Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen

Editorial Fellow

Rebecca Cohen is a Mother Jones fellow who has previously written for Slate, The Washington Post, and McClatchy News Service. You can follow her at @rebeccatcohen and email her at rcohen@motherjones.com.

 

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"Confused Cats Against Feminism" Is the Purrfect Response to "Women Against Feminism"

| Tue Jul. 29, 2014 6:26 PM EDT
A confused cat against feminism.

The Tumblr Women Against Feminism has inspired scores of think pieces decrying its misuse of the term "feminist." Yet when David Futrelle saw the collection of photos of women holding handwritten signs like "I don't need feminism because I am not a victim," it reminded him of his cats.

"It just seems like cats never know what's going on," Futrelle says. "If anyone would get really confused about feminism and announce their opposition to it, it would be cats. They have the right combination of myopicness and solipsism."

So last Thursday, Futrelle posed his felines next to Women Against Feminism-style signs, snapped a picture, and launched his own Tumblr: Confused Cats Against Feminism. The cats, he said, were reluctant participants. "They did not want to cooperate at all when I started coming at them with this little sign that I'd drawn on with a very smelly Sharpie."

Almost immediately, readers began sending Futrelle photos of their own cats. Now the Tumblr has 11,000 followers, and as of Tuesday morning, Futrelle was sorting through hundred of submissions.

Cats against equal pay

The Chicago resident thinks his project taps a deep vein of exasperation among feminists that goes beyond the outrage over Women Against Feminism. "A lot of women and feminists are frustrated at trying to respond to arguments that are disingenuous or just weird and silly," he says. "Part of what's fun about the blog is to say, Look, we're just gonna respond with cats."

The most successful posts, he says, "manage to tap into cat logic" or "capture the cats' desire to be pampered and protected, which is the complaint that some people have about the Women Against Feminism blog." His favorite submission so far is a cat sprawling on its back, exposing a patch of fur the size and color of a chocolate chip cookie on its stomach. "I DON'T NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE...COOKIE BELLY," the text reads.

Futrelle says the joke wouldn't be as funny if it were Confused Dogs Against Feminism, because cats tend to be culturally coded as female. Also, "Dogs aren't as self-absorbed as cats. If you tried to do it with a dog I think the only thing you could go with is they're too stupid."

Another confused cat
"I don't need feminism because I like it when a man opens the door for me to enter a room. And then leave it again. And enter. And leave. And… enter. No wait, leave, definitely leave. Wait, I mean enter…" confusedcatsagainstfeminism.tumblr.com

This isn't Futrelle's first attempt to push back against antifeminist rhetoric. On his other blog, We Hunted the Mammoth, he's been chronicling the foibles of the men's rights movement for four years. Over time he's shifted from seeing the movement as merely misguided to realizing that it's driven by misogyny, he says. He hopes his blogging will encourage other people to respond to antifeminist overtures with humor.

"Men's rights activists have a quote that's supposedly from Gandhi that they like to recite constantly: 'First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,'" Futrelle says. "As they see it, they've gotten to the point where people are fighting them. I'd like to knock them back to the point where people are laughing at them."

 

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Don't Believe Anything You Read About Pomegranate Juice

| Fri Jun. 13, 2014 1:28 PM EDT
"SUPER HEALTH POWERS!" Or not.

In ancient Greek mythology, pomegranates symbolized death. They were certainly a source of grief for Coca-Cola on Thursday morning, when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the pomegranate juice company POM Wonderful can sue Coke for marketing a product that contains 99.4 percent apple and grape juice as "Blueberry Pomegranate."

And like many Greek myths, the Supreme Court decision is also rich with irony: POM is currently locked in a separate court battle over allegations that its own pomegranate juice marketing misleads consumers.

Both companies have relied on some pretty questionable rhetoric. Coke claimed that because the Food and Drug Administration had approved its juice label, it couldn't be sued under other trademark laws for misleading consumers. "We don’t think that consumers are quite as unintelligent as POM must think they are," Coke's lawyer Kathleen Sullivan told the Court in April—an argument that fell flat when Justice Anthony Kennedy responded, "Don't make me feel bad because I thought that this was pomegranate juice."

But as HBO's John Oliver has pointed out, POM isn't exactly a hero here. In September 2010, the Federal Trade Commission charged POM with falsely claiming that its products could prevent or treat a variety of medical conditions. According to the FTC, claims that POM juice has "SUPER HEALTH POWERS!... Backed by $25 million in medical research [and p]roven to fight for cardiovascular, prostate and erectile health" have no basis in reality.

POM has contested the FDA's complaint, but so far, judges have sided with the federal agency. The case has made its way to federal appeals court in Washington, where the judges don't seem particularly sympathetic. At a hearing in May, Judge Merrick Garland read one of POM's ads aloud and said, "I don't understand if you look at those two paragraphs how you can say that it's not misleading."