Cats Are For Girls, Dogs Are For Boys

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Illustration for article titled Cats Are For Girls, Dogs Are For Boys

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.

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A reader 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:

Illustration for article titled Cats Are For Girls, Dogs Are For Boys

Moreover, 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:

Illustration for article titled Cats Are For Girls, Dogs Are For Boys

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 everything though, so why not dogs and cats!

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Illustration for article titled Cats Are For Girls, Dogs Are For Boys

This post originally appeared on Sociological Images. Republished with permission.

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Image via Mike Neale/Shutterstock.com

DISCUSSION

coolaskimdeal
cool_as_KimDeal

The thing that bothers me is how proudly some people (mostly men, and women who don't want to seem "girly") will say that they hate cats. Hate them. It occurred to me that I never hear people proudly proclaiming their hate for dogs. Probably because of the whole gendered pets issue, I guess you get some masculine cred for hating cats. I don't hate dogs. I'd give a dog a belly rub and happy scratch it's ears, but really my heart belongs to strange, adorable cats.