I’m so proud of my T.V. husband. From the moment I met him, I knew he was going to be, like, the next Brad Pitt. He’s so handsome, so kind, and such a talented actor. There’s just nowhere for him to go except straight to the top. I’m only shocked that it hasn’t happened already. I’m just so excited for the world to see him if they haven’t already. Because he’s brilliant and I love him and now he has rock-hard abs. Which is just a bonus. It seems like the Internet has a big crush on Chris … do you feel like it is encroaching on your territory at all? I have major jealousy [issues] but we start shooting Parks and Recreation next week so I am glad to have him all to myself because if anyone tries to get with him, I will destroy them
Now, it’s an understandable problem - our socialization instantly encourages us to see this rugged, sleek, military animal as a male. Three-legged hero dog with military decorations and stern-appearing eyes? TOTALLY A DUDE DOG, JUST LOOK AT HIM. It’s a programmed response, and nothing to be ashamed of - let’s just be accurate and note that Layka’s a female.
I’ve highlighted all the reblogs above where Layka is described as a hero, an old man, with male pronouns - rather than the fierce, charming heroine she is. It’s kind of a teachable moment: how does an image of an animal, displaying absolutely no secondary sex characteristics, instantly give us these fictional headcanons about its gender and gender performance? It’s an impressive demonstration of our ability to translate body language.
The photographer who took this compelling shot noted that Layka’s playful, bouncy energy made it nearly impossible for him to get a shot with her mouth closed! He ended up having to stop using the tennis ball he was using to get her attention, because it made her too excited and smiley. Based on the photos below, I think she’d have quite a sense of humor about the “where’s the tennis ball?” game!
Of course, the photographer did end up connecting with a fundamental aspect of Layka’s nature in the cover photo; her serious, soldier side. But that’s not all the animal is. Does the dog in the unused shots still resemble an “old man?” Is the dog in the unused shots male or female? Is it still a hero with its tongue out? Is it still admirable without a “face like stone?”
This is what I mean when I say that we have to examine the lenses of culture and society that we are always, always looking through when we talk about science biology.