An Observation

I will never stop being bemused by the fact that small dogs are coded "feminine" and large dogs are coded "masculine." By which I don't mean that people tend to default to approaching all small dogs as females and all large dogs as males (although that, too!), but that people imagine small dogs are for women and large dogs are for men.

image of a very tall harlequin Great Dane and a very small fawn Chihuahua

Clearly there are individual people who have preferences for small or large (or medium) dogs, some of which may have to do with attributes we (often wrongly) associate with gender, like strength, but there isn't a genetic, gender essentialist disposition toward dogs of a certain size.

Whatever gender has to do with dog preferences is more about cultural constructs of gender. Which we're not supposed to notice when a "manly man" sneers that small dogs are for girls, as if that's a real thing and not a reflection of masculinity defined in contradistinction to anything that could possibly be coded as feminine.

Like a little dog.

* * *

Please feel free to chat about all the other infuriating dichotomies rooted in the gender binary. You don't need to stick to dogs. It's just a starting point!

[Related Reading: True Tales of Gender Essentialism at the Dog Park.]

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus