Bear (gay slang)
Bear is a gay slang term. It describes a hairy, heavy-set gay or bisexual man. A bear typically projects an image of rugged masculinity. Some bears present a very masculine, over-the-top image of a ruggedly masculine man. These men may disdain or even shun hanging out with men who exhibit any trace of effeminacy (womanliness). Bears often form clubs modeled on biker clubs. Clubs are formed for bears to hang out with their own kind. These clubs may have bylaws, membership requirements, and charities the clubs support. They may host bear-related events such as "Mr. Bear" male beauty contests.
A younger (or younger looking) version of a bear is called a cub. A cub can be hairy or not. He typically has (but not always) a smaller frame. The term is sometimes used to imply the passive partner in a relationship. An "otter" is a slimmer or less hairy bear regardless of age.
Bears have scrapped within their communities from time to time. Discrimination has increased. Some bears and "muscle bears" do not welcome higher-bodyfat men at their events. Some bears do not want to associate with men who do not fit their notion of what a "real bear" should be. Fat (or lack of it) has become an issue. Some men regard their overweight condition as a form of self-acceptance. There is a lack of racial diversity in the bear community. Hairiness is regarded as a standard of physical attractiveness that genetically favors white men aesthetically, socially, and sexually.
Although typically excluded from the mainstream gay media, there are several publications that exist for the bear community. Although most are more beefcake and porn-focused, there are some, such as Bear World Magazine, which focus on the bear lifestyle, covering a range of topics and celebrating the bear community as a whole.
References[change | change source]
- Ron Jackson Suresha. (2002). Bears on Bears: Interviews and Discussions. "Bear Ages and Stages", pages 54–58, 149, 179, 236, 260–262, 294. Los Angeles: Alyson Publications. ISBN 1-55583-578-3.
- Kampf, Ray (2000). The Bear Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for Those who are Husky, Hairy, and Homosexual, and Those who Love'em. Haworth Press. pp. "The Bear Cub: Ursus younges". ISBN 9781560239963. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- Les K. Wright (2001). The Bear Book II: Further Readings in the History and Evolution of a Gay Male Subculture. Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 9780789006363.
- "Bear World Magazine -". Bear World Magazine. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
Other websites[change | change source]
- Camille Paglia's commentary on Bears for Salon
- "I am Bear, hear me roar," Andrew Sullivan's article for Salon Archived 2010-01-16 at the Wayback Machine
- "Gay Cliques Census from Noodles and Beef captures characteristics of self-identified bears" Archived 2012-03-19 at the Wayback Machine
- Bear World Magazine