Cougars aren't getting a fair shake. When it comes to social disapproval, woman who love a much younger man face discrimination as intense as that encountered by interracial and same-sex couples. Just ask any cougar.
Though Demi Moore's marriage to Ashton Kutcher, 15 years her junior, may have opened some minds, woman in relationships with more than a 10-year age gap face frequent public scorn, in the form of disapproving stares and really stupid, insensitive comments. Women in The Real Cougar Woman Club, my online community, tell me how they are often mistaken for their partner's mother. Ouch! I can't think of anything worse than that - can you?
Social disapproval can doom a budding romance because partners have fewer opportunities to "invest" in the relationship. Just as a woman dating outside her race may feel uncomfortable bringing her boyfriend home, so-called "May-December" couples tend to receive less support for their unions than other couples do.
Women bear the brunt of society's reproach. Younger women are seen as gold diggers, while older women are scorned for trying to hang on to their youth.
When are we going to support the people we care about and stop using these crazy labels?