These stuffed toys grace the display area of a non-profit that deals in durable medical equipment. They demonstrate the friendly, benign nature of a standard hospital bed, serving to cheer up the often more grim realities associated with such equipment. The monkey, especially, adds a note of whimsy by being dressed up as a cow. There is a (small?) trend in the world of stuffed toys to dress one animal species in the “suit” of another. This is generally received to be “cute,” but one wonders what other meanings and implications such sartorial animality has.
Perhaps it is cute because it is odd…odd to see one type of the general category of “animal” pretending to be another type. When humans pretend to be other animals, there is a different reaction, although perhaps I should compare this with humanoid dolls in animal “clothing.” In which case, it is seen to be cute, as well. My point was going to be that humans in Western culture see themselves as set apart from the general category of “animal,” which lumps together all others. It is just difficult to trace out the various categorical intersections, interstices, and radical separations without delving into extreme fieldwork that involves thousands of participants. So I will leave it at this:
What do you think of the monkey above, of animals pretending to be other animals, and of representations of animals (especially those used in play) being dressed up as other animals? And finally, is the other animal necessarily also Other?