My boyfriend shows to me to the Sexist Pigs’ Club—Sorry! I mean the “Traditionalists’ Society”. Anyway, the sexist pigs are styed in an unused lecture hall in the medical school. As we walk into the room, I’m not surprised that each and every one of the “Traditionalists” are men. All fifteen of them are man-spreading in the lecture hall’s chairs-cum-desks. I can see on their faces, when they see me, a smidge of contempt, a smidge of arousal, and a whole dollop of terror as they realise a girl has penetrated the boys’ club. On some of their faces, I even sense recognition—though I’m sure none of them had ever seen my videos. At least, not outside of the context of some neck-beard’s “takedown” of my arguments.
“Some of you might know my girlfriend,” says Alistair. He stands behind the lecture podium while I sit in a chair beside him, waiting for my turn to speak. Although it took all my willpower to wait for a man’s permission to speak in these circumstances.
“She’s quite a famous feminist: Matsuko—.”
Just saying “feminist” wrings a laughing snort from one of the dickheads in the audience. I still don’t know why Alistair invited me to speak to this kind of audience about “anything your little heart desires: gender perfomativity, toxic masculinity, anything at all”. This isn’t a kangaroo debate—he wasn’t going to DESTROY me with FACTS and LOGIC. I would speak, answer questions (heavily moderated questions, he assured me), and all recording devices are banned. I just don’t understand what Alistair gets from of this.
But then again, I don’t get why a card-carrying sexist like Alistair dates a famous feminist like me in the first place. And I absolutely, positively cannot understand why a famous feminist like me would date a sexist like Alistair.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” yells a guy at the back. From the nasally-ness of the yell, I guess it’s the same guy who’d snorted at me. “You promised us some good shit—and instead you force us to watch your feminazi fuck-toy.”
‘Tony! Another crack like that and you are out!’ shouts my boyfriend, as firmly as when he plays teacher in our roleplay. I clenched my fist to hold in my Pavlovian quiver—although my arousal isn’t entirely reflexive. I know it makes me a bad feminist, but I love it when Alistair defends me like that. That’s why I date Alistair: I like a strong man... because I like strong people, in general, people willing to defend their girls—I mean, partners.
Alistair asks if I’m okay to keep going. I assure him that I clear worse stuff out of my comments sections everyday. I can handle one neck-beard’s heckles.
“Some of you may be thinking the same as Tony,” Alistair says, “though are being far more civil about it. Why are we bothering to hear a feminist speak? The answer is simple: she is the smartest girl I know—smarter than most of you—and certainly more hardworking. She writes incisive and compelling blogs daily, posts entertaining and educational videos weekly, regularly co-hosts five podcasts. This is not changed by the fact that almost everything she puts out there is nonsense.”
I roll my eyes at that last crack, but my grin won’t stop growing. Alistair knows just how to make me warm right down to my tummy.
“And she balances all this with her coursework, and with cooking for the two of us, and with doing all the housework—”
My cheeks burn beet-red. I shoot to my feet to shush him. No one can know I do the housework. What would my fans think—knowing that as soon as I finished my video on the long-term consequences of the expectation that women to do unpaid “extra” labour in the house and at work, I proceeded to haul out the vacuum cleaner and dust pan, just so the apartment would be spic-and-span for Alistair’s return.
“Is it,” I say, “finally my turn to speak.”
“Of course, my sweet little kitten,’ whispers Alistair, right in front of the microphone.
Tony gags, and for the only time in my life I agree with Tony’s sentiments. Half-agree. Alistair can be too sweet sometimes.
I stand behind the podium, clear my throat to start, but Alistair puts his hand to my cheek and guides my eyes to his.
“First, you know full well, you should relax. Relax into my eyes.”
His brown, brown eyes.
“As sleep sits on your eyes, your heavy eyes, your hazy eyes.”
My eyelids flicker, watering. So warm. Why’s he giving me my bedtime talk in the middle of the day?
“Resisting sleep makes you so, so sleepy. So sleep.”
But... I have a speech.
Can’t... bedtime... in front of... sexists...
Just... rest my eyes...
“Three, stirring upwards. Two, aware of your surroundings. And one! Wide awake. What’s new, pussy-cat?”
I arch my back as I pur and shake off my cat-nap. I blink open my bleary eyes to see a lecture hall full of humans looking at me. Humans! Blech! Always thinking they’re better than cats—the speceist apes! Standing near me at the front of the hall is my human (“Alistair”, “owner”, “master”, he calls himself, but to me he is only and solely “my human”).
As I feel the tightness around my torso, around my legs, I know why they’re staring at me. I’m wearing human clothes! While I was napping, my human had dressed me in jeans and a button-up shirt. Typical human, dressing up us cats for his own amusement. Do us cats ever get any say? NO! It’s objectification, pure and simple. I paw at the buttons, but these goshdarn paws can’t grip them.
“Maow!” I yell at my human.
The other humans laugh.
“Does Matsuko not like her clothes?” says my human.
Of course I don’t like them. “Meow! Maow!” The humans whisper to each other, giggling, and elbowing each other as they point at me.
