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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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40 Responses

  1. Anne
    Anne January 27, 2007 at 12:31 am |

    Why is it always so satisfying to bring up the cats?

    Heh! Maybe it’s a ghost of the witchcraft trial days?

  2. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus January 27, 2007 at 1:21 am |

    Why don’t you just admit it–you’re still single because you can’t make good coffee. Why don’t you just go have a heart-to-heart with the local funny-talking woman — who, let’s face it, is probably a terrorist who belongs in an internment camp anywasy — who will initiate you into the Old World tradition of Folgers crystals. Then you can get married, and bring your husband his Folgers while he’s shaving, and he can give a bizarre and awkward “To those about to fry my bacon, I salute you” raise of his cup as you leave.

  3. Heraclitus
    Heraclitus January 27, 2007 at 1:44 am |

    In case the pseudo-rant in my previous comment sounded like pure referentless insanity, here’s what I was alluding to.

  4. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne January 27, 2007 at 1:59 am |

    Why is it always so satisfying to bring up the cats?

    Because it means that single women are selfishly stroking their pussy without sharing?

  5. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne January 27, 2007 at 2:08 am |

    But here’s my serious comment:

    I spent over a decade as the depressed single woman with cats. However, unlike what idiot conservatives seem to want to belive, I wasn’t depressed because I was single. I was single because I was depressed and literally didn’t have the brainspace to form a relationship.

    After several years of medication and therapy to treat what turned out to have been a long-standing depression with pretty deep roots, I decided, “Hm, maybe it’s time to look for a boyfriend.” So I put a personal ad up on a now-defunct website and met about 15 guys in one month. Had a lot of dull, awkward coffee dates, clicked with a couple of guys, and married one of them this summer, six years after our first date.

    Not only do I still have cats now that I’m married, my now-husband loves our cats. One of my cats became his little buddy soon after we started dating, and he was absolutely devastated when she died last spring (cancer in cats is VERY nasty and very quick).

  6. CatStaff
    CatStaff January 27, 2007 at 2:19 am |

    Mnemosyne, I’m with you.

    I was on-purpose single for a number of years after my divorce, and I had one cat.

    I remarried almost 14 years ago, and now have 8 cats.

    And a horse.

    Take that, conservative women!

  7. Ragnell
    Ragnell January 27, 2007 at 2:36 am |

    If she thinks marriage is so necessary for happiness, then I’m sure she’s in favor of gay marriage, right?

  8. Sara no H.
    Sara no H. January 27, 2007 at 4:01 am |

    **Why is it always so satisfying to bring up the cats?

    I have no idea. The best my brain can come up with is some reference to witchcraft and familiars, masturbation, or lesbian lovin’, all of which are promoted directly by Satan, of course.

  9. Mark S.
    Mark S. January 27, 2007 at 4:35 am |

    Mary has only been with Townhall for a month, but she is rapidly becoming one of my favorite writers there. She’s like Dr. Mike Adams but with balls. Listen to her put the women of The View in their places:

    This was the danger of giving women the vote. The danger to conservatives (and the survival of this country) is the voting bloc of single women, i.e., those who lack the guidance of a man in the form of a husband or intellectual mentor.

    You don’t like that? Mary doesn’t take any guff from girly girls:

    I know many women will disagree with me. They will be hurt. Maybe angry. There may be some tears. The lesbians will come to their defense.

    Mary’s no typical woman, see? She actually has brains, as she demonstrates:

    But I’ve read Aristotle, Saint Paul, and John Milton, and I think they have very good things to say.

    That is seriously how she concludes the article. They have good things to say.

  10. KPhoebe
    KPhoebe January 27, 2007 at 6:17 am |

    Ragnell, gays don’t *deserve* to be happy.

  11. Lesley
    Lesley January 27, 2007 at 8:30 am |

    That column was so chockfull of stereotypes it was nauseating. Besides, why are people always hating on the cats?

