Analysis / Female Feline, Male Mutt
Men and Dogs, Women and Cats
Women and Dogs, Men and Cats
In some ways, we tend to stereotype dogs more like the stereotypical woman, as dependent, passive, and happily subordinated, and cats more like stereotypical men, as independent, self-serving hunters, even as we masculinize dogs (with the exception of poodles) and feminize cats.
The dog equals masculine thing has one exception, toy dogs. If it can fit in a purse, it's girly. This is why we expect men to like Rottweilers and not Yorkies. Another exception to the rule are the aforementioned poodles and slim, graceful dogs with long, flowing hair like Afghans and Salukis.
Why Cats Aren't Always Assumed to be Female As Much as Dogs are Assumed to be Male
In fiction, a cat and dog pairing usually features a female cat and male dog. However, the assumption that the cat is female is not as strong as the assumption that the dog is male. The Fat Cat
trope, for instance, tends to be male, anthropomorphised or not.
There are many female cats in cartoons, comics, and other fictional works, but there are many male cats in such works as well. However, an overwhelming majority of dog protagonists, and characters in general, in cartoons, comics, and other fictional works are male. Ironically, there are more male cat protagonists in cartoons and comics than female cat protagonists. There are also more male cat, male dog pairings (i.e., Ren and Stimpy
) than female cat, female dog pairings. Few characters and very few protagonists (i.e., Olive of Olive the Other Reindeer
, Blue of Blue's Clues
, and Martha of Martha Speaks
) are female dogs.