Love the cat, and to be honest, I don't hate it as a slang term either.
A couple places I frequent on the interwebs have been discussing cougars of late. Why the sudden surge of interest? I'm not sure. Maybe it's cyclical and I've just missed the cycles until now LOL. Really though, it's led me to do a lot of thinking. The first time it popped on my radar was with regard to romance books, and specifically erotic romance. Are cougars hot or overdone? How much of an age difference until it moves from sexy to squicky? Etc. etc. etc. And then, the terminology came into question. If you're not in your 40s, you aren't a cougar. (In your 30s, you're apparently a puma. Not sure what this means for women in their 50s or older.) Then someone said that if you weren't a woman who actively hunted for younger men, you weren't a cougar either. (Okay, so in a way, this makes sense, but then is there a different term for women who just happen to sometimes date or end up falling for a younger guy?)
All of this led me to a couple questions of my own.
First, there's a name for women who do this, but what about men? I mean, sure some of them get the dirty old man title, but in general do they have a name? Because if they do, I can't think of it.
Which leads me to wonder why women have one, and why we're always such sticklers for fitting people into niches. Because it isn't just the cougar thing and different people's ideas about that. Here are some other things you'll regularly hear from women about other women (and from men too, but...)
- "You're not curvy, you're fat."
- "She's too pretty to be smart."
- "That chick is too old to wear that."
- "Someone give that girl a cookie, she must be anorexic."
I will admit, I'm guilty of this as well, but when we talk about feminism and women supporting women, we need to start being realistic. Women are hard on each other to a crazy degree.
A few weeks ago, a woman started bitching about #BoobieWed on Twitter. Now, this is a campaign where people switch their avatars (if they choose) to a picture of boobs or cleavage and remind people to do their self-exams. It is for breast cancer awareness. Does it raise money? No. But it does get the message out that self-checks are important. My sister found her cancer through a self-exam and has been a survivor for ten years now. But this woman was adamant that it was about sex.
If some jerk wants to look at my boobs on Wednesdays because he or she likes boobs--whatever. That doesn't matter to me. What does is the one chick who says seeing my cleavage reminded her to do a self-exam. Flashing my cleavage (which I do a lot anyway) is a price I'm totally willing to pay if it might save a life.
And who is that chick to judge me for it?
So, here's my question to all the cougars, pumas, kitties, whatever furry animal you associate yourself with (or even if you don't)--why do we do this to each other? Why all the judgments and rudeness?