Some Women Are Choosing the Bear — What Exactly Do They Mean By That?

Women are choosing to spend their time alone in the woods with a bear instead of a man, and men think that's the wrong call.


May 2 2024, Published 10:45 a.m. ET

A bear with one paw up by its ear on its back.
Source: Getty Images

Many, many women have signaled that they are choosing the bear. No, this doesn't have anything to do with Jeremy Allen White or Chicago restaurants. Instead, it's reference to a question that has been circulating on the internet.

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If you've seen people saying that they would choose the bear, you might naturally be confused. After all, it's an answer to a question that may not be included in the post, which only makes things less clear. Here's what we know about why so many people are saying they would choose the bear.

A man in a button down shirt looking frustrated.
Source: Getty Images
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What does I choose the bear mean?

"I choose the bear" is one way to answer a popular hypothetical question that has been trending online. The question goes like this: Imagine you're alone and unarmed in the woods. Would you rather be stranded out there with a man or with a bear?

It says a lot about the state of the modern patriarchy that the overwhelming majority of women who take part in the exercise choose the bear over the man.

That answer alone requires some unpacking. Do women think they have a better chance of outrunning or escaping from the bear than the man? What these answers point to, though, is the fact that many women feel profoundly unsafe around men, and feel like they might die a more peaceful and less violated death at the hands of a bear than they would at the hands of a man they don't know.

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This is a lesson that many female-identifying people learn from a young age. They have to be very careful around men, because men are not always going to be on their best behavior around women, and they can sometimes be downright dangerous.

This hypothetical illustrates that point by creating a stark contrast. Even when a bear is the alternative, many women still feel more unsafe around a man.

Source: TikTok/@lifecoachswan
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Men online are not happy about these answers.

Although very few women are ever going to actually find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between being stuck with a man and a bear, men on the internet have nonetheless decided to take this metaphor a little bit too literally. Alongside posts that feature women explaining why they would choose a bear, there are also plenty of videos of men explaining why that would be the wrong choice.

Many of these men seem blissfully unaware of the way these videos come across, and only further illustrate the point that many women are trying to get at. At least in the universe where you're stuck with the bear, the bear won't start explaining to you why you made the wrong decision.

It may be just a silly hypothetical, but it illustrates something very concrete about how women feel in the world today. Many of them are still choosing the bear, and if men want that reality to change, they should probably start by examining themselves.

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