The traditional roots of Catwoman

Extra not too long ago the concern – and cautionary story – of cats and girls that has pervaded in style tradition now offers, to some extent, comic relief. In Gilmore Ladies (2000-07), a newly single Lorelai calls her daughter Rory when first one cat, then two present up on her doorstep: “They know. The cats know… I am alone. I assume I would like to begin accumulating newspapers and magazines, discover a blue bathrobe, lose my entrance tooth.” Equally, in an episode of Loopy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-19), Rebecca jokes to her buddies in a musical number about changing into a cat woman after she finds herself single. In different phrases, the cat woman trope is now, for essentially the most half, a full-on cliché.

These well-worn hyper-sexualised “Catwoman” and desexualised “cat woman” stereotypes have a diminishing buy at this time, nevertheless. Girls have extra liberty and energy to exist exterior the historic “norms”: extra are choosing to be single, and to be child-free; they’ve higher authority within the office, and using the phrase “spinster”, which had fallen out of vogue, has recently been reclaimed by feminists. Even the time period “cat woman” is now extensively and proudly utilized by many cat homeowners – together with celebrities akin to Taylor Swift – on social media.

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Does this replicate some kind of feminist reclaiming of the stereotype? Maddicott is sceptical. “It is simpler to make a time period cool in case you are in no hazard of becoming the stereotype in society’s eyes,” she says, including that the connection between pets and their homeowners ought to be celebrated moderately than mocked. “There are such a lot of fantastic examples of ladies and cat friendships being what they really are, a constructive good regular pet relationship, moderately than the stereotype.” So, ought to a girl – or an individual of any gender for that matter – select to embrace being a “cat woman” or a “Catwoman”, then the selection to put on both label ought to be theirs and theirs alone.  


The Batman is launched in cinemas on 4 March within the UK and US

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