Pumas, and Cougars, and MILFs, Oh My!: Popular Portrayals of Romance and Sexual Encounters Between ‘The Older Woman’ and Younger Man
When Jennifer Lopez was cast as the lead in Rob Cohen’s 2015 erotic thriller, The Boy Next Door — a film about a middle-aged high school English teacher who sleeps with a student from her school — the irony was not lost on media critics. Lopez’s name — along with that of Madonna, Mariah Carey, Sharon Stone, Sandra Bullock, Julianne Moore, Demi Moore, Susan Sarandon, Robin Wright, Katie Couric, Kathy Griffin, and Ivana Trump — often lands on lists ranking the ‘most notorious’, ‘sexiest’, or ‘hottest’ female celebrities involved with younger men.1 Although The Boy Next Door received little praise from critics, it grossed $35.4 million in the domestic market alone.2 Nearly two decades after the real-life scandal of Mary Kay Letourneau — the teacher who not only slept with her 12-year-old student, but also gave birth to his child while out on bail and married him once he became of legal age following her imprisonment — it might seem as if the teacher/student sexual liaison storyline has become almost banal. And with so many lists dedicated to detailing the romantic exploits of older women and younger men, one would think such relationships are no longer looked upon as deviant, right? Wrong.
KeywordsPopular Culture Double Standard Sexual Double Standard Mother Lover Soda Bottle
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