What does ‘Choosing the Bear’ mean? All about this simple yet profound trend

By Muhozi Esther
On 30 April 2024 at 01:19

In the vast, ever-evolving world of TikTok trends, one particularly intriguing question has managed to capture the attention of over 40.1 million viewers—and counting. "Are you choosing the bear or the man?" This question, while seemingly simple, has unveiled a profound dichotomy in gender perceptions and sparked intense discussions across social media platforms.

The debate, viralized by TikTok’s Screenshot HQ, taps into a visceral choice: faced with the prospect of encountering either a bear or an unknown man while alone in the woods, who would you prefer to meet? The response among women has been overwhelmingly in favor of the bear, a choice that reflects deep-seated fears and societal warnings ingrained from a young age.

"A strange man is undeniably a threat," explains one TikTok user, highlighting the routine precautions taught to women: don’t walk alone at night, lock your car doors immediately upon entering, avoid wearing headphones too loudly on solitary hikes. These precautions are not merely cautionary advice but survival strategies in a world where, statistically, women are frequently harmed by men, often those within their circle of trust.

This stark reality is underscored by the disturbing statistics that suggest 1 in 7 women will be hurt or injured by men in their lifetime, predominantly by acquaintances. The fear that a woman could turn around to find a man standing in a secluded area is not unfounded—it’s a scenario echoed in thrillers and crime shows, reflecting a grim everyday fear for many.

Interestingly, this conversation has also touched men, albeit differently. John, a TikTok user with 31 years of experience as a detective, shares that he would prefer his daughter to encounter a bear over a man, articulating that while bears might attack out of hunger or defense, men often commit acts of violence driven by choice and emotion. "Bears kill because they are hungry or protecting their own, whereas men kill for choice, jealousy, often out of rage," he notes.

The discussion highlights a disconnect between how men and women perceive threats. For many women, the choice of the bear over a man isn’t just a hypothetical preference; it’s a poignant commentary on the everyday realities they navigate.

Jonathan, another voice in the debate, points out the societal double standards in reactions to violence. "If the news reported a bear had killed a woman, nobody would ask what the woman was wearing or why she was out so late," he remarks, suggesting that victims of male-perpetrated violence are often subjected to scrutiny and victim-blaming.

In this complex interplay of social media storytelling and real-life fears, the question remains potent and provocative: What do you think? Are you choosing the bear?

@bubblegum_mila #stitch with @SCREENSHOT On god I’m picking the bear. Easy lmao #woods #scary #fyp ♬ Terror Music (Scary Song) - IMPERIUM RECORDS
@jon.the.detective Man or bear a detective’s perspective. Team Bear. #fyp #manvsbear #woods #bearman ♬ original sound - Jon.The.Detective