Cats Take a Stand in the Gender Equality Debate
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Sara Coughlin

By Sara Coughlin

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Much (well-founded) eye rolling followed the rapid rise of the Tumblr Women Against Feminism, a safe space for ladies who just don’t have time for gender equality. Most posts on the Tumblr feature a photo (frequently a selfie) of a woman staring defiantly into the camera, holding a hand-written explanation for as to why she is “against” feminism. Here’s where that eye rolling starts. Scrolling through reasons like “Women get away with more than men whether we like it or not,” and “It’s just another trend and I do like being feminine,” a creeping feeling starts to set in: These women might not have the firmest grasp on what feminism is.

A powerful force had to step in with an appropriately observant and snarky response, and that force was yet another Tumblr: Confused Cats Against Feminism. It, too, functions as a forum for individuals to let loose on their objections to feminism, only here those individuals are cats, and their reasons for rejecting feminism sound more like this: “I don’t need feminism… I spend 85 percent of the time asleep,” or “I don’t have time for feminism… it’s time for dinner!”

Not only does the Confused Cats Tumblr further reflect how foolish the anti-feminism movement has become, but it perfectly melds two fixtures of internet culture: misguided (if not flat-out misinformed) opinions and cats. Other online anti-feminist parodies cropped up since. Even Jane Austen characters are starting to make their opinions known.

The act of (vaguely) parodying political statements is a longstanding practice, but what does it do for the larger conversation that originally sparked those statements? Is it a useful conversation starter or ultimately a means of belittlement? Confused Cats Against Feminism’s treatment of Women Against Feminism prompts these big-picture questions, yes, until one remembers that the entire conflict lives online. Ultimately, shouting into the void about feminism, men’s rights, cats, and naps are not activities that call for deep thinking. Just remember to breathe and click to the next page of cats.

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