Older men/younger women relationships: Is age really just a number?| July 19, 2011
Your host, Meghan Murphy, explores the older man/younger woman relationship with special guest, Hugo Schwyzer.
While we seem to have normalized, to a certain extent, the cliche of the middle-aged man who, maybe post-divorce, seek out a much younger woman, whether it be to start a (new) family or simply to pump up his ego, the 'creepy' factor remains intact. We may want to present this kind of relationship as 'natural' or as some kind of biological inclination that is applicable to men in particular, we must ask whether or not it is indeed 'natural' and why it is that we continue to get that old creepy feeling about a, perhaps, 50-year-old man pursuing a relationship with a 25-year-old woman.
Are men really meant to aspire towards Hugh Hefner? And what does it say about our culture when we assume men won't be interested in women their own age? What does it say about the men who are only interested is very young women? What are the implications of these kinds of relationships? Is love ageless or is there something more to the story -- specifically, how does gender and male power play into these so called 'May-December' relationships? Is it our responsibility to intervene into these potentially unhealthy or even dangerous relationships? Or is this kind of situation meant to remain squarely in the realm of the 'private matter'? Do men need to take responsibility here and focus on women their own age? Why? And, on an even more serious note, are these men more than just creepy -- how does abuse play into these relationships when, more often than not, it is not only male power that gives older men the 'upper hand' as they say, but also economic power, making younger women all the more dependent on what very well could be a controlling and potentially abusive man?
This episode explores these very issues with Hugo Schwyzer, who has written extensively about the dynamics and the implications of older men dating much younger women. Hugo is a professor of history and gender studies at Pasadena City College, is a writer, a public speaker, and an activist. You can find his work at The Good Men Project and at hugoschwyzer.net
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