Why Google Is Banning "Cougar" Ads

I'm one worked-up cougar this morning. And that is not (unfortunately) because I have just bid adieu to the next hot 25-year-old in my life.*

Here's what has me pissed off: As the New York Times reported yesterday, Google has decided to ban ads for cougar sites — which help older women find younger men to date — from its content network. (That means the ads of a site like CougarLife.com will no longer appear on more than 6,700 Websites, including Ask.com, YouTube, and MySpace — and the company reports that Google's new decision will cut its traffic by 60 percent.)

Google's rationale? Such sites aren't family-friendly.

(Le cougar pictured above looks pretty family-friendly to me ... no?)

The "family-friendly" stuff would indicate that Google assumes all cougars are cheating wives who go online in the hopes of finding a hot pool boy or a hot baby fireman. And as we all know, some cougars are just single writer chicks who live in Brooklyn.

Nonetheless, even if all cougars were cheating wives, that would be their business, not Google's. (Which is not to say I condone cheating, because I don't.)

The much bigger problem is that Google has not restricted the ads of sites like DateAMillionaire.com, which promises users they can find sugar daddies.

Let's leave aside, for a moment, that a sugar daddy site makes dating sound a lot like prostitution — which doesn't seem "societally safe," let alone family-safe.

What's really pissing me off here is this clear ENORMOUS double standard:

Why does Google think (as it seems to) that older women looking for younger men are any more or any less likely to be cheating spouses than older men looking for younger women are?

Allow me to note, Google, that were we to abide strictly by cultural stereotypes, a cougar is a lot more likely to be a single urban woman looking for fun (or even a serious relationship) — la Sex and the City's Samantha — than she is to be a married soccer mom. Sugar daddies, however, are often married business men, according to the stereotype.

Or perhaps Google doesn't think it's a matter of who's most likely to do what. Perhaps Google simply thinks that ANY older woman cheating with a younger man is more wrong than an older man cheating with a younger woman.

OR, perhaps, Google simply thinks it's very wrong for older women to be sleeping with younger men, period — and it has, accordingly, cooked up some very flimsy rationale about why the sites should go.

Whatever the hell is going on over there, Google, do you think you could (a) butt out of people's private lives and not make sexist assumptions about who is doing what, and (b) get with the 21st century?

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