Old man haz a sad that he’s not entitled to bang 20-year-olds

Poor Richard Cohen. He watched Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, and it turns out that even though James Bond is middle-aged, he’s ripped and studly when he takes off his shirt. And that is not fair! Old men of yesteryear didn’t have to be in decent shape to score babes half their age; they just had to be smarmy jerks.

“Skyfall” is a lot of fun — don’t get me wrong — but it still says something about our culture that, in the autumn of my years, I do not like. To appreciate what I mean, contrast this new Bond to Roger O. Thornhill, the charmingly hapless advertising man played by Cary Grant in “North by Northwest.” Like Bond, Thornhill pulls off some amazing physical feats — his mad frantic escape from the crop duster, the traverse of Mount Rushmore — and like Bond he wears an expensive suit. Unlike Bond, though, when he takes it off we do not see some marbleized man, an ersatz creation of some trainer, but a fit man, effortlessly athletic and just as effortlessly sophisticated. Of course, he knows his martinis, but he also knows how to send out a suit for swift hotel cleaning. He is a man of the world. He is, in short, a man of a certain age — 55 at the time, to be more or less exact.

In “North by Northwest” and other movies, Grant — for all his good looks — represented the triumph of the sexual meritocracy — a sex appeal won by experience and savoir-faire, not delts and pecs and other such things that any kid can have. He was not alone in this. Gary Cooper in “High Noon” wins Grace Kelly by strength of character, not muscles. He was about 50, and Kelly was a mere 23.

Maybe the best example of the unmuscled hero is Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca.” Bogart was 15 years older than Ingrid Bergman and it did not matter at all. He had the experience, the confidence, the internal strength that can only come with age. As he did with Mary Astor in “The Maltese Falcon” — “I don’t care who loves who, I won’t play the sap for you” — he gives up the love of his life because age and wisdom have given him character. These older men seduce; they are not seduced. They make love. They do not score.

Men should not have to do anything other than be old in order to get whatever they want. Women, on the other hand, are desirable only when they are very young, and only if they are very thin and very white and very inexperienced and probably blonde. In Richard Cohen’s estimation, that is a sexual meritocracy, because “meritocracy” apparently means “I get whatever I want without having to work hard at it and also women are things.”

The new Bond is a zeitgeisty sort of character. “There has been a striking change in attitudes toward male body image in the past 30 years,” Harrison Pope, a Harvard psychiatry professor, recently told the New York Times. He said the portrayal of men in what amounts to the Bond image is now “dramatically more prevalent in society than it was a generation ago.” That same Times story reported that 40 percent of middle and high school boys work out with the purpose of “increasing muscle mass.” Many of them also use protein supplements.

This is all very sad news. Every rippling muscle is a book not read, a movie not seen or a conversation not held. That’s why Sean Connery was my kind of Bond. He was 53 when he made his last Bond film, “Never Say Never Again.” Women loved him because he was sophisticated and he could handle a maitre d’ as well as a commie assassin. Western civilization was saved not on account of his pecs but on account of his cleverness and experience.

Is it sad and bad that boys and men feel more body anxiety than they did a generation ago? Yes. Also: Welcome to how women have felt for forever. What do you think women have missed out on with our incessant dieting and make-upping and hair-doing and Zumba-ing and on and on? But right, our role in this sexual meritocracy is to look 23 and conventionally attractive forever. Once we hit 30 I suppose we simply cease to be relevant.

Also: Women are actually human beings and not prizes you win or deserve for the hard work of being a middle-aged white guy who happens to drink good whiskey. Also: Middle-aged men who only want to date 23-year-old women almost always have serious issues with egalitarian gender relations, maturity and self-esteem. Also: Ladies, don’t date Richard Cohen.

Author: has written 5280 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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179 Responses

  1. Dave
    Dave November 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |

    Shockingly enough, this column is from the guy who used to sexually harass a young, female Post editorial aide.

  2. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil November 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

    I enjoy this piece as a contrast to Cohen’s. Two of my favorite bits:

    And yet (mouse stem cells aside), the tragic, grotesque, totally unfair and yet unassailable ephemerality of a woman’s so-called prime is a trope we privilege over any evidence to the contrary. We expect women to submit to its incontrovertible veracity with equanimity and shame, and we expect men to be gracious about it and try not to gloat. Mostly, we expect nobody to notice or question the different ways in which “primeness” is constructed for each sex, which is not based on the same criteria at all. If, as Hegel suggested, ideas are not just ideas but come wrapped in all flavor of attitudes, then this particular idea is a giant, Gorgonzola-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fig of a notion: decadent, cloying, aged, cured in centuries of spin, warmed over and passed around again and again.

    What does pay the big bucks (although apparently not as often as we think) is this trick of looking 30ish while actually being 13, as long as you are also very tall and able to maintain the body mass of a cricket. This has always been the case, but recently it has become even more so, making it harder to ignore the question of how young is too young to dedicate your life to trudging down a glorified auction block on your way to the fashion abattoir. Runway models provoke the same kind of dissonance as toddler beauty pageants, which similarly ask us to hold two irreconcilable messages (sexy baby) in our minds at the same time, and thus produce psychological discomfort by subconsciously calling attention to the cultural practice of systematically replacing images of adult women with images of kids in old-lady drag.

    So Daniel Craig in Skyfall doesn’t look like Robert Redford in The Sting. So what? The 15 year age difference is still there–see, for example, Jessica Biel and Gerard Butler in the upcoming romcom Playing for Keeps or Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook (13 and 15 year age differences, respectively.)

  3. Donna L
    Donna L November 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

    Every rippling muscle is a book not read, a movie not seen or a conversation not held.

    Is this guy really that incredibly stupid and clueless not even to have thought about the broader implications of that statement (and the entire column), and the likely reaction of women reading it? Or does he just assume that only middle-aged men are reading his drivel? Sexual meritocracy? Feh.

    1. SophiaBlue
      SophiaBlue November 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

      Also, and I recognize this is a small drop in this awe-inspiring sea of stupidity, is Cohen not aware that it’s possible to have a conversation or listen to an audiobook while exercising?

      1. miga
        miga November 28, 2012 at 9:43 am |

        Or that smart and ripped are mutually exclusive categories?

        1. EG
          EG November 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |

          Or, that even if they were, women have every right to prefer ripped if they want to?

  4. JGirl
    JGirl November 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

    This made me laugh:

    Women loved him because he was sophisticated and he could handle a maitre d’ as well as a commie assassin.

    I like how he conveniently ignores Connery’s accent.

    1. Li
      Li November 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm |

      Or the fact that prior to his acting career, Connery was a body builder. But sure, it’s this new Bond that spends too much time in the gym.

      1. tigtog
        tigtog November 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm | *

        I’m so glad that Connery’s background in competitive bodybuilding and lifelong dedication to maintaining his muscular physique has already been noted. Does Cohen really think Connery didn’t then and doesn’t still, even (especially) now, in his 80s, spend several hours in daily exercise in order to keep on looking like that?

        1. jrockford
          jrockford November 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

          He clearly didn’t see Connery in Zardoz.

    2. SamBarge
      SamBarge November 30, 2012 at 8:02 am |

      Or the fact that many heterosexual women, like myself, see Connery as an old man and not particularly attractive.

      It’s true. It’s completely possible to find all the James Bonds unattractive.

      1. SamBarge
        SamBarge November 30, 2012 at 8:05 am |

        Just replying (because I can’t edit) to point out that “old” and “unattractive” are not meant to be mutually inclusive. I just don’t get the Connery love at all – Scottish accent or not. And my dislike is rooted in Connery’s statement that women occasionally need to be slapped more than the collection and arrangment of his features.

        1. anne
          anne November 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm |

          Sean Connery is a men’s sex symbol. The only people I’ve ever seen go on about how smoking hot Sean Connery is and how women are all gaga for him have been men.
          A lot of pop culture tropes that are supposed to be about women’s sexual desires are really about what men tell themselves and how they dictate everything. Fairy tales are another big example. And the one about hot young women being naturally drawn to rich old farts in sports cars. And the entire James Bond franchise. Those are actresses being paid to pretend they want to fuck Roger Moore.

        2. TomSims
          TomSims December 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

          “Sean Connery is a men’s sex symbol. The only people I’ve ever seen go on about how smoking hot Sean Connery is and how women are all gaga for him have been men.
          A lot of pop culture tropes that are supposed to be about women’s sexual desires are really about what men tell themselves and how they dictate everything. Fairy tales are another big example. And the one about hot young women being naturally drawn to rich old farts in sports cars. And the entire James Bond franchise. Those are actresses being paid to pretend they want to fuck Roger Moore.”

          You are absolutely spot on! I agree 110%

        3. EG
          EG November 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm |

          A lot of pop culture tropes that are supposed to be about women’s sexual desires are really about what men tell themselves and how they dictate everything. Fairy tales are another big example.

          Fairy tales are my area of expertise. They are far more multivalent and complicated than they are usually given credit for, and the genre is most certainly not one controlled solely by men.

        4. tomek
          tomek December 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

          Sean Connery is a men’s sex symbol. The only people I’ve ever seen go on about how smoking hot Sean Connery is and how women are all gaga for him have been men.

          what is problem with this? man can have other man that he find sexy. it objective observation, not gay

      2. EG
        EG November 30, 2012 at 8:46 am |

        I’ve never understood the appeal of Connery at any age, even before I knew he talked about slapping women.

        1. TomSims
          TomSims December 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

          “I’ve never understood the appeal of Connery at any age, even before I knew he talked about slapping women.”

          With all due respect EG, I think Connery had mostly a following of young men, not women.

  5. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar November 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm |

    He’s shocked — shocked — to learn that women are actual people, whose own preferences might have to be reckoned with. He thought they were non-player characters, you see.

    1. Jake
      Jake November 28, 2012 at 2:37 am |

      Women raving at Cohen are promoting a kind of double-standard. I can’t count the number of times obese and/or older women complain about men not being into them because of their looks. It’s as though women should not have to do anything other than be “themselves” order to get whatever they want. Feminists are shocked — shocked — to learn that men are actual people, whose own preferences might have to be reckoned with. You’re not entitled to be loved or be found attractive just because you are “you” and you are “beautiful”. You actually have to strive to be the image of what the opposite sex finds attractive. If you’re a guy, that means bulking/toning up, getting a good job, etc. If you’re a woman that means losing weight and taking care of yourself. Cohen is wrong and deluded by claiming he shouldn’t have to do anything to attract the opposite sex, but he is no different from feminists who have that exact sense of entitlement.

