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Attack of the Heteronormative Turtle Keepers! June 27, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Onely B*tchslaps Mother Nature.
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2 comments

We here at Onely feel confident that you have never seen a blog post with this title. But get used to it. Heteronormative turtle keepers (HTKs) are in the news lately. They’re trying to impose their couple-centric worldviews onto their amphibian friends, and no one (except us) questions whether the HTKs are out of their minds–least of all the media, who love this stuff:

Some turtles “divorce,” others are “lonesome” – at least according to two news stories that have been published over the last month. First, Bibi and Poldi, giant turtles at an Austrian zoo, are apparently getting a “divorce” after 115 years together. Beirut’s The Daily Star laments:

The world’s oldest marriage looks like it has come to an end.

What’s more:

Management at the Austrian zoo in Klagenfurt tried everything – from couples’ counseling to feeding them romantic mood food to getting them to play games together, but to no avail.

Which begs the question, What the hell constitutes romantic turtle mood food, and where can we get some for our. . . uh, never mind. It also begs the question, Why must the media and keepers anthropomorphize these poor turtles? Actually, what the articles have done is dizzyingly weird, albeit great Onely fodder: they’ve created a misrepresentation within a misrepresentation. These stories attribute arbitrary human habits to turtles (lonesome, divorced) and then within that paradigm they tack on stereotypes about those human habits (single=lonesome, divorced=worse than married).

Man-made heteronormativity is bad enough – surely we don’t have to infect Mother Nature too? Despite their caretakers’ not-at-all-bizarre behavior, Bibi and Poldi never did reunite, nor even play games. As the saying goes, Turtles that play together, stay together. Obviously Bibi and Poldi didn’t try hard enough to keep the spark alive. Now all the other (coupled) turtles in the zoo will be saying that (now single) BiBi is irresponsible with tons of free time, and that (now single) Poldi can’t commit and eats TV dinners while standing up at the kitchen counter (not always a bad thing, in our opinion). (more…)

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