“Cougar” has become a popular term for sexually aggressive older women on the hunt for younger men, with actress Courteney Cox recently starring in TV comedy “Cougar Town”. But, the term can be viewed either as misogynistic or a word of empowerment.
An online spoof documentary by Air New Zealand, promoting a competition for free tickets to a rugby tournament, tells of a so-called cougar starving herself during the day, then “hunting large slabs of meat at night” by stalking young men at a bar.
The voiceover says despite men’s attempts to ward off the woman’s advances, the cougar has “not tasted fresh meat for days” and drags her victims to her inner-city apartment, often forcing them to listen to “Enya or the Eurythmics”.
The promotion by the airline’s Grabaseat discount airfare site encouraged women aged 35 plus to send in photographs of themselves to compete for tickets to next month’s Wellington Sevens.
Grabaseat Manager Duane Perrott said the campaign was designed as “light-hearted humour to kick off the New Year” and most people saw it as a celebration of the “quirky sense of humour New Zealanders are renowned for.” “We’ve been overwhelmed by entries and are closing the competition,” Perrott said on Monday.
“However, we are cognisant of the fact that some organisations have raised concerns about the promotion’s content.” New Zealand’s Rape Prevention Education has labelled the ad appalling, disgusting and degrading to women, adding that some Air New Zealand staff were also concerned about the promotion. “They find it degrading and that it is encouraging potentially harmful behaviour, so my question is why is our national carrier promoting sexually predatory behaviour?” director Kim McGregor told “NZ Herald” newspaper.
“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 humourous.”