      1. tomek
        tomek November 28, 2012 at 9:49 am |

        1st thing i am not feminist. but i think not feminist complain about unattractive woman not getting date. feminist complain about unattractive woman being disrespect in area where look dont important, like work place.

      2. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub November 28, 2012 at 9:51 am |

        Oh for fuck’s sake. That’s not the point and you goddamn well know it.

        Believe you me, we are not “shocked” that an aging and not particularly attractive douchebag thinks he’s entitled to hawt young women. That’s something we’re well acquainted with–men who are much older and not all that attractive only giving younger, hawt women the time of day, then whining said women are dating (gasp) men their own age and men they are attracted to. Also–we’re actually sick and tired of seeing Hollywood couple up young, attractive female characters with older, schlubby male characters. We’re tired of the idea that women MUST be attractive at all times while men just have to exist and that’s good enough. It’s bullshit.

        No, the double standard is that these same guys freak right the fuck out when it turns out that women have preferences too. Suddenly, while it was totally okay for men to only want the hottest young chick in the room, its a violation of the Geneva convention for these men to be passed over.

        Live by that sword, die by it.

        1. catfood
          catfood November 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

          Believe you me, we are not “shocked” that an aging and not particularly attractive douchebag thinks he’s entitled to hawt young women. That’s something we’re well acquainted with–men who are much older and not all that attractive only giving younger, hawt women the time of day, then whining said women are dating (gasp) men their own age and men they are attracted to.

          Guess what? Turns out, you can be an aging and not particularly attractive man who is making an effort to be not particularly douchebaggy and… look, I’m just saying it works for me.

          As Thomas MacAulay-Millar suggests above, people don’t like being treated as non-player characters. Including women. Including conventionally hot younger women.

          Go figure.

          The bar is set so low for this sort of thing that non-douchebagginess gets you most of the way there if you’re a middle-aged man who has mastered basic life skills and is at least sort of okay-looking.

        2. TomSims
          TomSims November 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

          “The bar is set so low for this sort of thing that non-douchebagginess gets you most of the way there if you’re a middle-aged man who has mastered basic life skills and is at least sort of okay-looking.”

          When you say “mastered basic life skills”. you mean he’s a mutli millionaire, yes certainly. It works well for Hef.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

          Yes, TomSims, of course we mean multimillionaires. It’s obvious, because no non-multimillionaire men have ever gotten married in middle age in the history of human beings. Why did you have to ask?

        4. TomSims
          TomSims November 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

          “Yes, TomSims, of course we mean multimillionaires. It’s obvious, because no non-multimillionaire men have ever gotten married in middle age in the history of human beings. Why did you have to ask?”

          I wasn’t asking, I made a statement. And the topic wasn’t middle aged getting married, it was middle aged men hooking up with hot 20 somethings. I interpreted catfood’s analogy of having basic skills to having tons of money. And money fills in the age gap in a big way. Just ask Hef.

        5. FashionablyEvil
          FashionablyEvil November 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

          mastered basic life skills

          Basic life skills: holding down a job, paying attention to personal hygiene and grooming, treating other people with courtesy and respect. IT’S SO HARD.

          (leaving aside current economic trends in the US)

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |

          LET ME TELL YOU INTERNETS

          Older white male assholes aren’t as interesting to young hotties unless they’re multimillionaires. LIFE’S SO HARD.

          And so I present the Song of the Single Middle-Aged Guy.

          MY LIFE’S SO HARD
          IT’S SO HARD, YO
          MY LIFE’S SO HARD
          AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW

          I could date my own damn age group – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

          I could try to be a decent guy – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

          I could try to not be racist – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

          I could try to be interesting – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

          I could be well-read and traveled – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

          I could be kind and considerate – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

          AND MY DAUGHTERS’ FRIENDS
          WITH THEIR SKINNY LITTLE BODS
          HAVE STANDARDS, ACTUAL STANDARDS
          OH MY FUCKING GODS

          IT’S SO HARD TO BE WHITE AND MALE AND STRAIGHT AND MIDDLE-AGED, IT’S SO HARD, SO HARD…

        7. Past my expiration date
          Past my expiration date November 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

          Mac, I’m singing this, right now. Not because I’m a single middle-aged guy, but because art is art, and that’s art.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm |

          LOL. Thanks, Past.

          …wait for the sonnet version, I guess? ;)

        9. shfree
          shfree November 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm |

          I wasn’t asking, I made a statement. And the topic wasn’t middle aged getting married, it was middle aged men hooking up with hot 20 somethings. I interpreted catfood’s analogy of having basic skills to having tons of money. And money fills in the age gap in a big way. Just ask Hef.

          I suppose if one is looking for a very small, specific subset of twenty-something conventionally attractively blonde women, having millions of dollars helps. But the key words are “small, specific subset.” (I think you also have to consider that some expectation of being made into a media name comes with being associated with the joyous company of that skeevy man, so it ain’t all about the cash.)

          When I was in the midst of my stupid twenties, living off the food I scrounged at work, generic cigarettes and cheap beer, there was STILL no way some middle aged man could sleaze up to me, throw money at me and get me to be his arm candy. And I look back at my early to mid twenties as one long series of headdesks.

        10. TomSims
          TomSims November 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

          “When I was in the midst of my stupid twenties, living off the food I scrounged at work, generic cigarettes and cheap beer, there was STILL no way some middle aged man could sleaze up to me, throw money at me and get me to be his arm candy. And I look back at my early to mid twenties as one long series of headdesks.”

          Maybe not you and maybe not most, but there are no shortage of 20 something hot girls that will and have.

        11. pitbullgirl65
          pitbullgirl65 November 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm |

          Also–we’re actually sick and tired of seeing Hollywood couple up young, attractive female characters with older, schlubby male characters. We’re tired of the idea that women MUST be attractive at all times while men just have to exist and that’s good enough. It’s bullshit.

          YES YES 1000 X’s YES!

        12. catfood
          catfood November 29, 2012 at 6:56 am |

          I’m amused by the cranky responses to my comment.

          The angry men are completely missing the point, which is that a lot of interesting, attractive women like being treated like actual individual adult human beings no matter what their age, from twenties through sixties.

          I’m not doing anything magical and I’m definitely not wealthy. What “works” for me is treating everyone courteously, refraining from mansplaining, taking real interest in other people (not just the ones I consider bangable), being honest about feeling attracted to someone, and not carrying around the attitude of an entitled douchebag.

          Yes, sometimes that fixes me up with women who are conventionally considered hot. Or who are significantly younger than me. Which honestly can be a lot of fun and… yeah, there’s an ego aspect in there for me. But the point is having respectful relationships with people I actually like and relate to as adult peers, not as targets, prey, or prizes.

          Bottom line, when there’s an age gap I don’t fill it with money. That’s neither necessary nor (in my case) possible. Bonus: if there are hot young women out there trawling for rich older men, we’re not crossing paths. That makes everyone happier.

          So that’s one guy’s experience. YMMV, etc.

        13. TomSims
          TomSims November 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

          “Yes, sometimes that fixes me up with women who are conventionally considered hot. Or who are significantly younger than me. Which honestly can be a lot of fun and… yeah, there’s an ego aspect in there for me.”

          If your ego were any bigger, it couldn’t fit on this blog. Anyone with a double digit IQ can see you’re delusional.

        14. Andie
          Andie November 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

          Nice Ad Hom, TomSims.

          So a guy claims that treating women like people and not being a douchebag occasionally results in him dating women who fall into the ‘young and conventionally attractive’ category, he must be delusional.

          Of course.

        15. TomSims
          TomSims November 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

          “Nice Ad Hom, TomSims.

          So a guy claims that treating women like people and not being a douchebag occasionally results in him dating women who fall into the ‘young and conventionally attractive’ category, he must be delusional.”

          No, not at all. What is delusional is an old guy that is not very wealthy hooking up with hot 20 somethings is. No matter how well you treat these women, without a huge bankroll, there is no hook up.

          By the way, through my entire life I have treated all women with courtesy and respect with no thought of any reciprocal action on her part.

        16. shfree
          shfree November 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm |

          So, if there are tons and tons of middle aged men who, if they had money, could get women, and you use Hefner as proof. HOWEVER, I am apparently a unique person because I had no desire to dig through the pockets of men I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole otherwise. Explain to me how he would be the rule and I am the exception.

        17. TomSims
          TomSims November 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

          “So, if there are tons and tons of middle aged men who, if they had money, could get women, and you use Hefner as proof. HOWEVER, I am apparently a unique person because I had no desire to dig through the pockets of men I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole otherwise. Explain to me how he would be the rule and I am the exception.”

          Read what I typed. I said maybe not you and maybe not most hot 20 something women would hook up with a creepy old man with money, but there definitely some that would and have.

        18. TomSims
          TomSims November 30, 2012 at 11:11 am |

          “So, if there are tons and tons of middle aged men who, if they had money, could get women, and you use Hefner as proof. HOWEVER, I am apparently a unique person because I had no desire to dig through the pockets of men I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole otherwise. Explain to me how he would be the rule and I am the exception”

          Young hot 20 something women prefer hot 20 something men. For any creepy old white dude to hook up, he needs a boat load of cash. No matter how charming he may be, without lots of cash, it ain’t happening. In other words “Cash talks and bullshit walks”

        19. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune November 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

          I said maybe not you and maybe not most hot 20 something women would hook up with a creepy old man with money, but there definitely some that would and have.

          Ooh, ooh, I’ve got one!

          “And Stephen Harper eats babies.”

          …sorry, I thought we were just stringing random sentences together, was I wrong?

        20. Andie
          Andie November 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

          But Stephen Harper DOES eat babies.

        21. zuzu
          zuzu November 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm | *

          When you say “mastered basic life skills”. you mean he’s a mutli millionaire, yes certainly. It works well for Hef.

          What works for Hef? Having women on the payroll?

