If you think Ashley Madison is a weird concept for a dating/hook-up site, meet Cougar Life. It’s for cougars. I think cougars are extraordinarily gorgeous, majestic creatures, so I don’t know why they’d need help finding dates, but apparently they do. So I was shocked when I saw the “cougar” in the Cougar Life commercial. She was a well-preserved (thanks to an obviously pretty lustful embrace of artifice) woman in her 40’s (?). In the ad she proves her cougar bona fides by…insulting younger women.
If you watch/DVR anything that comes on after 11 PM, you’ll probably run across the Adam & Eve ad I’m always seeing. In it nubile, naked young women run around looking nubile and naked while a narrator opines about mean ol’ Edna, an older (of course), fat (of course) woman who judgmentally rings up purchases some unseen person (someone young, hot and sexy obsv). The message is clear: Edna hates this sexy stuff. And why wouldn’t she? She’s fat and over 20. And as we all know, all fat women and all women over 20 are sexless harridans.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s one of Ashley Madison’s most notorious ads. I’m almost tempted the add a trigger warning here because I do find it so goddamn offensive.
This ad makes a couple of assumptions that are troubling:
- Married women are fat and (necessarily) unappealing
- Men never prefer fat women
There’s a nasty little thread that runs through all these campaigns. They pit women against each other: young women against older women, single women against married women, fat women against thin women. It’s sick. And people are getting paid to come up this toxic bullshit.
And I just wanna add that one of the reasons I find this so troubling is that I don’t feel this way about other women, be they fat, thin, old, young, conventionally attractive or no. This is stuff is just sick. I will not be pitted against other women. I consider women potential friends and allies, not competition.