Subtle Distinctions

// dehumanization, disposability, dolls

How many times? How many times were you ordered to do your homework or eat your dinner or shut up and stop complaining, because you didn’t want to end up like those dolls you saw on the street, did you? You were a good kid. You didn’t want to end up like those things, right?

You saw them all the time, with their improvised dollhouses, their baggy salvaged clothes, their tired eyes, and hand rolled cigarettes. They did their best to survive, but you still saw plenty of dead dolls around the city. They were trash. You didn’t want to be trash right?

You weren’t like them of course, you were a person! Dolls weren’t people, obviously. No one could possibly be that cruel to people. You were a good girl, you did what your parents asked, you followed the rules, no, you were nothing like them. No one would do that to you.

Were you overconfident? Or maybe just too afraid to confront the truth. You could have seen the warning signs as your grades began slipping, as your parents and peers became more hostile, as the world and your own mind seemed to rebel against you. Or maybe you couldn’t have.

You were a person! A good person! You kept telling yourself that, you used it to force yourself to try harder, to work more. They continued demanding more and more, and even though it was draining, you did your best. You just wanted to be good after all.

Slowly, despite your best efforts, you fell further and further behind what was expected of you. Bills, assignments, rent, everything was piling up. You were getting scary letters demanding money you didn’t have, and that was after barely eating. You’d reached your limits.

The letter giving you a deadline to pay rent or vacate your roach infested apartment was the final straw. You still weren’t worried of course, you were a person. You could always just ask for help, and you did. What you didn’t expect was what happened next.

“People don’t struggle with this stuff, you’re just being lazy.”

“People can take care of themselves, you’re a person aren’t you?”

“What kind of failure of a person can’t even hold down a basic job?”

“You must not really be a person then.”

No one could possibly be as cruel to a person as they were to you, but of course, you aren’t a person, you’re just another useless doll, you know that now. No one cares about being kind to dolls, no one cares what happens to dolls, dolls are just things, they don’t matter.

You finally understand now, don’t you? No one would ever consider it an act of evil to deny a doll of human rights, so if you just define someone as a doll, then any oppression, persecution, or atrocity you might inflict upon it would never be regarded as cruel or inhumane.

What’s the difference between a doll and a human? It’s simple really, a doll isn’t a person. What makes a doll not a person? If a doll was a person, people might feel bad about what they did to it. That would be very unfortunate, you don’t want people to feel sad do you?

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