I saw a promo for a new comedy on ABC. Courtney Cox plays a real estate agent re-entering the dating market and somehow ends up dating younger men. The name of the show: "Cougar Town."
Now, keep in mind that throughout recorded history, it's been seen as perfectly acceptable for younger women to couple up with mature men. No one's said boo about it, whether it's Hugh Hefner munching Viagra for his twin girlfriends or Donald Trump tossing out wives like dated donations to Goodwill. Recently, relationships between mature women and younger men (i.e. Demi Moore and Ashton Kucher) have grown more prevelent. However, the woman is likely to be labled a "cougar."
I don't know the etymology of the term, but it comes across as derogatory and demeaning.
There's no male correlate for it. Tina Turner, Carol Burnett, Raquel Welch...hello, ABC, see who you just insulted?
The clip that I saw featured another character in her late 50's still trying to act like a college age party girl who encouraged Ms. Cox's charater to use her sexuality to get business. Embracing youth is one thing, but engaging in behavior like that is unattractive at any age.
The always beautiful Angela Lansbury observed that what makes a mature woman sexy is that which makes her alluring. She's right. It's something more timeless, and has to do with her essential character and ability to accept herself rather than gatting sliced, diced and Botoxed or slathering on potions made from fetal sheep cells or exercising to the point where her relationships are impacted. It has to do with realizing that it's ok to change as the seasons do, and that you can still be youthful and sexy, but find more subtle ways to express it. It's good to see that there are men out there brave enough to realize it, and they deserve nothing but laurels for doing so.