Next stop, "MILF Island"

Producers are casting a new reality show about "cougars" in New York City.

Published August 5, 2008 3:47PM (EDT)

Every time you think the reality television genre has officially achieved its nadir, those clever industry minds hit you with something even worse than the last one. This time it's "Cougars: NYC," another see-how-the-socialites-live offering -- except that these particular socialites are 40-something women who date only much younger men.

Producers have already cast three of the five cougars -- including R&B singer Mel'isa Morgan -- but two other slots will be filled at a mixer for cougars and "cubs" at Manhattan bar Libation on Aug. 20. Here's the curious thing: Libation's Web site defines "cougars" as women over 40 and "cubs" as men 25 to 35. So five years counts as a cougar-qualifying age difference? Are you kidding me? When a wealthy middle-aged man goes out with a woman five years younger than he, we want to give him a medal for age-appropriate dating. Obviously, sexist double standards are the very lifeblood of this show, but come on!

Hilariously, executive producer Elizabeth Mwanga told Page Six that the word "cougar" is "meant to symbolize empowerment" because -- wait for it -- "this isn't just horny older women chasing younger guys. It's women who are beautiful, successful and hot, who can get these younger guys because they are hot." Ah, I see. In my day, women didn't see being judged primarily by our looks as "empowerment," but then, we didn't see a five-year age difference between romantic partners as scandalous, either. I am so far behind the times. Better go find myself a 35-year-old "cub" to teach me about kids today. Then maybe I'll be ready when someone actually decides to make "MILF Island." It can't be long now.

By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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