        22. TomSims
          TomSims November 30, 2012 at 10:57 am |

          “What works for Hef? Having women on the payroll?”

          Yes I guess you could put it that way.

        23. shfree
          shfree November 30, 2012 at 1:59 am |

          I said maybe not you and maybe not most hot 20 something women would hook up with a creepy old man with money, but there definitely some that would and have.

          But, there are also hot 20 something year old MEN that would do it. Hideously ugly 20 something year old men and women who would do it. You could plug in just about every single demographic we use, and hey, you could find someone who would fit the bill of someone who would hook up with a skeevy old man who had lots of money. There are billions of people on the stinking planet, for fuck’s sake. Stop painting hot 20 something women as the only ones who would chase down a buck attached to skeevy old men.

          And another thing. I really am offended by the whole “maybe” I wouldn’t have gone after some guy for his money when I was in my twenties. I know myself better than you do, jerkweed. I know exactly the sort of asshole I was. So you can fuck right off.

        24. EG
          EG November 30, 2012 at 8:49 pm |

          Young hot 20 something women prefer hot 20 something men. For any creepy old white dude to hook up, he needs a boat load of cash. No matter how charming he may be, without lots of cash, it ain’t happening. In other words “Cash talks and bullshit walks”

          You can keep telling yourself that, but I have personally known and been friends with hot twenty-something women who have slept with older white guys who most decidedly did not have boatloads of cash. I witnessed, if not the actual sex, the relationships and the hand-holding. So take your bullshit and keep walking.

        25. TomSims
          TomSims December 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm |

          “but I have personally known and been friends with hot twenty-something women who have slept with older white guys who most decidedly did not have boatloads of cash.”

          I believe you but we have have a misunderstanding when you say older. No doubt there are hot 30 and even some 40 something guys with hot 20 something girls. I was specifically talking about a larger gap in age, like 30 or 40 years and not a hot older guy, but a creepy old white dude who would be classified as just some old fat loser if it were not for the fact that he was a multi millionaire. And I’m not saying all women or even most women have a price, but clearly there are some who do.

          A classic example to springs to mind is the cranky, ultra creepy old pisshead Rupert Murdoch and his much younger smoking hot wife. That is purely a financial arrangement.

        26. EG
          EG December 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |

          You keep narrowing your criteria and claims when shown that you are wrong, TomSims. However, the original claim had nothing to do with repulsive creeps 40 years older. It had to do with middle-aged men having mastered basic life-skills. You immediately equated that to old men (Hugh Hefner) having millions of dollars. That was a false equation and you are wrong.

        27. TomSims
          TomSims December 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm |

          “You keep narrowing your criteria and claims when shown that you are wrong, TomSims. However, the original claim had nothing to do with repulsive creeps 40 years older. It had to do with middle-aged men having mastered basic life-skills. You immediately equated that to old men (Hugh Hefner) having millions of dollars. That was a false equation and you are wrong.”

          Ok, I just had a different understanding of the question. My whole point had to do with much older men hooking up with hot 20 something women. It wasn’t about the women, it was about the desirability or lack thereof of creepy old white men. I was actually siding with feminists in the claim that Cohen is a creepy old white man that has no right nor chance to hook up with hot 20 something women. I’m sorry I didn’t do a better job expressing myself.

        28. Pseudonym
          Pseudonym December 2, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

          The bar is set so low for this sort of thing that non-douchebagginess gets you most of the way there if you’re a middle-aged man who has mastered basic life skills and is at least sort of okay-looking.

          That hasn’t necessarily been my experience. As a middle-aged man who’s mastered most basic life skills and is not as far as I know considered strikingly unattractive, I’ve found that non-douchebagginess is worthwhile for the sake of basic human decency but not any kind of panacea. On the other hand being wealthy doesn’t make a person more attractive on a physical or personal chemistry level either.

          I date within my own damn age group, I try to be a decent, interesting, worldly, non-racist, kind and considerate guy, I’m not even looking for a cookie or a pat on the head as a reward for not being a douchebag. I know decent, interesting women who are fine people but I don’t have to be attracted to them or owe them romantic attention. Likewise I don’t get to say I’ve earned or deserve attention from someone else regardless of what I do. If women aren’t interested in me it’s my problem not theirs.

      3. mxe354
        mxe354 November 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm |

        No. We’re annoyed because he is perpetuating the sexist notion that it’s okay for men to have preferences but not us.

        1. Alyson
          Alyson November 29, 2012 at 3:14 am |

          Not just “have preferences,” but “have preferences while not being the male equivalent of those preferences oneself.” If some guy spends all his time working out and maintaining perfect muscles and keeping abreast of the literary/artistic worlds and expects his ideal mate to be someone with an equal degree of devotion to these things, then okay. But if a moderately-attractive man who frequently wears sweatshirts and is smart, but not brilliant expects his girlfriend to not only be stunningly gorgeous but also a genius? No. It COULD happen, but the sense of entitlement that comes with the expectation is enough of a turnoff that people will generally stay clear of this douche.

      4. mxe354
        mxe354 November 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

        Also, talk about a baseless generalization. Most of us feminist women are not lamenting the fact that there are men who find us unattractive, but rather the fact that we are pressured to conform to this one sexist beauty ideal – to put it another way, we don’t like the fact that women who are fat, have wrinkles, don’t shave, etc. are considered to be axiomatically ugly by society.

      5. dc
        dc November 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

        Women raving at Cohen are promoting a kind of double-standard. I can’t count the number of times obese and/or older women complain about men not being into them because of their looks. It’s as though women should not have to do anything other than be “themselves” order to get whatever they want. Feminists are shocked — shocked — to learn that men are actual people, whose own preferences might have to be reckoned with. You’re not entitled to be loved or be found attractive just because you are “you” and you are “beautiful”. You actually have to strive to be the image of what the opposite sex finds attractive. If you’re a guy, that means bulking/toning up, getting a good job, etc. If you’re a woman that means losing weight and taking care of yourself. Cohen is wrong and deluded by claiming he shouldn’t have to do anything to attract the opposite sex, but he is no different from feminists who have that exact sense of entitlement.

        ok so he should dye his hair,hit the gym 24/7,start using $75 face products,maybe get a face lift,possibly get his nose done…..possibly a penisjob…get his belly fat liposuctioned…etc….got it.
        i’ll email him the memo.
        (LIGHT BULB GOES OFF IN HEAD
        wait maybe no one should have to do that…)
        ….eh, never mind…..
        i nominate for troll of the month

        congratulations!
        you win a mirror.

      6. zuzu
        zuzu November 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm | *

        You actually have to strive to be the image of what the opposite sex finds attractive. If you’re a guy, that means bulking/toning up, getting a good job, etc. If you’re a woman that means losing weight and taking care of yourself.

        Because everyone has the same tastes and preferences!

        1. EG
          EG November 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

          I like how “taking care of yourself” for a woman means “looking the way some dude wants you to look.”

          That’s never what I mean when I tell a friend to take care of herself, I have to say.

        2. Ghost Me
          Ghost Me December 2, 2012 at 12:15 am |

          I totally agree, zuzu. Also, another fucked part of that post was where he said women should ‘lose weight.’ Not, ‘be thin,’ which is already bad enough, but ‘lose weight.’ Because whatever weight you are, whatever that scale tells you, it’s not low enough.

  6. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar November 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm |

    Also, the implication is that, in addition to his belief that he’s entitled to the sex partner of his preference for being urbane and charming and having character, he seems to assume that he is urbane and charming and that he has character. Nobody is required to accept his characterization at face value.

    1. Lindsay Beyerstein
      Lindsay Beyerstein November 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm |

      It’s Richard Cohen, so the sexist subtext oozes through. If he’d shown the slightest awareness of the tyranny of physical perfection for women in Hollywood, I might even cut him some slack.

      Still, I’d like Hollywood to create space for leading men and leading ladies whose sex appeal is rooted more in charisma than physical perfection. If an actor (gender neutral) has both, hooray! But making physical perfection the litmus test for all major acting gigs narrows the talent pool too much.

      Demanding physical perfection also artificially shortens actors’ careers. Actors at the height of their powers are being squeezed out at middle age, or earlier–when they wouldn’t have been in years past.

      Not every role requires an actor who could double as a model. Though, ironically, if ever a role called for an actor with an impressive physique, it’s a modern Bond movie. Bond is a sex object and today’s man-admirers want defined abs.

      1. Thomas MacAulay Millar
        Thomas MacAulay Millar November 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm |

        Yes! But the not-hot actor category exists a lot more for men.

        Lots of short-list-for-best-chops men are still just plain not conventionally attractive, though. I’m thinking Hoffman — either Dustin or Phillip, neither of whom have ever really been classically attractive, Giamatti and Gandolfini. Most of the women who I think of as “not conventionally attractive but gets meaty roles because she can really act” are simply very attractive actors who have aged past the accepted brackets for sex appeal for women (Dench, Tandy, Mirren — add “young” to the google search for any older woman actor’s name and see what I mean). Perhaps there are a few never-classically-attractive women who keep getting good roles, they don’t readily come to mind (I’ll say Edie Falco, though my view is she’s pretty darned attractive by real-world standards …? But all her good roles are on premium cable series, which are a different and more experimental animal). Of course, since only 15 percent of Hollywood speaking roles are for women, there are not a lot of meaty women’s roles to go around.

        1. Andie
          Andie November 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

          Other women who fall into “Not conventionally attractive but can act” narrative also tend to be women who really are quite attractive and also fat.

        2. tomek
          tomek November 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm |

          hmm recently saw i movie with fat woman as lead. cannot remember of movie, but also in movie was quality actor man with bug eyes.

        3. Thomas MacAulay Millar
          Thomas MacAulay Millar November 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm |

          Yes! Buscemi. Not attractive in any conventional sense, but cleans up okay. Can really act. Made a reputation with a few high profile parts and has been known as an actor with real talent and range ever since. Has all the quality work he can handle and then some, including a lead in a prestige series on HBO.

          Kathy Bates. Not conventionally attractive. Cleans up okay. Can really act. Made a repuation with a few high profile parts and has been known as an actor with real talent and range ever since. Last seen … in a bunch of recurring TV series roles, smaller supporting parts. Does a lot of voice work.

