Thursday, May 15, 2008

Older Women Doing Younger Men

The newest series from Ellora's steamin' Cave is called "Oh, Yum!" (That's a cute way of telegraphing the phrase older woman/younger man or OWYM.) The series reflects a recent--and, far as I'm concerned, long overdue--trend in real-life intimate relationships. And for that reason, I applaud it. Resoundingly.

My contribution to this series, Liberation, is now available:

For how many centuries have women had to endure rejection or the alienation of spousal affection because they haven't been considered desirable, for all kinds of reasons, as they advance toward middle age? (And it is indeed an advance, if maturity of vision counts for anything in this world.) How many Hugh Hefners and Donald Trumps have contributed to loss of female self-esteem? Well, EC authors have stepped up to tell these guys, "Perch and spin, you shallow, pretentious asshats!"

Liberation isn't the first book in which I explore the psycho-emotional landmines that pepper a woman's path out of her twenties. I actually took a much longer, deeper look at the issue in Two Out of Three Ain't Bad, a novel published through Cerridwen Press. It's an often emotional story, because aging can be an often emotional life-change in terms of how women evaluate their own worth. Sad to say, advertisers and the media, whose influence is pervasive in this culture, only exacerbate whatever perceptual problems already exist. (By the way, I don't use the word cougar in either book. I find it offensive, because it suggests that women who end up with younger male partners are cunning predators. I know from personal experience this is bullshit. Whatever sneering male dreamt up the term can go fuck himself with it.)

In both of my books--and, for that matter, all the Oh Yum! stories--what's ultimately celebrated are defiance and persistence: the defiance of stifling cultural norms and the persistence of joy in romance and in sex. The men in these tales are celebrated, as well, because they have the ability to see through surfaces to what lies beneath and to embrace those qualities.

So [raising my glass in a toast] here's hoping romance writers and publishers continue to slough off stereotypes and explore the many faces of love!


Alice Gaines said...

My story, Dr. Feelgood, will be an Oh Yum, in June. At my age, younger men sure look good. When I heard Ellora's Cave was going to do this series, I jumped on it!

K. Z. Snow said...

Same here, Alice. It's a lot more difficult to inject personal experience (or maybe I should say the benefit of personal experience) into fantasies and paranormals!

Samantha Kane said...

Great blog, K.Z. I think this

the persistence of joy in romance and in sex. The men in these tales are celebrated, as well, because they have the ability to see through surfaces to what lies beneath and to embrace those qualities.

describes my story, A Lady In Waiting, to a T. You said it very eloquently! Hopefully stories like ours will help to change popular misconceptions and stereotypes like "Cougars".

Ashlyn Chase said...

I couldn't agree with you more!

My dh is 13 years my junior and we're going strong after 14 years of marriage and 18 years of togetherness.


K. Z. Snow said...

I share your hope, Sam. The ageism in our culture sickens me as much as any other kind of discrimination, and it's often far more insidious.

Ash, you get on with your bad self! What a great man you must have found. Now that's a keeper.

My ex was ten years my junior; a lover, twelve. Sad to say, they both turned out to be big ol' buttwipes.

KyAnn said...

I came over to post about my Oh Yum story, Impulsive Pleasures. The first story released in the series. And wanted to say I find the term "Cougar" to be tongue in cheek and not offensive at all.

To summarize MSNBC and an article they did on the term cougar.

There are some who find the term offensive but also those who think otherwise. MSNBC and the female writer brought a different perspective.

The article said that the term should actually empower women and not judge them. She defined a cougar as a woman who is proud of her choice of status and has maintained her looks and self-worth. She is confident of her body, even if it changes through the years.

Just another perspective.


K. Z. Snow said...

Actually, KyAnn, I'd thought about that: Maybe I was taking the term too literally and seriously; maybe I should instead be seeing it as facetious and even, in a way, complimentary.

Then I thought, Why should there even be a label at all? Why? And if there is one, why does it have to suggest predation?

That's the aspect of it that ultimately hung me up (because, believe me, there isn't much in life I take too seriously!) It was the fact that "cougar" carries the connotation of "stalker"--as if middle-aged women are out there hunting down fine young stuff.

Still, I do appreciate the other perspective. I, as an older woman, might find it appealing to embrace the concept...but does the public buy that flattering interpretation?

K. Z. Snow said...

Just gotta say, it makes me happy-happy-happy to engage in intelligent discourse with fellow authors and readers. It's always refreshing and enlightening...and gets me out of my writerly shell!

AliceAnderson said...

I have to agree. Long overdue. While it's hard for me to connect with these heroines, I can appreciate that there are many, many women out there that would really love (and deserve) them.

Wishing you many sales!