My oldest son, age 14, pointed something out to me recently. That old 'double standard' -- or at least one form of it -- seems to have come full circle.
He saw a picture posted on-line of several 40-something women holding signs up and screaming like groupies for a certain young actor. For those Twilight fans out there, the young man in question is none other than Taylor Lautner, werewolf buddy turned one fine hunk of man. ;)
A comment posted with the picture stated that if a group of 40-something men staged the same scene for a 17-year-old actress -- the attention given by the public wouldn't be so accepting. No laughs and knowing winks. Those men would branded as disgusting perverts, if not worse.
Wow. A little harsh, but, yes, I have to admit it's probably true. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I'd likely think those exact thoughts. And yet, here I am, a 40-something mom, completely appreciating the very impressive physique and handsome face of a boy young enough to be my own child.
Huh. That revelation made me squirm just a bit.
So, anyone want to hazard a guess how this happened? When did societal values shift so that older women ogling ... even lusting after younger men became okay? But the opposite became a bad joke?
Just to clarify, I don't actually lust after young Taylor. I do admire him from afar. I do find myself wishing certain men my own age still looked half that fit, shall we say? But I do not sit around and daydream about him.
Whatever the reasons have been, the truth is that things have changed. What was once taboo is no longer. And so a whole new sub-genre of the romance novel has been born. I haven't found a favorite older woman/younger man book, yet, but I'll let you know when I do.
I once read the statement that the difference between men and women being with someone much younger is that the woman knows she'll look ridiculous. I'm sure Demi Moore would have a few choice words regarding that observation. ;) But in reality... in the lives of average, everyday, non-movie star people, I think it's likely very true.
Most women I know would never dream of initiating a romance with a man ten or more years their junior, no matter the appeal. If such a young man were to make the first advance, that same woman might wonder what he really wanted... and just how long she'd hold his attention. Yes, we have many issues involving vanity. Perhaps some trust issues, as well.
Women now, as a whole, seem to now feel confident enough to admit they find men... even much-younger men, sexy and desirable. Men, on the other hand, are given nasty looks by many of those same women, if they're found lusting for much-younger girls.
Yes, the tables have turned on this particular double-standard. Makes me wonder what will be next.