…and Cougars

I thought the Grabaseat Cougar mockumentary was funny. I definitely sent it on to a couple of people. What I think bears closely scrutiny is the sleazy competition that went with it to get tickets to the Sevens in Wellington.

First, Air New Zealand has to get the Cheapskate Award for not even springing for the airfares to Wellington, let alone accommodation.

The You-Tube ad copped the flak, but I think it’s the competition that deserves scrutiny. Sadly the radio station assisting with the promotion has been missed out being brought into disrepute for their participation in this.

What was sickening was the blatant debasing and sexualisation of the participants. Women had to send photos of their “packs”, describe their water hole and their favourite pieces of “meat” (i.e. the men they hunt). Young men then entered to be fodder for the winning pack. The clear point was to team up a bunch of blokes to be the sexual entertainment for the rapacious women. Therefore, objections made by rape prevention groups about the ad potentially making sexually predatory behaviour acceptable, better applies to the competition rather than the ad. Their comments about the seriousness of rape, and the fact that men can be the victims of female perpetrators is valid but I expect went over the heads of your average punter. It was clear the ad was a joke. The competition was no joke at all.

Would we accept a competition where older men describe their favour “meat” and young women compete to be their prey? Actually, I think we do. It’s called the Playboy Mansion. Yet we seem to be more able to accept that kind of objectification as tacky but not the Cougar Competition. Maybe it’s easier to say someone is too PC or just needs to get a sense of humour than think about treating all people with respect rather than as sexual play things.

Why did none of the entrants – male or female – think “Hell, I have too much dignity to enter this?”

I’m waiting to see the outfits the winning cougars are given. I think “predictably sluttish” is the winning bet.

I wonder from where “cougar” originates?

I thought the name was a tag for an older, confident woman, in command of her sexuality who knows what she wants, who she wants and goes for it. Probably a financially successful, emotionally mature woman without hang ups about body image etc.  Far from being predatory – she is a man magnet. She can reject older, paunchy, balding, sexist and paternalistic men and choose who she forms a relationship with.

However, cougar seems to have been hijacked to now mean a predatory, emotionally bankrupt female who shouldn’t be “allowed” a relationship with a man younger than her. She’s only capable scoring a man for a night. She isn’t wanted long term. You can imagine the young man explaining it to his mates the next day as “I was drunk and then when I woke up with her I had to gnaw my arm of.” Who is actually the victim here? Isn’t this re-invented cougar a woman scorned upon, taken as a sexual partner and then easily disposed of?

What Grabaseat has done is hijack a word that could mean a strong, independent women and made her socially unacceptable.

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