Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The Bear community exists as a subculture in reaction to the larger gay community. It rejects the normative idealized male beauty revered by mainstream gay men. Our studies indicated that Bears were more likely to be hairier, heavier, and shorter than mainstream gay men.
I turned fifty in August and, rather than marking my minor midlife crisis with an affair too complicated or a fancy car too expensive , I opted for a tattoo sleeve, which took months to complete. Among the many symbols of sufficient import to me to wear permanently on my skin is a bear paw, a big one covering the inside of my upper left arm. This visual identification with the gay bear subculture seems timely, for appears to be my Annus Ursi, Year of the Bear. Many straight folks are unaware of the bear subculture. Hardly a surprise, since a powerful majority rarely concerns itself with the doings of a marginalized minority.
Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account? Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.
In gay culture, a bear is a larger and often hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity. However, in San Francisco during the s, any hairy man of whatever shape was referred to as a 'bear' until the term was appropriated by larger men, and other words had to be used to describe hairy other-shaped men such as otter slim , cub young bear on the way , or wolf hairy, medium build. The word 'manatee' describes a big, hairless man, i.