Governing Pet Love: 'Crazy Cat Ladies,' Cultural Discourse, and the Spatial Logics of Inter-Species Intimacies
McKeithen, William Leighton
MetadataShow full item record
Pet animals in the United States have been increasingly incorporated into relationships and spaces of intimacy. As a result, an intense set of discourses has emerged to delineate and govern what modes of interspecies intimacy are `normal' or `inappropriate.' The widely known stereotype of the `crazy cat lady' - often described as a reclusive, lonely, and single white woman locked away in a tiny house full of cats - represents a flashpoint in this system of governance. This thesis explores the normative discourses and daily resistances that envelop women who live with cats. I argue that the `crazy cat lady' serves to delimit the available possibilities for `proper' gendered, sexualized, classed, and raced subjectivity. In turn, these norms govern the possibilities for interspecies relationships between humans and pet animals, perpetuating and privileging some forms of intimacy - heterosexual interhuman love, marriage, and motherhood - while disparaging and neglecting queer modes of pet love.
- Geography