Often time’s men are seen as more powerful and dominate figures. However, in the article “Three assumptions about cougars and tomboys” Laura McKenzie talks about female-older relationships that may change this dynamic, and also different assumptions of these relationships portrayed in media.
We all know that masculinity has ben constructed through the body as well as different rituals. When a women seeks a man who is much younger than herself she could be doing so in order to gain a more powerful status and take the more dominate role in the relationship.
Media seems to portray that these relationships are extremely common and that age is just a number. Although these types of relationships are more common today than they were in the past media tends to over exaggerate how common they actual are. One of the reasons that these women-older marriages may not be as common as portrayed is because they may take away a man’s masculinity. These types of relationships put men in a less dominate role and men might not like the fact that they might have less power than the older woman they are in a relationship with with. However, one reason that these relationships may be more common today than they were in the past is because women are attempting to challenge gender scripts and attempting to redefine them and attempting to normalize these female-older relationships.
In the article McKenzie explains that in one interview she did a woman explained that power relations were “probably pretty even.” And that “He likes to be the boss” but “with the age difference that doesn’t really shine through.” So, in a sense the male attempts to be more dominating but is not as successful in being the more powerful figure because of the age difference, which levels the playing field. However, another issue that McKenzie mentions is the fact that often times when a women is in a more powerful role she often has to take responsibility for everything which included preventing male’s from “going off the rails.” This encompasses a women’s typical gender role as the one who is supposed to be nurturing.
So although female-older relationships are becoming more common they are still being a bit over exaggerated. It is important to realize that although women in these relationships may have more power the type of power that they have is not the same kind of power men have in male-older relationships. Females in female-older relationships seem to have power that is more in line with their typical gender role.