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Culture War Roundup for the week of April 29, 2024

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There is a recent trend on TikTok and social media where people are asked if they would rather be stuck in a forest with a bear or a man. Surprisingly, (or perhaps unsurprisingly to some of you), many people, especially women, are saying they would rather be stuck with a bear than a man. When men are asked this question and the script is flipped to "would you rather your daughter be stuck in a forest with a bear or a man", a lot of men seem to respond with bear rather than a man as well.

Here is a link to a Today.com article about this topic: https://www.today.com/news/bear-or-man-woods-tiktok-trend-rcna149611

It has a live poll, and at the moment the split is 28% with a man, 65% with a bear, and 7% in between.

That's 68% of respondents that would be more comfortable being stuck with a bear than a man. 68%! Unfortunately, there is no breakdown of who the respondents are, the best I could do is look at the average demographics for people who go to Today.com, which is 61.39% female and 38.61% male. Assuming the readers of this article has a similar demographic breakdown as the average person going to the website, and that all female readers chose a bear, that means that a solid chunk of men also are more comfortable being stuck with a bear than another man in the forest.

I found another poll on a women's forum asking the same question - the split there is 15% male, 85% bear at the moment.

So all the evidence seems to point that your average woman would rather be stuck with a bear than a man.

Here are some general arguments for why women are choosing bear over men, trying to not strawman to the best of my ability:

  1. If a bear attacks you, people will believe you, if a man attacks you, people will not believe you.
  2. Many women get attacked/assaulted by men every year, bear attacks on humans are extremely rare.
  3. You don't know if the man will attack you or not, but a bear is predictable.
  4. Men are scary.
  5. Bears might not attack you. Bears are more afraid of you than you are of them!
  6. Men have said negative things to me or about me. A bear won't do that.

The way news and social media are spinning this is that this reveals just how dangerous the world is for women, that women live their day-to-day lives in constant fear of the men around them because of how dangerous the world is to them. Frankly, I cannot relate to this view, perhaps because I am a man, but I also think this view can only develop when society, social media, entertainment, and the news are constantly bombarding you with all these negative notions about men. Your average woman is safer, far more liberated, has more rights, and meets more people than at any point in history (and especially compared to the entire scope of human history), and yet fear and hatred of men are more prevalent than ever before.

If anything, what this question reveals is just how warped women's views of men are and how negatively men are depicted in society.

It also reveals how people poorly use statistics to rationalize their stances. They will look at the raw number of bear attacks to the number of assaults/rape/sexual on women and then assume the two can be directly compared without any adjustment. Oh, only 1 person dies to a black bear each year in the US but but 5000 women are murdered each year, that means I'm 5000 times more likely to be killed if I were in a forest with a man than with a bear. Nearly everyone encounters at least several if not hundreds of men per day, and most people won't even encounter a bear in their lifetime. If women encountered the same number of bears as the same number of random men they encountered in their day-to-day lives, those numbers would be very different.

In reality, women encounter hundreds of men every day and not a single one of them rapes or assaults them. I'm not saying their fears have no basis in reality, or that they don't take actions that increase their safety, but do they have any idea what percentage of men would actually attack them?

The average man is far more likely to be of help if you're stuck in a forest because they would likely help you get out of the forest. No doubt women have received plenty of help for free throughout their lives on the basis of being a woman, and yet they still fear the idea of a man more than a bear. I'm going to try to put some estimates on the likely outcome for each scenario:

  1. Man helps you: 50% | Bear helps you 0%
  2. Man attacks/rapes/assaults you: 0.1 - 5% | Bear attacks you: 25%
  3. If the man chooses to assault you, you die: 10-50% | If the bear chooses to assault you, you die: 95%

You may disagree on the percentage, but even if you were extremely generous to both ends for the other perspective it would be extremely difficult to justify the percent chance of the negative outcome being better for the bear instead of the man. So in all situations, you are far more likely to get a better result with a man than a bear.

It would be interesting to see how people would respond if you asked them would you rather be stuck in a forest with a bear or a black man. Would the fear of being thought of as a racist overcome the fear of men?

I think it largely depends on which forest we're talking about. If you're through-hiking the John Muir Trail, you would obviously much rather encounter another person (who is probably a hiker) than a bear (which definitely has a much much lower than 25% chance of attacking you, but still isn't something you want to encounter).

But if you're bushwhacking through the Emerald Triangle, and you hear a rustling in the bushes, you are probably relieved to find out that it's a bear.

People here take the view that it is somehow related to modern feminism, but it might not be. Women, for centuries (at least since Lucretia killed herself), have been trained to think that a rape was worse than death, because death takes your life but rape takes your honor, and in this old-fashioned theory a life without honor is not worth living. Moreover, women have also be trained to say they don't want sex ; if they admit they would prefer to be with a man than with a bear, what would people think? Do you really think Lucretia would have preferred the man over the bear?

