We've all heard about the “crazy cat lady.” I mean... we've even begun to embrace it! But the fact is, the stereotype of “lonely women love cats” is still, unfortunately, a thing. This stereotype – as most will – leaves out a lot of vital points... for instance, the lack of actual desperation, the genuine companionship between animal and human, and the glaring fact that all people can be “crazy” about their cats. In this article, we're going to touch on some sore spots, and play around a bit with this all-too-common cliché.
How the Crazy Cat Lady Came to Be
We can't discuss “crazy cat people” as a whole without touching on the “crazy cat lady” stereotype – after all, that's where it all began. In modern popular culture, one of the first notable examples of the feline-mad female appeared in A Clockwork Orange, which depicted the murder of an eccentric, cat-hoarding woman. Shortly after, The End portrays a woman so engrossed with her kitty cohorts she fails to recognize the enormity of her companion's dreadful news. As time has gone by, this figure devolves even further, eventually becoming the incoherent, angry archetype we see in television shows like The Simpsons.
These negative connotations surrounding the bond between woman and cat were not always the case; however, the earliest depictions may have unintentionally helped to create them. In many cultures, powerful women and goddesses were frequently seen either working together – as with the Norse myth of Freyja – or as one in the same – think, Bastet. As attitudes, cultures, and religions shifted, though, both females and felines were often blamed for the woes of the world. These two figures were still shown as being counterparts who worked closely together... only now, to create chaos. The result of these connections – both good and bad – is that women and their cats have become intrinsically linked in our collective psyche.
How People As a Whole Fit Into All of This
So... women and cats... the dynamic duo that is forever burned into our cultural brains. After all, women like kitties, men like dogs. Those are the facts, right? Well... no. Let's simplify and look into an interesting little tidbit of history. Once upon a time, the color pink was identified as a “male” color, while blue was seen as “female.” Why? Because pink is loud, vibrant... forceful. Much like men were supposed to be. Blue, on the other hand, was connected with the feminine ideal – virginal, soft, unassuming. So... what's the point of this story? The point is that, as times change and as we develop a deeper knowledge of gender, our understanding of what is seen as “masculine” and “feminine” changes as well. What was once the domain of female madness is now extending into other genders. And let's be square... this is a very good thing.
The Truth About Crazy Cat People
Although the “crazy cat lady” image is still set pretty firmly in place, people are gradually making their way out from under it. For example, the amazingly vibrant photographer David Williams put out a series that features the special bond between men and their cats. In addition to being ridiculously adorable, these photographs normalize both the image of the male-feline friendship, and the idea of devotion shared between humans and animals.
Ultimately, it comes down to this. The label “crazy cat lady,” whether serious or tongue in cheek, is just... well.. a label. And like other labels, it is impossibly narrow and limited in its scope. Cat lovers come in every variety, and what you may see as “crazy,” another may see as “normal.” Because of this, many of us who would be fitted with said label have decided to expand it and embrace it.
Why Embracing the Crazy Cat Person Is So Important
We, as a civilization, are shifting in a big way. We're beginning to see – and in some cases revisit – what being a good person is. We've noted the inequalities and cruelties that we have inflicted upon not only our own species, but on other species as well. All of that said, the notion of being devoted to an equally devoted animal can in any degree be seen as “crazy” is alarming. Furthermore, relegating that devotion to a single gender, making other genders feel in any way inferior or somehow “wrong” for expressing that same loyalty, is simply ridiculous. The result of these two things is animals in abusive situations, and people in messed up mental spaces. By adopting the “crazy cat person” persona, we are effectively pushing aside the idea of shame, and embracing the ideals of empathy, kindness, and inclusion – all with a little giggle... because why on earth not!
It's unlikely that the cliché of the crazy cat lady is going to go away any time soon. Instead of allowing it to remain the image of lonely, desperate womanhood, though... let's change it up. Let's let the crazy extend out to all cat-loving humans. Let's morph “crazy” into “dedicated,” “loving,” and “empathetic.” Let's be crazy cat people together!
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