Today I read something that I didn’t know which is not surprising in and of itself but it got me thinking – also not surprising. I read that the Nazis decided to eradicate White German Shepherds as they were considered a flawed representative of the breed. Not so shocking really, considering their view on imperfect specimens. It’s hard to be too surprised by anything they did. The book also said that the American Kennel Club does not recognize the White German Shepherd (kind of disappointing A.K.C.). This is what got me thinking. Am I ever glad that there is no breed standard for people!
I have long realized that if I were a dog it is unlikely that I would make it in the show ring (even though my husband has lovingly told me that he considers me a trophy wife – I love that guy). How many of us would pass the actual breed standard? Doesn’t there exist an unofficial standard in our minds? As I watch my son go through high school it takes me back to those highly judgmental days. It was very clear back then whether you reached the standard or not, now it is less obvious. We all have an ideal of beauty and quality in our minds it’s how we allow this ideal to affect us that matters.
In university I took a class in Social Psychology, the one thing that stands out the most in my mind from that class was learning that when we date without realizing it we are attracted to people who are of a similar level of attractiveness. How interesting is that? It seems that we choose people who reach our breed standard. O.K., so this is one way we select our mates, does this also affect how we choose our friends? Our staff? I sure hope not. One would hope that we are not so shallow but could this be something completely unconscious? Tall men supposedly get more promotions (I cannot verify the veracity of this, it might just be another urban myth but it certainly seems possible) and according to Seinfeld (more scientific proof) beautiful people can get whatever they want. So what do we do with this perfection bias? When I turned 40 I finally gave myself the gift of self-acceptance. The freedom of no longer needing the approval of everyone. Take me as I am, or leave me it’s all fine. Not everyone needs to like me just as I don’t need to like everyone. I only hope that I am being fair and basing this like on important personality traits like kindness, empathy, generosity of spirit and sensitivity to name a few.
What is my point? I guess, we all have our breed standards, there may be no escaping it. The issue as always is, what are our standards based on and how does this affect our behaviour? Well, that’s how I see it. How do you see it?