Why Men Don’t Understand This ‘New Yorker’ Short Story...and Women *So* Do
Over the weekend, a funny thing happened on Twitter. Amid the 140- (and 280-) character blasts pointed at politics, wildfires and everyday nothings, people were also talking about a short story: Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person” in the December 11, 2017, issue of The New Yorker, about a 20-year-old college student who falls into a seductive texting convo and later, terrible date, with an older man. You’re probably asking yourself, Since when did Twitter turn into an English lit discussion? And that just might have something to do with how differently women and men are reacting to the story. Here are a few takes from women:
Basically anyone who's ever used a dating app could write Cat Person, just maybe not as well? Nancy Jo Sales (@nancyjosales) December 11, 2017
It's 2:30 am and I can't sleep because I'm still thinking about #CatPerson and how tons of women identify with it & have had experiences just like this or worse ? but the men who read it, if they even do, will never ever think that maybe they are like this too? Martha Sorren (@marthasorren) December 11, 2017
This New Yorker short story has gone viral which, to me, seems to indicate that not enough short stories about young women's experiences are being published https://t.co/OVz0TMn0rt? Rhiannon L Cosslett (@rhiannonlucyc) December 11, 2017
I can?t remember the last time I read a short story so brutally and uncomfortably relatable. https://t.co/0Ngc3Gctrn? Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) December 9, 2017
And here’s from an account aptly called Men React to Cat Person:
“Cat Person,” possibly the first short story to have ever gone viral, might not be perfect (people are calling it out for fat shaming, among other things), but it has struck a chord with women. Why? Because for many, it so precisely spotlights the female experience of self-doubt and deception during dating—especially in the age of Tinder and texting. While some might find the female protagonist problematic (and some might side with the male character), the point is that so many readers see themselves and their own stories reflected in the piece and they are honestly just happy to have their experiences acknowledged.