Theriotype-ism by Redfeather Falconhawk

One thing I’ve noticed in the therianthropy community is that it’s not uncommon for people of particular theriotypes (usually a larger, predatory type) to be disrespectful to people of other theriotypes (often a smaller animal). An example would be this:

Bird Therian: *speaks, says something about the topic currently being discussed*

Wolf Therian: *says something, then jokes about attacking Bird Therian, despite the fact that Wolf Therian and Bird Therian have never met or talked before*

Bird Therian: Um… why are you attacking me?

Wolf Therian: Because I’m a wolf.

Bird Therian then proceeds to ask that Wolf Therian not do this, but Wolf Therian continues to make jokes of this nature towards Bird Therian, even though Bird Therian has voiced that it’s absolutely not okay for Wolf Therian to joke like this. Sometimes, even, Wolf Therian will goad Bird Therian, by saying they’re being ridiculous for taking it so personally – but in less-friendly terms.

Before I go any further, please note that I am not trying to say anything about wolf or bird therians. I am not trying to single out wolves, because it isn’t a wolf thing. I’m merely using Wolf Therian and Bird Therian as examples. The truth is, it can happen with any larger theriotype versus a smaller one, or any predatory type versus a prey type.

I don’t understand where people get the gall to do this. A wolf is not better than a bird is not better than a mouse is not better than a cow, or anything like that. We are all physically human, and are living human lives. It’s fine that you’re a therian, and that you identify as a certain theriotype. That is part of who you are. It’s my personal opinion that you should be proud of who/what you are. But being proud of who you are and seeing it as an excuse to bully people are two entirely different things.

I can understand if two people are friends, and both are okay with joking with each other about one theriotype preying on the other. But please note that some people take their theriotypes personally. Some people feel discriminated against because of their theriotypes (by other therians), while others feel that their theriotype-animals are often discriminated against (not particularly by therians in this case, but by people in general, and the media, etc.). Trust me, when you joke about eating someone of a theriotype that you see as lesser, it isn’t in the least bit original. Most likely, that “lesser” theriotype-therian has seen this kind of thing many times before and is getting sick of it.

Do not goad someone for “taking it too personally.” Many therians take their theriotypes personally. Many people feel really close to their theriotypes and some may even be dedicated to helping that particular animal. Many therians might be upset by how animals of their theriotype are seen and do their best to change negative views to more positive ones. Please remember that a person’s theriotype is a major part of who that person is. It’s not at all up to you to decide whether that person is taking it too personally or not. If you truly mean it in a harmless way, once you see you offend someone, you’ll apologize and tell that person that hurting them was not your intent. And you will stop teasing that particular person like that immediately. If you just want to bully, you’ll continue to provoke them.

It is sad to see that some people feel that for whatever reason, they can and should pick on other people for their theriotypes. In many cases, the discriminator and the discriminate-ee have never met before. How can you expect a person you’ve never even met before to follow your whim and be okay with everything you say to them, regardless of the fact that you don’t let them know it’s meant entirely as a joke? How can you get onto them for taking it personally when you presented it in a rude and offensive manner? In this case, it isn’t their fault – it’s yours. You can’t expect to change everyone. Everyone has different personality traits. Some people are less sensitive to jokes of this nature. Some people are very sensitive. And, you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, because we are all different. We can all learn from each other and quite frankly, you’d get fed up pretty quickly if we all had the same personalities.

Let me also make a point about jokes. Jokes can be harmful, and they can be used to hurt another person. Someone may be quick to say “Oh, why are you taking it so personally? It’s a joke!” In truth, this proves nothing. It does not mean that the person taking offense is wrong, and it does not necessarily indicate that the person making the “joke” didn’t mean any harm by it, either. To say something is “just a joke,” proves nothing.

Another thing a person could do rather than hate on someone of another theriotype is learn about that particular animal. I find that in my personal experiences, that people who somehow think I’m “lesser” because I’m a bird therian (a hawk), are terribly ignorant about hawks and their nature. They tend to go after me because I’m a bird (their words), rather than learning something about hawks. I do volunteer work with hawks. I handle them. I know for a fact that they are no easy prey, and that they are very tenacious and will not stop at anything to defend themselves. They also have very sharp talons which, if the bird wishes to, can be put right through your protective glove and still make you bleed. They are not at all prey animals (they are, in fact, very predatory); and they do not take anyone’s crap. Like I said, the people who act in this manner have no clue about real hawks, and could stand to learn about them. If you have a hard time learning to respect someone’s theriotype, then most likely, there are things you could learn about that animal. Look that animal up. Learn about it. Learn what it is and what it does. Learn how cool and fascinating that creature is. It will make your mind a lot sharper.

One type of animal is not superior to another. This is merely human thinking. Some animals are specialized to do one thing, while others are specialized to do another. All animals have amazing and fascinating traits that we could all learn from. We have predators and prey. We have smaller prey and larger prey; smaller predators and larger predators. We have scavengers, and everything in between. The prey animals matter every bit as much as the predators do, and are every bit as deserving of our respect and concern. The smaller animals also matter every bit as much as the larger animals do. Aside from the aforementioned, those who are either prey theriotypes or smaller theriotypes are ever y bit as deserving of respect as the predators, or the larger animals. A housecat therian is not superior to a mouse therian. A wolf therian is not superior to a deer therian. A dingo therian is not superior to a person with the theriotype of a bug-eating songbird, either. We are all equals, and we all deserve to be treated as equals. Please be careful about regarding a person as a joke, someone to not take seriously, because of their theriotype. Such behavior is cruel.