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On Cougar Town

I’m actually not sure how to feel about the new ABC show Cougar Town. It’s a show about a 40-something divorced single mother (played by Courtney Cox) who’s essentially horny. Of the couple of episodes I’ve seen, there are new elements to sexuality in television I’m finding that I hadn’t seen before. For example:

  • Her teenage son walking in on her giving a guy she met earlier that night a blowjob
  • This same teenage son walking in on her mother and her coworker comparing their breast support, and in the process seeing his mother’s breasts (in the bra), and her yelling behind him something along the lines of “Hey these fed you you know!”
  • The final example that comes to mind is the main character being flattered after having her ass grabbed at a college party, because the grabber, a woman, thought she was her young college roommate.

I said I don’t know what to think because I don’t know where the portrayal of sexuality on television is heading in the wake of shows like this. Even before this show I’ve noticed a sharp increase in the mention of boobs, breasts, vagina, and other such words on primetime television, and it’s not even a question whether they’re there as part of a story to tell or for sensationalism (that cornerstone of American media).

I guess my real concern boils down to one question: Are these women really liberated in their sexuality or have they swung far to another side where they’re just sex-crazed one-dimensional bimbos?

Are they powerful, or are they desperate and needy for sex and what seems to come with it (self-respect, acceptance, consideration of self-beauty)? I’m sure someone at some university is asking the same questions I’m asking and putting actual research into finding answers (instead of speculation like I do).

I’d like to know who watches this show. My guess is women, mostly in the 20s and 30s. It’s harmless entertainment, to which I agree with at some level, but at another, most abstract level, it’s indicative of what we find entertaining: anything having to do with sex. It look to me like our music, movies, books – the stories we enjoy, in general, all want for sex in order to deserve our attention.

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