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New Yorker - Cat Person

(105 Posts)
ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 11-Dec-17 19:17:13

This www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/cat-person is a very long, very uncomfortable read. This www.newyorker.com/books/this-week-in-fiction/fiction-this-week-kristen-roupenian-2017-12-11 is an interview with the author.

Basically it's all about how women end up in shitty situations because they are too polite or too scared to say no, or stop. It made me cringe inside reading it - I thought the author was scarily accurate.

QuentinSummers Mon 11-Dec-17 20:19:16

Apparently men hate it
www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2017/12/so-cat-person-short-story-has-made-straight-men-feel-uncomfortable-good?

I found it quite accurate. I'm surprised it's shocked men.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 11-Dec-17 20:30:16

I'm surprised it's shocked men

It's interesting - I asked DP to read it and he would only read the start, it seemed to make him very uncomfortable.

I guess in society there is this assumption that women do what we do because we want to, not because we have been socialised to act that way.

I hope it makes men question this assumption, Id hazard a guess that a lot of them might recognise an event in rhis story that chimes with their lives, something they did when they were (maybe unwittingly) using this power imbalance- this must be uncomfortable for some.

Muthafunker Mon 11-Dec-17 21:03:26

Fuck politeness ladies!

hipsterfun Mon 11-Dec-17 21:04:18

All that stuff going on in the female character’s head is quite usual for women?

Sarahjconnor Mon 11-Dec-17 21:07:03

Men are angry that she calls him fat and rejects him:

twitter.com/MenCatPerson

He's the victim here. Of course.

Dozer Mon 11-Dec-17 21:12:19

Really interesting, and believable story.

NotTerfNorCis Mon 11-Dec-17 21:12:51

Men are angry that she calls him fat and rejects him

Yep. One of the TRAs involved in the Hyde Park attack has been warning his followers to be careful of the 'fatphobia and body image stuff'.

MakeMisogynyAHateCrime Mon 11-Dec-17 21:15:37

Yes there are a lot of people saying it is fatphobia and that if it was the other way round the writer would be fired.

I found it startlingly close to how I have felt. I recently had a conversation with some friends where we came to the realisation that we had all, several times, had sex purely through politeness - the majority of us losing our virginity that way.

Dozer Mon 11-Dec-17 21:20:11

Yes, her revulsion and wish not to have sex with him but concern about his view of her, his feelings, and also fear of him is really well done.

When younger I got into some similar situations. The men were luckily nicer than the man in the story though!

overnightangel Mon 11-Dec-17 21:20:53

Pretending fiction is fact is a dangerous road to go down

QuentinSummers Mon 11-Dec-17 21:22:03

The not that was accurate for me was the whole thing where you fancy someone and are quite amenable to sex but then they turn out to be crap at it (like the nipple twiddle in the story!). So you either try to extricate your self or you go through with it.
In the back of your mind is always the man might just force you anyway and you wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
I suppose I have always felt there's a point of no return with sex (esp with someone you don't know all that well). This story captured that perfectly.

Clearly it taps into a male insecurity that they might be crap at sex and no-one told them. It's allied to penis size insecurity.

But fuck it. Why shouldn't women tell tgeir stories?

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 11-Dec-17 21:22:18

Who is pretending that fiction is fact?

Ekphrasis Mon 11-Dec-17 21:31:27

Scarily accurate. I recognise a little of those thoughts and feelings. Luckily, apart from one time, actually two, I wasn't made to feel bad the minute I said no, which gave me confidence to always be sure I really wanted to be in the situation I was in.

Ekphrasis Mon 11-Dec-17 21:35:10

I'm very lucky to have never experienced the type of ending. Shows what he really was like. All my rejections were respectful of my wishes. But then again, I didn't have a mobile phone when I was 20...!

Dozer Mon 11-Dec-17 21:40:47

The mobile phone thing is well done too, eg the power dynamics of it at the beginning and his messages at the end: yuck!

I really want to find ways, when my DDs are older, to talk about not consenting during dates or even during sexual encounters. I had a feminist mum, PHSE about consent at school etc, but at 16, 19, 21 still felt obligated to go through with sex in the revulsion “nipple twiddle” type of scenarios. This kind of story is helpful for that kind of discussion.

