CougarLife, a dating website for women "looking to catch younger men," has accused Google of sexism, claiming that the company deemed its web ads "non-family safe," while condoning as "family-safe" Internet ads for "sugar daddy-type" sites.
According to CougarLife's founder Claudia Opdenkelder, a Google account manager told her that promoting liaisons between older women and younger men was "unsafe for family audiences, even if the ads contain no sexually suggestive words or images"--while sites aimed at connecting older men with younger women received no such restrictions.
A Google spokeswoman countered claims of sexism. She told the National Post , "It's not just about the ad, it's about the ad and the landing page of the site," explaining that certain "trigger" words can prompt the review of a site.
The CougarLife landing page pictures a less-than-racy, black-and-white photo of a man and woman embracing.
The description offers an explanation of "What is a cougar?":
Cougars are Women in their PRIME: independent, sexy and wildly successful. They enjoy men that are youthful, fit with the same zest for life. Cougars are classy, confident women that already possess many of the finer things in life -- but now want the young, hot guy to go with it.
CougarLife promises "all the best men before they're snatched up," who "can come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they have in common is their desire for older women.
As Mashable notes, SeekingArrangement, the self described "elite sugar daddy dating site" dubbed "family safe" by Google, offers more innuendo-laden text: "Sugar Babes are college students, aspiring actresses or someone just starting out. You seek a generous benefactor to pamper, mentor and take care of you -- perhaps to help you financially?" It defines a "mutually beneficial relationship" as "usually between an older and wealthy individual who gives a young person expensive gifts or financial assistance in return for friendship, or intimacy."
"It's a huge double standard and I think women should just be appalled," said CougarLife's Opdenkelder.
Tell us your take in the comments below, or read the full story from the National Post.
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