Chapter eight, Grooming Gone Wild, of the book Zoobiquity by Barbara Natterson Hororwitz and Kathryn Bowers, was about the grooming habits of both animals and humans and how sometimes they can be taken too far. The main theme of the novel overall would be how animals can help solve human social issues.
The chapter opens with an anecdote to “Feather Picking disorder” where birds picked at their own feathers even though it caused them pain. She connects the symptoms of “deliberate bodily-harm” and “distress in loved ones” (160) that were present in the birds and compared it to her human patients. She explains the commonalities of how both derived pleasure from self-harm. A reference to celebrities and movies makes her argument all the more relatable and shows that self-mutilation is that rare. She brings up the question: Does pop culture encourage these behaviors in humans?
This is an interesting topic as it is a double-edged sword. Do celebrities, the people who are supposed to be role models for the younger generation, unknowingly perpetuate an acceptance for self-harm? Popular movies such as Thirteen and Girl, Interrupted show young women going through troubled times, and how they dealt with handling it. They shed light and spread awareness of these coping skills that helps cutters feel that they’re not as alone. They raise comprehension that these issues are widespread and do need to be addressed. As seen within Mukherjee’s book, what moves an entire society will cause a shift in medical progress towards curing it. Because of these films, more people probably sought out help for their problem rather than internalizing them.
However, some of them might have tried what they saw in the movies because they saw someone do it. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Princess Diana seem more relatable and human when they confessed to harming themselves, but they also unknowingly encouraged people who emulated them to try it...