Rebecca Traister is fed up with the concept of the “cougar,” she writes for Salon. She doesn’t “hate the solitary wildcat who feasts on deer,” or “women who have sex with younger men. What I hate is the never-ending cutesy-pie conflation of the two.” The premier tonight of The Cougar, a dating show that matches a 40-year-old woman with men under 30, illustrates how profoundly unprogressive the stereotype is.
“Ah, liberation!” Traister writes. “Sweet, hot congress with dudes you were so glad you never had to deal with again after graduation!” The image of a sex-crazed older woman is taken from the male playbook, and it should have stayed there. “Cougars, as we portray and celebrate them, are mimicking the midlife crisis-penis-car-crippling-insecurity version of mature masculinity,” Traister writes. “Isn't this one thing we could have just walked away from without regret?”