Recently a short story called Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian appeared in the the New Yorker and quickly went viral.
Many women related to the fictional account of a very short bad romance that led to an awkward sexual encounter.
I had no idea how universal this series of emotions is for women. I didn't think other women had had an experience like this, and it makes me sad for all of us.— Jenny Talia (@jenny_tulls) December 10, 2017
Hell yes! I'm from Australia and had exactly the same reaction. Also similar experiences.— Noya Chong Wah (@BettieBokchoy) December 13, 2017
The first half I felt I had experienced so viscerally with one guy and then the second with another. This writing was incredibly familiar and sad but so well done— 🦖 santa hats 🦕 (@Hattiethepirate) December 11, 2017
But not everyone was feeling the story. Some thought the main character was shallow and cruel.
Not only boring, but what's with the body shaming?— Ian, with two eyes (@jadeserotica) December 11, 2017
Cat Person.— Deplorable Sbzerskl (@sbzerskl) December 11, 2017
Judgemental, egotistical girl hooks up with guy that she finds physically unattractive.
They have sex before they have established any emotional connection.
Unsurprisingly the loveless act is sad and depressing.
Cat(s) = Red Herring(s)
Writer Justina Ireland pointed out that the story spoke to a very specific demographic. In a series of tweets Ireland explained why it is problematic to call the short story "universal."
Hi, just here to point out that Cat Person points to a specific, white middle class experience and people talking about how universal it is should maybe think more broadly.— Justina Ireland Will Not Save You From Yourself (@justinaireland) December 11, 2017
The legacy of the myth of Sally Hemmings is really, and also the legacy of slavery. This is why it is still revolutionary for Black women to get a happily ever after. We rarely do in media.— Justina Ireland Will Not Save You From Yourself (@justinaireland) December 13, 2017
So during the short story Cat Person, when Margot is romanticizing the interaction between her and Robert, and when Robert is being extra careful and solicitous, Margot's expectations are clearly that of a White woman, not a Black woman.— Justina Ireland Will Not Save You From Yourself (@justinaireland) December 13, 2017
And I think this is the problem with literature as a whole, the fact that so many folks don't understand how fundamentally different existence is for Black women than it is for white women. The white default is real and saturates even slice of life pieces.— Justina Ireland Will Not Save You From Yourself (@justinaireland) December 13, 2017
And keep in mind I am only talking about Black women. If this story had centered an Asian woman or Latina, it would also have been very different, because this story focused on white cultural norms of dating.— Justina Ireland Will Not Save You From Yourself (@justinaireland) December 13, 2017