        4. tomek
          tomek November 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

          yes busemi. he have high quality. i search busemi for fat woman film, and i find it “Fargo”. lead woman francis macdormant is quality actoress also and not stereotype woman character.

          also they speak funny accent to us not american

        5. Donna L
          Donna L November 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm |

          i search busemi for fat woman film, and i find it “Fargo”. lead woman francis macdormant is quality actoress also and not stereotype woman character.

          Frances McDormand in Fargo is your example of a successful “fat woman film”?

        6. DouglasG
          DouglasG November 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm |

          “I was never really pretty, so for someone like myself it’s more useful to be a character actress than a leading actress . . . in television especially, they want real wrinkles.” (the late Joan Hickson, not really Hollywood but your post just reminded me of that quote in her obituary)

          It’s certainly easier to add to your Dench list (Pauline Collins, Geraldine McEwan and Maggie Smith came to mind almost at once, just for starters). As for the other – maybe Toni Collette?

        7. EG
          EG November 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm |

          Wasn’t McDormand’s character supposed to be in the final trimester of pregnancy in that film?

        8. tomek
          tomek November 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

          yes indeed. thank you for corection.
          still it is good she manage to do police and pregnanty at the same tmie, no?

        9. Andie
          Andie November 30, 2012 at 10:57 am |

          DouglasG – Yes, Toni Colette was the first one to come to mind, although over time she has seemingly ‘Hollywoodized’ in the time that has passed since she did Muriel’s Wedding.

          Kathy Bates is all kinds of amazing.

      2. anne
        anne November 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

        Still, I’d like Hollywood to create space for leading men and leading ladies whose sex appeal is rooted more in charisma than physical perfection.

        There’s no reason to pretend male actors face anything like the aesthetic demands female actors do. No actress the physical equivalent of John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob Thorton, or even Hugh Lorrie would ever get a job, except maybe a minor walk-on role as the horrifyingly ugly and/or fat chick or old crone.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L December 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm |

          Yes, and when the source material calls for the lead actress to be “plain,” or positively unattractive by conventional standards, they cast someone like MIchelle Pfeiffer and put eyeglasses on her..

  7. Travis
    Travis November 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm |

    Richard’s Peter Principle: in a sexual meritocracy, lovers tend to perform to the level of their own incompetence

    OR

    If you think like Cohen, you probably aren’t much fun in bed

  8. EG
    EG November 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

    I like how back in the day, women appreciated experience and savoir faire, but nowadays those ungrateful hussies think they’re entitled to muscles that any youth could have–who do these chicks think they are, finding youthful bodies sexually attractive?! Everybody knows that’s a man’s prerogative.

    1. Pseudonym
      Pseudonym December 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

      And by “women” of course he is not referring to women with experience and savoir faire themselves of course. I’m generally inclined to feel a little empathy towards anyone dealing with the fact that the world no longer finds them (us) attractive and never will, but not when they deny anyone else that same empathy.

  9. de Pizan
    de Pizan November 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

    And yet, even Cary Grant knew it wasn’t cool. On the movie Charade, he was embarrassed to be playing romantic interest to such a young actress as Audrey Hepburn, feeling like it made him look like a predator; and only agreed to the film after the script removed all dialogue where he pursued her (so contrary to the article, here’s a case of a movie with a woman who was the one doing the seducing). After many reviews focusing on the relationship between the two in the film, Grant decided it was time to stop playing the romantic lead completely.

    1. AnotherTracey
      AnotherTracey November 27, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

      I read in a Grace Kelly bio that the producers of High Noon (another example Cohen uses) were concerned that the age difference between Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly would be too great, and that this would cast doubts on the heroic nature of Marshall Kane (Cooper’s character).

      Apparently (if memory serves, it’s been a while since I read this book) the reason they decided to go ahead with the casting was that the film was not primarily a romance.

  10. EG
    EG November 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |

    I also cannot get over the fact that this dude is comparing himself to Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart (or at least their personae). Not only is he nowhere near as good-looking, he’s far too whiny. Can you imagine a Grant or Bogart character going on like this for even half a minute? Wah, wah, I’m not young any more and now the girls are hot for Marlon Brando?

    No. Just no.

  11. WaPo’s Richard Cohen: James Bond Is Killing My Mojo With Younger Ladies

    [...] and we’re far from being the only bright-eyed, bushy-tailed site to pick up on it. Feministe, Jezebel, and Gawker have all excoriated Cohen for his column. The only people sort of standing by [...]

  12. Colin
    Colin November 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

    One egregious example I’ve seen is the 2007 German film Keinohrhasen, created by and starring Til Schweiger. He cast Nora Tschirner, a woman 17 years his junior, as his love interest (the role was apparently written with her in mind), but in the film we see a flashback to high school which implies that the characters are almost the same age!

    1. Colin
      Colin November 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

      In the sequel, the other significant male actors are close to Tschirner’s age. So I suppose Schweiger is just deluded about how old he himself is/looks.

    2. carovee
      carovee November 29, 2012 at 10:12 am |

      I get annoyed when Hollywood pairs older men with younger women. But I really get enraged when Hollywood pairs an older man with a woman 10+ years younger and then implies they are supposed to be the same age. It completely messes with peoples conceptualization of what a woman in her 30’s or 40’s is supposed to look like and pushes an even more impossible beauty standard than casting an actress of the correct age.

      1. EG
        EG November 29, 2012 at 10:16 am |

        But I really get enraged when Hollywood pairs an older man with a woman 10+ years younger and then implies they are supposed to be the same age.

        Yes. In Something’s Got To Give, Jack Nicholson ends up with Diane Keaton and we’re all supposed to be “yay! he’s learned to love a woman his own age!” but Keaton is ten years younger than Nicholson.

  13. igglanova
    igglanova November 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

    I don’t know about you, but what really turns my crank is decrepit middle-aged men who can’t stop talking about the girls he should be fucking.

    1. igglanova
      igglanova November 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm |

      (joke ruined by lack of subject-verb agreement)

      ACK let this be a lesson to all of you on the virtues of the preview button

      1. littlem
        littlem December 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm |

        I don’t think the joke was ruined.

        After all, THEY ARE LEGION.

    2. onetinythought
      onetinythought November 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

      LOL

  14. vanessa
    vanessa November 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

    i’m pretty sure, being fat, i am already not-relevant.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L November 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

      I know what you mean. I’m not only a woman over 50, but I have a trans history! What a strange coincidence it is that on April 25, 2005, the day before my social transition, I would still (based on the general assumption of cisness) have been considered by society to be a viable prospective partner for women of a variety of ages, and even a “good catch” (as much as I dislike that term), what with being a New York Jewish lawyer and all that. Despite being middle-aged, and regardless of what my body actually looked like. (Little did most people know!) But that as of April 26, 2006, one day later, I was, immediately and completely, outside the pale. Amazing how that happens, isn’t it?

      1. SamBarge
        SamBarge November 30, 2012 at 8:21 am |

        It would be fascinating to read more about that, if you’re inclined to share or if you can link me to where you have written about it already.

        I experienced a slightly similar thing when I lost a significant (ie. 100 lbs) amount of weight over the course of 1 year. The difference from one summer to the next was truly amazing. I was suddenly visible to store clerks, men, etc. Even my friends treated me better. It was fascinating and disconcerting to experience. I have to admit, it took me awhile to figure out what had changed as, regardless of what my body looked like to others, I didn’t feel any different.

        I can’t imagine how you handled your social transition when the change happened, literally, overnight.

        (Or was it a year? Was that part a typo because you do say one day later but switch from 2005 to 2006?)

        1. Donna L
          Donna L December 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm |

          At work, yes, it was overnight, leaving on a Monday evening still presenting as a guy, and arriving Tuesday morning presenting as myself. I deliberately avoided taking time off in between, because I didn’t want the change to seem like too much of a good deal.

          Outside of work, of course, I had been presenting increasingly as myself for the previous couple of years, and things had gotten to the point where I was frequently addressed as “ma’am” even while wearing male clothing and no makeup. At work, people generally just saw what they had always seen, and didn’t seem to notice the changes to that point.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L December 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm |

          too much of a big deal, sorry! I don’t know where that came from.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L December 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

          The point I should have added, perhaps, is that the immediate negative change in my perceived viability as a prospective romantic partner, given my age (and even assuming no knowledge on people’s part of my trans history), occurred even though people who did know me both before and after seem to think that I meet conventional standards of physical attractiveness far more now than I did as a guy, in every way I can think of. (Which is essentially what my former spouse quite recently said to our son, as I mentioned elsewhere — the “Donna was cute as a guy, but she’s better-looking as a woman” comment.) All of which, I think, serves to demonstrate quite well the existence of the all-pervasive double standard when it comes to such things.

        4. Kayay
          Kayay December 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm |

          Hope you don’t mind this intrusion as I have undergone the same thing albeit very recently.

          Mine was during the day, personally, one month ago. Went to McDonalds in a guy shirt, used the drive thru mic and moved on to the window, and he said “Thank you Ma’am, I mean Sir”.

          Apart from one crying-inducing kids’ party, I haven’t worn a piece of male clothing since.

        5. Donna L
          Donna L December 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

          I know exactly how you felt. I haven’t worn any of my old clothing (not counting some sneakers and a couple of pairs of shoes) since that Monday night, the last time I left work before my transition. It was a strange feeling that night, looking up at the sky and thinking about life and realizing that I wouldn’t have to do this ever again, that nobody could make me.

          Although I guess I was a bad trans woman because I never did engage in the typical mass disposition or donation of my male clothing. I got rid of some of it but saved most of the rest for my son, including all my old button-down shirts and jackets, since the size I wore — boys’ 16 or 18 (I never actually wore any “men’s” clothing!) — is his size as well. He never has reason to wear ties, but I have those somewhere, too. I should probably just throw them out.

        6. Kayay
          Kayay December 2, 2012 at 11:38 am |

          I think my guy stuff (pretty much all andogynous shorts, shirts and jeans) will go into the donation bins pretty soon.

          I’m finding people I don’t know are being nicer and more sociable towards me, and like to engage me in conversation a lot more. Nobody told me this would be one of those things that happens when one transitions this way and I like it.

          Of course, I’m also now trying to further my career and have just started to try seeing how the employerati are going to deal with an extremely tall trans woman qualified applicant for a very male dominated field (IT Networking).

