Predator and Prey Relationship Claws Its Way Into College Life


College parties and the jungle, two environments you typically only hear associated with one another when a social chair is fresh out of mixer themes. However, what if we don’t need to don artificial leaves and tacky cheetah print to fully experience the wild and the danger that comes along with it?

We’ve all seen Animal Planet: the bloodthirsty predators stalk the debilitated prey with ease, bidding enough time before the planned attack. The superior species then jumps, attacking without mercy.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to take this example and apply it to something a little bit closer to home: the college parties we wander in and out of every weekend.

A group of students show up to a party. The guys are pretty much immediately turned away. The girls, if deemed worthy by the makeshift “bouncers,” are let in. Even before the prey of the night has crossed the threshold of the house, their only protection, and the predator’s viewed competition, has been eliminated.

They drift in, teetering the dangerously blurry line between tipsy and inebriated, only to be greeted by their own: drunk (most likely freshmen) girls that are coerced off the streets into a sweaty and crowded house party.

Sparsely located throughout the rooms are the predators, the boys. They slowly wander around, movements similar to the aforementioned lion herd. Their basketball jersey or poorly-chosen Hawaiian shirt act as their camouflage while they circle, trying to determine which girl will be the next target.  

Simultaneously, guys take on another approach familiar to ambush predators. They utilize vantage points, or as they are often referred to, elevated surfaces. From this angle, the predators are able to see each girl in the room, examine every face and curve before they move in for the kill.

Perhaps it’s biological predisposition, or just guys being creepy, but I feel like every time I try to escape unwanted attention from a guy, they somehow find me again, accompanying their stalking with smooth one-liners, such as, “Heyyyy, where are you going off to in such a hurry?”

Or worse, another member of the herd decides you’re the one for him, and you’re basically caught up in a constant game of “cat and mouse,” or to put it in simpler terms, “predator and prey,” until the night ends.

This power dynamic, the predator-prey relationship, is prevalent. You may not notice it at first, but take a look around the next time you go to any social event on campus. Whether it be a frat, house party, or bar, observe the vibe of the room and how people are positioned.

But how can we target these alarming conditions that perpetuate sexual assault and violence?  The simple answer would be to walk away from where we’re standing, or to “take a lap,” but it honestly isn’t that easy.

Looking at it from a distance, this dynamic is dangerous. It places girls in an inferior position, as well as making them an object that needs to be won over before the lights come on and it’s time to go home.

It doesn’t matter what setting they’re in, what they’re drinking, or what they’re wearing. Girls are not there for the taking, especially by guys who only view them as a piece of meat they need to make it through the night.

So, when you go to a college party, do you see a maimed zebra surrounded by ravenous apex predators, or a wasted freshman girl encircled by alarmingly persistent college guys? Might as well be the same, you decide. But be warned, it’s always going to be a jungle out there.