Musing

A Feminist Rant About Dog Humping

As you may or may not know, my day job is at a doggie daycare, where I spend a lot of time hanging out with dogs, observing their behavior and relationships. I also spend a lot of time being mildly bored while hanging out with said dogs, which always gets me thinking. Here’s some (possibly very weird) shit I’ve been thinking about.

Why is it that when a dog, a largely instinct-driven creature with an intellectual capacity equal to that of a two-year-old and no understanding of human social norms whatsoever, humps my leg without permission (is there ever permission? Don’t answer that), the dog’s owner apologizes profusely, accepting full responsibility, and the dog is duly chastised. And yet when a fully-grown human man, presumably having developed an understanding of right and wrong and social responsibility, makes similarly undesired sexual advances, it’s my fault for being attractive and leading him on and men will be boys and what did I expect to happen?

Are dogs really better equipped to control their sexual urges than adult human men?

And another thing. People love to talk about “alpha males,” a metaphor derived from dog pack behavior, as though they are the pinnacle of hyper-masculine power, achieved by fighting other males and mating with females. “Alpha male” is a compliment of sorts, meant to paint the person you’re talking about as powerful. And yet in this metaphor we ignore the mechanic by which dogs establish dominance: humping.

Humping is an almost entirely non-sexual behavior in dogs. Yes, it is how they get each other pregnant, but it is far more prevalent as a blunt tool for establishing an hierarchy. Every day, I watch girl dogs hump dogs into submission, male and female; male dogs hump other males dogs as often or even more often than they hump female dogs; siblings hump each other with such zeal it calls to mind Game of Thrones. Humping happens the most when a new dog joins the pack, especially if it’s a puppy, because they’re easy targets for dominance play.

All of these dogs are fixed. None of them have sex-related hormonal urges. Sex isn’t even physically pleasurable to them. The humping is about dominance.

I say all of this to suggest that if we are going to adopt dog behavior terminology to describe our own social structures, we should adopt it whole-sale, with all of its original meaning intact. If we are dogs and the self-proclaimed “alpha male” chooses to cat-call, harass, sexually assault and rape others, it is not about sex. It is about dominance.

And thus concludes this lecture on the social implications of dog humping.

Dominantly yours,
M.M. Jordahl

“The more I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” -Charles de Gaulle

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