By: Mia Bencivenga
First of all, let me first state that I know no intimate details about Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart’s relationship. It could be marvelous, stupendous, the paradigm of health and happiness, etc., etc…
Either way, I have no idea. Jennifer and I aren’t what you’d call “tight.”
What little I know is what I see on the covers of magazines and the stories they run when it’s a slow news day on ABC; shortly after the dissolution Jennifer Lopez’s third marriage, Ms. Lopez was already said to be dating a Mr. Casper Smart, a backup dancer who is some fifteen years her junior.
Since then, the two have been seen canoodling and enjoying choreographed dance numbers together, with the occasional play date with her children thrown in to the mix. In addition, they have recently appeared in a new video in which they are both saucily dancing, like lovers with exceptional chemistry tend to do. She also reportedly showers the young gent with presents, buying him a truck for his birthday, among other things.
Of course, as is protocol with any highly publicized couple, there are whispers about the “true” nature of their relationship. However, in their case, since he is 25 and she in her early 40s, Ms.. Lopez has been deemed a “cougar,” or an older woman who enjoys the, let’s say, “companionship” of much younger men. This vast difference between the amount of money and success she has (a lot) compared to the amount of each that he as (not that much) has led to cries of “Sugar Momma” and “Gold Digger!” from the tabloids and dutiful E! News correspondents.
However, as I’ve mentioned before, none of us has any idea what the true nature of their relationship is. If I am to believe that their relationship is much like their dance moves in Jennifer Lopez’s recent music video, then the two of them are going to be together for a long time, and will also most likely suffer from terrible exhaustion from the high amount of time per day that is most likely devoted to well-choreographed sexy time.
All kidding aside, theirs is an interesting case. Very rarely does one see an older woman in her 40s with two children successfully manage to date a younger man in his twenties. So naturally, we become suspicious. Something else must be going on, why else would a young man like Casper Smart want to date a woman like Jennifer Lopez?
You know, besides that she’s beautiful, and a pop star, and an intelligent business woman. What’s the appeal, really?
And yet, all we can think about when we look at their relationship is how weird and unnatural it is for a woman her age to be dating a man so young. So weird in fact that we must automatically assume that she is buying his companionship, despite the fact that he is most likely attracted to a lot more than just her pocketbook.
It only serves to remind us that there are gross double standards between women who engage in these types of relationships as opposed to men.
In fact, when Ashton Kutcher left Demi Moore earlier this year, my general impression is that people were completely unsurprised. Of course Ashton would leave her eventually. It didn’t make sense for a young hot guy to stay with an older woman. It was only natural that he would become restless in the relationship. So really, she shouldn’t have even tried; she was just pressing her luck the whole time, fighting the tides of fate…To put it simply, she should have never have thought it would have worked out in the first place.
Of course, this type of opinion grosses me out a little.
In these situations, people like to turn to biological factors in order for explanation. Casper Smart could not really want to date Jennifer Lopez. Despite the fact that she is beautiful, she’s still, in our deluded and warped standards, “old,” despite the fact that I at nineteen have more cellulite on my legs than she does (did I mention she’s in her 40s?)
And my dear, why don’t you know that men only want youthful, fertile, childbearing ladies? To try to fight against that is like fighting against Mother Nature herself. And this, some would argue, is why Jennifer Lopez can only be Casper Smart’s Sugar Momma, rather than his lover.
It’s a convenient explanation that reinforces everything we claim to know about the sexes.
But if you agree with that, you must agree with the idea that since men are supposedly more inclined to promiscuity than women, that it’s only “natural” for men to cheat on their wives.
You see the problem?
I don’t claim to be a biologist/psychologist/anything with an –ist at the end or to know any more about these types of things than anyone else; however, I do notice double standards and contradiction when I see it.
Older women shouldn’t date younger men because it goes against Mother Nature’s good ol’ fashioned gender roles. So if you violate the rules of the roles, you apparently deserve to be called a predatory cat, in a derogatory fashion.
For the dudes however, it’s totally cool to date a much younger chick, because that’s what men are compelled to do. Supposed to do, really. Unless they cheat on her. Then they are ostracized from society and have to do a variety of apologetic press conferences in order to salvage their reputations. Usually, this includes a book deal, or an appearance on the Today Show. Or both.
And god help you if you are a woman who cheats on her husband. Not only do you need press conferences, but you also need to go into rehab for sex addiction, appear on The View only to sit there and answer uncomfortable questions and be ridiculed for your outlandish and unorthodox decision, and adopt at least three children from the Himalayas, just to be safe.
I mean, It’s one thing if a man cheats on his wife, but if a woman does it? A man can be forgiven for his infidelity, but a woman?
Even after all of these years, comedians are still telling Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky jokes. And I for one notice that the ones against Monica are usually a great deal more venomous, despite the fact that over a decade has passed and the girl hasn’t been heard of at all within the last five years. Yet Bill Clinton, despite the occasional mild mannered jab, is still operating peacefully and happily in the public sphere.
This is all , of course, and no pun intended, a very slippery slope. Sexism in general is bad, but when it comes to roles within relationships and family units, it can be really detrimental to how we view our own place within them. It can be confusing and cause self-fulfilling prophecies.
I find that if you really buy into these stereotypes and these patterns, you set yourself up to fall into them. And once in that pattern, you’re likely to repeat it.
And frankly, I think once is enough.
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