The Park’s annual Toe-Hair Contest may be having a devastating effect on the vulnerable in our population, according to mental health specialist Victoire Caméléon. [pullquote]Everything from the environment to emotional stress to having the luxury of time and the resources to cultivate oneself can affect toe-hair growth. We should be cognizant of that when we reward Animals for something that they are not in complete control of.—Psychotherapist Victoire Caméléon [/pullquote]
The part-time researcher and psychotherapist, who works at one of The Park’s two Extinction Anxiety Clinics, made the assertion this past weekend.
Speaking at a conference on extinction and mental health at the University of West Terrier, Caméléon said evidence suggests that the annual competition negatively affects those who fear for the survival of their species.
“This is not simply an issue of self esteem; it is an issue of survival and Animals’ sense of self-preservation,” she said.
The annual contest, which has come to signal the beginning of Spring, rewards those who are most able to grow long, thick, healthy toe-hairs over the Winter season.
But, Caméléon said, many in our vulnerable populations are not able to do so, through no fault of their own. Still, the emphasis the contest places on this one aspect has made some Animals feel weaker and less able to survive.
“There are a number of factors that are involved in toe-hair growth, as well as in other aspects of physical health,” Caméléon said. “Everything from the environment to emotional stress to having the luxury of time and the resources to cultivate oneself can affect toe-hair growth. We should be cognizant of that when we reward Animals for something that they are not in complete control of.”
Yet, even despite these negative effects, Caméléon is not calling for an end to the contest.
“It began as purely a fun event, almost a farcical celebration of the post-Winter season. I think we should preserve that aspect of the contest and place less emphasis on the winning part,” she said.