Pit bulls have gotten a lot of press lately, thanks to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s quip last week at the Republican National Convention: “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.”
Now, I know there are bigger issues at stake here, but as a pit bull advocate, I can’t help wondering: Does her comment just reinforce the tired old stereotypes of pits (aggressive, scary), or could it maybe help these misunderstood dogs’ image?
After all, Palin obviously wanted to highlight her own positive qualities — so you could argue that she’s saying pits are tough but also loyal, loving and dedicated to their families. Maybe that’s a stretch, but hey, Palin is doing well in the polls.
There’s been a little bit of response from the pit bull community. Blogger Linda Milazzo posted a video of her sweet pet pit on the Huffington Post (which also ran a satirical piece by comic Andy Borowitz about outrage from the “Pitbull Anti-Defamation League”).
And The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart, a pit owner himself, answered Palin’s question about hockey moms vs. pits: “One is unfairly maligned in spite of evidence that it is no worse than
any other dog, and one is an artificial demographic that is no better
or worse than any other mom.” (Watch the video here — that line is at about 3:30.)
Readers of the KC Dog Blog (which caught the Jon Stewart comment and ran this photo of a pit bull in lipstick) debated the joke, with one noting: “I totally think it’s a compliment.
What woman wouldn’t want to be called tenacious and strong? good
traits, IMO. Plus … my bully is my hero. I think we should all aspire
to have ‘some pit bull’ in our personalities.” Responded another commenter: “It was not a positive compliment for pit bulls, it was a ‘play’ on the negative stereotype.“
And Dr. Patty Khuly at the great vet blog Dolittler also posted a photo of a pit in lipstick, noting: “I thought
the quip was not too inappropriate–in fact I thought it kind of funny,
in spite of myself–but to me it also recalled her general insensitivity
to animal life.”
What do YOU think?