Half-crouched, my human coos to me as he pats his knees, “Then just scooch over here and let me make you more comfortable.”
I crawl to my human and command him to take off these humiliating garments. “Nyah!”
As he unbuttons my shirt, letting my fine feline flesh kiss the air, the other humans go silent. They now see who’s in charge, how my human’s at my beck and call. When he takes off my bra, letting my boobies dangle free, I roll onto my back so he can take off my trousers and panties. Soon I’m totally naked—just as nature intended! Silly humans, always wrapping themselves in absurd fabrics.
“Is that better, kitten?” says my human, rubbing my belly. I pounce on his hand. The humans gasp, and then laugh. They laugh in wordless terror of me. They have seen the hunter in me—not some “kitten”. Kitten. Humans always call cats that. It’s so infantalising. I am cat! Hear me meow!
“Are you ready to give your presentation,” asks my human.
I’d almost forgotten why I’m here. I’m here to give a speech! I’m here to tell all these speceist apes just how toxic humanity hurts both cats and humans. I crawl to the front of the lecture hall, and breathe deep into my tummy, shoulders and haunches square. I declare that toxic humanity is bondage keeping cats and humans from truly cooperating, how the concept of “pet” devalues the animal and the “master”, I say it all with such eloquence that I shiver.
“Meow, meow.... Nyah.... Maow!”
The humans can’t keep their eyes off me. They know they’re in the presence of a liberator for our time. Some, I admit, are looking more at my bottom as I pace the stage, or at my boobies, when I turn to face them—but that’s because they’re too ashamed to look me in the eye, after all the truth bombs I’ve dropped. The humans are smiling, giggling, at my every righteously indignant “Maow”. Classic defence mechanism.
All are staring at me, save for two in the front row, who are chit-chatting. I march over to them and hear more clearly there conversation: “Why did Alistair make us lock our fucking phones away. This shit needs to be recorded.”
I leaped onto their desk. Did they have something to say to the audience? Do they want to come up to the front and have their little discussion? Do they want to leave or shut up!?
“Nyah, nyah, maow? Meow, purr, maow? Mioah!?”
One of them isn’t even listening. He reaches out and gropes my booby! I hiss and slice my claws just in front of his face. Bloody humans, feeling entitled to stroke any cat they see! I hiss and scold and meow at them, earning more and more laughter from them, which makes my meowing even more angry, which makes their laughter even more boisterous—until, on the wall at the back of hall, I see my old Nemesis.
The red dot!
I crawl over the seats, maneuvering my way between the heads of humans, ignoring it when one human decides to slap my arse. I’ll tell him off later. RIght now, I won’t let that small red bastard escape. With a hunter’s swiftness, I jump and catch it under my paws—or tried to! With a coward’s swiftness, the red dot has jumped on top of my hands. The dot runs across the wall and I pursue, jumping up the wall whenever the red dot tires and slows. Eventually it falls to the floor. At first I think this makes it easy pickings, but it has not evaded me all this time for nothing. Whenever I pounce, it sprints. Whenever I sprint, it weaves. And now, it just sits in front of me, absolutely still. I press my chin to the floor and stick my bum in the air, swaying my haunches to improve my aim. I pounce and catch it in my paws. Yes! Finally! I can’t wait to bestow upon my human the eviscerated body of the red dot. I lift my paws... and find nothing. Just a few feet away is the dot, mocking me.
“You’re right to laugh,” says my human behind me. “My kitten is very, very silly.”
I was so focused on my battle that I did not hear all the humans walk to the back of the room with my human. Only now do I hear them busting their guts in their laughter.
“My kitten believes some very silly things,” continues my human.
He puts a small silver cylinder in his pocket, the same cylinder he always has when the red dot appears. I always assumed he was lining it up to shoot the dot, but the dot never stayed still long enough to get it in his sights. It’s not his fault that humans aren’t as good at hunting as cats.
He gets to one knee and starts scritching my neck and kissing my head. I purr, embarrassed that this sycophant’s affection pleases me so much.
“But don’t you see,” he says, only looking at me, “just how hardworking she is, how untiring, how certain she is. Isn’t there something just a little lovable about her silliness? Admirable, even”
“I always knew she was a whipped little bitch,” says Tony.
I almost lunge at Tony, but my human holds me back. I hiss and hiss and hiss at Tony. I am not a bitch—I am a CAT. And I am not whipped! I am a modern, liberated cat!
“Out!” yells my human to Tony. Even I become too scared to move. “Get out!”
“Calm down, man,” says Tony putting his hands up to his chest in surrender, like a rat.
My human lets go of me. My human towers a head taller than Tony, who shrinks another head shorter in my human’s presence. “When I said get out, I meant leave, now. Do not return. You are expelled from this group.”
“For what!?” squeaks Tony.
“For calling every girl who snubs you a slut, for posting their pictures on the group chat (quicker than I can pull them down) with vile captions, for adding nothing to our discussions, and above all: for hating girls.”
“Oh, come on,” pleads Tony. “I’m just saying what everyone’s thinking.”
“You will leave now, or I will remove you.”