        7. Donna L
          Donna L December 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm |

          Well, I’ve certainly noticed myself that people I don’t know (both women and men) have been considerably more friendly and sociable towards me since I transitioned — far more likely to engage in conversation, to smile at me, and so on, and far more polite overall.

          And I’ve known other trans women who’ve remarked on this as well.

          I can’t tell, however, how much of that is simply true for women in general — strangers being much more friendly than they are towards men, presumably because women they don’t know aren’t viewed as potential threats in the same way that men are — as opposed to being attributable to my being perceptibly more comfortable in and with myself, and giving off friendlier signals to people than I used to.

  15. ellid
    ellid November 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm |

    It also means that women aren’t entitled to look at lovely eye candy like, say, Chris Evans, because only men should have the privilege of admiring beauty in the opposite sex.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan November 28, 2012 at 12:13 am |

      I was just looking at Chris Evans the other day. Boy is that Captain America suit tight. Um.

      1. ellid
        ellid November 28, 2012 at 6:54 am |

        I think that’s the point.

    2. scrumby
      scrumby November 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

      What cracks me up about all this is that he’s complaining about the portrayal of Bond when the folks behind the new Marvel films have admitted to casting and shooting with female fan-service in mind. Captain America and Thor need to be very attractive and show skin to get women into theaters for what would otherwise be boy movies. In that sense Cohen isn’t just bitching about not getting all the pussy he feels entitled to at every age; he’s bemoaning the downfall of the ancient truism that if you build it for dudes, chicks will come anyway so there is no need to target them as a separate demographic. “Girls don’t need to be courted they should just fall into my lap” on a bigger scale.

      (general caveats for assumptions of heterosexuality and gender binaries.)

      1. ellid
        ellid November 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm |

        Not to mention that the MCU films all include strong, determined, kick-ass women, from the Black Widow and Peggy Carter on down. That might be why these films have been so popular: good looking men to admire and strong women to emulate. What’s not to like?

  16. Scott1960
    Scott1960 November 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

    Does he not realize that these are movies?

    1. heliconia
      heliconia November 27, 2012 at 8:10 pm |

      It’s kind of written like he doesn’t!

    2. shfree
      shfree November 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm |

      Does he not realize that these are movies?

      Wait, fiction DOESN’T equal non-fiction?? Mind. Blown.

  17. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date November 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

    Richard Cohen, 2010 Hack of the Year.

  18. miga
    miga November 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

    HAAHAHAHA. Romance! A meritocracy! AHAHAHAHA

  19. Jace
    Jace November 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

    “Every rippling muscle is a book not read, a movie not seen or a conversation not held”

    I’m kind of confused as to why this guy considers watching movies a better use of one’s time than working out.

    Also every stupid article written is a book not read, a movie not seen, or a conversation not held. He should have done one of those things instead of writing this.

    1. ellid
      ellid November 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

      Also, this moron clearly isn’t aware that it’s perfectly possible to read a book while on the exercise bike or the treadmill, or to listen to a book while running or lifting weights.

      1. littlem
        littlem November 29, 2012 at 2:23 am |

        Not to speak of the fact that oxygen to the brain assists in cognitive-reason-intensive activities (a fact I wish I’d discovered much much earlier in life; I could still have graduated valedictorian and perhaps also had a decent social life as a young twirp, b/c I would’ve been far more efficient).

        But at that point we’re talking about reality and common sense, and since his entire thesis is mired in fantasy I’m not quite sure Mr. Cohen is there yet.

    2. zuzu
      zuzu November 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm | *

      He also may not realize that it actually doesn’t take all that much time to get a muscular physique. It does take effort, but not necessarily any more time than it took Cary Grant to be “effortlessly athletic.”

      1. SamBarge
        SamBarge November 30, 2012 at 8:24 am |

        True. Craig’s chisels are probably the result of a low carb/high protein diet, not more hours in the gym.

        1. littlem
          littlem December 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

          Actually both. He complained like a boss about his workout routine for Casino Royale (prior to appearing in those lovely teeny-tiny blue swim trunks).

          It amused me because I have a divine demon of a Pilates instructor who puts those of us who are post-rehab from athletic injuries through a similar particular hell, so I know just what it takes to actually be strong enough to compensate for some weakness – let alone to also have to have low enough body fat to let that strength show on camera.

  20. Schmorgluck
    Schmorgluck November 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm |

    I’m not sure it’s relevant to the discussion at hand, but at worst it seems a mild tangent to me: I recently heard a radio interview of Roger Moore, who explained that one of the reasons he quit playing James Bond was his growing uncomfortable with the age difference between him and the “James Bond girls”.

    1. Computer Soldier Porygon
      Computer Soldier Porygon November 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

      Wow, good for him.

  21. GaryW
    GaryW November 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

    3 Things to Note: TW for sexual violence

    1. what?! In Maltese Falcon, Bogart had known Mary Astor for about three days. She was not the love of his life. Furthermore, it was not his “age and wisdom” that allowed him to turn her away. It was the fact that she had murdered his partner! Christ man, your argument is already stupid, misogynistic, and pathetic, don’t make it worse by not even WATCHING the movies you’re bringing up.

    2. trigger warning for sexual violence (and spoilers)

    Fuck Skyfall. In a movie with three female characters, ALL three end up in a lower position than they started, and it is precisely their femininity which is given the blame in the film for their downfall.

    2a. M – blamed for all that is wrong with MI6 and killed, replaced by Fiennes

    2b. Moneypenny – taken out of the field (because she can’t handle it the way Bond can, and given a secretarial position

    2c. Woman who was given so little character that I can’t remember her name – stuffed in a fridge, her death played for laughs, never mentioned again.

    3. Woman above (Severine, I looked it up) deserves her own take. She says to Bond “I was a sex slave” he hops on his white horse and commits to saving her. Next time we see her she’s showering (thinking he isn’t going to show up) and he non-consensually slides in behind her naked. Without talking. A woman who JUST told you that she’s been repeatedly raped.

    Fuck Skyfall.

    1. Thalia
      Thalia November 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm |

      I watched Skyfall in theatres with friends and I’d heard so much about the Bond films with Daniel Craig that, while I wasn’t excited, I was interested to see what the series had become. I don’t think I’d seen a Bond film since maybe GoldenEye? Anyway, it’s besides the point.

      I was amazed, after having seen the movie, when I read reviews and most (even on feminist sites!) glossed over the fact that the Bond girl’s entire story was, essentially, sex slave who asks Bond to rescue her, has sex (implied) with Bond in a horribly creepy sequence, and then dies with not a single mention afterward.

      I liked the movie as a good action movie. But I stare agog at anyone who claims that women in the Bond franchise have come along way. Having said that, if anyone wants to make that argument here, I’m willing to listen as I’m pretty far from a Bond expert as one can be.

      1. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan November 28, 2012 at 12:16 am |

        There were non-Bond-girl women in the movie at all. Which is kind of a long way. It even passed the Bechdel test, if you count M getting yelled at by the Prime Minister… :p

        I did my best.

        1. benvolio
          benvolio November 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |

          There was that lady chairing the committee meeting (played by the awesome Helen McCrory), who was doing her best to fill the shrew-nag-ballbuster niche always essential in these things….

          Oh. That’s not maybe helpful.

        2. Thalia
          Thalia November 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

          I read a good article which argued that M (with Dame Judi Dench in the role) essentially rewrote the common pattern of women in the James Bond franchise.

          SPOILERS BELOW!
          (or, uh, more spoilers)

          However, since she dies and is replaced by a white dude… The movie didn’t exactly end in a “progressive” way for all that her role was progressive for what it was. I also read an article which (incorrectly, I believe) cited that Moneypenny was the Bond girl and that she and Bond didn’t sleep together. I would argue that they did and so, aside from M, who dies, Bond has a sexual relationship with every female in the film aside from the rather angry-and-attacking-another-woman-in-a-position-of-power prime minister.

          An aside, M is “saved” (in a sense) from that confrontation by the man who later replaces her. And then Bond bursts in to try to save her physically…

          I enjoyed Skyfall but the more I think about it (and I’ve, unfortunately, thought about it a lot), the more I feel it wasn’t particularly progressive. And given that the Bond girl is fairly one-dimensional (with a history of trauma to boot), it’s almost… Regressive in ways?

          Does any of that make sense?

    2. Daniel Pereira
      Daniel Pereira November 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

      Just a quick note – M died because Judi Dench was tired of playing M and wanted out. So they had to replace her in a way that made sense within the fiction.

      I agree that while on its own the idea of an agent messing up in the field and redeeming themselves as Bond’s handler makes a lot of sense, I was a little disappointed that it was a black woman essentially getting relegated to secretary status. Maybe they will make her a super-awesome field-support agent in the future though, rather than just a secretary Bond hits on.

      There’s no defense for the ‘Bond girl.’ I thought it was incredibly gross that he snuck up on her after she talked about being a sex worker. Disappointing.

      I think that M was handled pretty well, though; she’s a mother figure to Bond (they call her Mum) and I thought it was a really compelling and interesting storyline which tied into the overarching theme of Bond being forced to relive the death of his parents and the archetypal trauma which forced him into such an ultimately brutal line of work.

      Plus, there are very few people who could follow in Dench’s footsteps in terms of pure awesomeness and gravitas, and I guess Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith and Vanessa Redgrave have better things to do than play M. I can never be mad to see Fiennes in anything.

      1. Maja
        Maja November 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm |

        I agree!

        About the Bond-girl: Even during the film and these exact scenes, I thought that that sex-scene was entirely misplaced and essentially not important for the story. You could cut it out and nothing would be changed later on.

        Furthermore it seemed really creepy and nonsensical* and I choose to believe that it was a kind of fan service as there have always been sex-scenes in the former Bond-movies and so there had to be one in this..

        *Why would a woman in such a horrible situation (to me it looked like she knew she was about to get killed) want to have sex with a stranger? She might need someone to talk to and to comfort her (aka a friend), but sex?! And why would Bond who in the recent films has been portrayed somewhat more heroic take advantage of a woman so injured and powerless?

