“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.” - William Blake
Out of all the physically attractive, cuddly breeds of dogs in the world, why would anyone choose an ugly, un-cuddly dog like a pit-bull? A dog selectively bred for generations to fight other dogs and bears? A dog which empties an off-leash area in record time, makes people shun their owners, and involves a huge liability risk?
In the press recently pit-bulls have now reached Victimhood status. “They are misunderstood, they only need the love of a good person (generally a woman) in order to become rehabilitated and reveal their essential goodness benefiting the individual rehabilitating them, and society in general,” is the essence of the media message.
It seems that a recurring archetype is behind this phenomenon, namely Beauty and The Beast. In Western literature, the Beauty and the Beast archetype is played out in a number of fairy tales: obviously La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast), in Beatrice and Benedict in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, in Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and in Jane and Mr. Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
Each of these heroines represents a marginalized woman, not completely accepted by the society in which she lives, because of some culturally defined handicap, and therefore has no status within her milieu, resulting in diminished marriage potential. Violence is the trait the “beast-men” all have in common. The woman’s status is reversed when she tames the violence in the beast. She, thereby, scores off other women, by demonstrating that her sexual allure is greater than theirs. The “beast man” still strikes fear into everybody else, except the woman who has rehabilitated him. Mr. Darcy’s demeanor curbs the contemptuous behavior, directed towards Elizabeth, by the Bingley sisters, Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
The Beauty and the Beast archetype is being expressed by modern victimized women in the new fad of cheerleading for pit-bulls. Like Mr. Darcy, a pit-bull can be used to enhance one’s self-esteem, as a status symbol among women, and to intimidate the rest of society.
Ellen Taft is a Capitol Hill Times Advertiser
- The statements and opinions of letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the positions of and opinions of The Capitol Hill Times and its associate companies. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Letters.”-