Cougar For a Year was a yearlong, durational performance piece in which I dressed in nothing but animal print clothing 24/7 to investigate, live, and try on stereotypes of the cougar- a ‘sexually aggressive’ woman over-40- by wearing her uniform, which I named as animal print based on my research of popular culture and mainstream media texts. I chose animal print as the cougar’s uniform not only because she is often seen wearing it, but also because of its visibility, clarity, and literalization of representing the cougar, and for the sexual signification that animal print performs in western culture.
One of the rules that I set for myself for Cougar For a Year was to have at least 60% visible animal print showing to ensure a disruption to my wardrobe and daily dress. As the performance reached the halfway mark, I felt the most confident in project and body when I was dressed head-to-toe in 100% leopard print or snakeskin. I was diligent about documenting the project everyday through an online interactive database (CougarThis.com), which included daily photographs, diary entries, video, and a Cougar Sightings section where online users could contribute pictures of people wearing animal print. This website continues to serve as an archive of the performance.