There is male sexism behind the label “crazy cat lady”. Sexism from the male of the human species is endemic throughout the planet. It almost happens in a subconscious way. It appears to be in the DNA of the male. No doubt females are also sexist towards males but there is also no doubt that far more men engage in sexism than women. It keeps women in their place.
The label “crazy cat lady” is patronising and degrading. It implies that you have got to be a bit crazy to look after several cats or more and that it is always women who do this. The truth of the matter is that nearly all these ladies are decent people who are sensitive to the plight of unwanted cats.
I believe it’s time that this sort of sexism was dealt with and eliminated. It won’t happen because, as stated above, it is hardwired into the DNA of men.
What got me thinking about this was a recent study not associated with the domestic cat. It concerns how scientists with PhD qualifications referred to each other during academic presentations.
When women introduced men they use the man’s professional title (“Dr”) 95% of the time. When men introduced women, the figure was 49%. So a woman would say, “This is Dr John Smith” while a man would say, “This is Julia Smith” even though she had a PhD.
The research was published in the Journal of Women’s Health. It appears that when this issue was mentioned to men the response was they “don’t know what you’re talking about”.
They just do it subconsciously without realising it. Dr Marcia Ko, who worked on the research paper, said that it was an example of the sort of biases that could make life harder for women academics.
“When you introduce people in this way repeatedly, you can further gender discrimination. You invalidate their credibility.”
Of course you have to agree with that. Labelling women who like cats and who live with lots of cats “crazy cat ladies” is a way of invalidating their credibility. It is gender discrimination. It is making women who are sensitive towards the welfare of cats appear irrational and stupid.
If a man looked after lots of cats they would not be labelled in the same way. They might in fact be labelled as gay. Or if they were known not to be gay they’d be regarded as sensitive – a positive trait to many women. But to label men who like cats as gay would also be discrimination and a way of trying to invalidate their credibility.
It’s all about male sexism and it comes primarily, I would say, from the male of the species who likes to hunt and kill animals.