Here’s where I live up to my reputation as a misogynist film blogger. This week, for the first time, I read a script where I kept having one thought repeatedly: “This is the first script I’ve read that seems to want to capture the cat-lady demographic.” It’s not so much that they want to hit this demo—it’s that they want to exclude everyone else from possibly enjoying this movie.
First, let’s take a step back and ponder what I consider the “cat lady” personality type. I know it’s harsh and stereotypical, and as a dude, I’m opening myself up to obvious accusations of sexism, but I’ve spent a lot of time reading television forums, and it’s impossible to not notice this small but vocal group of people—the kind of people who hate some people for being fat hos and hate another because she needs a sandwich, the kind of people who rage against bad parenting while glorifying rapists as misunderstood and quietly pondering brother-on-brother incest.
I don’t care if these people are lonely save for their 25 cats, or if they’re married with five kids and no pets. They’re all cat ladies, based more on personality type than actual cat ownership. To put it bluntly, their defining trait is not so much possession of a certain domesticated feline. In fact, I know women who own cats but don’t fall into the “cat lady” category. It’s more about the type of person who has some kind of damage causing them to not simply enjoy a work of entertainment, or to not level any valid criticism. They watch, and they judge characters in shockingly simplified terms: if they’re good-looking men, they can do no wrong no matter how many women they rape and/or beat; if they’re good-looking women, they can do no right even if they devote their lives to all manner of saintly deeds; if they’re dowdy female sidekicks, they’re abused and mistreated by their beautiful friends; if they’re dumpy, unattractive male sidekicks, they’re obnoxious and need to get off my TV screen.