DonaldTrumpsCarrot Mon 11-Dec-17 21:42:14

I know this guy blushblush

VerticalBlinds Mon 11-Dec-17 21:49:14

Her internal thought processes didn't chime with me at all - the thing about she imagines how he sees her and that makes her feel sexy - that's an internalisation of male gaze type of thing, feeling sexy not because you feel sexy but because someone else looking at you feels sexy because they are looking at you and that in turn, turns you on. Maybe I lack empathy or something grin

The stuff about when she liked him as well, the precious thing, I've not felt that.

Which is fine, because I'm not the woman in the story and obviously women come in all sorts of personality types and inner feelings and whathaveyou.

I have most certainly had sex with men because it was easier to than not, because it had got to a certain point, because I'd gone back to theirs, because one of their mates was with one of mine and we were all at their place, because I didn't really want to know what would happen if I said no, and so on and so on and so on.

Have most men not fucked women they don't want to fuck because it's easier to than not, then? I kind of assumed it happened both ways, probably more for us than them, but still, that this would be universal.

Men are surprised by what about this?

WichBitchHarpyTerfThatsMe Mon 11-Dec-17 21:51:04

Yes hipster, sadly. We're indoctrinated from an early age to always be thinking about other people's needs. I was watching Jo Cox's sister on TV earlier this evening, it was about a campaign to reach out to people who are lonely and isolated. She said that Jo was involved in a lot of work aimed at helping people and that she and Jo were brought up like this, to put other people's needs before their own. It struck a chord.

Also, if you add a moody man and a potentially physically threatening situation into the mix, plus the need to bolster some men's egos due to their own insecurities, I think many women's heads are often occupied like the woman's in the story.

VerticalBlinds Mon 11-Dec-17 21:51:19

Or is it that women are not allowed to find men unatrractive? And sleep with them anyway?

Would they rather we never slept with them unless we really fancied them? Lol trust me they really really don't want that grin

QuentinSummers Mon 11-Dec-17 21:59:18

Have most men not fucked women they don't want to fuck because it's easier to than not, then?
I think they do, but then attach no value judgement to that - the woman is disposable and written off . Whereas if they've been fucked by someone who didn't want to fuck them, that's a challenge to their masculinity.

I agree with glosswitch, they are upset because they can't imagine women having an internal view about sex with them. Women are an object.

hipsterfun Mon 11-Dec-17 22:46:21

Her internal thought processes didn't chime with me at all - the thing about she imagines how he sees her and that makes her feel sexy - that's an internalisation of male gaze type of thing, feeling sexy not because you feel sexy but because someone else looking at you feels sexy because they are looking at you and that in turn, turns you on. Maybe I lack empathy or something.

I’m glad it’s not just me. I found it baffling, but I’ve long suspected I missed out some of the key indoctrination.

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 11-Dec-17 23:01:53

I found the 'lying to oneself' bit very very believable. The awkward depiction of crap sex too blush it would be interesting to see a mass man-approved response from the man's side; I would genuinely love to know what might be going on in his head.

PricklyBall Mon 11-Dec-17 23:03:13

I'm another one who missed out on some key indoctrination, partly due to my mother who brought me up to be bloody bolshy, and partly due to dumb luck. I have had a few men manipulate me into going on dates with them, but sleep with a man out of anything other than sheer lust on my part? I mean, sometimes the lust has been directed at a fairly shitty bloke I'd have been better off not getting entangled with, and sometimes the reality has not lived up to the lust fuelled imaginings. But sleep with someone for reasons of obligation or because I was embarrassed to say no. Nope, never crossed my mind to.

NB this is categorically not a judgement on women who do find themselves in this situation - I've known enough women talk about it (my own sister included) to know it's a thing. It's not that women who get socially coerced (for want of a better description) are wrong, it's that I am phenomenally lucky to be immune for some reason.

I know other women do get guilt-tripped/manipulated/sob-storied/socially coerced... but for some reason it didn't occur to me. I don't know why - if I did, I'd bottle it and give it to every woman I know.

MsDeerheart Tue 12-Dec-17 00:06:51

I liked the story but know what you mean - I have stopped sex with men if I didn’t want to and it was fine -I don’t think I have ever have sex because I thought I should - - I think what I though was interesting was the difference between the virtual interaction and real life

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