    *This would mean that men aren’t getting married too, right? That doesn’t seem to be a huge problem.

    Not necessarily, for a couple reasons. First, the data doesn’t show that the majority of women aren’t getting married at some point. Just that they aren’t living with a spouse at a given moment in time. In fact, most women do get married at some point. They just also get divorced and/or widowed. Further the population of adult women in this country exceeds the population of adult men. Especially at the older end of the age spectrum, where there are just a lot more widows than widowers.

    I can’t find the breakdown of the numbers now, because the Times hasn’t archived the graphics, but I recall that 46% of women weren’t married at this time, 3% were married but separated, and 2% were married with their spouses temporarily not at home (e.g., working out of town, on deployment in Iraq, or something like that). The first thing this proves is that at that moment in time, 52% of women were actually married, even if 3% were separated. I don’t recall seeing a breakdown of the 46% in terms of never married, divorced, and widowed. Therefore, the article isn’t a good indicator of how many women never get married. I’d love to know the latter number, to get a sense of exactly how much Ms. Grabar is hating on widows too.

    Furthermore, with respect to Ms. Grabar’s piece, she completely disappears non-white women, non-middle class women, and lesbians. As the article clearly states, 55% of non-white Hispanic women are living with a spouse. So the real socioeconomic reasons women aren’t living with spouses are not because they want to enjoy Playboy bunny lifestyles that a lot of them couldn’t afford anyway.

    If Ms. Grabar were really concerned about this trend, she’d have paid attention to the socioeconomic breakdown. Of course she isn’t. She’s just wants to slut-shame.

  12. Lesley
    Lesley January 27, 2007 at 8:33 am |

    The first thing this proves is that at that moment in time, 52% of women were actually married, even if 3% were separated.

    Oh hell, I can’t add without two cups of coffee. The data shows that 54% of women are married at this moment in time, not 52%.

  13. Ms. Clear
    Ms. Clear January 27, 2007 at 9:12 am |

    Count me in as one of those married people who is proudly rejecting the idea that marriage has to be about the male as the “head” of the family and having lots of children. My hubby and I are best friends, lovers and EQUALS. Doesn’t mean he does his fair share of the housework, but I’m not afraid to bitch him out for it. I’ll be doing the breadwinner duties while he gets his MBA. And if his career doesn’t take off at that point, he’ll be the stay at home parent when we have kids. If his career does take off, we’ll do day care for a few years because I love my job!

  14. ink
    ink January 27, 2007 at 10:06 am |

    Robert Darnton does a nice analysis on the symbolically-laden nature of cats in 18th C France in an article reproduced (illegally?) here (not for the faint of heart). Cats have long been tied to witchcraft, but also cuckoldry (clearly important in the lonely cat lady notion) and privilege (ditto).

  15. Lesley
    Lesley January 27, 2007 at 10:55 am |

    I have now been driven to look at the actual census data for 2005, and both Grabar and the people who wrote the NY Times article need to go to hell. Really, the focus on upper-middle class white women needs to stop (as Grabar’s column really applies to an upper-middle class white woman and the women the Times spoke to were also upper-middle class white women). I’m also not sure what year the Times was looking at, because the numbers I downloaded from the Census Bureau show that 50.0% of women are currently living with spouse (50.03% to be more precise, so a very slim majority). Warning, way long comment.

    First bit of stupidity is that the numbers include 15-17 year olds. Exclude them and the numbers change quite a bit. [I haven't even looked at how many of the 21.2% or never married women are under the age of 25.]

    By race

    All races: 53.3% living with spouse, 1.5% spouse temporarily absent, 9.9% widowed, 11.6% divorced, 2.5% married but separated, and 21.2% never married. [BTW, of all women currently living without a spouse, 21.0% of them are widows, so Graber especially needs to go to hell for not taking that into account. Perhaps had she had a man guiding her thought process, she might have considered that possibility. OK, that last sentence is snark directed at her previous piece about fluffy-headed women and only meant to apply to her.]

