There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding ABC’s new television offering Cougar Town. Courteney Cox stars as the bumbling, neurotic, unfiltered, insecure, desperate woman trying to reclaim the folly of her 20’s post divorce. The problem is, she never had her 20’s. She was busy being pregnant and then raising her subsequent offspring.
Her characterization flies in the face of what a true Cougar woman is, so much so, that one has to wonder if she acts this way at home. After all, she IS a Cougar in real life and is married to a man several years her junior.
I have heard many Cougar women on my site complain,” This is NOT who we are as Cougars! What is WRONG with this picture?”
What is wrong is the media who has again grabbed at the brass ring of ratings and sold out a demographic of women and painted them with the broad brush stroke of desperate, horny, older women willing to jump on anything with a pulse.
Nothing could be father from the truth. True Cougar women are discriminating and selective. They are not going to jump just because some young guy hits them up on a website. There are far more young men from whom to choose. Cougars can have their pick of the litter.
Admittedly, there are some women out there who will dress inappropriately, hang out at bars and swill down white wine and take home younger men for casual sex. From my psychological perspective, these women have issues with themselves that warrant a diagnosis, possible medication and years of psychotherapy. Women who regularly participate in casual, indiscriminate sex likely did so when they were younger. This is not part of being a Cougar. It is part of having a diagnosable illness such as Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and the like.
For over a year I have made this dating dynamic a part of my own research and written many articles about it. The minority of Cougar women are being sensationalized into a false majority as boy chasing, leopard print wearing, desperate, horny, aging floozies. In reality, the majority of Cougar women are mothers, aunts, CEOs, nurses, computer programmers, advertising executives, office managers, lawyers, physicians, stay at home moms, and would no more act like the Cougar Town women in public than they would raise their hands to volunteer for a root canal without anesthesia.
What is wrong with the stereotype of the Cougar woman is that they act too much like the male jerks women try at all costs to avoid. Grabbing men’s butts in bars, throwing their leg over a man’s shoulder in public to demonstrate their “flexibility” and acting out like junior high school girls is not why younger men are drawn to older women. Treating men like sex objects in an effort to “be equal” to men who have treated women like sex objects for so long does not raise our bar. It lowers it to the same level of base behavior that we detest.
Younger men who have experience dating older women know that this is not true Cougar behavior and in no minced words, they let me know how disgusted…yes, disgusted…they are that this is the way Cougars are being portrayed by the media. It gives all women a bad label and makes women who are on the fence about becoming a Cougar feel that this stereotype is how they must behave in order to fit the profile.
I see women in public “trying” to be a Cougar. It is obvious they are trying because they don’t look comfortable in the (animal print) skin they are wearing. Some of them even try to dumb down to the level of younger men by being trendy, talking hip and using the same lingo instead of having the man up his game and elevating him to her level. It doesn’t look good on them and it isn’t working.
A younger man who is really sincere about meeting and dating Cougar women do so because mature women are not like the twenty somethings he is used to meeting. These men are bored with girls who play games, only talk about themselves/hair/makeup and whine, and have no perspective on life. A true Cougar woman embodies years of self development, learning, perspective, wisdom and all the things that it takes to make a woman of any age well rounded.
What’s wrong with Cougar women is when they try to live up to (or down to) the stereotype of the media. These are not women who know who they are. These women are like Cox’s character who are struggling with their identity and trying on yet another hat to see if they can somehow feel comfortable playing a role. This is is no way empowering to women.