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Is 'Cougar' a Bad Word?

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From Vivica Fox to Mariah Carey, ladies aren't sticking within their age group to find love these days. Sexually active, mid-aged women who date younger men are often referred to as Cougars, which has a slight man-eater connotation.

In "Don't You Dare Call Me a Cougar!," CNN Editor Audrey Irvine explores the term and wheter it's "empowering or offensive." Irvine asks, why do women who seek younger companions get called cougars when men who date women that are much younger than them don't get much more than the occasional raised eyebrow.

Pop culture has made light of the term cougar so much that many women openly describe themselves as the wild felines. Irvine's stance is that while the media has embraced the term--using it as a premise in shows like TV Land's 'The Cougar' hosted by Vivica Fox, "Cougartown" on ABC and even in "Sex and the City,"--she hates that there's a term for confident women who don't mind dating men below their age.
Older men have been dating younger women for years. I'm sure that every man in this situation would take issue with being called a "sugar daddy," so I have an issue with "cougar." The term implies that the older women are predators while the unsuspecting younger man is the prey, Irvine writes. 

As a woman who has heard that I look younger than my license states, I have no problem with dating a younger man. But I refuse to be associated with a term that makes my dating life sound like I'm hunting, stalking and forcing my attentions upon some innocent, inexperienced young male.

Oddly enough, there is a term that everyone is familiar with that already exists so there is no need to be labeled a cougar. It describes being confident, self-assured at any age, empowered to make decisions without being influenced by what pop culture states is hot or not, isn't polarizing and addresses the concerns of my younger colleague. That word is woman.


What do you think? Do you feel empowered or offended by the word cougar? Does the word make you think of a predatory type of woman? Should there even be this type of classification?
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