Illustrator and writer Emma Fick is the published author of Snippets of Serbia. She is currently working on the illustrated book Snippets of New Orleans. To see more of Emma’s work as well as purchase her holiday cards (card illustrations below) and learn more about her, visit her website or find her on Instagram and Facebook.
The words is not easy to say, and it’s even more difficult to spell: anthropomorphization. Yet, it is everywhere. Look in gallery windows on Royal Street and you’ll see foxes writing letters, bunnies building houses, or small little kittens contemplating and debating philosophical texts like Immanuel Kat or Rene Decates (okay, maybe I just want that one to exist). But where in the world does this cute obsession of giving animals human qualities come from? Well…sources point all the way back to 1753. The first (supposedly) use of anthorpomorphization was in reference to (gulp) the heresy of applying a human form to the Christian God. We can all wipe our brows. It’s not all so serious anymore.
Leaving the serious nature f 1753 behind, anthropomorphization starts showing up in fables. The motifs were common in fairy tales–everything from mythological texts to the collections of the Brothers Grimm. And who can forget that tortoise who shows the hare that it’s alright to kick back a little because you’ll get there eventually. I mean, why are they even racing? Why? Because we humans seem to love the idea of animals behaving like humans. It’s lately been cited as an innate tendency of human psychology, but we’re not going to pelican dive into that!
Instead, let’s celebrate the human peccadilloes (some would say) of our tendency to want to put slippers on our dogs, hats on our cats, gloves on our lizards, and maybe some gold teeth grills on nutrias.
*No illustrated animals were harmed in the writing or this article or the making of the holiday cards.