    White non-Hispanic: 56.7% living with spouse, 1.1% spouse temporarily absent, 10.8% widowed, 11.8% divorced, 1.7% married but separated, and 17.9% never married.

    Black non-Hispanic: 29.9% living with spouse, 2.3% spouse temporarily absent, 9.8% widowed, 13.3% divorced, 5.1% married but separated, and 39.5% never married.

    Hispanic: 51.5% living with spouse, 2.2% spouse temporarily absent, 9.7% divorced, 5.0% married but separated, and 25.5% never married.

    Asian: 61.6% living with spouse, 3.0% spouse temporarily absent, 6.7% widowed, 6.4% divorced, 1.9% married but separated, and 20.4% never married.

    Mixed race: 44.2% living with spouse, 1.0% spouse temporarily absent, 7.8% widowed, 16.4% divorced, 0.8% married but separated, and 30.0% never married.

    By income level: Earning less than $40K per year

    All races: 51.4% living with spouse, 1.5% spouse temporarily absent, 11.2% widowed, 10.8% divorced, 2.6% married but separated, and 22.5% never married.

    White non-Hispanic: 55.5% living with spouse, 1.1% spouse temporarily absent, 12.4% widowed, 10.9% divorced, 1.8% married but separated, and 18.3% never married.

    Black non-Hispanic: 28.5% living with spouse, 2.4% spouse temporarily absent, 10.7% widowed, 12.4% divorced, 5.3% married but separated, and 40.6% never married.

    Hispanic: 51.2% living with spouse, 2.3% spouse temporarily absent, 6.3% widowed, 9.2% divorced, 5.1% married but separated, and 25.9% never married.

    Asian: 59.9% living with spouse, 3.1% spouse temporarily absent, 8.0% widowed, 6.1% divorced, 1.8% married but separated, and 21.2% never married.

    Mixed race: 42.3% living with spouse, 0.9% spouse temporarily absent, 9.0% widowed, 16.7% divorced, 0.8% married but separated, and 30.5% never married.

    By income level: Earning greater than $40K per year

    All races: 60.8% living with spouse, 1.2% spouse temporarily absent, 2.5% widowed, 15.9% divorced, 2.1% married but separated, and 17.6% never married.

    White non-Hispanic: 63.4% living with spouse, 1.0% spouse temporarily absent, 16.0% divorced, 1.7% married but separated, 15.4% never married.

    Black non-Hispanic: 40.2% living with spouse, 1.7% spouse temporarily absent, 3.3% widowed, 19.7% divorced, 3.9% married but separated, and 31.3% never married.

    Hispanic: 54.7% living with spouse, 1.0% spouse temporarily absent, 3.1% widowed, 15.9% divorced, 4.3% married but separated, and 21.0% never married.

    Asian: 68.6% living with spouse, 2.6% spouse temporarily absent, 1.2% widowed, 8.0% divorced, 2.3% married but separated, and 17.2% never married.

    Mixed race: 58.3% living with spouse, weird anomaly with spouse temporarily absent and widowed, wherein the two together net to 0%, 14.4% divorced, 0.5% married but separated, and 25.7% never married.

    So what does this teach us? That most women get married at some point in their lives. That women are not living without spouses because they want to enjoy a Playboy bunny lifestyle, as lower income women are more likely to be without spouse than higher income women. Without having run a regression, it appears that income level is a statistically significant predictor of widowhood, which I find interesting, although I can come up with reasons why that could be so. Again, without having run a regression, it appears that race is a statistically significant predictor of likelihood to marry.

    Also that the idea that it’s career women who are destroying marriage is ridiculous, as women earning more than $40K per year are more likely to marry than women who don’t. In fact, 52.1% of women over 18 with no earnings are living with a spouse, while 63.3% of women who earn over $100K a year are living with a spouse.

