The Uproar Over Kristin Roupenian’s ‘Cat Person’

How one New Yorker piece unintentionally became a symbol for the #MeToo movement

Courtesy of Val Wroblewski / Flickr

On Dec. 11, one fictional story set the Internet on fire. “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian discusses male-female dynamics with frightening accuracy.

The story follows the main character, Margot, who becomes involved in a seemingly-normal relationship with an older man named Robert. This narrative is a wonderful mixture of realism and the discomfort that many women experience after an awkward first date. This article will be full of spoilers, so if you have not yet experienced the phenomenal ride “Cat Person,” you can read it here.

The story starts as any good romance story does. Boy meets girl. Robert asks for Red Vines, and Margot makes fun of him for liking them. A little bit later, he asks for her number. And there is the spark. Everything is set in motion, and the reader imagines that this will be a nicely-packaged rom-com. Throughout the first section of the story, Margot and Robert exchange witty and often cute text messages without ever having a date.

Finally, they decide to meet up, and the fantasy is ripped apart. The reader senses the incompatibility, and yet, Robert seems so nice. However, as the story continues, the level of awkwardness steadily increases. Robert makes comments about how young Margot is (she is only 20-years-old), and in Margot’s mind, she wonders if Robert will murder her.

The situation reaches the pinnacle of discomfort, when Robert brings her to his house, and although Margot initially wants to be there, as the date continues, she really doesn’t.

After the date, she ghosts Robert by not replying to any of his messages, but she is too afraid to hurt his feelings to “break up” with him or tell him she does not want to see him anymore.

A while later, she sees Robert in a bar, becomes frightened and leaves with her friends. Robert messages her that he saw her in the bar, and although the texts are initially nice, his final message calls her a “wh*re.”

After this story was published, the Internet exploded with reactions and theories about the story. An entire Twitter account was created in response to the narrative called @MenCatPerson.

A few tweets on that account are as follows:

On the opposite side of the spectrum, this story has become an important and accurate representation for the #MeToo movement, sparked by the sexual assault allegations of Harvey Weinstein and other men.

From these reactions alone, there is no doubt that this story has resonated with thousands of women, and unfortunately, has been bashed or disregarded by thousands of men. Obviously, “Cat Person” is not an end-all explanation or solution to the #MeToo movement, however, it is the start of a much larger conversation and that is what is most important.

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Written by Sophie Sebastiani

Sophie Sebastiani is a young person living in the Southern United States who loves creating beautiful things. Photography, design, and writing are just a few of her passions. Promoting activism and providing accurate information in her articles is extremely important to Sophie, who values strong and honest voices above much else. You can find her work on her website (https://goo.gl/T29QLq) and her Instagram (@sophiesebastiani).