| Angie Counios
Yet, popular culture has changed the word for women. Unfortunately now, the popular use of the word cougar is degrading.
So here is Urban Dictionary's definition of a cougar:
An older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man. The cougar can be anyone from an overly surgically altered wind tunnel victim, to an absolute sad and bloated old horn-meister, to a real hottie or milf.
It goes on to say:
Cougars are gaining in popularity -- particularly the true hotties -- as young men find not only a sexual high, but many times a chick with her shit together.
Cougar? Milf? Chick? This definition feels like all sorts of wrong.
I don't like the word cougar in this context. I told a younger man I dated that only I was allowed to use the word cougar, not him. It somehow gave me ownership and that made it okay. I, of course, never used the word. I just imposed the rule to create a boundary. He respected my request.
Then, a few days ago I threw it into a sentence in a piece of writing I was working on to describe an attractive older woman. It was from the perspective of a teenage boy. There it was—a misogynistic cougar character that I wrote. Hmm—How did that happen? David called me on it. He teased. And he made me think.
Let's go back a little bit.
In July, David and I were working on a script. I suggested a violent sexual altercation between a leading bad guy and the female protagonist. Again, this attack on a woman was suggested by me, a woman, and not him. Of course, our character fights, survives and becomes the heroine, but still she had to endure.
David, being a very good guy, picked up the phone and called his wife (my sister) to let her know this scene was created by me and not him and that he
loved respected women very much and wanted his wife to know that.
So, did the violence in this scene make it better, worse, or the same because it was created by a woman? Does including scenes like the ones created by me perpetuate the stereotype? And if there is a difference, does the gender telling the story matter?
If using the sexual violence makes people cringe, then maybe we are on the right path, knowing that there should be a less sexist relationships between women and men. Intention of the words should be considered as well as what they connote.
This is an advantage of a male/female writing team and I thank Dave for giving balance to us and making and reacting to something that I passed by in my brain.
As I was working on this 'cougar' post I came across this quote:
"Truly powerful women don't explain why they want respect. They simply don't engage those who don't give it to them.
It's a quote by Sherry Argov. I liked it and I agree with it. Then, I Googled her. She wrote **Why Men Love Bitches. ** and she lost me at the word "bitches." It's a word I refuse to use. So, I guess we all have our line.
Oh, and final point—The man equivalent (for your information) is a manther! Good grief!