Animal Lamina

It’s day 16 of Blogvember. I’m following the prompts from Andrew Canion, which can be found here.

In my work as a speech pathologist and as an interpreter, I frequently find myself thinking about different expressions and their underlying meaning. A few that have come to mind recently:

  • Please bear with me.
  • Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room.
  • They eat like a bird.
  • Hold your horses.
  • It’s raining cats and dogs. / They fought like cats and dogs.
  • Don’t have a cow.
  • He’s a real stubborn ass.
  • He’s a pig / He’s hogging the [item of choice]
  • Sly like a fox.
  • Get the lion’s share.

It’s interesting how the world around us, and the animals we’re lucky to enjoy as part of it, have such a profound influence on how we talk. It’s also interesting to see the sexism ascribed implicitly within. Eating like a bird, for example, is something I most often here spoken toward women, and is most often intended to mean that one pecks lightly at one’s food. Every bird I’ve observed eating does so with gusto, and according to one source, birds actually eat a lot relative to their size.

Here’s to keeping the good expressions and hogwash to ones which target anyone’s size or perceived gender.