We Chat With the Founder of Tumblr Hit "Confused Cats Against Feminism"
When I first saw the Women Against Feminism Tumblr, I could feel my blood pressure rise. It's a collection of pictures of women holding up signs about why they don't need feminism based on completely inaccurate ideas about what feminism is. They have reasons relating to needing help opening jars and enjoying shaving their legs which have almost nothing to do with the feminist movement and show a complete lack of awareness of how they, and all women, have benefited from it.
Enter David Futrelle, the man behind We Hunted the Mammoth, a blog that wittily tracks misogyny on the internet. He responded to Women Against Feminism the best way anyone can respond to anything: with cats.
Much like the women on Women Against Feminism, the cats on David's Confused Cats Against Feminism believe they don't need feminism because they have no understanding of what it actually is. Unlike the women on Women Against Feminism, they have the excuse of being cats and not having much of a grasp on most social movements. “Cats seem like the kind of creatures who would reject feminism for reasons that don't make any sense,” said David.
The user-submitted cats are against feminism for a wide variety of reasons, including that they can't sleep on it and that it's not tuna. Of course my own cats had to get in on the fun. Agnes rules the household anyway, so I don't think she has ever experienced any kind of oppression, and Olive only cares about eating and destroying everything I own -- while I would love it if they cared about feminism as much as I do, I'm pretty sure that's not the case.
While the cats on Confused Cats Against Feminism are adorable and hilarious, they also make an important point. According to David, “A lot of the popular perceptions of feminism are just wrong. They're based on this notion that feminists are opposed to women choosing to be stay-at-home parents, or that feminists want women to grow out their body hair, as one of the signs put it, or that feminists are continually trying to frame women as helpless victims. Feminism is about respecting women's opinions and women's choices. It is a movement that is fundamentally based on respect for women.”
Unlike his two cats, David identifies as a feminist, and believes that anyone who isn't opposed to women having equal rights should identify one as well.
While David expected Confused Cats Against Feminism to get some attention, he didn't expect it to get thousands of followers and go viral in a few days. He thinks it has resonated with people not only because of the Women Against Feminism Tumblr, but also because “it's a reaction to so many critics of feminism basing their criticism on a completely imaginary version of what feminism is.”
David adopted his feline companions Sweetie Pie Jonus and Pantz from a shelter two years ago and says they're the two sweetest cats he's ever met, in spite of their anti-feminist leanings. As Confused Cats Against Feminism has gone viral, they've gotten more and more exposure on the Internet, but fortunately it hasn't gone to their heads. “The cats are completely oblivious, but that's to be expected with cats,” said David. “I'll say, 'Hey, that's a picture of you on the blog. But you don't know what a blog is or what the Internet is and you don't recognize pictures as representations of reality.'”
Sweetie Pie Jonus and Pantz have also been featured on David's other blog, We Hunted the Mammoth. He began the blog after getting into arguments about men's rights on Reddit. “I looked around more and discovered that there is this Internet subculture of extreme misogyny, much of which takes the form of so-called 'men's rights activism.' The more I got into it the more I realized it was just an excuse to rant about women online and blame them for everything,” he told me.
He found that these “men's rights activists” did a lot of complaining but very little actual activism and were convinced that men were oppressed by women, which he calls “ridiculous.” When they did address an actual issue, like men who are victims of domestic violence for example, they never actually did anything to help. “They don't actually try to create shelters or provide services,” said David. “They use it to suggest that women don't really have it so bad.”
David has gotten plenty of angry responses to We Hunted the Mammoth from people identifying as men's rights activists, and some of the angriest comments were in response to pictures of his cats, which just led him to post more pictures because he knew it annoyed them. “Put that on their list of crimes,” said David. “Men's rights activists hate cats.”
Confused Cats Against Feminism also isn't immune from angry comments. David has repeatedly been accused of being “drunk on his own ego,” presumably by the same anti-feminist or anti-feline person.
While David tries to keep We Hunted the Mammoth funny, it can be hard when the topic he's writing on can be so rage-inducing. Fortunately, with Confused Cats Against Feminism, he has a way “to get into some of these issues that's lighter and actually funny, not depressing.”
You can submit photos of your own feminism-confused cats to the Tumblr here (David notes, "No Men's Rights Cattivists, please!").
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