Cougar is a slang term that refers to a woman who seeks sexual relations with considerably younger men. This book deals with the dynamics and motivations of older women who seduce younger men, as portrayed in six classical films.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the classic film The Graduate, in which Anne Bancroft, as the famous Mrs. Robinson, seduces the recent college graduate Benjamin, played by Dustin Hoffman. The film has become part of our culture and has been immortalized by the Simon and Garfunkel song that plays throughout the film.
Because I am a child and adult psychiatrist and child and adult psychoanalyst, I'll use psychodynamic concepts to explain these fascinating liaisons. Hopefully an understanding of psychoanalytic developmental theory in the young adult and midlife development of women and a discussion of psychoanalytic thinking on the similarities between puberty and menopause will provide a theoretical framework for a deeper understanding of the seductive women's motivations.
I've chosen to focus on women rather than men because the theme is less explored in film and in the psychodynamic literature. The six films to be discussed are as follows: The Graduate (1968), Tea and Sympathy (1956), Summer of '42 (1971), The Reader (2008), The Last Picture Show (1971), and Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001).
Similar material on three of the six films was previously presented in my article published in 2014 in the American Journal of Psychoanalysis, entitled "Why Mrs. Robinson? The Seduction of Teenage Boys by Women in Classic Films". I've included a bibliography at the end of the book to provide references for listeners who wish to explore the subject further.
This book is divided into three sections. I'll begin by briefly discussing some of the major developmental and dynamic themes and tasks that are at the core of female development in adulthood.