Monday, February 11, 2008

Westminster the Doggie Beauty Pageant

I never thought the Miss America or Miss Universe beauty pageants did much to promote women's equality. Women were portrayed as sex objects and unreasonable standards of beauty were thrust upon women. Little girls watching on TV learned they should be blond, 36-26-36. Who cares about the content of their character or how intelligent they are. How they fill a swimming suit is about all the pageants care about.

Well, we've done the same thing to dogs. Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is this week. Yep, that big doggie beauty pageant where the next designer breed will be crowned. Part of the AKC money making machine, Westminster receives national television coverage, since it takes place in New York City. Americans will wake up on Thursday morning and see the new hottest dog on all the national morning shows. What they won't see is the gear up by the puppy millers, making certain they can pump out thousands and thousands of the new hottie.

Like human beauty contests, Westminster's winner is judged on looks alone. Is the fur color correct? Is the dog the right height? Is the gait appropriate? For heavens sake, they even groom these dogs like they are topiary. None of it has anything to do with whether these dogs make good companions. All Westminster does is advertise breeds promoting beauty, not the traits of a good companion. In fact, Westminster really isn't about anything other than human vanity and money.

Part of the doggie beauty regimen is mutilation. Tail docking and ear cropping, both excruciating procedures, are performed for purely cosmetic reasons. There is no medical reason to cut off a puppy's tail or crop their ears. It's done is because of shows like Westminster, which surgically manipulate a dog in order to get the “breed standard”. I've always wondered how it can be a standard if you can only achieve it through surgery.

Like Miss America and Miss Universe Pageants, Westminster harms the very beings it claims to honor and promote. All of these beauty pageants hold up an illusion and call it the standard, a standard which is not achievable by mere mortals. Humans rush to buy the newest status symbol, maybe this year it will be a Neapolitan Mastiff.

Don't you think it's time we turn off Westminster and hopefully it will go the way of Miss America and end up on some obscure cable channel, never to be heard from again?

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