In an age of enlightenment, “again,” we are now ruminating over old modes of thinking and finding most of the time that old taboos are back in style. So it seems with the term, Cougar. The TV show “Cougars” revamped something that folks had the sense to only whisper about. Then again, they only whispered it if someone spied one of the neighborhood boys creeping out of a woman’s back door. I read a blog recently that questioned the impact of the word Cougar in 2010. Here was my response:
If you really want to understand why educated women become insulted being called a “Cougar,” read the Audre Lorde essay, “The Erotic as Power.” Your argument is outside of the context of womanhood (although well meant). As a man in a society defined by men, relating to a woman’s perspective beyond the sexual is non-existent. Regardless of how intelligent men proclaim a woman to be, her scale of intelligence is always based on his (as any human), and subconsciously, exceptional in-spite of her sex appeal. Speaking from a divorced 52-year-old African American woman’s perspective, the majority of younger men who are doing well are attracted to older women for their mature out look and economic prowess. The younger men who are not doing well, need some place to live. This is a personal experience and is not a blanket statement of younger men. They always need or want something, not necessarily monetary. Older single women have usually been through experiences that have left them drained and really do not want to mother or be fathered. They are usually self-maintained or it would benefit them more to seek out older well-established men. So leaving the sexuality at the door, educated Africans are realizing that older women are an asset that the African community can’t live without. We are the griots of culture, the power of nature, the harbingers of secrets, and the wives of a tired culture that still has not learned to respect itself first; therefore call their motherheads Cougars.
Not a single word in the entire collection of world dictionaries has raised the hair on the back of my neck as the word Cougar. No disrespect to the fine actors on the show, Cougars, but women of substance have an obligation to boycott and protest against anything that teaches our young women that sexual power is not worth preserving.