Noun – the attribution of human form or behavior to a deity, animal, etc
Why do we attribute human behaviors to objects and animals? Perhaps it is due simply to our need to understand our world and everything in it. Fear of the unknown is very strong in humans. Is our desire to humanize everything around us a method to know them and negate fear? If we know and understand the creatures in our life we may be able to predict their behavior, something that would go a long way in helping us in a conflict. We humanize more than animals. We talk about Mother Nature and Father Time; we call ships she and give storms female names. Some people name inanimate objects such as their car.
We take anthropomorphism to a whole new level when interacting with our dogs. According to a 2012 article in Time, people in the US spent $300 million on Halloween costumes for their dogs in 2010 and this was expected to increase to $370 million in 2012.
According to the article, we take it even further –
77% of Americans give birthday presents to their pets, and … spend $5 billion on holiday gifts
(The complete article can be found here.)
I have to confess. I have on occasion given our dogs a Christmas present and will wish them happy birthday. Like most animal lovers I can not resist the picture of a dog in a piece of clothing. My guilty pleasure is supplying dialogue for the dog; even if it is only in my mind. It’s a bad habit; one I can’t resist. Watch for future posts. I will be giving into anthropomorphism and posting pictures with appropriate dialogue, of course!