Man vs Bear: Women in Singapore discuss the viral TikTok trend and women’s safety

Beyond the black-and-white answer of man versus bear, some women flipped the question back on itself. 

Marsiat, who chose the bear, said what’s more important is to look at why women picked “bear” in the first place. 

She said: “It shouldn’t be normal that so many women choose bears, a wild animal that could literally kill you. What does that say about men? What does that say about the way women see them? And why?

“Both men and women should find ways to work together to make sure we can all feel safe.”

A 25-year-old researcher who wanted to be known as Ella questioned the trend and the implications that came with women choosing the bear. 

“Social media trends, especially on short-form platforms like TikTok, tend to oversimplify complex issues to make a point,” she said. 

In this case, Ella explained, while the trend raises how unsafe some women feel around strange men, its critics – men and women alike – question the validity of these women opting for the bear. 

“They argue that such women probably lack firsthand experience with bears and that’s why they would choose them, but that’s missing the point,” Ella said. 

“The fact that many women would choose the bear means that many have had enough bad experiences with strange men – or have heard about them – that they’d rather choose the unknown rather than risk reliving the experiences they’ve had with men.”

“That is the more pressing concern that people should look at, rather than fixate and debate endlessly on man versus bear, without going anywhere,” she added.

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