However, what’s actually going on underneath the pop-style commentary and tabloid tales of ‘cougars’ and their ‘cubs’?In search of clarity, we set out on a mission to look beyond the loaded monikers and dubious hype surrounding older woman/younger man relationships.According to the piece, the main driving force that brought cougars in from the wilderness was Hollywood.
First off, the very word ‘cougar’ is most certainly moot.Without getting too entangled in semantics, Elite Singles resident psychologist, Salama Marine, is quick to discuss this point.“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.If you’re struggling for ideas, there’s a slew of blogs and websites that testify to the plus sides for both women and men.
For Marine, one of the biggest draws has a lot to do with compatibility.
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.
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.
So, if women from all walks of life are ignoring the stigma and romancing with the more youthful cohort of the male population, it begs the question; what’s the appeal?