Personally, I really like this new “sharky” fashion trend – the finhats, the fake teeth, the gill tattoos. I was not a fan of “roo” fashion – everyone dressing up like kangaroos, hopping around from here to there – but I think there’s something distinguished about the sharky look. When I see someone wearing a shark-shaped suit, or a dress covered in fins? I find it edgy, yet elegant.
Recently, a conference of whale sharks entitled “Whale Sharks: Whale, Shark, or Neither?” was held near Campeche, Mexico. According to this report, it was apparently the largest gathering of whale sharks on record.
And such a conference was long overdue, said a whale shark who lives in the Caribbean Sea. “For years this question has been plaguing us – who are we? I think this conference was our first step towards answering that question.”
There’s no doubt that the public perceives whale sharks as whales first, said the whale shark. “I mean, we’re the biggest fish in the world. So it only makes sense. But a lot of us think of ourselves as sharks – stealthy, dangerous.”
In part, then, this question is about public perception and branding. “It’s not as if we decided to change our entire image,” said the whale shark, “but one of the seminars that I attended suggested a media campaign – maybe some t-shirts that read ‘Whale Sharks: Two Fish in One!’ or something like that.
“What I think most of us took away from the conference was, we have a complex identity, and there’s no reason we can’t retain that identity,” said the whale shark. “We’re not like any other breed of fish. And we want the world to know that we will not be simplified.”