Have you ever noticed that people curse at their computers (79% of people do this) , dress their animals in unnecessary clothing, name their cars, and talk to their plants? There is a reason for this strange behavior, which will be explained in this article (Believe it or not, it’s not a mental illness!).
Anthropomorphism is the behavior in which we make sense of the world around us by assigning inanimate objects a human characteristic-like names and clothing. By doing so, we give it moral worth, social influence, make it accountable for its actions (like not going to the bathroom on the carpet), and make sense of a fickle stock market.
Likewise, when we dehumanize people, we reduce them to mere objects that lack worth, substance, and value. No better example was given in history than that of the Nazi propaganda movement, whereby Nazis depicted Jews as vermin.
People are more social-minded towards others when they humanize God as being judgmental (So therefore they critique their actions more closely). People are more environmentally conscious when they refer to this planet as “Mother Earth”. Lonely people are more likely to gravitate towards objects that are subsequently humanized to fill the void in their existence. This is why we have created robots-they are uncomplicated extensions of the human counterparts.
Autistic children who lack social skills frequently gravitate towards inanimate objects. They want human interaction just as much as anyone else. However, they are intimidated with the living version, so they create their own “pseudo-human” in the form of toys or objects of individual fondness.
The more out of control one feels about his/her surroundings, the more likely they are to try to control and humanize the objects around them states this source. Nowhere is this more evident than with the naming of hurricanes. Hurricanes destroy everything in its earthly wake, but we still assign it a human identity.
When a social out-casted group in society is not viewed as human-like and worthy of human identity, society disassociates with that group due to their own discomfort and therefore dehumanizes them. This is frequently seen with drug addicts, homosexuals, and homeless persons. It has also played out in vivid imagery with the enslavement of African Americans in early American history. Their dark, exotic skin was dissimilar to the overwhelming majority of British and European immigrants.
So, one ponders– if lonely people humanize or anthropomorphize inanimate objects, would it be fair to say that those who are well connected with society are more prone to dehumanize other people? Research has been completed on seeing whether this theory holds any water and the results are fascinating.
Studies show that when women are made to see a sonogram of their unborn baby prior to aborting him/her, they are less likely to go through with the abortion. The recent legislature regarding implementing a sonogram prior to abortion procedures has gained a lot of controversy because of this finding.
In this same study, doctors were more likely to address patients with greater compassion and warmth, and give them a better quality of care when the patient’s picture was attached to the x-rays, charts, and other diagnostic documents.
Women are notoriously seen as objects and dehumanized. The more socially accepted a man is, according to this site, the more likely he is to give in to peer pressure and treat women as objects. Of course, this is not all inclusive of every popular male. However, there is a strong link between male social popularity and treating women with dehumanized maltreatment.
It is important to look at how society makes critical decisions in everything that they do in relationship to whether or not something or someone is similar to them. By acknowledging that we fall fatalistically short on these premises, we can achieve great strides in conquering racism, prejudice, immoral and unethical decision making, etc.