The hashtag #cat had more than 44 million online search results in 2014 and more than 56 million in 2015 (the Journal of Adolescent Health). The problem is getting worse.
This is both disturbing and interesting. Adolescent girls are masking their online communications from their parents by using coded hashtags. Hashtags are labels for a subject which brings online communicators together. In this case the topic is self-harm by cutting oneself.
The disturbing part of this is that a lot of girls are seriously stressed up and sometimes depressed in the UK (and I will presume in other countries) for one reason and another. Often it can be about body image. The skinny high profile models on television and in magazines force young girls to view themselves as overweight and ugly even if they are really slender and attractive. This is chronically wrong and the government must step in (as has the French government) to restrict the sick desire by model agencies and couturiers to use stick thin models. It is madness and dangerous. The UK government is dragging its feet badly on this.
There is so much pressure on young girls regarding their appearance. It is madness. We should learn to love ourselves as we are. This is a human defect. Cats don’t have it.
The interesting aspect is that the teenage girl online community have chosen the word “cat” to signify “cut” – self-harm by cutting.
I wonder how this originated and developed. There are probably two factors: the word “cat” is one letter away from “cut” and the cat’s claws and teeth are known to be able to cut the flesh of humans.
If a cat does cut the flesh of humans it is the fault of the human. Let’s not forget that because I don’t want the cat to be associated with self-harm. I don’t like the association of self-harm with the domestic cat. It is a bit troubling that teenage girls selected the harshtag #cat to bring together like-minded girls interested in self-harm. However, it gives us an insight into the general relationship between the cat and the human. There is an underlying fear of the predator prowess of the domestic cat who is domesticated but an short step away from the wild. The domestic cat has two great weapons – teeth and claws – of these claws are the most dangerous in terms of cutting flesh.
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