Women’s safety: man versus bear, the question that is stirring up social networks

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Kenya Nicol


On social networks, a question has gone viral: if you were a woman in a forest, would you prefer to meet a man or a bear ? The question has sparked heated debate about women’s perception of danger and their relationship to men.

Bear rather than man

More serious than it seems, this affair seems to have taken off from a TikTok video in April. Of the eight women interviewed, seven said they would choose the bear, despite the imposing, clawed animal’s reputation for ferocity.

The question has also gone viral on Instagram and other platforms, in the U.S., France and elsewhere, in recent weeks, generating a great deal of interest.

Seeing the question as a reflection of societal discussions on the relationship between men and women, many women explained, sometimes humorously but often seriously, why they opted for the bear, rather than literally taking it.

“It’s crazy, this vision of men…”

“A bear isn’t going to rape me before it kills me,” writes an Internet user on X. “No one will feel sorry for the bear because killing me might break his career,” she adds. Sharing a screenshot of a testimonial about a marital rape, another comments, “This is why women choose the bear.”

“I get it. You know what to expect from a bear,” reacted one Internet user on TikTok. But for other men, it’s incomprehension. “It’s crazy, this vision of men…” said one of them on X.

“Even if it means dying…”

Those who didn’t miss the rhetorical side of the question all chose the bear. “Knowing that I have no way of knowing if the man I meet is a good man and not Ted Bundy on the run, I choose the bear”, assures Sylvie, who thought of the worst-case scenarios in both cases: “With a bear, he attacks me, fatally injures me and kills me”, she begins.

“With a man, he makes me believe he won’t hurt me, then attacks me, rapes me, tortures me, locks me in a cabin to continue torturing and raping me, keeps me alive by force-feeding me to continue torturing and raping me, makes me pregnant, and continues torturing and raping me… And kills me”.

“With a man, I would fear gratuitous aggression”.

Brigitte, Mariline, Marie and Emma see man as a “predator” worse than any ursid bear. “If I don’t bother the bear, he won’t come and attack me… It’s much less certain with a man,” adds Elodie. “With a man, I’d be afraid of a gratuitous attack,” adds Brigitte.

If she were attacked by a man, Emma believes that “the vices inflicted can be numerous” and deplores the fact that her “status as a victim is very likely not to be recognized by society”. This same fear of a society that downplays sexual assault is why Liliane, too, has opted for the bear: “At least when I’m questioned, if I’m still alive, they won’t be able to question what I’ve said,” she says.

Fox News publishes a list of tips on how to survive in the face of a bear

On “X”, the “chick there” summed up the problem: “Those who take offense that women would rather face a bear than a man are the reason why women would rather face a bear,” she wrote. Because bears “don’t want to hurt you”, Maïna explains. Whereas “you can’t know a man’s intentions”, admits Clément.

In anticipation of an eventual resolution to the debate, Fox News in the U.S. has decided to share a comprehensive list of tips on how to survive an unexpected encounter with a bear while hiking.

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