“Cheetahs,” The New Dumbass Label For “Older” Women Who Date

Apparently unaware that women of all ages have always enjoyed robust sex lives, The New York Observer introduces us to “cheetahs.” What’s a cheetah, you ask? They are 30-something single women — the younger nieces of the 40-something-and-up “cougars” — who are so desperate for sex and affection that they’ll prowl the bars, waiting to prey on unsuspecting victims. In fact, cheetahs will basically rape men, they’re so overcome by singledom lust!

In the NYO article by Spencer Morgan, read about Seth, a man whose dignity was defiled by Dana, a “cheetah,” described as “a predator who was watching his every move” and who “picked off one of his pals” months later. Sounds scary! Morgan writes:

“Dana’s hunting methods and psychology bear no resemblance to the cougar. As Seth aptly points out, “A cougar would f**k and then leave and not feel bad.” Seth awoke to Dana’s limpid eyes, followed by an awkward kiss in broad daylight as the two parted ways on the street. The cheetah stays the night … There was a girl I knew in L.A. who fit the bill. She’d sunk her teeth into at least 20 percent of her lopsidedly male friend group. All you had to do was watch the faces when she approached to know which ones she’d had her way with.”

Seriously? This is an adult woman we’re talking about. Sheesh, does every woman over the age of 30 who ventures to have a sex life need a label comparing her to a predatory jungle cat?

Admittedly, other bloggers on The Frisky have written frequently about “cougars” and “pumas” (which means the same thing as “cheetah”). But, personally, I have always loathed these labels for women. They’re glossier ways to imply that a woman is a “spinster,” packaged to sound cute and fun in a way that will have women insist the terms are “empowering.” (See: “Cougar Town”)

Pull your head out of the sand: swinging single men get to be unattached, carefree “bachelors” (think: George Clooney), but swinging single women are compared to large, ravenous felines (think: “puma” Jennifer Aniston, who is 40 years old and unattached, and “cougar” Ivana Trump, who married a man decades younger). Considering the double standard when it comes to older men having sex, “cougar,” “puma” and “cheetah” are just unnecessary labels used to describe something that’s not really so revolutionary at all—hello, a woman having sex! (And FWIW, Amy Poehler agrees with me.) This “cheetah” tail, er, tale makes for a stupid, sexist article.

I wonder if Morgan’s article — which relies heavily on interviews with other men and refers to only one interview with a woman who agrees with the men—and the “cheetah” label are part of that prolonged adolescence in American society about which we’ve been hearing so much, i.e., expecting the rules of college hookup culture to apply well into adulthood. Is it really unreasonable for the “cheetah” Seth tangled with to have spent the night? Or to have kissed him “in broad daylight” the next day? Maybe an adult man shouldn’t have brought an adult woman home with him if he couldn’t handle the undertaking. [The New York Observer]

The Frisky last wrote about cougars in “Girl Talk: My Mother, The Cougar” by Linley Taber.