Pass me my gryphon pants please.
His high school racial studies were kind of a pain, Billy thought. Spending the day as a unicorn may have made gym class easy, but it just made trying to write on the chalkboard in math class a pain… also all the girls looked at him funny. Still, football was fun when he was a troll, and if he did well his parents had promised to let him try flying on the vacation over the summer.
The above sort of gives a taste of what I’m trying to achieve from a first person perspective; a modern Earth analog with a blase acceptance of the ability to transform.
The scenario is that at sometime in the recent past, a brilliant/mad Scientist developed a Scientific/Magical method of literally changing a human into something else. animal or fantastical, "Anything go's" inside certain constraints.
The specific rules about how this works and what someone can change into are less important for this question. The limits of the change run a lot along the lines of mammalian-esque forms and of no actual mass changes (regardless of what it looks like), and nothing that strictly couldn't exist without magic; winged humans sure... but no flying winged humans. Also assume, mostly for story reasons, that most transformations are sane; a person won’t end up as a slime and washing down the drain to the local water treatment plant.
This obviously is going to take a fair bit of work to ‘sell’, especially because a familiar, modern day setting is a requirement, but given:
The setting focus is on western society; Europe and the Americas.
Its available to anyone that wants it at a reasonable price. (Reasonable is cellphone level of cost, not sports car level)
This is a divergent world from our own recent history, not a fantastical one. ( As far as anyone can tell its the same up until [x] date.)
The setting must maintain and appearance of the current day one we live in. (no apocalypse)
Transformations can be as temporary as a hand stamp or as permanent as a tattoo. They are NOT clap-clap on, clap-clap off changes, and there is a minimum time of hours-to-days, and a functionally unlimited maximum time.
The tech/magic behind the scenes really is kind of irrelevant beyond making the assurances that are needed so people feel safe with it.
There needs to be less divergence rather than more in the overall world; airliners rather than flocks, rush hour rather than stampedes. This ability needs to be a fairly modern change to prevent unanticipated changes to [the] world/events.
You can’t clone someone else's specific form/body, you end up along the lines of “what you would look like if you were born as [x]”
humans act as humans do; events still transpire as historically they did until they no-longer believably can (ugh, timeline stuff)
Within these constraints, and the understanding there there will always be fringe groups that call it ‘evil and/or unnatural’:
How do I convince the largest cross-section of people that this is a socially acceptable and even a normal thing for a person to do? How far ‘back’ do I have to go to put the point of divergence? The 1980s? 1960s? Further back?
This question can be more generalized as “how do I convince any large group to accept something totally new and different” I suppose, but the idea of transformations gives scope as to how alien the "new and different" is. I can hand-wave how it happens and was developed in the first place, as well as the reasoning by letting having people have access to it, but I’m having trouble setting up the scenario where it’s accepted by people at large. To me, Humans have a historical tendency to shriek at anything new and then climb a tree.
let me reiterate; I can come up with gobs and gobs of reasons why this can fly off the rails, I'm not asking how it won't work... I'm asking how I got there.
How do I make something so radical and different into something that's viewed the same as getting your ears pierced at the mall? I want to avoid making it something that's “always been that way” as I feel that realistically, the longer this ability is around, the more things will change and the less recognizable modern life is.
I get that something developed a week ago just can’t get accepted that fast, and certainly this is a candidate for "never-accept", but I want (mostly) whole-sale adoption. Yes I do have the fantasy tag, but still, bonus points for believability.