The Cougar Image – Positive or Negative?
When author/editor Jolie DuPre conceptualized The Cougar Book and put out her call for submissions over a year ago, both halves of Adriana were thrilled. We knew immediately we wanted to be in that book and we had no problem coming up with our fantasy of a perfect evening for an older woman’s first time out with a stunning younger man. We’re proud to have made the cut – our story, “A Taste of Ginger,” is one of the twenty-two stories finally selected for the anthology, released on Valentine’s Day 2010 at Logical Lust and available in both print and e-book.
We’ve never hesitated celebrating the powerful and enticing imagery we associate with the image of the cougar. In the words of The Cougar Book’s introduction by Valerie Gibson, Canadian TV personality and author, cougars are
“skilled—and creative—in the sexual arts . . .They love to make love and enjoy it for what it is—a joyful, satisfying, energizing, and life-enhancing activity that keeps you youthful and vital. What’s more, it’s fun! It’s a rare and precious attribute for any woman, but when it comes with enthusiasm and few strings attached? Priceless!”
Both of us are also longtime fans of TV and film star Kim Cattrall. In her role as “Samantha” in Sex and the City and in her personal life, she epitomizes the positive qualities we associate with “cougar.” Through her books and many personal appearances she continues to encourage women to embrace their lives, their bodies and their sexuality. Some quotes:
Asked by Amazon.com to explain what she means by sexual intelligence: “A person who knows what they like! And has some idea why … I used the word intelligence in the title of the book and the documentary because it reflects my desire to gather whatever insights, inspirations, and information that could nourish the part of us that is sexual and sensual, so that it might be strong and function well.”
In a recent interview for TheaterMania.com promoting Sex and the City II: “We have encouraged a lot of women to change the way they feel about being single, about having cancer, being lonely, and I think that’s a powerful thing in this era of post-feminism. I think we have helped to find what it is to be successful, smart, and feminine.”
But it turns out she – and many others – think the term is derogatory and the cougar trend is on its way out. PopEater.com puts it this way in Saying goodbye to the Cougar Trend:
“And so now it looks like we’re going to have to look at Pfeiffer, Cox, Cattrall and other aging actress for what they really are: confident, successful women whose talent has kept them in the spotlight beyond an arbitrary media-determined sell-by date. Rather than agree to hide behind some sort of cartoon send-up of what an attractive older woman is, these ladies are redefining how we see life after you spot that first wrinkle.”
Cattrall recently turned down a cover spot on a major women’s magazine because they wanted her to pose with a cougar – and to her, that term and that imagery are derogatory. She told Extra “I really take umbrage to the code ‘cougar’ …I think cougar has a negative connotation, and I don’t see anything negative about Samantha and her sexuality, sensuality and choice.” Over at The Today Show in an interview with Meredith Viera she clarified, “I feel there is nothing predatory about a woman of a certain age. The stereotype is that the woman is searching for young men like they’re prey, and I just don’t think that’s good enough.”
We’ve received lots of positive comments from readers who are inspired by the cougar concept and love the fantasies, so we’re curious – what does the cougar image mean to YOU? Positive or negative, celebratory or derogatory, powerful or demeaning? Eager to hear from you!