Poledra and Catherine told us about the Couger Pride ad campaign by Air New Zealand. This commercial was banned from the air due to complaints:
In addition, Air New Zealand had a contest for cougars to attend the Rugby Sevens. Catherine says,
They offered sixty women over 35 years the chance to win tickets to the sporting event (which is more like a Mardi Gras) as well as “cougar costumes and the equipment to make enough noise to attract the attention of young males.”
This video contains footage of the winners (?) at the event:
As Catherine points out, in theory the “cougar” phenomenon could be empowering, in that it recognizes that women remain sexual throughout their lives. But we often see older women who are interested in sex with younger men portrayed as, literally, predatory, as in the commercial, and the age difference as shocking or comical (whereas age differences where the man is older are less noteworthy — just as an example, note how much attention Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher got when they started dating, while David Schwimmer from Friends, who is 43, is engaged to a 24-year-old and that seems to be unremarkable; Jerry Seinfeld also married a much-younger woman with little public scrutiny).
According to the Huffington Post, New Zealand’s Rape Prevention Education director voiced a different concern, arguing that predatory sexual behavior shouldn’t be encouraged or laughed at regardless of the gender of the person engaging in it:
“[Air New Zealand employees] find it degrading and that it is encouraging potentially harmful behaviour, so my question is why is our national carrier promoting sexually predatory behaviour?” McGregor said. “We have also had complaints from male survivors who have been raped by women and they are very distressed that their situation is being laughed at and made out to be humorous.”