The XX Factor

The Cheetah: A New Female Predator?

Oh, hey! Great news! There’s a new predator-type female in town, this one created by Spencer Morgan of the New York Observer. Welcome the cheetah : a young woman, fresh out of a relationship, on the prowl to take advantage of helpless, drunk, out-of-her-league men. She’s the girl who stays for two games at the sports bar, not to watch football, natch, but to feast on juicy man tidbits. The cheetah is described nonsensically in the title as the “cougar’s younger cousin,” though later in the piece Morgan disowns the comparison, writing that the cheetah’s “hunting methods and psychology bear no resemblance to the cougar.” And that’s just the beginning-the article is full of comparisons and leaps that don’t make any sense. Welcome to the world of bogus trend pieces! Hop aboard! Let’s take a ride through this murky tale.

The first page: Seth is drunk. Dana offers to share a cab with him. Next thing you know, Seth has been violated: “”I woke up with a condom still on my dick.” Of course, nothing is said about how drunk Dana is, and what exactly she did that’s so egregious. Are we supposed to think she date-raped him? I doubt it, but what happens in between the cab ride and the morning is left out of the story, making the cheetah, most probably, a girl a guy takes home and then regrets hooking up with in the morning, so she’s conveniently labeled a “predator.” And the insinuation that Dana committed some sort of violation (i.e., date rape)? Well, that’s super classy, considering one out of six women is sexually assaulted in her lifetime.

Of course, if said female violator were smoking-hot, perhaps she wouldn’t be considered a predator at all. You see, the cheetah is continually described as someone who has to connive for sex, because they’re not attractive, or at least not as attractive as they used to be.


He rightly pointed out that the cheetah isn’t just looking for whatever carcass she can haul out of the bar-incidentally, cheetahs are one of the few animals that will not eat carrion-but rather it is about women past the first flush of youth wanting to date or at least fuck “above their station.”


Recently out of a relationship, K.C. has discovered that getting a man was no longer as easy as it once was. “It seems like whenever she can, she winds up going home with the drunkest guy in the bar,” said Angela. “Of course, in the back of her mind she’s hoping that her pussy’s still good enough to keep him.”

And here:

He added that the cheetah was not necessarily unattractive but that for some reason or another, she was not aware of her attractiveness. That said, the cheetah he had in mind was notorious for looking dreadful without her makeup on and, as with Dana, working her way through his friend group.

In these passages, the cheetah is painted as an insecure girl, trying to find out if she can still bed cute guys, the assumption being, of course, that it’s taking advantage because she doesn’t deserve to bed men “above her station.” But near the end, the aims of a cheetah change suddenly and dramatically (Bogus trend alert No. 3), with Morgan concluding that the goal of a cheetah is really just to find long-term love:

… the cheetah, who hopes that her victim will find something in her searching eyes when he rolls over the next morning, and will try to subtly guilt him into another round next time they meet: “Hey, where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you in so long.”

So let’s go through the checklist:

You sleep with a drunk man, you’re a cheetah.

You watch two football games in a row at a bar, you’re a cheetah.

You hook up with someone casually, you’re a cheetah.

You hook up with someone with the aim of starting a relationship, you’re a cheetah.

You’re single and looking to meet guys, you’re a cheetah.

So, uh, according to the standards of this “trend,” exactly who ISN’T a cheetah among us? Oh yeah, hot girls.

Photograph of Cheetah by Tona Karumba/AFP/Getty Images