    The last thing we’ve learned is that Lesley needs to do more fun things on Saturday than parse statistics. :D

  16. Cecily
    Cecily January 27, 2007 at 11:04 am |

    I am also in the 51%…I’m a divorcee living with a male partner. We currently have no intention of getting married, and think marriage might even be bad for our relationship. Last time I was really, seriously depressed was…hey, look at that! When I was married!

    P.S. We have two cats, but he started it.

  17. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus January 27, 2007 at 11:47 am |

    This is only anecdote, so it doesn’t prove anything, but I can tell you that there’s no rush to get married among my single male friends. We’re perfectly content to wait as long as we need to – and no, we don’t fit the “swinging bachelor” stereotype either.

  18. prefer not to say
    prefer not to say January 27, 2007 at 12:43 pm |

    ***But I’ve read Aristotle, Saint Paul, and John Milton, and I think they have very good things to say.

    That is seriously how she concludes the article. They have good things to say.***

    Interestingly, St. Paul strongly recommended that everyone who can should stay single and not marry. (1 Corinthians, Chapter 7) and John Milton argued that those who found themselves incompatible with their spouses should be allowed to divorce on intellectual grounds (The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, 1643). Why aren’t these gentleman shouldering their full share of the blame for the 51% of women in America not currently living with their spouses?

  19. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte January 27, 2007 at 12:56 pm |

    And it’s funny to see them scramble for reasons why women aren’t getting married*: Abortion! Drugs! Cats!

    It’s true that my cats have a habit of sizing up potential suitors and making their judgments. And I tend to respect their judgment. So maybe cats are making women more suspicious about marriage, but that’s not a bad thing. ;)

  20. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne January 27, 2007 at 1:21 pm |

    It’s true that my cats have a habit of sizing up potential suitors and making their judgments. And I tend to respect their judgment. So maybe cats are making women more suspicious about marriage, but that’s not a bad thing. ;)

    I knew my now-husband was the one for me the day (about four months into our relationship) that my younger cat heard his key in the door, RAN to the door, and flopped at his feet so he could rub her belly the instant he walked in.

    Of course, as I was the one who’d been raising her, feeding her, and cleaning her litter box for the past four years, my words to her were, “Why, you ungrateful little bitch!”

  21. Tiffany G.
    Tiffany G. January 27, 2007 at 1:33 pm |

    You know what they don’t seem to realize yet? That that number will raise even more in our lifetimes to probably around 61-65% as women are more and more opting to stay single, and the fact that women outlive men and the babyboomers are getting older. We were discussing this in Sociology.

  22. johanna
    johanna January 27, 2007 at 1:41 pm |

    WTF, Mary Grabar, WTF?

  23. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte January 27, 2007 at 2:45 pm |

    My cats’ verdicts on Punkass Marc are that Molly feels he’s too tall (from her angle it seems that way) and Dusty wants to know why she has to live with me instead of him.

    If this is a man vs. cat competition, I have a retort to Graber.

  24. lt
    lt January 27, 2007 at 3:07 pm |

    And wtf with “not living with a spouse” = “living alone”??

    Hello .. . children, unmarried partners, roommates?

    Jeezus.

  25. zuzu
    zuzu January 27, 2007 at 3:43 pm | *

    I’ve heard that one reason for the hating on cats is that cats can’t be bullied or directed. Dogs’ll do anything you want to please you, but cats do things for their own reasons. Some of your more controlling types (*cough*socialconservatives*cough*) don’t dig that. Hell, look what James Dobson did to a dachshund who wouldn’t sleep where Dobson wanted him to sleep.

    Speaking of dogs, mine’s a lot more trouble than my cats, relationship-wise. There’s a reason I got the vet to give me tranks for her when I have overnight guests.

  26. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne January 27, 2007 at 4:03 pm |

    My cats’ verdicts on Punkass Marc are that Molly feels he’s too tall (from her angle it seems that way) and Dusty wants to know why she has to live with me instead of him.

