The gay bear is one of the most common gay stereotypes. Over time, it has branched off into other stereotypes like cubs, wolves and otters. In gay culture, a gay bear is typically considered someone who is the very image of masculinity. They tend to be fairly large with a lot of body hair. Basically, think of this grizzly as the picture-perfect image of rugged masculinity.
Since many people identify as a gay bear, there are many, many events and codes developed for the bear. Interestingly, the term was originally used in 1970s San Francisco for any man who was hairy. Later on,e it came to define primarily larger men. Smaller, hairy guys were called otters, while the term wolf was used for hairy guys with a medium build.
The Background of the Gay Bear
This term became extremely popular after Richard Bulger and Chris Nelson created the Bear Magazine in 1987. While this may have popularized the term, it existed before then. It really gained prominence after George Mazzei’s article in the Advocate called “Who’s Who in the Zoo?” Written in 1979, the article went through seven types of animals that gay guys represent. Now, there is even an annual gathering for bears and bear lovers at the Bear Rendezvous. Depending on the person, it can be considered an affiliation or an identity.
Between bears, the concept of what a bear is can change. Some guys believe that bears are clearly masculine and disdain anyone who seems effeminate. Other people think that it is important to be inclusive in the community toward feminine and masculine bears. Either way, most people tend to agree that bears are hairier than average fellas.
Characteristics of the Gay Bear
In general, bears tend to have masculine features like facial hair, proportional size and body hair. Since the concept of the bear first started, the bear community has split into different kinds of bears. Chubs are chubbier bears, and there are also muscle bears and other types. People tend to have a distinct idea about what constitutes a real bear.
Most bears tend to be fairly muscular or stocky. They are known for being rugged in their looks and demeanor. Your typical bear is quite polite, friendly and easy-going. Some people say this is contrary to the actual animal, but they obviously haven’t met many true bears. There is actually a town in the United States that has taught bears to eat peanuts from their mouths! In reality, the friendly, easy-going stereotype of gay bears is quite similar to how the animal bear acts . . . unless it is threatened, of course.
Which brings us to the next characteristic. When provoked, your gay bear can be quite dangerous. Just their higher than average size can be intimidating. The fact that these bears tend to travel in packs means that taking on one bear means you have to face a tribe of them. Despite this potential for danger, your bear is probably going to be a nice, kind-hearted guy who goes out of his way not to cause trouble. Just make sure not to provoke him!
What Do Bears Wear?
Everyone is a bit different, but your typical bear often wears masculine attire. Think of your stereotypical woodsman with his flannel shirt, boots and baseball caps. While bears can certainly dress up and clean up well, they are not slaves to what they wear. Most of the time, they are more comfortable wearing relaxed, comfortable clothing.
What Do Bears Do?
Every bear is a little different, but many people in this subculture have a few common traits. You aren’t going to find a lot of vegan bears slurping apple martinis. Think beer, hearty food and plenty to drink. The pleasures of life like hanging out with friends, relaxing in the sun, camping or hiking tend to appeal to your average bear.
Subcategories of the Bear
Since many, many guys identify as a bear, there have been entire subcategories of different kinds of bears created. If you don’t think that you match the general bear label perfectly, you might just fit into one of these stereotypes.
Grizzly Bear: This guy is quite dominant. He tends to be heavy, quite tall and extremely hairy.
Polar Bear: This is an older bear who has primarily white or gray facial hair and body hair.
Brown Bear: This is a bear of Latin descent.
Daddy Bear: This is a mature bear who is looking for a cub to start a relationship with.
Cub: This is your baby bear. He is younger than your average bear, and he may be the younger or more passive partner in a sexual relationship.
Chub or Chubby Bear: This is a hairy bear who tends to be heavy-set or overweight.
Pocket Bear: This is a shorter bear.
Koala Bear: This is a bear from Australian.
Otter Cub: This is for a man who is leaner, younger, and more muscular than average. He tends to be a bit less hairy.
Otter: This is a bear who is lean and muscular, but hairy like a bear.
Black Bear: This is a bear of African-American descent.
Panda Bear: This is a bear of Asian descent.
Care Bear: This is a bear who cares about how he looks, fashion and things like manscaping.
Yogi Bear:This is a bear who loves to hike and camp, but also likes playing video games in his man cave.
Papa Bear: This is a bear who has children. He spends the time he used to use for clubbing to be with his children.
Honey Badger: This is a blond bear who tends to be muscular, but not heavy.
Goldilocks: This is a lady who hangs out with a bunch of bear friends.
Chaser: This is a fella who is attracted to heavy-set guys.
Ursula: This is a lesbian bear.
Bear Admirers: These are the guys who are attracted to bears and like to hang out with them.
Shape-Shifting Bear: This is a bear who shifts from different subcategories of bear throughout his life. He might start out as a cub or otter before becoming a chub bear or wolf.