The Man Vs. Bear Conundrum Sparking Viral Meltdowns

Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

For the women of the world, I—and many people on TikTok—have a question: Would you rather be left in the woods with a man you don’t know, or a bear?

It’s an absurd question on the surface. Of course you’d rather be in the woods with a human being rather than a large beastly animal with terrifying teeth and claws that could maul and maim you. At best it could kill you instantly. At worst, it would be a prolonged death à la Grizzly Man, slowly being eaten alive.

Bears don’t always stop to kill their prey before they start consuming them, either. Absolutely, no thank you.

But when you stop to think for a second, actually, would you rather be alone with a strange man—far from anyone who could offer help—where no one could hear you scream?

The responses from women on the social media app are overwhelming: they’d take the bear.

One video that came across my feed was a woman asking her male partner, what would you prefer if the woman in question was your daughter? With which would you rather she spend time in a secluded area, alone? He gets quiet. The realization dawns on him. This isn’t such an easy question to answer.

That’s sort of horrifying, isn’t it?

Many of the comments in the video are women leaving hilarious but depressing retorts like, “at least people would believe me if I was attacked by a bear.” Or “no one would ask what I was wearing if it was a bear.”

Some men seemed incredibly offended by this, as if it’s a personal attack on them.

One man even said that women were privileged to rather be alone with a bear since his mom was attacked by one, survived, and wrote a book about it… OK? And?

Another called bullshit. Then a stitch demonstrated how a bear listened to a directive from a man to leave him alone, juxtaposed with a video of a man refusing to stop following and harassing a woman despite her pleas. So. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bears—which by and large, only attack people as a defense response when they feel threatened—have carried out 180 attacks against humans since 1784, according to But when it comes to men attacking women, the National Crime Victimization Survey found that in 2006, 232,960 women were raped or sexually assaulted in the United States. That’s more than 600 per day.

There’s a question that I’ve often heard from women trying to explain to men the fear they have to accept every day. If a man was in a room with 100 women, what would he be afraid of? Probably, being ridiculed. But ask a woman what would be her fear if she was left in a room of 100 men? Much darker. It’s rape. Or death. Or both.

I get it, it’s a bummer for many men to be lumped into a group of people who commit atrocities when you’re a nice guy who isn’t part of the problem. That must be really hard. Truly. It must be upsetting to see women be afraid of you. That’s not really something I’ve ever experienced. It’s not something I can relate to.

But it’s also a major bummer to prefer being left in the woods with a bear rather than with a man.

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