        1. E.
          E. November 29, 2012 at 12:32 am |

          Maja,
          I actually talked to my academic advisor about the sex scene in the film, complaining that it didn’t seem like she consented, especially given her circumstances.
          My advisor, a second-waver, claims that these qualms are denying the lady’s sexual autonomy. She said that just because she was a “sex slave” doesn’t mean that she cannot have desires and cannot actively want to have sex with Bond.

          I don’t know if I agree with her, but it was an interesting comment.

        2. anne
          anne November 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

          E. It’s a stupid comment and a sentiment commonly expressed by idiots who uncritically throw out “sexual agency” to rationalize everything.
          No duh a sex slave or prostitute can have sexual desires of her own just like any human being. That doesn’t mean every jerkoff is entitled to sneak up on her in the shower or that she’d have anything to do with any of her “clients” if she didn’t need the money or if she didn’t have a pimp beating her down.

        3. Safiya Outlines
          Safiya Outlines December 2, 2012 at 12:19 am |

          Not sure if my comment is the right place but:

          Could that scene have been written to show her actively wanting to have sex with Bond? Yes, easily.

          There was a shot of her with champagne on ice and two glasses before Bond arrived on the boat, it would have been very simple to have shown them making a toast together and then proceeding in a mutually enjoyable manner from there.

          The key phrase is mutually. When he enters the shower, she doesn’t turn to him (why would she, anyway?), but stands there looking frozen and scared, that’s what makes the scene so creepy. She may well have desires and wish to have sex with Bond, but she didn’t display them in that scene.

        4. Tony
          Tony December 2, 2012 at 1:30 am |

          that sex-scene was entirely misplaced and essentially not important for the story. You could cut it out and nothing would be changed later on.

          Oh it’s absolutely critical to the story. The only reason her character exists is for the sex scene. The same is true for every Bond girl, only this time it was more explicit and perfunctory.

          Generally, the role of the Bond girl is to present the illusion of the challenge so that Bond can conquer her, and then get stuffed in a refrigerator, or at least get kidnapped. This serves three roles (1) it gives the movie eye candy, (2) it establishes Bond’s masculinity, and (3) it establishes the villain as evil, evil, evil

        5. Tony
          Tony December 2, 2012 at 1:32 am |

          I guess I should say I mean that you’re right- it’s never critical to any spy story, but it’s always critical to what the producers are trying to do.

  22. Nanani
    Nanani November 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm |

    The phrase “sexual meritocracy” makes me want to puke out my lunch.

  23. Sam
    Sam November 28, 2012 at 12:34 am |

    Jill,

    to be honest, the only thing about the masculinity portrayed in Skyfall that really bothered me wasn’t the relative weakness, reflection, ageing, relative lack of sex or booze, or even the homoerotic allusions, it was the idea that the only thing that gives men purpose in a world progressively less favorable to them is their awareness of duty. Heroic masculinity has always been sacrificial, but the sacrifice was sweetened with perks, or, well, privileges. In Skyfall, Bond is realizing that the privileges are disappearing, but the conclusion is not to stop definining masculinity as heroic, but to accept that true sacrifice doesn’t require sweeteners. That shot on the roof overlooking Westminster? So, actually, Bond’s weakness is not enlarging the already precariously small (heterosexual) man box, it’s making it even smaller.

    1. msgd
      msgd November 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

      I liked this post. Since it doesn’t bash Cohen or men, though, I don’t think anyone cares.

      1. mxe354
        mxe354 November 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

        Yes, commentariat; let us ignore Sam’s post! We only care about bashing men.

        1. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis November 29, 2012 at 12:47 am |

          And hats.

      2. EG
        EG November 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

        Oh, the poor imaginary men, always so bashed, and now expected to be action heroes without the perks of…what, precisely? What is it that Bond used to get that he’s no longer getting?

        I do appreciate Sam’s tolerance, though, not being bothered even by homoerotic allusions. What a mensch.

    2. tomek
      tomek November 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm |

      sam disagree. for why would hero only be hero for perks? hero should be hero for sake of do good.
      also bond not lose perks. bond has the sex with woman with fake accent, and agent woman.

      1. Sam
        Sam December 2, 2012 at 10:02 am |

        tomek,

        re: heros. True. But I was talking about how the masculinity debate that’s now surrounding the film is making the man-box smaller. True heroism is independent of perks, yet not all men are heros, in fact, very few are. Most are, well, ordinary men. To them, I think, the “heros without perks” discussion is not showing how they could become more human by not following down the road of sacrifical masculinity (and still be sexually attractive to women), it’s showing them that things may change, but someone’s gotta do his duty, without asking questions about what that means for them. It’s very Kantian, in that respect, and also very conservative, displaying, as I said, masculinity as mostly sacrificial, instead of allowing guys to actually become more human. After Bond “enjoyed” being dead in the beginning (also, partly, in the arms of an anonymous woman) he faces a scorpio in a drinking game and, when, there’s an explosion in London, goes back to save Queen, country, and mother. Where earlier Bonds were ironic, or seemed to enjoy their job, a job they did with ease, this one’s fighting, it’s hard work, and in the end, barely holding things together is a big success. I suppose that’s something to identify with for crisis men, but it’s not really a way out of the rat race, and, to the extent that is identity constructing, that’s not really helpful, in my opinion.

        As for the sex, in Skyfall, the sex is, if that, an afterthought, and it seems like something put in to remember a more glorious past rather than something this Bond actually likes doing. There’s really nothing playful about it, and it’s hardly erotic at all. It feels like work, too. I mean, seriously, the scene between the two men is probably the most erotic scene in the film, and that’s saying a lot for a Bond film.

        1. tomek
          tomek December 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

          sam much to think about in what you say.

          I think, the “heros without perks” discussion is not showing how they could become more human by not following down the road of sacrifical masculinity (and still be sexually attractive to women)

          hmm i think fact of life is woman only find attractive very limited masuclinity.

          previous bond was role model for man, but in new bond i think bond not is role model. he lack of the humanity because of job stress and bad childhood, not because this is good thing for man to be. in film there is other model of man who is positive. like computer man with funny hair.

  24. TomSims
    TomSims November 28, 2012 at 2:36 am |

    According to Wikipedia “He received public attention in 1987 when it became public knowledge that he was having an affair with Kati Marton, the wife of ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings.[12]

    In 1998, Cohen was involved in a dispute with editorial aide Devon Spurgeon that was ultimately mediated by Washington Post management.[13] Cohen reportedly asked Spurgeon questions about “casual sex”, told her to “stand up and turn around”, and gave her the “silent treatment” for three weeks.[13] Cohen contended that “It was a personality dispute at an office, but it had nothing to do with sexual harassment as the term applies today.”[13] Post management concluded that Spurgeon had been subjected to a “hostile working environment” but not to “sexual harassment” and that Cohen was guilty of “inappropriate behavior.”[13]”

    He’s a syndicated writer for the ultra left wing Washington Post. He should know that Hollywood is all about fantasy. And Bond and other films like it were made for the male fantasy. All men of all ages fantasize about sleeping with hot young movie starlets and always have and always will. And women have had fantasies about male actors from Brad Pitt all the way back to Rudy Valentino. It’s escapism. Hollywood is all smoke and mirrors.

    1. EG
      EG November 28, 2012 at 10:53 am |

      the ultra left wing Washington Post

      “Left wing.”

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L November 28, 2012 at 11:13 am |

        I guess for people who think of Mitt Romney and John McCain as “too liberal,” it’s an accurate statement! It’s what happens when you live inside the right-wing noise machine.

    2. Wiley
      Wiley November 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |

      LOL The Post is Left Wing now? NO ONE ALERTED ME.

    3. Past my expiration date
      Past my expiration date November 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

      the ultra left wing Washington Post.

      Oh, I like this even better than Mac’s Song of the Single Middle-Aged Guy. Sorry, Mac.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune November 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

        *weeping hysterically*

    4. ellid
      ellid November 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

      If the Post is “ultra left wing,” I shudder to think what this nice little troll thinks of the Village Voice.

    5. zuzu
      zuzu November 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm | *

      He’s a syndicated writer for the ultra left wing Washington Post.

      HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  25. John F
    John F November 28, 2012 at 3:57 am |

    Cohen’s article was obviously misogynistic tripe, but the essential anxiety behind it is very familiar to me. I recently turned 30 and started losing my hair, so there are days when I look in the mirror and freak out, thinking “no one is ever going to desire me physically ever again!” So I can understand why one might find comfort in the notion that sophistication, knowledge, and maturity can make a person sexually appealing.

    What baffles me, though, is how he can be so blind to the blatant double-standard he’s invoking. As much as it may be reasonable to be distressed that standards for male attractiveness in media are starting to include unattainable physical perfection, does it not also occur to him that a huge part of the problem is that a man’s desirability is measured by his perceived ability to attract dramatically younger women.

    Why is it that we don’t see the sexy, urbane, sophisticated older man with the less than perfect body go after the sexy, urbane, sophisticated older woman with the less than perfect body? Why is that not regarded as an incredible romantic coup? Why do we not think that accomplished, witty, intelligent people partnering as equals as something that is enviable, and out of the reach of younger people, who must content themselves with their clumsy fumbling around each others’, admittedly appealing, but woefully inexperienced young bodies?

    Now, granted, part of the reason is that the above scenario is pure fantasy, but isn’t it the job of entertainment to occasionally indulge fantasy? There’s something dismal about the way the media treats the sexuality of older adults. It sometimes feels like we’re expected to go from hot young people having hot sex directly into being hilarious old people having hilarious sex with nothing worthwhile in between.

    That is a standard I feel needs to be challenged, but the way to do it is not anywhere close to what Cohen appears to be arguing – that older people (read, in his case, as “men”) need to be paired with younger people (read, here, as “conventionally attractive young women”) in order to “prove” that they are genuinely appealing. (I use the gender neutral because I can see shades of this in the “cougar” phenomenon, where, in as much as I have no problems with older women going after younger men – my wife is 12 years older than I am – it still seems like the way we know that these older women are really attractive is because they are able to indulge successfully in the fetishization of youth – although this has a bunch of additional sexist problems as well, rarely do we see a cougar in Cohen’s seemingly ideal “savoir faire is sexy” mode.)

    1. Lindsay Beyerstein
      Lindsay Beyerstein November 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm |

      Agreed, John F.

