Friday, March 4, 2016

All cats are girls, and all other animals are boys

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

You'd think this was biologically improbable, but it's true.

Witness the admirably entertaining Pet's Tails touch-and-feel book by Jellycat, written by Anne Wilkinson. Every single pet on every page is a boy:

"I love my budgie — his tail is a beautiful blue."

"I love my stick insect — his tail is like a twig."

"I love my fish — his tail goes swish-swish."

I commend Wilkinson on her extensive research that correctly identified the masculinity of nearly all pets.

And then, suddenly, on the last page, for the final animal:

"I love my kitten — her tail is fluffy."

"HER tail"!

That's seven boy animals to one girl. Though, honestly, considering that only cats are female, statistically speaking it's a miracle a girl slipped in at all!

Ok, I kid, but this happens so often in children's literature and other media that it's a trope. Cats are girls, dogs are boys … and so is everything else. That's why it seems jarring for people that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park/World are females. Dinosaurs for sure were all boys, weren't they?

When I read this book out loud to my kids, I try to vary the genders a little to do my part.

I also have long rejoiced in the tales of Bunnicula, with their sarcastic male cat protagonist.

How often have you seen this cats-are-girls convention vs. otherwise?

P.S. Our two cats are girls. Because that's all there is. Or so I've been told.

Why are you dressing me in a skirt?
I defy your gender stereotypes!


paganista said...

I totally do that, too! I usually try to make it more evenly boy/girl when reading stories to my kiddies(though sometimes possibly more female...trying to counteract the other extreme they see everywhere else!)

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