With the recent breakup of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, its time to analyze the continuously emerging trend of older women dating younger men. Cougars, the term used to refer to these older women who prey on younger men, are cropping up all over in society. Because these relationships are reversing the social norm, they have created an enthusiastic reaction in recent culture. In 2009 a television show entitled “Cougar Town” aired and followed a recently divorced woman in her late forties who was trying to relive her 20’s by dating younger men. These women have also been seen prowling around on different movies and songs, as well as in the real-life examples of Hollywood’s hottest stars. The growing list of cougars in the entertainment business like
Susan Sarandon and Jonathan Bricklin (32 years difference)
or Guy Ritchie and Madonna, who are also now consequently divorced (10 year age difference)
have given a face to the phenomenon. Now, the ideas of the “typical” relationships have been challenged throughout and before the 21st century, mostly with Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, the advent of transgender surgeries, and so much more. How is it that “cougaring” still garners our shock and awe? We have seen women make enormous cultural strides and become powerful and independent members of society, but when it comes to heterosexual relationships we are surprised that a some women have chosen to fill the role of the older and wiser partner. I know that my first reaction is usually, “Yeah!! You go girl!!” because I, like most of society, see the cougar as primarily seeking this younger guy, or “boy toy”, for his sexual vigor. Other women are inspired by the cougar for taking care of herself, sexually despite social norms. This stereotype is reinforced by shows like “Cougartown” and by the divorces that always seem to end these relationships. Moore and Kutcher have had issues for a few years now with numerous accusations of infidelity on Kutcher’s part, but the Daily Mail has chosen to report this split with the headline “Proof You Can’t Hold Back the Years, Demi”. Before Susan Sarandon’s relationship with Bricklin, she went through a divorce with her first “boy toy”, Tim Robbins who was 12 years her junior. These divorces seem to show that the marriage was built heavily upon sexual satisfaction instead of a genuine commitment and love. The support for this assumption is robbing those of the respect due to two people in a relationship. Unless you were a part of their marriage, you have no clue why Kutcher and Moore got divorced, or why they decided to get together in the first place. By making it all about sexual satisfaction for the woman, we are denying the partners the possibility of just having been in love and not recognizing that for the first time in history, women are able to marry whoever they want due to their independent stability. Women have never been more powerful than this past decade and instead of focusing on the remarkable ability to choose whoever a woman wishes to enter into a relationship with, without fear of being left and helpless, we turn her into a jungle cat, stalking around for a sexually charged relationship with a young and feisty man.
Relationships, especially in our recent society, is viewed as a partnership between two people who love each other, and there is no reason for this to be different when it comes to women and men who love each other without concern for the difference in their age. After all, age is just a number.