Gender Stereotyping My Dogs

Blaugust has been fun and I am surprised I made it this long. I already have made more posts in August than all of July. I find myself writing a bit quicker, and leaving it all on the page. My old style was write most of it, leave it, revisit, edit edit edit… now It’s just write, re-read, feel good, publish. Kind of liberating.

I have 16 drafts already done. Some of those are older drafts but most are things that I have sorted out in my daily routines – I find little inspirations and start a draft post so I have the seeds to revisit and post away. Most have still been in and around gaming but this one is not. A little social experiment, shall we?

I have two dogs. One is a boy and one is a girl. Which is which? I’m going to describe some traits, personalities and things about them and want you to guess which is the boy and which is the girl. For each descriptor, the one dog is the first description, the second description is about the second.

A is black and white, B is red and white

A is smaller (half the size), B is bigger.

Both are crate changed – A keeps its blankets rolled and organized, B’s are scattered and strewn about.

Actual beds. Correct order

A  prances, B struts

A is smarter than B

A is older, B younger.

A is obedient, B is a rebel

Both are loving companions.

So, which do you think is which?

The reason why I even wrote this post was because when I was observing them I thought “wow, that’s crazy”. There are two ways to look at this – one, the obvious one, that A is a girl and B is a boy because the traditional traits and descriptions provided tend to lean that way. That a smaller, tidy, prancing, smarter, polite and obedient dog is the female. The pink blanket in for good measure.

The second way to look at it is because it is so obvious perhaps I am writing this to “throw you off”. To show that while certain things are obvious and “typical”, that I am sharing them in that way so start to get you to think the obvious and its a twist of some sort – because we have preconceived notions.

If this was a chapter in a Malcolm Gladwell book (it would be a bad chapter, to be fair…) he would quote a psychological study that would explain how people’s brains absorb that information and their preconceived notions come into play. That given only specific – and limited – information, people tend to think a certain way. This isn’t a well written Malcolm Gladwell book (unfortunately) and you are left with my thoughts.

The truth?

A is a girl, B is the boy. I caught myself remarking how their personalities (the first is 5 years older than the second) were so perfectly suited to their sex. He’s the goofy, clumsy, “dumb” but loveable pup and she is the pretty princess – both the same breed with different pedigrees. I wasn’t messing around. My own self check after thinking that was that none of those traits are actually suited to specific genders and it was something for me to be mindful of in the future.

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. It’s a fun thought experiment. I’m a nitpicky, hypercritical sort though so the entire time I was looking for something that actually gave away gender (A HAS A PENIS). My passive brain will use stereotypes and preconceptions just like anyone else, but my active brain is a trained war machine!

    1. And good for you =) I am pretty aware but some moments catch myself – always better to be learning when it comes to those things =)

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