Snoopy in a spiked collar

A very brief note on masculinity, today drawing on an old Peanuts cartoon (Jeff Bowles re-runs them for us every day):

A new collar, presumed to project aggressiveness via its fierce spikes, with aggressiveness then understood as a mark of masculinity — but Snoopy’s a happy dog, not a fierce dog, and that suits him

Two things.

Thing 1: spiked collars for dogs are not necessarily a sign of an aggressive dog, but are used to protect dogs from throat-biting attacks from predators and aggressive other dogs. Sweet dogs get spiked collars if they travel in bad neighborhoods. Guard dogs may get spiked collars so that they can ward off attacks on their charges.

Thing 2: whatever their bdsm origins might have been, spiked collars worn by people now seem to be primarily fashion statements, valued because they’re so noticeable. But, since they stand out, they also serve to call attention to the wearer’s collar, which is a sign of their bondage and/or submission; as a result, a spiked collar conveys not aggressiveness, but subservience.

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