Cross-posted at Jezebel.

Oh how I love a good example of our tendency to gender cats and dogs.  See, for example, my cat person/dog person rant and our post about an adoption campaign arguing that it can be manly to own a cat.

Josh Pearson sent in another colorful example from The Blue Buffalo Trading Co., a company that makes pet foods.  The company subtly genders dogs and cats with blue and pink, respectively:

More, the language on the site sexes the animals themselves. They consistently refer to cats as “she” and “her” and dogs as “he” and “him.”  For example, the text reads:

I hope everyone recognizes this as bizarre.  Dogs and cats come in both hes and shes (that how there are more cats and dogs every year).  And notice that we tend to stereotype dogs as more like the stereotypical woman (dependent, passive, and happily subordinated) and cats like stereotypical men (independent, self-serving hunters), even as we masculinize dogs and feminize cats.  So there is some serious contradiction going on here.  We gender everythingthough, so why not dogs and cats!

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