The other humans, who have been staring, trembling and tight lipped, at my human, now aim their eyes at Tony, who looks ready to be vaporised by their stares. Tony clenches his fist before glancing at my human’s large, firm biceps. Tony snorts.
“What’ve you fucking soy cucks ever done for me anyway!” He storms to the door and yanks on the handle, only to realise it’s a push door. He tries to slam the door behind him, but the springs in the hinges slow the door before impact.
Even with Tony long gone, my human’s teeth are clenched, his knuckles white. The sight of my human angry makes the other human’s shiver, and my skin prickle. I crawl towards him and rub my face and body against his leg. Already his tenseness relaxes. Humans love it when you rub your scent on them. It reminds them that they’re in mommy cat’s care. I’m so proud of my human for standing up to that awful, icky Tony. I mean, I didn’t need my human to stand up for me, but it’s the thought that counts.
My human sits cross-legged on the ground and invites me into his lap. I purr into his chest.
“Good kitty.” He strokes my neck. He gestures to the other humans to sit as well. “Such a good kitty. Now, when I snap my fingers, you’re going to realise exactly what’s going on, but still only able to speak and act like a cat.”
Like a cat? My human’s so silly! I am a-
What the fuck!
I try to stand up, but my legs refuse. Alistair hugs me close. I push my paws—my hands!—against his chest, but I can’t get free because I’m weak as a kitten. At my every struggle, Alistair chuckles and kisses my hair.
“Maow, maow!” I say.
So this was his plan all along. He had no intention of letting me give a feminist speech to his sexist friends. He drags me in here to embarrass me. He knows I can’t resist his bedtime talk, that I’ll do anything for him when he makes me feel safe and sleepy.
Oh, Alistair’s going to get it! Tonight, I... I... I won’t cook his dinner! And, and, this week, he’ll have to wash his clothes himself! Oh, no, is that going too far?
“Matsuko, Matsuko,” he laughs as he effortlessly restrains my cat-like thrashing. He’s got one arm wrapped around my chest, the other between my thighs. My arousal at being man-handled like this just makes my thrashing more futile “Kitten, I’ll only let you give your speech if you behave.”
“Of course.” He strokes my now very docile body. He runs his fingers down my inner thigh, and he runs his other hands just beneath my breasts. My eyes roll up as I purr, almost trembling in arousal even though so many sexists were watching me, naked and cat-like. “I promised you, didn’t I?” He kisses my ear as soon as he’s done whispering. “Just give me ten minute. You’ve waited so well so far., Ten minutes, and I’ll give you back your voice.” I squeal as he tickles my throat. “I’ll let you put back on all your clothes.” I purr as he pats my pussy. “And then I’ll let you give your little speech about... What was it? Toxic masculinity? Does that sound good to you?”
I’m still a little miffed that he’d got me naked and meowing in front of all these sexists, but... I roll around in his embrace so my breasts press into his chest. I lick his face and press my forehead to his. I purred, “Yes.”
Holding me close and gently, by stroking my head and bum, he speaks to the guys sitting in front of him. “It might surprise you to know that this little demonstration was not about putting Matsuko in her place. My kitten knows her place.”
“Maow!” I deny.
Everyone chuckles. I wish I had fur to cover my blush.
“My kitten knows her place, even if she doesn’t know she knows her place.” He kisses the top of my forehead. I calm down. I’ll let him keep his silly delusions about me. “This demonstration was meant to teach all of you something about feminists. Tony was right. He was just saying what you were all thinking. And that is a damn shame. You—don’t look away from me—you hate feminists, some of you even hate all girls. I am here to teach you something very important.”
Alistair takes a deep breath.
“Some girls... are puppies. With a lot of carrot and very, very, very little stick, they’ll be wagging their tails at the mere thought of pleasing you. Other girls—feminists—are like kittens. You can’t tame a kitten. You can only... manage their behaviour. You must indulge their little pleasures. My kitten has her video essays. She has her fans who think she’s the perfect model of feminism. But soon, with a little work, and a lot of love, and a little hypnotism to bring out what was always inside, you’ll have a perfect pet.”
Sexist nonsense, the entire thing. And hypnotism? If he means my bedtime talk, he should know I’m awake the entire time. Even today when he made me act like a cat, I was awake. He just made me promise to forget a few things. I only obey him—I mean, do as he says—I mean, take his advice because he gives such good arguments. And when I’m relaxed I can fully analyse and internalise them. The only thing that makes his monologue bearable is my human’s—Alistair’s—gentle voice, and his warm hand stroking down the back of my head. My eyes feel so fuzzy.
“Feminists aren’t scary. They aren’t monsters. From their boyfriends, they may demand a bit too much energy, more than some of you are willing to put in, but those who are willing to go the distance will... well... I expect you all to play very close attention when Matsuko’s speaking, she has some very good points.”
I hear the boys laughing, but my head is just too hazy to get angry.
“I’m not joking. A few years ago I was just like Tony, but thanks to her, I’m the man you see today. And...”
I rest my eyes. What if I fall asleep...? Nothing to worry about... Alistair is so kind, he’ll wake me when its my turn to...