(Hu)man Vs Bear


Well-known member
So there is a meme going around for a few weeks about whether one would prefer to randomly encounter a wild bear in the woods, or a strange man.

Over the last few weeks, this has created much debate, conflict and animosity on several sites (Fetlife has been on fire) so I thought I'd bring it here!

What's your immediate thoughts on this "thought experiment"?

Would you prefer the man, or the bear?

Or do you find the whole thing ridiculous?
It's an overly simplistic game that can easily be manipulated by those playing devil's advocate or apologists or whatever, kind of like how the phrase "black lives matter" turned into a semantics debate completely missing the point.

I don't know a single female who doesn't get it (I see some online, but my friends IRL get it.)

Personally, I'm not afraid of bears, but I also never gotten close to one, whereas I pretty much have to interact with human males on the regular. I've never had a bear try to put his hands on me at age 11, follow me home on a city street saying disgusting & threatening things, nor has a bear ever sat in a position of political power & decided I should have to carry an unwanted pregnancy...

It's kind of a silly way to explain to men that we sometimes feel like prey for good reason, but when we have to break everything down into short, quippy insta-viral attention-grabbers, this is what we get.
I don't know a single female who doesn't get it (I see some online, but my friends IRL get it.)

I wouldn't say I have friends who don't get it, or say that I don't get it, but I did have a cascade of thoughts about it as I processed the meme. Mostly because my ventures into anti-racism, greatly influenced by my partner, has affected the way that I see the world. That's a good thing, I think.

So it wasn't that they, or I, didn't immediately get it, but it kind of encompassed an ongoing problem with feminism, I suppose. How it centres the gender conflict between cis people. Cis white people especially.

Basically, the fear that leads many women to say the bear, also leads many white people to overreact to the presence and even go as far as resent the existence of Black people. So even as I wanted to defend the women saying "bear", I was aware that in real life, that plays out as a white woman cowering in fear because a black man is in her vicinity. That fear has unduly cost lives.

I became more uncomfortable when some people suggested that men should call out other men if they are unhappy that women should choose the bear. Not unhappy about the suggestion that men police other men, but the suggestion that black men should police the actions of white men (a big danger to them) so that women feel safer and won't react with that fear to them.

It misses the fact that the men that white women fear the most and date relatively infrequently are most harmed by their fear of men are black men. The men who harm them the most are their most favoured intimate partners: cis white men.

I get that some people are trying to distinguish these issues but I don't think you can. Racism is at least as equally harmful to humans as sexism and often linked.
I can appreciate why a woman would prefer to encounter a bear over a strange man, but I do think the meme has been stretched a little too far.