The female version of the pervert in a dirty raincoat

 

GIVE ME A BREAK:IF I SEE, one more time, 45-year-old Courteney Cox opening her robe and flashing that teenage boy on a bicycle, causing him to crash against a car and flip over his handlebars, I’m going to scream at the TV even louder than the first 20 times I saw this ad for her show, Cougar Town, writes KATE HOLMQUIST

We see Courteney Cox being waxed, Courteney Cox calling her best friend a “whore”, Courteney Cox salivating over young boys on the football pitch, Courteney Cox entering a bedroom with her bones adorned in tacky lingerie because she’s so eager to please her younger lover.

My teenage kids have banned me from watching it. They think Cougar Townis gross, and so do I.

Courteney Cox is both a symbol and a red light warning for everything that is wrong with the Hollywood portrayal of middle-aged women, who are rarely wise or strong or naturally aged. They’re either sex goddesses or merely desperate, as in housewives, and sometimes both.

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a moment. Let’s say that a 40-something Botoxed male actor in a show called Prowl Town is filmed standing in the street and opening his robe to flash a teenage girl on a bicycle who is so shocked that she crashes into a car. Let’s say that he sits on the side of the teenage girls’ hockey pitch and talks loudly about how much he’d like to get his hands on one of the players. Let’s see him getting waxed and then entering a bedroom while wearing the male version of tacky lingerie where a much younger woman awaits.

How long would that show last? Anyone pitching it wouldn’t have made it past the car park.

Courteney Cox in Cougar Townis the female version of the pervert in a dirty raincoat and yet in some sort of twisted LA logic she’s meant to be empowering women.

It’s not the age difference between cougars and cubs that’s the problem. Adults can have healthy relationships with people considerably younger or older than they are. Courteney Cox herself is married to David Arquette, who is 10 years younger, though the ultimate poster girl for so-called cougars is Demi Moore (47), whose husband Ashton Kutcher (32) is so often photographed looking lovingly into her eyes. Yesterday, it was reported that she wants to have a baby with him, even though she already has children with Bruce Willis, which shows that even at her age she is willing to go through fertility treatment to hang on to Ashton by giving him the one thing that a younger woman could almost guarantee.

Running in strong on the inside, though, is 42-year-old Sam Taylor Wood, who is pregnant by her fiancé, 19-year-old Kick Assactor Aaron Johnson, whom she met when directing him in the film inspired by John Lennon, Nowhere Boy.

The boy is barely legal. If she were a man, she’d be accused of outrageous behaviour.

As for Madonna and her string of personal trainers, what more can we say? It’s great to see an older woman/younger man relationship working, which is why it was sad to see 63-year-old Susan Sarandon’s marriage to her 52-year-old husband, Tim Robbins, ending – an experience she called “exhilarating and terrifying”. Jealous sourpusses called it predictable and depressing.

I’m not judging other people’s relationships. These dangerous Hollywood liaisons are surely based on love and devotion (and an expertly written premarital agreement). What annoys me is the way these goddesses who have time and money to indulge in hours of exercise and cosmetic maintenance every day are inflicting their cougarishness on the rest of us.

A vain obsession with appearance rather than genuine social engagement and sex rather than sexuality has real women who have financial independence spending their money on surgery and signing up to cougar dating websites where, my brief research tells me, the real predators are the younger male “cubs” who see older women as having plenty of dosh and sex drives to match. (That’s putting it politely, the crude words the cubs use are unprintable.)

The days are gone when a middle-aged woman could be respected by virtue of her contribution to society in the home, the community, or at work. Now she has to look like an anorexic porn star and dress like a stripper – in Courteney Cox’s version, anyway. This role model means that the burden of having to be sexually attractive, which starts in adolescence, will last until we’re 65, with no respite.

In late May, a workshop-packed Wise Woman Weekend (wisewomanireland.com) will take place in the North Leitrim Glens, to “celebrate all things feminine” as part of the Bealtaine festival. While I’m not one for doing circle-dancing and drum-beating to ethereal music in a fringed skirt with my nails dirty from herb-digging while invoking Queen Meadbh and getting in touch with my goddess self, their Wild Woman Banquet and Open Mic Social is legendary and I’m thinking that it’s a heck of a better role model than the cougar. And at €140, excluding accommodation, it’s cheaper than Botox.