    Yep, same split. Though Boris became a little more reconciled when he realized that Natasha’s Monkey knew how to work the food. And when he cleaned the litter boxes (while I was on crutches) that totally sealed the deal. Of course, that was 5 years into the relationship, so it took a while.

    I’m convinced our new kitten is one of those weird cat/dog hybrids that someone in Asia was claiming they had. Not only does he like to sit at my feet, he fetches. Loves it. Could spend all day having me throw toys for him to bring back to me.

  27. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne January 27, 2007 at 4:05 pm |

    Zuzu, I kept meaning to mention: my late cat Natasha looked a lot like your kitty Zuzu.

    I loved when she would have her “tortie-tude” moments. Like when she was mad at us, she would follow us from room to room and then deliberately turn her back on us to say, “See, I’m ignoring you. Watch me ignore you.”

  28. mythago
    mythago January 27, 2007 at 6:23 pm |

    My hubby and I are best friends, lovers and EQUALS. Doesn’t mean he does his fair share of the housework, but I’m not afraid to bitch him out for it.

    If he doesn’t do his fair share despite your bitching him out for it, he needs to work on that ‘seeing wife as an equal’ thing, no?

  29. Jasmine
    Jasmine January 27, 2007 at 7:55 pm |

    My first thought was “What took them so long”….I personally expected this kind of a backlash when this study hit the news.
    Personally, we’re holding off on marriage until we start saving up some serious dough. We’re both paying off student loans and we’re only a few months into our respective careers. So please Mary Graber…chill the hell out!!!!

  30. kate
    kate January 27, 2007 at 8:12 pm |


    but I’m not afraid to bitch him out for it.

    After a husband and three kids, there is nothing better in this world than having my own space, peace and quiet and not having to follow around, nag, bitch or use any other force of persuasion on anyone or anything to get things done when I need them done in my own space. I’m all done with that cooperative ‘let’s share’ shit. Men have been geared from day one to expect women to wait on them and clean up after them. I decided a few years ago that I’ll be damned if I spend one more minute of my life sharing anything without the guarantee of equal return. I’ve given enough.

  31. kate
    kate January 27, 2007 at 8:17 pm |

    And as for cats, I think Grabar and her ilk just have a hard time imagining a woman not needing something for emotional succor, as us women are all so weak and needy you know.

    There are cats at my house, but I prefer dogs as I can’t stand litter boxes. About every other day I think about putting them up for adoption, but I don’t have the guts to.

    – two year old female, black and white – spayed, shots, healthy affection, northeast. Any takers?
    – one year old male, black and white (son of above), spayed, shots, healthy and with an amusing personality. Any takers?

    I really like the boy-cat, but if there are any lonely unmarried women out there who could use one to keep them free of the bondage of marriage, I’ll give them up.

  32. inge
    inge January 27, 2007 at 9:06 pm |

    Why is it always so satisfying to bring up the cats?

    Because cats shed, puke on the carpet, wake you at 5am for no good reason, forget about being house-trained when it suits them, put dead birds on your bed, and rip your arm and your favorite sweater to shreds… so, people who persistently bring up the “cat lady” stereotype try to gently point out that, having a man around would cause hardly more trouble, and he might even help you change the tires on your car, which your cat never will, so it’s you cat lady who got the short end of the stick, neener, neener.

    Or something like that.

  33. Sayna
    Sayna January 27, 2007 at 10:22 pm |

    Autonomy” and “happiness” don’t really factor in to their whole world view, at least when we’re talking about women. I’ve rarely heard a social conservative make a compelling case for marriage that has anything to do with the people involved in that marriage. Rather, their arguments revolve around how good marriage is for children or for society. Their conception of marriage, with the husband as the head of the household and the wife a willing vessel, isn’t about making life better for the people involved — it’s about maintaining a “traditional” social order which serves to primarily benefit men. The idea that women and men can opt out of the institution which props up this social order is understandably terrifying.