      You know what TV show does an (unexpectedly) great job depicting adult romance? David Simon’s “Treme,” particularly Season 3. There are lots of couplings on the show, but hottest, most mysterious of all is the courtship between LaDonna (55-year-old Khandi Alexander) and Albert (60-year-old Clarke Peters, who looks about 70 because his character is seriously ill). Alexander and Peters are both strikingly good-looking, but you’d never mistake them for twenty-somethings. More importantly, the chemistry between them is smoldering because they are such good actors.

  26. Stella
    Stella November 28, 2012 at 4:53 am |

    The body cult promotes unhealthy operations in women and substance abuse in some men. Also nothing changed, monies men still get to be chubby old and with an 20 year old. He is just typing away to have an article.

  27. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    A few things Mr. Cohen missed:

    Daniel Craig is married to Rachel Weisz, who is 42 years old. He’s not going for the young chick, he actually prefers women his own age that he has something in common with. The woman he’d been dating long term before he married Weisz was also around his age.

    And Cohen–actually, no, you have to have more going for you than being a dude with a pulse to get a woman of any age. Sorry. Them’s the brakes.

    Also? You can get pretty ripped by working out about an hour a day. That leaves plenty of time for things like reading and movies and current events if you have money and resources (and chances are, if you can get ripped like Daniel Craig in the Bond franchise, you have those things).

    By the way–it sucks to be judged by your looks, doesn’t it Cohen? Welcome to my world, asshole. It’s one thing to not get a date with the person you are interested in, it’s a whole ‘nother thing to see the jauggernaut of pop culture tell you you are less than because you aren’t young, white, and physically perfect. Cry me a river, you’re not even on the front stoop of that house of bullshit.

    Silver Linings Playbook–I’m going to watch it, even though I think Jennifer Lawrence is very, very talented. However, in one review I read, the reviewer was a little stroppy over the age difference, saying in the book the character was 35 years old, not 25.

    I’m sick to death of movies pairing up really young women with much older men (and hot chicks with schlubby dudes, while finger wagging at the shallow bitches for liking the hawt dudes while never questioning why it’s okay for men to be shallow). It’s not like we see the opposite unless it’s something played for laughs.

  28. Wednesday Morning Links « Gerry Canavan
    Wednesday Morning Links « Gerry Canavan November 28, 2012 at 11:20 am |

    [...] In “North by Northwest” and other movies, Grant — for all his good looks — represented the triumph of the sexual meritocracy — a sex appeal won by experience and savoir-faire, not delts and pecs and other such things that [...]

  29. DouglasG
    DouglasG November 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

    The article almost seems written as part of a campaign to become the new spokesperson for myopia.

    The closest I can come to any sympathy for this person comes from a preference for natural activity to the cultivation of a gym body, which admittedly strikes me as positively unattractive physically, though I realize there aren’t many chacuns signing up for this particular gout, or anti-gout as it may be.

    And it isn’t pleasant to experience the falloff of a large chunk of one’s circle as they all gravitate into gym rat life (perhaps an hour a day might do for women or straight men, but my friends seemed to average closer to three if not more). Again, a gout for chacun, but once it’s reaches the steroid stage, that’s a big loss all around (not sure whether protein supplements are a gateway). The irony turned out to be that I was the only one in my later forties to be pursued by a teenager, even though I was as convinced as any woman here that I became completely invisible and irrelevant in the eyes of the It Boys from the day I looked 30 – if not 25 (no Oppression Gaylympics intended).

    As for Mr Connery, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Bond movie or any of his film work, but I greatly admired his presence in support of Andy Murray this summer at Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open, particularly his insistence, once winning a major seemed to settle it that the English press would entirely come around to calling him British on a permanent basis, that Mr Murray is a SCOT.

  30. Don’t much care about the men | Feminist Current

    [...] Filipovic points out the ridiculous sense of entitlement demonstrated by Cohen and men of his ilk over at Feministe, writing: Women are actually human beings [...]

  31. amblingalong
    amblingalong November 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

    The article almost seems written as part of a campaign to become the new spokesperson for myopia.

    Bzzzzt. Nope. Try again.

    1. DouglasG
      DouglasG November 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |

      Oh, bother, I think I’ll stop while I’m behind.

  32. Tamara
    Tamara November 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

    Here’s a really interesting analysis of Skyfall’s and Bond’s misogyny. Warning: full of spoilers.

    http://overland.org.au/blogs/cruel-miracles/2012/11/skyfall-bonds-psychotic-misogyny/

  33. DollHeart
    DollHeart November 29, 2012 at 3:12 am |

    “Every rippling muscle is a book not read, a movie not seen or a conversation not held.”

    The irony is that Daniel Craig is probably smarter than Mr Cohen…

    1. Kylara7
      Kylara7 November 30, 2012 at 8:37 am |

      What I hate about that statement is that it’s just a high school trope that most people grow out of in their 20s, that you can be a ripped jock who likes sports and the gym OR a brainy nerd who likes books and computers BUT NOT BOTH. Meh. I don’t understand the reductionism that our culture tends to push/

  34. Fear of Vulnerability and Geek Misogyny | Dark PoliticksDark Politricks

    [...] to regain their rightful control of women, often by humiliating said women. At least one of them writes a WaPo column that assumes that middle-aged men are owed sex with 20-something women as a reward for being able [...]

  35. The Kitty Milestone!! « Congratulations, it's a grain of rice!

    [...] will end soon. Gods, I HOPE this job will earn me enough to not need ‘em any longer!) * What do you think women have missed out on with our incessant dieting and make-upping and hair-doing… …Suddenly I no longer feel as bad. I may dress like a hobo and smell like sour milk (the joys [...]

  36. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune November 30, 2012 at 11:13 am |

    Every rippling muscle is a book not read, a movie not seen or a conversation not held.

    Quick, somebody tell Niels Bohr!

  37. One More Thing… « Robot King
    One More Thing… « Robot King November 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

    [...] Connery, I’m not sure I would enjoy being romanced by him. Some entitled old white men have bemoaned our culture’s gradual shift away from men who win women simply by dressing nicely and being available, and to that I say: good. [...]

  38. tonysims
    tonysims November 30, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

    Wow.

    Ian Fleming never pretended that Bond was anything but a reflection of his desire to perpetuate the myth of the English gentleman of the colonial age. He felt that men were being emasculted by the changes in English culture resulting from the contraction of the Empire. Fleming was a practicing and unapologetic mysoginist.

    Cohen misses it by miles.

    I’m male, 52, not yet dead. I’m several years divorced from a fairly long marriage. My partner is 27. When we met, I was not trolling for a girl half my age. I wasn’t trolling, period. We met at a company gathering, had a fun and entertaining conversation, and shared a cab. I didn’t actually know the difference in our ages, although I obviously knewshe was younger. Likewise, she knew I was older but not how much.

    We had a few dinners, saw a few movies, and discovered we enjoyed our time together and wanted to continue. We acknowlege the age difference, but it doesn’t matter. My belief is that a significant reason we connect is that she is not from the US, and is very well educated. As maturity goes, she’s the equal of most women I meet in the US who are closer to may age. US culture seems to reward immature behavior regardless of age.

    As to the suggestion that Daniel Craig looks are required, well… I’m no Daniel Craig. And I don’t think most men my age want a woman in her 20’s. If I was looking for a relationship, I wouldn’t be pursuing women based on age. What is attractive is not age. It’s attitude, enthusiasm, energy, vitality, sensuality… I see 50 women a day who attract me, and they range across the spectrum of age, weight and ethnicity.

    Sexy is as sexy does… or something like that.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L December 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

      My belief is that a significant reason we connect is that she is not from the US, and is very well educated. As maturity goes, she’s the equal of most women I meet in the US who are closer to may age. US culture seems to reward immature behavior regardless of age.

      So who are you, TomSims’s younger brother? You can’t make your point without engaging in a gratuitous (and preposterously arrogant) attack on the maturity of U.S. women? It didn’t even cross your mind that if you were a mature person yourself you wouldn’t have felt the need to do so?

    2. EG
      EG December 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

      As maturity goes, she’s the equal of most women I meet in the US who are closer to may age. US culture seems to reward immature behavior regardless of age.

      So…you’ve got the maturity level of a non-US man in his twenties, is what you’re saying.

      Very inspiring.

  39. Philip Finn
    Philip Finn December 3, 2012 at 11:20 am |

    I stopped going to Bond films in my twenties. I thought everyone did. Back then we called it “growing up”, not “demographics”. Of course, calling it demographics re-invents it as a “quantifiable phenomena”, a “market”, not simply age-inappropriate behavior.
    I almost forgot what I was going to post, after reading my way down the thread.
    I’m sorry, what was the question, again?

    1. Philip Finn
      Philip Finn December 4, 2012 at 11:32 am |

      And this “Bond” fellow, he doesn’t really exist, right? Neither do the women he “gets”, right? Richard Cohen is talking about fiction as if it were real people in real life…
      Has someone told him none of this movie stuff really happens?

  40. Tyler
    Tyler December 4, 2012 at 12:38 am |

    Can someone quote the part where Richard Cohen puffing his giant cigar no doubt said dammit I am entitled to some young pussy right now, because I drink sophisticated scoth. To me it seems like that came from some 20 something feminut blogger who doesn’t give a damn about accuracy or facts. Your lolcat talk by the way not cute, just stupid. To me Cohens comments sounded more like a man commenting on how Hollywood is defining “sex appeal” in men, he used the word sex appeal, not sex entitlement. He is critiquing what he views as a new Hollywood standard of sex appeal in men, that emphasizes looks, muscles as well as aggressive and brash behavior. But the standards of what is sexy in women is shallow and body centric and bad too so, two wrongs make a right? Given the amount of time y’all internet feminists spend complaining about Hollywood’s standards for what is attractive in women it seems you might see a man doing the same thing as a kindred spirit, or at least you know tolerate his existence. Instead of fighting the opposite sex in general we could like work together to fight against a corporate structure, nah that sounds too real. How do you interpret his statement these older men, “make love they don’t score”. How do you read this and get dammit I deserve to score with hot young women with nice bodies for casual meaningless sex, because it sounds to me like he is saying the opposite. Did you read his words at all, do you in fact know how to read? To me it sounds like he is critiquing the notion that an attractive man is always tying to “score” and pursuing young and conventionally attractive women. But the problem with you ultra feminists is you think male sexuality and men in general are basically bad. I am not sure how I can interpret this post as anything but Misandry, well I guess there is one other possibility, you don’t know how to read. As for Sean Connery he is an actor doing a job, he isn’t James Bond, no I don’t much care for James Bond, in part because I don’t care for Cold War anti communism, but perhaps that is also because I am a “sissy nice guy” the worst apparently according to feminists, according to your twisted views right on James Bond for trying to be a stereotypically attractive man, I guess he really is “Gods gift to women”. Interesting how things go full circle and ultra feminists are in apparently big fans of macho hyper masculinity. I don’t know if Richard Cohen ever sexually harassed an employee or not, but it’s not relevant to this discussion plenty of people including plenty of women say the same damn thing as he is saying here. Trying to find or invent the moral foibles of individuals to negate their ideas and philosophy is the stuff of meaningless horse race politics.

