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As a special encore, Profs and Pints presents, “On Gender and Cats,” a feminist exploration of how we think about felines, with Crys Stuvland, lecturer at Howard University and scholar of depictions of cats in popular culture.
Historically, cats were seen in many cultures as magical, spiritual, and even sexual. They were linked to femininity, understood to be mysterious and sensual, as opposed to masculinity, which was stereotyped as logical and straightforward. Both cats and women were linked to magic–a perceived ability for which they were either worshipped or killed, as was the case in witch hunts.
Cats still serve as a marker of femininity in the media and in our language and pop culture. Think about it: Are there crazy cat men? Why are there so many calendars full of shirtless men holding kittens? What’s the deal with lesbians and cats?
As a medium, photography provides a useful platform to explore this subject, because most of us perform for the camera’s gaze and pose in ways to display our identity to others. Photos of cats are no exception. They often are dressed up to perform a gendered identity or serve as a sort of gendered prop. This has been happening since the advent of photography, but with the spread of such images via social media it has reached new heights.
Come to the Bier Baron Tavern for a fascinating look at depictions of the perceived link between gender and cats, covering both the historical use of such imagery and how such imagery is evolving today. We’ll consider what photos of cats can teach us about gender “purrformance” – from the 19th and 20th century to today. It will be more fun than chasing a laser pointer. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors and talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself adequate time to get seated and settled in.)
Advance tickets available at https://profspintsmeow.brownpapertickets.com