I enjoy opportunities to link back to my dog person/cat person rant.  In it, I point out how pet ownership can be gendered.  In this case, owning a dog is masculine and owning a cat is feminine. Anna sent in an image demonstrating just this, noting that the dog products at her vet are blue and the cat products pink:

More, and importantly, because we also tend to value men and masculinity over women and femininity, it is somehow “cool” to own a dog, especially a big dog.  This is true for both men and women.  But it isn’t really cool to own a cat.  We accept it in women because cats enhance her femininity (for better or worse), but when men do it.  Well, as I say in my previous post on the topic, “we think men with cats are a little femmy or, at minimum, sweeter than most… even, maybe, gay.”

This was not lost on the folks at Much Love Animal Rescue.  Visiting the site, Squee noticed that they had a page aimed at men that attempted to convince them that owning a cat could be manly indeed. Their commercials feature extra-super-manly-men with grease ‘n stuff talking about punching things and loving their cat. This is nice in that it challenges the social construction that owning cats is feminine, but notice that it leaves intact the idea that men-should-be-men and avoid all things feminine.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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