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Feminism's Next Battle: Cougars Vs. Pit Bulls With Lipstick

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Posted on September 9 2009 5:30 pm
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sarah palin

Feminism has sought many ways to empower women over the years. Not all have been a success. And all too often, the feminist left has ignored more practical models from groups they despise.

Consider the trend on display in Sunday’s episode of Red Eye on FOX News: the newly phrased “cougar” sensation with older women. There is even a cougar convention.  If you are not aware of what a cougar is, consult the Urban Dictionary. Based on the context in which society uses it, cougar probably isn’t the best term to refer to certain older women.

Host Greg Gutfeld comments:

“There is nothing wrong with older ladies having sex with younger men, but don’t for a minute mistake it for empowerment.  The title ‘cougar’ insinuates that these older ladies are predators hunting for young men, when in fact there is no hunting at all.  Men are easy and they’ll gladly pretend it was your idea if it means they get to see you naked.  That is the basic crux of feminism, after all.”

It is no surprise to see certain parts of society painting these “cougars” as empowered women; the top of the www.cougarconvention.com website actually says “empowering women.”  I wish this was a joke.

I’m not sure how seriously we are supposed to take this because the first thing under the website’s “Feeatured Content” section is a picture of Chippendales exotic dancers.

The site also describes a cougar’s life as a “not done at 40…lifestyle.”  Not done with what?  This needs to be more clearly defined.  I clicked on the “About” tab and, of course, it is blank.

Under “Featured Content,” you can find their definition of a “cougar”:

“What is a Real Cougar Woman? She is style, she is grace, she is smart, she is a leader. She has worked hard, learned a lot and excelled at whatever she chose to do. She doesn’t ever have to apologize for being successful – she has earned her stripes.”

If they want to redefine a cougar to be an independent, successful woman of age, that is fine, but it certainly isn’t the definition that our culture associates with the word.

Not to my surprise, next to this definition they have a picture of the women from HBO’s hit series Sex and the City.  This is a bad choice, since the characters’ amoral lifestyles are depicted as proudly independent.

But there’s another way for a woman to show that she’s just as tough as a wild animal. And there’s another animal that needs to go to war with the cougars: the pitbulls with lipstick.

Why not use someone like Sarah Palin?  Regardless of politics, she is smart, successful, beautiful, and in no way represents or condones promiscuous behavior.  Palin is a non-predatory, pro-marriage, non-promiscuous “pitbull with lipstick.” So what is the difference between a cougar and a pitbull with lipstick? Class.

With provocative pictures of exotic male dancers as well as Tina Fey, the Cougar Convention site looks like it’s not only capitulating to the “male gaze” that feminists have fought for years, but it also creates its own “female gaze.” How is imitating sleazy males, empowering?

If women want to feel empowered, they should not just do the same things that chauvinist guys do.  They need to make their own mark.  Maybe try proving that they can be older, attractive, tough, successful and fun, all while not taking pride in promiscuity.

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