In my post on 8 ways to advocate for pitbulls, I made a point that we need to stop sharing messages that compare pitbulls to violent or deadly things.
You know, those messages that say things like “You are 60 times more likely to be killed by a coconut than a pit bull.”
Um … OK. Yikes. What does that even mean?
Or, “Don’t be afraid of my pit bull. I’m 100 times more likely to rip your throat out than he is.”
Tell me if I’m wrong, but I believe these types of messages can do more harm than good. As a comparison, here are some more positive pitbull messages that we absolutely should be sharing!
Example of a friendly, positive pitbull message:
And here are some of negative messages I mentioned earlier:
Obviously you and I get what these messages are saying. The intent is good. To people who love pitbulls, it’s easy to see the humor. Pitbulls are just dogs, so it’s ridiculous that people would be afraid of them.
Only, people really are afraid of pitbulls, and these messages are sending subtle hints.
I have a relative who is scared of pitbulls
I have an older relative who I love very much, but she believes everything negative she hears about “pitbulls” in the news.
This person is not a dog person, and she has never had an interaction with a pitbull, as far as I know.
She would not even be able to identify a “pitbull” within a group of dogs because it’s not the dog she’s afraid of.
She is afraid of the pitbull label itself. If she finds out a dog is a pitbull, that’s when the dog becomes “bad” in her mind.
If this relative saw one of those negative memes floating around, it would reinforce the false idea in her mind that pitbulls are different than other dogs. That they are scary, can’t be trusted and are somehow more dangerous.
One factor that helps me determine what kind of message to share is to imagine a different type of dog as the subject.
If you replaced the word pitbull or the picture of the pitbull with a black Lab, would the meaning of the message change?
For example, if you replaced “I love my pit bull” with “I love my black Lab” it would still be a positive message about loving dogs.
But you wouldn’t say something as ridiculous as “You are 60 times more likely to be killed by a coconut than a black Lab,” would you?
Well don’t you think it’s just as ridiculous to say the same thing about a pitbull?
Let’s focus on the positive messages.
“My pitbull is family.”
“I love my pitbull.”
“I am a pitbull owner.”
Let’s share photos of pitbulls doing cute, normal things.
Let’s share uplifting stories that happen to be about pitbulls, like this story of a group of nuns adopting a senior pitbull.
These are the kinds of messages that can reach people and make a difference.
Because people really are listening.
What do you think?
Can certain pitbull memes do more harm than good?