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'Man vs Bear Debate - Is Misogyny Worse Than Ever?'

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'Man vs Bear Debate - Is Misogyny Worse Than Ever?'

As we all know TikTok is the most popular app with Gen Z, where it has been an outlet for content creation; dance videos, edits of beloved TV shows and films and has allowed the expression of certain opinions and knowledge to be spread to audiences of all ages through the apps ‘For you Page’ system. Even though TikTok is an ingenious, absorbing app with, as of 2023, 1.5 billion active users, it also provides an immense platform to share harmful, sadistic attitudes towards certain topics.

What is it about? 

The ‘Man vs Bear’ debate is based off a hypothetical scenario where the vast majority of women and girls argue that they prefer the idea of being stuck alone in the woods with a bear rather than a man, due to a concern towards their safety and the potential risks of not only death, but sexual abuse and murder. Did you know that a study from 2020 showed that 94% of women aged 18 to 24 had experienced sexual harassment?

This is one of the many reasons as to why most women in this debate argue a bear would be the best and safest option, as at least with a bear there is a particular reason as to why it would attack you, like trying to protect its cubs/territory as it feels threatened by the victim. Otherwise, it would not aimlessly kill a human. The essential argument here is that ‘at least a bear would not take advantage of a woman in a secluded area (woods) but instead would just immediately kill the threat’. It is believed that there are multiple ways to scare off a bear: by making yourself look larger and more threatening, to make lots of loud noise, yet with a man it is understood to be immensely harder to “scare” them away, as a woman.

There is a clear idea in the media that when being left alone in a deserted area, there is an increased chance of getting away with crimes and away from prosecution, without any of the deserved repercussions of any inhumane actions taken against someone. Things such as rape, sexual abuse, torture and murder. The lack of trust and fear towards men is because you can assume a bear’s intentions and that all they would do is kill the threat and would leave the body alone, due to their instincts. However, lots of women agree that they do not and would not trust a man’s intentions. The fear of encountering a harmful, dangerous man outweighs the terror of an encounter with a wild animal. This does not mean women are not fearful of bears but that women are more or as fearful of bears as they are of male abusers.

This is ultimately more terrifying: humans are more scared of each other than a wild, vicious, territorial mammal.

Social Media’s Impact

This debate has become a hot topic on social media recently. Where, behind the façade of anonymity through the internet, average people with normal jobs that you see in society day to day, are online portraying harmful views they do not openly express off the internet and in real life. Did you know that one woman is killed every three days in the UK by a man? Nevertheless, people are still vigorously arguing against these statistical facts online and using their platforms to virtually denounce the true fear women would face, left alone with a resentful man in the woods, as even in a hypothetical situation some men still cannot take ‘no’ as a definite answer.

The creation of the #notallmen movement on social media has also helped normalise the undermining of horrific sexual abuse women face, by arguing against statistics that show yes, it is not ALL men that commit these crimes, but the evidence proves it is mainly men that execute them, and they are primarily against women. The people that are strong defenders of the #notallmen movement are just as bad as the perpetrators, as they are not preventing the sexual harassment women face by supporting the hashtag, but instead subverting the genuinely distressing topic and making it androcentric.

This can highlight the radicalisation of young men, who feel like the world is against them and find groups on the internet that fan the flame of internal misogyny and create a community of resentful males that become indoctrinated with powerful, homicidal and abusive thoughts towards all women. These are the types of people that can use their platform on social media to spread their sexist, irresponsible attitudes to numerous vulnerable people and groups. This is one of the reasons that the ‘Man vs Bear debate’ blew up online and caused an abundance of confusion, agitation and unease in victims of sexual assault and in ignorant viewers that have never felt the burden of terror women have lived in for centuries, because of men.

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