In Defense of Plain Pets
In Defense of Plain Pets
My fellow Neopians, I write this article with the hopes of changing the general attitude that is held towards plain colored pets around our lands.
It has come to my recent attention that unpainted pets are not viewed in the same way as painted pets. There are assumptions made about unpainted pets that cause insecurity and unrest in our unpainted minds. Painting is commonly associated with fortune, prestige, elitism, and the idea that a pet is somehow “complete” once painted.
One of my favorite places in all of Neopia, a place I had thought was a refuge for progressives and pets who wanted to feed their mind and spirits with new perspectives and new ideas, recently made me realize the subtle bias that exists towards unpainted pets. During my most recent visit to the Art Centre I was asked by a pink Uni, as she sipped innocently on Purplum tea, how much longer I had to wait for my owner to afford the paintbrush I’m holding out for.
This inquiry opened my eyes to what some Neopians think about unpainted pets. I almost dropped my Gobi Fruit tea as all of her implications hit me.
Because I am unpainted this Uni assumed that I was not content with my natural form. She assumed that I could not yet afford the paint brush of my dreams. She assumed that I was somehow incomplete because I was not yet painted.
I didn’t quite know what to say to her other than my complete truth, “I’m not holding out for any paintbrush.”
I could see in her face that she was as confused as I had been shocked. “Oh,” was all she said.
I hurriedly drank my Gobi and left the Art Centre that day.
In traveling back to my Krawk Island home I was seeing painted and unpainted pets in an entirely new way. I used to notice no difference between us, but now that the bias had revealed to me I could see it in their eyes… some unpainted pets were clearly holding those attitudes in their own hearts.
Most notably, I saw a group of Chias. Of the seven Chias, six were all varying shades of fruits and colors, and one Chia was plain red. At first glance they all seemed to laugh together, but as I watched them longer I saw the red Chia’s discomfort clear as day. That red Chia held himself smaller, he didn’t laugh as loud as his friends, he was trying to hide in plain sight. I could only imagine that he was holding out for a paintbrush or magical pop in order to feel complete – in order to feel as though he need not hide anymore.
I write this now for all Neopians, painted and unpainted alike, to let all of the lands know that unpainted pets are not incomplete. We are not all frequenters of the Soup Kitchen who can’t afford the price of “completion.” We are not all new to Neopia, still trying to figure out what color would suit us best. Unpainted pets are just as whole and complete as our painted peers.
Colors do not dictate how smart or strong or talented a pet is. Colors are simply that: colors.
The elite hierarchy of painting is fickle. A paintbrush that is worth 5 million Neopoints one day can be awarded at the Advent Calendar and then that once “prestigious” color is now far more accessible… and therefore far less coveted. Painting is fashion, not substance nor talent.
By training, studying, and exploring, we Neopets live more enriching lives and have more personal development than painting could ever offer. Painting is adornment, not a personality trait or a skill.
Our friendly crumpetmonger, the creator of the most delicious pastries in all of Neopia, is a warm and natural yellow color. Our brilliant archivist friend in Altador is a basic blue, but that has not undermined his intelligence or his helpfulness. Our toy fixer on Terror Mountain is a simple red that has no hindrance on his abilities to put our shattered joys back together. The regal King Hagan even, much like everything else is Brightvale, is a proud green who has no plans of altering himself for his kingdom.
To lead a fulfilling life in Neopia one does not need to be painted.
There are games to be played, lands to be explored, battles to have, and spotlights to win that have nothing to do with one’s color. Plain pets are just as beautiful and just as able as painted pets.
The average paintbrush, if one is aiming for a color of slightly more elite status, is approximately one million Neopoints. Those Neopoints can be put towards delicious foods or enlightening books, or they can be used to make one’s Neohouse more of a Neohome. I have made friends with some spectacularly painted pets who used all of their Neopoints on their color and were fine with being painted yet not having a bed to sleep in.
We Neopians need to focus on upgrading the quality of our world before upgrading our colors! More pets dream of Fountain Faerie quests than of helping our poor Faerieland recover, and that is a true travesty. If we were to collectively focus less on the false prestige of painting and more on investing in our education, our training, and the well-being of the lands that we call home, then Neopia will be a far more beautiful place than if everyone were painted.
My name is Marla, and I am a plain yellow Peophin who has no plans to paint herself. I have plans to read more books, as many as I can get my hand on. I have plans on training, becoming stronger and faster. I have plans on taking my wonderful (unpainted) Weewoo to our home on Krawk Island and playing on the Forgotten Shore until the sun sets and the smugglers arrive.
I have plans on becoming the brightest and best Peophin I could be, and those plans do not include frivolous paintbrushes. Natural Neopia is beautiful Neopia.