Do not adjust your computer monitors, dear readers. I know you were expecting a post from the delightful Kate this morning, but today she’s occupied being not only A Very Important Businesswoman (her actual title), but also The Perfect Bridesmaid. I generously offered to take over today’s post, in light of this development. Or, you know, I begged and pleaded because – surprise! – I have something to
rant about discuss.
You see, yesterday I was meowed at.
Not by, as one would expect, a cat. This sound effect came from a grown man. Unfortunately, he wasn’t doing his best Aristocats impression or training his feline for a cat agility competition. He was using it to make me shut up. The exchange went, thusly:
Man (Also known as my younger brother, Paul the Fratboy, who was over at my house watching Center Stage, an acknowledged cinematic masterpiece): Dude, I can’t believe you’re watching this movie. This is so gay.
Me: Um. No, it’s not. Does this movie think other movies of the same gender are attractive? Oh wait, or were you calling the men in the movie that, just because they’re dancers? Yeah, that makes sense. Everyone who puts on tights must like boys. Just look at Mikhail Baryshnikov or Gene Kelly. Oh, wait…
Man: I’m just saying, it’s stupid.
Me: Well, that’s not what you said.
That was the meow. It was not a placid I’m imitating a submissive cat noise. It was the sound a cat makes when you’ve just stepped on its tail or introduced it to a chihuahua. It was the sound meant to tell me I was being a ridiculous woman. I was meowed at, because my brother didn’t like what I was saying. I was meowed at, because I dared argue my point in a vehement manner. My taking issue with something offensive is, in fact, me just being catty.
I wish this were limited to twenty-year old frat boys. It’s not. My brother learned this behavior from my father, a man who proudly cries at human interest news stories and who has always believed I could rule the world. And yet…I’ve been meowed at in this same manner, when arguing with my normally enlightened father. Worse still, I know this isn’t just our family. Women are meowed at all the time. It even happens to powerful female politicians in Australia, during official government discourse. (If this has never happened to you, because you live in a paradise of common courtesy, click that second link to see an example.)
This is a thing, y’all. When women are angry or in the middle of an argument, apparently it’s okay to compare us to pissed-off housecats. Even the word “catty” is used mainly for women. While it means slyly spiteful and has no gendered language in the official definition, it’s still considered a woman thing. Think about it. Even if a man is talking smack about someone, exhibiting sly spite in all its glory, he would be called judgmental or an asshat, but never catty. When men get angry, it can’t be so easily demeaned with an animal noise. A man-to-man argument will never end with a meow.
What the hell? Where did this even come from? It’s not like we bark at men, when they do something stupid like chase their tails or watch Jackass marathons.Why have we tolerated this notion that an enraged woman is nothing so much as a pissy, hissing feline, easily swatted away or placated with tuna?
If my opinion doesn’t match yours, that’s fine. Let’s have a discussion about it. Hell, yell at me, if you must. But when I yell back just as loudly, let’s set a rule, shall we? There will be no more damned meowing. I do not want canned fish. I want my voice heard.