Even the fact that the younger man/older woman pairing is seen as subversive proves that we are socially still mired in antiquated patriarchal expectations, which today shouldn't mean much at all.
You can see it in the way that media talks about these pairings, too – celebrities like Kylie Minogue, Jennifer Lopez, Sam Taylor-Johnson and Demi Moore have all copped the "cougar" label, with their partners referred to as "toy boys" and "young hunks", but there's no such fuss when older men pair up with much younger women (dare I bring Donald and Melania into this? Female celebrities have spoken up about this double standard, with Minogue calling the "toyboy" label "derogatory to both of us" and Taylor-Johnson branding it pure sexism.
I've also read articles proclaiming the benefits of dating younger men, from increased energy to better sex to less emotional baggage.
Though these pieces strip away the cultural taboo that still seems to underscore the idea of older women with younger men, the prescription of such sweeping generalisations to something so deeply individual also seems unproductive – we fall in love with people, not concepts.
Indeed, shows like Off screen, the frenzy that surrounded Demi Moore’s marriage to Ashton Kutcher, not forgetting the widely reported liaisons of stars such as Madonna, Mariah Carey and Sandra Bullock, allegedly serve as further evidence.
Nevertheless, it somehow seems precarious to start explaining away the genuine rise in older women dating younger men by skimming off examples from LA’s amorous glitterati.
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When women date younger men, it can raise eyebrows, but when men date younger women, no one blinks.
In search of clarity, we set out on a mission to look beyond the loaded monikers and dubious hype surrounding older woman/younger man relationships.
Why is it still such a sensational topic and what are the perks (and pitfalls) of a partnership where age knows no bounds?
The conversations we had during our brief fling tore open the confines of my mind like so few had before.
He was four years younger than me – still young enough to be considered "early twenties", as I trudged towards the end of mine.
famously proclaimed 2009 as the year of the cougar.