<cat who brings in leaves and flowers>
There's been much discussion of spurious female brain theories in the Australian blogosphere lately. I would like to take the opportunity here to discuss the intricacies of the feline brain, a matter not unrelated to gender theory some may be surprised to learn. (Warning: Friday mogblogging at The View is also Friday non-PC blogging day.)
Years ago, in fact, years and years ago (like about ten), I used to read this simply awful column in the Sunday Age written by some bird with a name like Amanda. Why? you might ask (not about the name but the reading of the column). Apart from the fact that comprehensive reading of the Age at Thresherman's Bakehouse (or whatever it was called) was part of my post-yoga Sunday ritual, the Amanda-bird just had me captive with fascination. You see, she used to write all these columns about things like 'fluffy floaters' and 'stinking sinkers' and putting on her wellies when she went into the garden (as you do, in Melbourne, but not the desert), and I was just spellbound by the hideous trite domesticity of it all. Then one day, she wrote this column about 'boy brains' and 'girl brains' that the Age placed as the feature article for the lifetyle supplement section that weekend. A cartoonist also drew some clever pics to go with it featuring a male brain with little sections in it saying things like 'sport' and 'sex' and female brain saying things like 'shopping' and 'lost car keys'.
Anyway, the article said all the predictable pseudoscience things about boy brains and girl brains (we could all do a bit of creative writing here and make up something similar ourselves, couldn't we?) but...but the crunch point came at the end when Amanda-thingie said, 'Just look at the animal kingdom!' and then went to into a whole description of how her male and female cats had gender-specific behaviour and she was sure she'd done nothing to socialise them. And I thought, 'Fuck, she's got me there!' Because I had observed exactly the same phenomenon in my own cats.
Jessie -- my female cat is timid, passive, gentle, docile -- all those things. A wee-wee girl in every sense of the word. She's right down the bottom of the pecking order and is constantly bullied by Leonard. She looks best in a pastel or a floral collar, and if she were human, I can imagine her watching chick flicks, wearing pink, fluffy jumpers and eating chocolates all day long.
Leonard -- the leader of the pack is male, aggressive, combative, extremely playful and commandeers the living room sofa. He bosses the other cats round, has been known on occasion to attack dogs, and looks best in a leopard-skin print collar. In human form, I imagine him as a bit of rough trade (I used to call him the 'G**ff Cl*rk of the cat world').
Otty -- is my gay cat. I found him humping another male cat (now deceased) one evening in front of the fire when he was a kitten. He's kind of outgoing in the animal world (he's even interested in dogs), but not the human world. He has a substantial night life; indeed, in Sydney, he lived in the garden and rarely came inside. He takes things on the chin from Leonard (and washes and sleeps with him) and is not as low down the chain as Jessie. I've given him a bejewelled and studded collar. If he were a human...I dunno, it's hard to imagine him as a human -- but maybe Bill Oddie, with all that fur.
So I found myself in hopeless agreement with the Amanda-woman, because my male cats were much more playful and better fighters than my female cat, who was far more passive and domestically-oriented. Admittedly, as they all came to me as older cats -- Leonard literally off the street -- I had nowt to do with their initial socialisation, so was not able to lead them in feminist ways (tho Leonard has mellowed over the years).
A very slender case to build on such a small, non-randomised sample, I hear you say. I guess it also says more about feline behaviour than brains, per se, and one would have to investigate the socialisation process of the cats and the perceptions projected onto them. Could be much bigger trial with control cats, analysis of differently sexed cats being given to different owners for socialisation and so forth.
(If you're interested in any more essentialist theories, a friend who once minded my cats decided on different astrological identities for them, without even knowing their birth-dates -- Otty was an Aquarius, Jessie was a Libran and Leonard was a Leo with Pisces rising.)
Now, I know this is the point at which someone might send me a link to an article about homosexuality in the animal world or something. If you think this post is stoopid, just remember that it is Friday and mogblogging day.
In other news: Apparently, the exact location of Steve Irwin's grave is to remain undisclosed. Isn't that what happened in Arthurian legend, that the location of the Lady of the Lake and Arthur's watery grave was never totally known? I reckon that if you did some Joseph Campbell or Vladimir Propp-style analysis, Irwin would register highly on the Hero-meter.
Personal Butler -- is on the warpath. The other day, I gleefully mentioned to MWA in the kitchen that I had stayed somewhere else apart from the Guesthouse -- without PB knowing. She said, 'That's not true.' As it transpires, PB bailed up her gf and said, 'Where's Elsewhere? I know she's in town, where's she staying?' How can he know that -- unless he saw me walking along a road somewhere (tho I'm sure I didn't see his 4WD anywhere). Who would tell him?
Now I feel like a complete and utter cow because I ate those garlic prawns he cooked for me as I was a 'loyal customer' (fully in the knowledge that I would be staying somewhere else the following week). Apparently he was very shitty.
I think PB forgets sometimes that he's running a business. I guess the 'personal' isn't in front of the butler for nothing.