A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[CAT] “All hail the rise of cat men, an antidote to toxic masculinity”

As someone who quite loves his cat, I am confused by Harley Gleeson’s ABC article arguing that the growing popularity of cats somehow represents a subversion of traditional masculine norms. Rising rates of visible cat ownership would be more likely to be a consequence of changing norms than anything else, I would think, but even there I do not see an automatic or necessary connection.

The rise of ‘cat men’, as they’ve been dubbed, can mostly be observed on social media, where countless pages exist to document the relationship men of all ages and backgrounds have with their cats.

“For too long, there’s been a stereotype about cat guys. Unmanly. More soft than rugged. More feminine than masculine,” reads the ‘about’ section of the It’s Okay to be a Cat Guy Facebook page.

“It’s time to show the world that it’s OK to be a cat guy.”

It’s also where many celebrities — including comedian and radio host Hamish Blake, singer Ed Sheeran, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld and comedian and actor Russell Brand — post sweet photographs and doting captions of their feline friends.

But while some might dismiss men’s pussy PDAs as frivolous, experts say it represents a shift towards a more positive, inclusive masculinity — one which is sorely needed, especially given the impact a more aggressive masculinity — evident in, for example, violence against women — is having on society.

Others might be surprised to learn how common the cat man actually is. Indeed, recent Roy Morgan research shows there are 2.3 million ‘cat people’ — those who have cats but not dogs — in Australia, one million of whom are men.

The report also found Aussie cat men earn more, on average, than non-cat men; are 29 per cent less likely than the average man to believe ‘homosexuality is immoral’; and — contrary to popular misconceptions that cat owners are sad singletons — almost 70 per cent are married or in de facto relationships.

And yet the ‘cat men’ phenomenon has not been extensively explored in scholarly research — until now.

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Written by Randy McDonald

December 12, 2016 at 5:30 pm

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