According to the piece, the main driving force that brought cougars in from the wilderness was Hollywood.Indeed, shows like Sex in the City paint a more sophisticated picture of mature woman’s sexuality.
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Nevertheless, it somehow seems precarious to start explaining away the genuine rise in older women dating younger men by skimming off examples from LA’s amorous glitterati.
What’s more, the way in which news outlets around the world, Newsweek included, represented the issue is perhaps more telling of the way mature women are perceived by society.
READ MORE: Happily in an older woman/younger man relationship? The trio behind the project were sure to report that “vast age differences, especially in woman-older relationships, clearly violate the norms of this society”. 40 years ago, writer and activist Susan Sontag penned ‘The Double Standard of Ageing’ for the now defunct Saturday Review3.
In the native New Yorker’s opinion, mature women are routinely subject to much stricter norms when it comes to picking sexual partners. Yet it’s not all cradle snatching and oedipal gloom for older women dating younger men.
On the other hand, the aptly-named Cougar Town bolsters a smuttier stereotype.
Commenting on the programme’s host - Courtney Cox - San Francisco journalist Jane Ganahl wrote that the producers did a great job of converting the former Friends star into “a hapless, sex-obsessed divorcee who seems to be a mash-up of Mrs. Off screen, the frenzy that surrounded Demi Moore’s marriage to Ashton Kutcher, not forgetting the widely reported liaisons of stars such as Madonna, Mariah Carey and Sandra Bullock, allegedly serve as further evidence.“Prejudices have a tendency to stick, even if society is changing,” she says, “calling an older woman a cougar isn’t meaningless, it’s a way of defining her as a predator who’s only interested in hunting down younger prey.” For an enlightening comparison it’s worth looking at an equivalent expression for older men who hook up with younger women.Whilst still packed with hidden meaning, ‘sugar daddy’ isn’t nearly as derogatory as its big-cat counterpart.Energetic romping aside, a young admirer is a welcome alternative to the more vintage male, especially in the spontaneity department (if you disagree and would rather bag a silver fox, then get involved in the older dating scene now! The chances are that a younger man hasn’t had the time to accumulate the emotional baggage that comes with growing old either.In conversation, Ganahl, who’s written extensively on older woman/younger man relationships, proposes an astute plus-side: “Younger men were raised by mothers during or after the women’s movement,” she says, “therefore, many tend to be far less sexist than their fathers, and not as preoccupied with money and status." A word of warning though: watch out for boastful boys who’re just out to get bragging rights over their mates.The now well-known term wasn’t a reference to the Chinese calendar; rather, it was a bordering-on-crass idiom coined to define 40-plus women with a predilection for younger gentlemen.