    1. TomSims
      TomSims December 4, 2012 at 10:47 am |

      Oh oh, you’ve shaken a hornets’ nest.

    2. EG
      EG December 4, 2012 at 11:53 am |

      Pause and take a breath, please. Then go back and reread the post, because you seem incapable of understanding what critique is. Cohen doesn’t have to use the word “entitlement” for him to be displaying it. We are using the word “entitlement” to describe his attitude toward young women. “Entitled” is also a particularly apt way to describe men who sexually harass women.

      Cohen’s entire screed about which types of male appeal should be rewarded with women posits women as objects to be distributed among men without reference to the women’s own desires. If he had at any moment indicated any awareness of the far worse strictures regarding attractiveness placed upon women, or if he had acknowledged that women too can and should be sexually appealing based on savoir-faire and experience, then indeed, he would be a kindred spirit. As it is, his shock and outrage at this indignity being forced upon men, and his certainty that this has never! happened! before! bespeak a man wearing the blindfold of male privilege.

      Now, if this is your bar for misandry, you wouldn’t last ten minutes as a woman. We have to deal with actual misogyny every damn day.

    3. Valoniel
      Valoniel December 8, 2012 at 4:54 am |

      But the standards of what is sexy in women is shallow and body centric and bad too so, two wrongs make a right?

      And when the men who run that particular little world make the first wrong right, we can talk about women being treated as an actual consumer demographic with real-live desires, just like the boys.

  41. Tyler
    Tyler December 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

    He barely mentions young women in his article and in my opinion subtly hints that chasing after young women is one of the things along with the ripped abs and propensity towards violence he is critiquing, in Hollywood’s leading man roles. He actually talks about meaningful relationships and making love over “scoring”. Couldn’t it be said that any woman critiquing what is sexy in women, sees men as objects to be distributed amongst women without regard to their desires and should really just stop complaining and strive to be whatever men happen to like. I think that would be really stupid, but it would be the exact same logic that you are using. Is there something wrong with critiquing how Hollywood movies and other corporate forces influence what we find attractive in other people. A few of these things may be biological but many are socially created. A great example of course is the whole women shaving their legs thing, its seen as almost a requirement in modern Western society but clearly hasn’t been done throughout most of human history, its basically a fetish gone mainstream. So why can’t a man look critically onto what the mass media is pushing onto men as what is desirable and “sexy”. As far as misandry and misogyny goes, obviously sexism against women has much stronger backing by the institutions of our society, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some women out there that hate men and see them as inferior, and I am saying the writer of this article seems to be one. Like a lot of ultra feminists she seems to take issue with the fact that heterosexual men have sexual desires and want to have sex with women as being generally bad, sinful, oppressive etc. And she can’t even stand a man doing the same thing Feminists do critiquing the patriarchal corporate medias brainwashing of people. Her position is men are basically gross creepy rape machines and should just shut up and say nothing, does that seem a bit like hatred of men(ie misandry) to you?

  42. This just in: d00d discovers it sucks to be judged on your looks « glacial distance

    [...] this isn’t really just in, but it’s new to me (h/t to Feministe).  Apparently Richard Cohen of the Washington Post watched the most recent James Bond movie, and [...]

  43. Tyler
    Tyler December 8, 2012 at 1:47 am |

    LET ME TELL YOU INTERNETS

    Older white male assholes aren’t as interesting to young hotties unless they’re multimillionaires. LIFE’S SO HARD.

    And so I present the Song of the Single Middle-Aged Guy.

    MY LIFE’S SO HARD
    IT’S SO HARD, YO
    MY LIFE’S SO HARD
    AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW

    I could date my own damn age group – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

    I could try to be a decent guy – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

    I could try to not be racist – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

    I could try to be interesting – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

    I could be well-read and traveled – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

    I could be kind and considerate – BUT THAT’S SO HARD

    AND MY DAUGHTERS’ FRIENDS
    WITH THEIR SKINNY LITTLE BODS
    HAVE STANDARDS, ACTUAL STANDARDS
    OH MY FUCKING GODS

    IT’S SO HARD TO BE WHITE AND MALE AND STRAIGHT AND MIDDLE-AGED, IT’S SO HARD, SO HARD…

    Let us reconstruct your little poem here, I know you’re not really supposed to do that with poems but I’m gonna do it anyway. At what point did this Cohen guy(I’m really not familiar with him as a person maybe hes actually Hitler I don’t really know or care I don’t follow celebrities much) say old men are entitled to young womens bodies, I didn’t hear that anywhere but show me the quote if it in fact exists. How come older men of other races don’t find sexy young women attractive, its really only white guys, how come I am so sure the poster of this post is white(I’m not and its funny to me I am put in an odd position of defending white people from some know it all liberal white person who thinks hating on white people makes them somehow cool). Are all older white men racists, some are hell a lot are but not all, thats a bit of a stereotype, one that TV likes to have fun with. Sometimes kids are actually more racist. Are all older white men not decent, what is decent, I thought Cohen was kind of sort of trying to articulate that. Is being a decent guy being a multimillionaire, and or having the abs, I certainly don’t think thats true. Are none of these old men well traveled well read or interesting, I am sure many of them are. Are you sure your daughters friends with their skinny little bods actually have standards? Some people who are white and straight and middle aged are working two jobs, getting evicted from their homes, living in cars, living on the streets. Despite all the cis gender privileges they have, not saying they aren’t real but they don’t guarantee that you will be living the good life. And ultimately are we not allowed to critique even a little bit women with shallow criteria for what they like in men. Believe me I am all for critiquing the shallow criteria men like in women, but its a two way street. Last but not least the lolcat talk, its not cute anymore, just stupid. Also I leave you with this thought, nobody is entitled to have sex with anyone else but theres nothing wrong with having desires, we are hard wired that way. At the end of the day a lot of women are attracted to older men anyway. As for me I have always been attracted to women who were older than me or at least my own age.

    1. Valoniel
      Valoniel December 8, 2012 at 4:18 am |

      Re: your Certainties about Mac: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA….you’re adorable.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 8, 2012 at 4:18 am |

      All right, let us reconstruct your comment here. I know it’s silly to analyse a chucklefuck’s fuckchuckling, but I’m going to try anyway. Forgive me for not parodying your wall o’ text or your grammar carnage; I couldn’t make myself.

      If you can hear me over the resounding whoosh of your empty skull, I wasn’t replying to Cohen but to TomSims’ whining in the thread above. As a moment of reading could have told you.

      how come I am so sure the poster of this post is white

      I’m not white. I find it fascinating that you think I’m white – you did mean to imply I’m white, didn’t you? I do hope you’re at least able to make up for in communication skills what you lack in reading comprehension – and would dearly love to know how you arrived at that conclusion with little to no evidence.

      Some people who are white and straight and middle aged are working two jobs, getting evicted from their homes, living in cars, living on the streets.

      And so poor people have no standards according to you? Or are you simply saying they shouldn’t have any? Please, keep talking, I find ever more fascinating things in your statements.

      Believe me I am all for critiquing the shallow criteria men like in women, but its a two way street.

      Of course, sweetie. Tell me more about how women’s choices are never, ever critiqued in the patriarchy. I’m all ears. (Very feminine ears, too, I assure you.)

      Also I leave you with this thought, nobody is entitled to have sex with anyone else but theres nothing wrong with having desires, we are hard wired that way.

      Oooo, ooo! I feel so enlightened! Tomorrow tell me about how women, too, can masturbate, okay?

      As for me I have always been attracted to women who were older than me or at least my own age.

      Thank you, dear Tyler’s Boner, for your two cents’ worth. I don’t know how I ever did without your Twitter-sized updates on what and who you find fuckable.

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 8, 2012 at 4:20 am |

      Last but not least the lolcat talk, its not cute anymore, just stupid.

      Also I leave you with this thought, nobody is entitled to dictate how people speak on the internet with anyone else but theres nothing wrong with liking lolcat, we are hard wired that way.

  44. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 8, 2012 at 3:23 am |

    how come I am so sure the poster of this post is white

    Macavity? She’s not.

    Are you sure your daughters friends with their skinny little bods actually have standards?

    Pfft, obviously not if they won’t bang catches like Cohen. He talks about Carey Grant. So sexy. I mean, it’s not as if humans are varying creatures and Cohen’s entire thought-wank is an ode to men not trying and managing to bang women half their age through the awesome power of having been alive longer.

    Also I leave you with this thought, nobody is entitled to have sex with anyone else but theres nothing wrong with having desires, we are hard wired that way.

    REVOLUTIONARY. Please, do not leave us with only this. Tell me more. I must know more truths. Should I not be so hard on that guy, after all he might be shy and find it hard to talk to women and that’s totally why he won’t leave me to read on the bus? Should I not get so offended by women in TV and movies because men are just more visual than women?

    1. librarygoose
      librarygoose December 8, 2012 at 3:25 am |

      (This was supposed to be a reply to Tyler)

      ALSO:

      ast but not least the lolcat talk, its not cute anymore, just stupid.

      I think it’s fucking hilarious. TASTES: they vary.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 8, 2012 at 4:30 am |

      REVOLUTIONARY. Please, do not leave us with only this. Tell me more. I must know more truths.

      *giggling helplessly*

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