The Female Cougar

Does age matter when it comes to love?  According to the stereotypes cast upon people dating someone of an older generation, it would seem so.   The first stereotype between a man and a woman where the woman is older will label the woman as a cougar.   This label used to refer to older women who “preyed” upon young men.  As times have changed this label went from a derogatory term to a desirable term.  She can be a woman who rocks the clothing of a younger generation; however, she takes care of herself and looks good. She has no need for a man to settle down and marry or have children; these things have already been accomplished. She has no need for commitment.  These women have a positive self-image, enjoy sex, and more importantly, know what they are doing.  However, it is people’s reactions to them that give them a stigmatism.

As we saw in Friends, one of my favorite TV shows, a cougar is looked down upon.  While Phoebe originally seems excited about her brother’s engagement, she has a very different reaction once she learns her age.  She even enlists the help of Ross and Joey to deter her brother, but they quickly change sides once they realize that her brother has something special.

However, according to men, a cougar can be a good thing. She is independent, financially sufficient, and the young man does not have to worry about gold diggers.  She is also expected to have different life traits such as being more relaxed on vacation, and do not discuss what shade of lipstick matches their skirt.  Due to age these women know what they want in life.  They do not play games or value materialistic things.

This term “gold digger” is what we get when we switch this relationship in terms of age. Any woman who marries a man several years her senior is immediately measured in what terms of financial gain. “Is she with him for his money?” “Does she not work?”  These questions can be frequently asked regarding this scenario.   A woman asking, “What do you do?” is a red flag.  It’s not like she could have an actual interest in the man she’s seeing.

The article on wikihow particularly made me laugh.

You can tell that a girl is a gold digger by her sense of entitlement that she be treated well.  Doesn’t everyone think they should be treated well? As an independent woman who works two jobs and pays her own bills, I ALWAYS offer to pay half the bill. But a guy offering to pay definitely changes the “tone” of the evening.  It can go from two friends having a drink to someone trying to court someone.   Either way I still expect to be treated well.

There are some very strange expectations that accompany what people are after when they date someone of a different age.  People do not assume that they are simply with someone based off mutual interest or that they have had similar life circumstances.   We cannot base assumptions of someone’s relationship on their age.

About reztap

ODU student, avid traveler, dog lover, and bookworm.
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7 Responses to The Female Cougar

  1. efretz90 says:

    To reply to your relation of cougars to the TV show Friends, I would say that in this generation it is a bit different if you are just going out with or having some type of relations with a cougar, that is considered now-a-days to be some-what cool. But a totally different ball game if you were to try to get serious with her or marry her, then any and everybody might start to get on your case, and probably try to stop you just like phoebe did! And this type of movement toward a serious relationship with a cougar from a younger man might start to get to the opposite side of your argument and thats the same as a “gold-digger” for men, but is widely known relationship where still the name is posed on the women and thats a sugar mama, which in some cases can STILL be “Cool”!

  2. This is great! As I was reading your post it occurred to me that we have convenient labels for the (older) Cougar and the (younger) Gold Digger but they are reserved for women. Why is the woman’s age difference measured relative to the man’s and not the other way around? Very interesting.

  3. acluv002 says:

    i agree with efretz90, I think it also depends on the seriousness of the relationship

  4. reztap says:

    I believe that even if a relationship has a more serious tone it should not effect peoples labeling of the relationship. As a young woman, I lead a very established life style. I travel at every opportunity, drive a nice car, and indulge myself when it comes to good food or wine. I make enough money to not have to worry about purchasing the things I desire. If I wish to date a man in his 30s or 40s who is established and has similar interests, I should not be labeled as a gold digger. I also have a hard time understanding young people in college who don’t work or drink all the time. It just wouldn’t be a good fit for me.

  5. teterpanda says:

    First, these cougars play “The Game” just like younger women do. If they had the husband and children and are now seeking younger men, that in it’s self is a game. Second, the cougar is an interesting thing because in the past older women were not normally sought after or accepted because they were not the ideal “beauty” that men were looking for. In these days money goes a long way when it comes to making some one attractive (in the physical sense). People of like ambition and contribution (this contribution is not talking about money) to a relationship do not have this issue often regardless of age because it does not give the appearance of one talking care of the other. The thought of one spouse taking care of most items in the life (such as one partner with no responsibilities) is what gold-digger and sugar mama would refer to. This leads into self-entitlement; while people should generally treat each other with respect and be nice to the ones they care about, self-entitlement is used when describing how someone feels they should get something for nothing i.e. a person feels like they deserve someone’s respect without ever giving them the same. Generally I think these last few generations are becoming more accepting of the wider age gaps between couples.

    • reztap says:

      I think in every relationship one person is going to make more than the other. Why is it regarded as completely acceptable in society for a woman to marry a man a few years older and more established, and then to stay home and make a bunch of babies? Why is the reverse of this situation, a man marrying a woman whose the bread winner and have him stay home and take care of the kids make her a cougar or sugar mama? It is simply a relationship and it seems silly that people need to put what used to be viewed as a negative label on it.

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