lol our society is so structured on binaries that people think cats are the opposite of dogs

we also regard dogs as “masculine” and cats as “feminine” to the point that it’s “weird” for men to love cats, women and gay men are stereotyped as liking cats, and creepiest of all, cats are stereotyped as “sexy” animals

omg. whoa. this is so on point, and so weird, and so embedded that this NEVER occurred to me before.

Hah. This works in ways that I do not understand at all. Like … following the analogy to its (il)logical conclusion, men who are all about dogs and icked out by cats are acting very gay. Whereas, you’d expect a straight dude to have all the appreciation ever for cats, what with cats’ sensual mannerisms and socially promoted femininity-correlation. If you have a fetish for women, then naturally, all the ways that cats remind you of women should appeal to you.

I also think this conversations is incomplete without a hard look at how much dogs are also stereotyped as animals with an innate desire/need for hierarchy. Because a large part of why dogs are okay for men to like has to do with the fact that dogs are parsed as amenable to acting out a really blatant master/servant relationship with their human; a servile pantomime that humans find reassuring in its abjectness. I have no idea how dogs conceptualize the meaning of, say, balancing on their hind paws and waving their forepaws at their human, but it’s pretty indicative of what humans believe about the motion that they have called this trick “begging.” Dogs put up with a lot of limitations, restrictions, and human power fantasies, usually without even a hint of complaint. Cats, to resort to an irresponsibly broad generalization, do not. The fact that you think it would be cute for them to do a thing is unlikely to persuade them that they should do it. And this has a lot to do with why it’s culturally okay for women to love cats, but not for men. Men are supposed to want to exert dominance and be on bad terms with anything that challenges their authority (even if it’s just a lowly animal). Women are not. Women can love a creature that doesn’t submit to them without being accused of gender non-conformity.

And it’s interesting, because while men get shit for liking cats, women do not get hassled for liking dogs. The assumption of human superiority and male-as-default norm is so entrenched that even women dominating dogs in public spaces, like parks, does not make society uncomfortable. (Or at least, I haven’t seen that.) Of course, when women have dogs, lots of people assume they’re baby substitutes and associate it more with being an “animal lover” than with commanding an animal’s obedience. On the flip side, when men have dogs, people assume they’re exercising some sort of natural urge to command.

Tags: feminism, most of the intelligent life on earth is not human, oversimplifications hurt people, human narcissism
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