. Think about it: if a woman walked naked down a street, does that make it okay to rape her?
Why do I even ask? I'm sure there are a LOT of people out there who would answer "yes." According to notever.co.uk, in a survey carried out in February 2010 for the Scottish Government, 17% of people in Scotland said a woman is partly, mostly or totally to blame for being raped if she was wearing revealing clothing.
Similarly, rape is portrayed as a natural biological occurance because it occurs among animals. This is discussed further in jmorgant's thread: Is Rape Biological?
People Who Identify as Asexual are Isolated
Most things that are considered alive have sex (presumably to reproduce). But not everything does. By anthromorphizing nature and the study of animals and other living organisms, we create a gap between the sexual and nonsexual world, contributing to the isolation of asexuals, particarly in the US.
Sex is presented to be a common denominator among all lifeforms--therefore, if you're not having sex, you're unnatural. Not all humans engage in sex, whether it's because of personal choice, religious reasons, or lack of sexual attraction to others. If you are a virgin, it is assumed that some day, you are going to have sex.
Youtube user swankivy makes asexuality awareness videos. In one series, she lists the top ten reasons people give her for her asexuality.
"You're not asexual...."
10. You hate men
9.You can't get a man
8.You have a hormone problem
7. You're overly involved in your own busy life
6. You just never had ME in your bed
5. You're afraid of getting into a relationship
4. You were sexually abused
3. You're a lesbian
2. You haven't met the right guy
1. You just got out of a bad relationship
Swankivy also receives frequent inflammatory comments on her videos, including many that express the poster's desire to see her get raped or to kill herself.
As you can see, a single problem spreads out into a web of further problems, and this is only with two examples.
Human bias when observing biology or the misinterpretation of science leads to social problems.
But the point is...what can you do?
Call people out on their bullshit.
Call scientists out on their bullshit.
Call out people who misrepresent science or statistics.
Because a one-sided dialogue is just as dangerous as bad science.