    You know, I’ve always noticed this, too. Thank you for putting it into words! It’s always bothered me… And now I know how to explain it!

  34. Ragnell
    Ragnell January 28, 2007 at 2:47 am |

    Because cats shed, puke on the carpet, wake you at 5am for no good reason, forget about being house-trained when it suits them, put dead birds on your bed, and rip your arm and your favorite sweater to shreds… so, people who persistently bring up the “cat lady” stereotype try to gently point out that, having a man around would cause hardly more trouble, and he might even help you change the tires on your car, which your cat never will, so it’s you cat lady who got the short end of the stick, neener, neener.

    Or something like that.

    Yeah, but I can pick up the cat without breaking my back. Men are kinda heavy.

  35. Jennifer Cascadia
    Jennifer Cascadia January 28, 2007 at 2:49 am |

    With regard to the statement above, an attendant idea is that women have no perceptual abilities, either. There is often some truth to this notion — as women in general are screwed over with regard to educational opportunities, straight answers and reasonable solutions to so many problems. Hey! — Perhaps some of us even grow used to it, to the point that we feel like scrambling like a blindworm in the dirt is part of our essential nature. Yet some of us do manage to lift our heads and look around, and in so doing, we perceive a lot of downtalking and abuse, and misrepresentation of our minds. Somehow we figure, then, that traditional ways are not in our best interests.

  36. Kat
    Kat January 28, 2007 at 11:42 am |

    I guess I am in the 51% – legally separated, but hardly alone with two kids in the house. We have a nice balance going now, so I really do not have any huge desire to throw a man into the mix (I date, but that is separate from my household for now). And yet, I get lots of unsolicited sympathy for being man-less. Ugh.

    What always bugs me is this notion that only single women have abortions. I guess the reasoning is that if only you had a man to make an honest woman outta ya, then you wouldn’t need to have one of those sinful abortions because all your financial and emotional needs would be met. Puke.

    Several of my married women friends have had abortions or seriously considered them. Nothing like having a couple kids (or more), a mortgage payment or two and/or a rocky marriage to make you question whether having another baby is a good idea.

    When did marriage become this utopia where all these social issues just disappear??

  37. subgrrl8
    subgrrl8 January 29, 2007 at 6:14 am |

    hey! i’m in that 51%!! although, i did just move in with my partner, and he’s the first i’ve ever lived with.
    we are getting kittens. we have planned this down to where the litter box is going in our (just moved-into) new space.

    i chose to live with him because he actually does housework. like, more pedantic about clean floors than i am. although he doesn’t fold clothing, but i’m anal about that anyway so i don’t mind doing it.
    also, because we don’t believe in marriage, this was our big co-habitating step. i feel confident, if a little trepadacious- at 26, this is the firs time i’ve given up my own personal space for a partner. although i will have my art studio in the basement.

  38. Red
    Red January 30, 2007 at 5:57 am |

    I must admit letting my cat have the babies was my plan. It was a happy single woman plan.
    Now I am going to move in with my man, but he has kitty plans also. He has an old kitty thing going on. He likes old manky cats, picks up the things I fling on the floor with no fuss, and my very picky kitty loves him as he is daft.

    He also wants to be a house husband and do the nappy changing, and kitten raising. If my cat didn’t like him, I wouldn’t have loved him!

  39. It's all gone tits up
    It's all gone tits up January 30, 2007 at 6:02 am |

    51% of women are lonely single cat-lady sluts…

    Oh girls, please read this article 51% of women are lonely single cat-lady sluts
    I must admit letting my cat have the babies was my plan. It was a happy single woman plan.
    Now I am in love with my man….. but he has kitty plans also. He has an old…

  40. Indy
    Indy January 30, 2007 at 3:20 pm |

    If 51% of women were lonely sluts, I’d think I would be getting laid more.

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