Friday, February 19, 2010

Cougars and Cubs

Is this new 'cougar' phenomenon *actually* a phenomenon? There has been much buzz in the media regarding the issue, not the least of which includes a new (and much promoted) tv series titled "Cougar Town" starring a 40-something-but-still-very-hawt Courtney Cox. Of course, preceding this was an article on some trashy - sorry- serious current affairs program on Australian tv regarding the 'cougar phenomenon' amongst women and young, starry eyed and cashed up Rugby League players (and presumably, AFL players, but really, who cares about that weird sport and their oddly cumbersome passing and tackling techniques?).
What has occurred, at least in my observations, is an evolution of the word 'cougar' to mean, not just a hot, older woman, but a hot, older woman over the age of about 35 (this is not precise, I suspect it could be higher?) who is single, looking for a no-commitment relationship with a similarly hot male approximately 10 years their junior. Conversational ability optional.
What I initially understood it to mean, was a woman who was... perhaps in her thirties, seeking same with hot young rugby players. I suppose the lines are blurred and fundamentally the same, but at the tender age of thirty I witnessed an old school friend refer to herself on facebook as a cougar, so was surprised to eventually learn the age requirements for the label were somewhat higher than initially thought.


What this means, though, for women, is a reinforcement and perhaps prolonging of the sociological imperative to remain 'hot' for as long as they possibly can, equipping themselves with clingy fabrics, spray tans, perhaps a little surgical aid, and a decent amount of hair and makeup.
Now, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with a woman's desire to look 'nice' - I want to make this clear. However, it is who this effort is for, that I take umbrage with. Is it really, truly, for the woman, if she is then going out and actively seeking the attentions of much younger males (and presumably, competing with younger women, and their nubile, not-yet-had-children bodies). The answer is, I don't know.
Seeking non-committal sex is fantastic, women are to be lauded for having the confidence and self-assuredness to do this, ignoring social expectations to be demure and chaste and acknowledging their desire for what is fundamentally a physical relationship. After all, the only *real* discernible difference between males seeking casual, non-committal sex and entirely physical relationships, and women, is well, some stupid gendered ideas regarding women's biological imperative as the child bearers/carers and generally downtrodden within the male/female: masculine/feminine paradigm. Which isn't very just or fair, nor is it accurate. Gender identities are, as we all well know, malleable, changeable, and forever in a state of flux. That's how we know that they're not inherited, but rather, socialised - because if they were biological then they would be much, much more rigid, and there would be no categories that fell outside of these binary terms (eg, 'feminine men, and 'masculine' women).
So, with respect to this, I admire and respect the cougars. what I don't admire and respect is, as previously stated, women's societal worth being measured largely by their physical appearance, that is, their attractiveness (via social norms of what is and is not attractive), particularly to the opposite sex.
Can't women have one night stands without the nasty removal of almost all pubic hair (additional issues here with mimicking pre-pubescent girls), tan-in-a-can and very expensive dye and blow-dry?
Men are less so expected to fulfill the same physical requirements - the 'yummy mummy'/milf phenomenon does not necessarily translate to 'yummy daddy'/dilf' with such ease and social acceptance- perhaps because it is still taboo for women to discuss such things so publicly.

I don't know. I do admit that I'm not immune to this, but at the same time, I tell myself that I want to buck these trends/expectations and live my life as *I* see fit, measuring my appearance as a body that grows and nourishes life, is strong and fit (And eventually, athletic), moves and sustains and supports my teammates on the sporting field. With this, comes a level of physical fitness that *happens* to fit desirable images of bodies in current society.
In theory.

In reality, I know I'm just as vain as everyone else.

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