On "Cat Person"

[Content Note: Rape culture; misogyny; fat hatred.]

There is a remarkable piece of short fiction just published at the New Yorker called "Cat Person." A lot of people are talking about it, and understandably so: It is beautifully written by its author, Kristen Roupenian.

Which is not to say I loved everything about it, but her writing is exquisite.

The short story is, broadly, about a 20-year-old female college student who has a sexual encounter with an older man she meets while working at a movie theater. But is about much more than that, too. It's also about modern dating, and technology, and safety, and consent, and how well we can ever know other people — and ourselves.

There is an interview with Roupenian about her story here, which is also very good.

This is a thread to discuss the story and the interview, if you are so inclined, and also the public conversation around the story, which I've also found very interesting.

Three things about that conversation that have particularly struck me [minor spoiler in #3]:

1. Margot, the young woman at the center of the story, will feel familiar to lots of women. (Her experience is not universal, but it isn't purported to be.) It's fascinating how many men seem bothered, even angry, about that. But for entirely the wrong reasons.

2. I'm not the least bit surprised that I've seen virtually no discussion of the fat hatred that permeates the story. I've seen a lot of reasons why I'm supposed to hate Margot, and not a single one of them mentions that she's a rank fat hater.

3. I did, however, see a lot of criticisms of her for being selfish and vain and various other standards that are used against young women. My thoughts about that were perfectly and succinctly summed by Nat in this tweet:

Yeah. Especially that second point. Yeah.


Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus