Blog Post #2 – Cougarism

11 Nov

By: Chantell Walton

Article Link:  http://thefbomb.org/2009/09/cougarism/

I chose Julie Z’s article from The fbomb web blog entitled Cougarism because I’ve been wanting comment on this topic for a while now. The article clearly mirrors my own disgust for what has become a  popular trendy term in American culture, it certainly brings up the issue of ageism and  the double standard between men and  women in this society. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware of the term: “Cougar”. Which basically defines a woman “over 40” lusting after a much younger men aka the “Cub/Tadpole”.  A concept so common that it has spawn a hit television show Cougar Town, which the article references, gaining popularity with the tag-line “40 is the New 20 “.  As well as it’s own sub category, called a “Puma”  which is an attractive woman in her late 20’s or early 30’s, a “Pre-cougar” if you will.  Which makes you wonder, why it is beginning to be more unpopular with some women.

The article itself brings up some interesting main reasons for the author’s dislike for the concept of in general. The First being the equating women the predatory hunters, i.e. the idea that mature older woman are on the “prowl” for younger men. After all Cougars are sexy & successful women in their “Prime” who want “a hot young  guy to go out with” as the dating site CougarLife advertises. The idea that being called a cougar is considered “empowering” , because it defies the social ideal norm that women over 25 are thought to be “ugly” based on the fact that a younger man has slept with them.  Although men have been dating/marrying younger women for ages, the idea of that of a woman in the same position is deemed taboo & often made into a joke. Basically reinforcing the ageist stereotype that older woman are not desirable or that younger men could be in fact their “prey” to me is not only offensive but furthest thing from the truth.

Perhaps Kim Cattral, who’s famous  portrayal of  Samantha on Sex in the City said it best on her refusal to pose with an actual live cougar  for a magazine cover:

“I really take umbrage to the code ‘cougar’, I think cougar has a negative connotation, and I don’t see anything negative about Samantha and her sexuality, sensuality and choice. I don’t think she stands or sits in bars waiting for young men to prey on. And I think that’s something that people who are uncomfortable with strong women have labeled her.”

Although the “a significant magazine for women over 40,”  was not named, it’s clear that by her taking a stand might have quite possibly began the  Cougar backlash. I applauded both women for being brave enough to speak out & challenge the concept, especially when the media has been trying it’s hardest to make it seem like all women embrace it. The Hypocrisy is most evident in Hollywood, where it is the norm is still to pair older men with much younger women. The male counter-part being referred to as a “Playboy” or  “Sugar Daddy” is not exactly a considered all that negative. Case in point, the movies such as Pretty Woman, As Good As It Gets,  Lost in Translation & Shop Girl all featured “May/December romances” without focusing on the age differences.  The antithesis being perhaps the most infamous examples of the Cougar are of course Demi Moore (aka Mrs. Kutcher) & Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate. Though one is fictional & the other very real, both have caused an uproar in their own times.

So it it possible for women of a certain age to still be to allowed  to choose partners regardless of age and be sexual beings without being compared to a zoo animal?  Are Cougars, as the article states  “Empowering or Just Plain Wrong?” This 31 year old (anti-puma), says Plain Wrong!


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2 Responses to “Blog Post #2 – Cougarism”

  1. itzjessicax3 November 15, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    There is a double standard when it comes to women dating vs men dating. If a women dates alot of men, she is called a “slut” or “whore”. Meanwhile when it comes to men, it’s a normal thing. There is also the double standard of when women date men younger than them. Also known as puma or cougar. But it is okay for males to date younger women. Yet the younger women consider their older men, sugar daddy or some sort. I feel that women are more degraded in society then men. We should be able to date freely like men are able to no matter the age as long as the couple loves each other. Age is just a number it doesn’t define you per say.

    • Chantell Walton November 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

      Thank You! That was exactly my point. Both Agism & Sexism comes into play here. Unfortunately what is socially acceptable for men isn’t always the same for women. Until they are the same, offensive terms such as Puma & Cougar won’t exist in our vocabulary.

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