Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Thoughts On Cat Person: Society Teaches Women To Appease Men Before Their Own Needs

It's Monday, December 11, 2017 and the talk of Twitter is a short story titled, "Cat Person," by Kristen Roupenian. You can read it in its entirety here. Another recommended read is the interview with the author in the New York Times which I have linked here. I wanted to explore some of the themes of this short story.

Society Teaches Women To Appease Men Before Their Own Needs

One thing that I loved about this short story is how they explore how hard it is to find genuine connection with someone. Throughout the story, Margot is constantly trying to understand her date and he is trying to do the same. They both experience many different moods throughout the date - anxiety, sadness, anger, and even calm at some points.

Margot, as a woman, constantly tries to regulate Robert's moods. She gets worried when she thinks she has upset him. She even makes self-depreciating jokes just so that she can appease his ego. She cries at the bar because she thinks he will get mad at her for wasting his time trying to get into the bar. Unfortunately, our society constantly puts the onus on women to always please even if their needs are not being met. And what does Robert do? He acts moody and sullen and quiet during the car ride to the movie theater. Margot tries to make conversation but it just doesn't work. Could Robert have tried harder to appease her? Could he have taken the hint when she said, "Are You Serious?" about watching a Holocaust movie and appeased her by seeing something else?

I guess what I am saying is Margot should overthink less. If something isn't going well, it's on both parties and not just you. You don't have to make the date go smoothly.

Dating As A Woman

Dating as a woman is scary; especially dating a stranger. How can you know who to trust? A One Night Stand with a stranger is much more dangerous situation for a woman (as sung in the Crazy Ex Girlfriend song Sex With A Stranger). You could get murdered or raped; if the man is physically stronger and bigger than you, it would be hard to fight back and stay alive.

Thankfully, Robert doesn't murder or rape her. It's just society that tells Margot, that once she consents to sex or a date, she can't take it back. But girls!!! You can! If you feel uncomfortable with sex, you can say "actually I changed my mind." And men, if a woman ever says to you to stop sex, YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO HER OR ELSE IT IS RAPE.

Dating as a woman is dangerous also because men haven't been brought up to respect women in society. That's why at the end of the story, Robert calls her a "whore," which shows that he does get angry at rejection. What if she had said no in the middle of sex? What if she had rejected him in the middle of sex? Would he have listened to her and understood? Or would he have gotten angry like he did at the end of the essay?

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