I'm not saying it has nothing to do with modern feminism. Actually, I think the old fashioned honor is responsible for a large part of modern feminism, as opposed to earlier feminism. In the seventies with the sexual liberation movement the accent was on having more sex, not less. The idea of a rape was somewhat conservative, as it assumed that it was important to women to not have sex in some circumstances. By the way, it also lead to a lot of abuses. With AIDS, Reagan and Thatcher, the conservative gained ground and feminists began to insist on the consent of women and her individual rights as opposed to "sexual freedom". The modern emphasis on rape is a result of both earlier feminism and the conservative ideology.

This is the platonic form of the argument: https://imgur.com/a/QPHPxrJ

There were some great twitter threads on the subject that I'm currently unable to find.

But essentially, women view the question as an opportunity to shame & put down men. Men take the question literally.

So when women state their answer men assume that they are lacking in bear facts and try to explain them.

That’s quite the coffee moment *chef’s kiss*.

Yeah, for each woman it’s an opportunity to reiterate her Emotional Truth that she’s a good person, one that is desirable and vulnerable, yet simultaneously strong and compassionate, a constant victim of men and their shittiness.

A good person, unlike insentitive jerks who—instead of validating her Emotion Truth—miss the point and fail to read the room with their bear facts and expected value calculations, and definitely unlike those icky racists and misogynistics with their gross gotchas like “what about a bear vs. a black man”?

That question isn’t the same because… it just isn’t, okay?!

Yes, after about 10 minutes of parsing conversations I realised that no one is actually discussing the mechanics of woodland survival but instead it's largely a rehashed "men bad" struggle session.

At this point I've honestly just embraced being an oppressor. I will never be seen as anything else, so why try and change it?

It's annoying that the usual suspects will use this to push their "men are evil!" agenda but aside from that I don't see this anything to be concerned about. There's a well-known political maxim that everyone hates Congress yet, paradoxically, most people like their congressperson. I think the same phenomena is in play here. Most of those women saying "bear" doubtless have several men in their lives who they'd much prefer to a bear. They probably also think other women would be darn lucky to have one of their men in such a situation. That their men are just random strangers to those other women never occurs to them.

It would be interesting to see how people would respond if you asked them would you rather be stuck in a forest with a bear or a black man. Would the fear of being thought of as a racist overcome the fear of men?

This is precisely the correct question. I would guess that this would lower the amount of women who would choose the bear. This would prove that all of this has nothing to do with statistics on danger and everything to do with projecting a desired image of yourself. In my experience, this is how women usually communicate. Usually, they are not trying to communicate some objective fact about the world, but rather to send a signal about themselves.

Bears might not attack you. Bears are more afraid of you than you are of them!

Bears seem to be one of the very few kinds of animal where this is not true. When I was hiking in Sequoia/King's Canyon National Park, the bears did not seem to be avoiding me, but I was definitely avoiding them. Both a sensible bear and a sensible human will run away if the other makes a credible threat display, but bears will ignore people who are not particularly threatening.

Whether this is true or not I don't know, I'm certainly not a bear expert. Multiple people have been making statements that support that claim even in this thread (in reference to black bears, panda bears, etc). Perhaps it may be true for some species of bears and not others. Even if it was true I don't think it's a good enough reason to pick a bear over a man.

Black bears are definitely not afraid of people. As @SlowBoy notes, they're not very interested in us, usually. You can walk right by one hiking and not even know it. When they do get interested it's bad news of course.

Brown/grizzly bears are more interested in people, or at least vehicles; I've never had the misfortune to encounter one when not in a vehicle. But they're not afraid either.

The average person is much more likely to get themselves killed in the forest through ignorance, misadventure, or just bad luck, than any encounter with man or beast. There is in fact a dangerous person lurking in the woods; it's you.

So after reading of this online trend I decided to look up information on bear attacks in Russia, as I remembered reading that those often become a serious issue on a local level.

There's an interesting tidbit I've found: "Kamchatka brown bears are generally not dangerous to humans, and only 1% of encounters result in attack." (The cited source is a Kamchatka Ecology and Environmental Institute study.)

To be sure, brown bears are no joke, and the Kamchatkan subspecies is even less of a joke: "The Kamchatka brown bear is the biggest brown bear in Eurasia, with a body length of 2.4 m (7.9 ft) to 3 m (9.8 ft) tall on hind legs, and a weight up to at least 650 kg (1,430 lb). It is about the size of the Kodiak bear..."

Anyway, the 1% figure is somewhat surprising and seems to underpin the feminist argument at first sight. However, I'd be very surprised if solitary female-on-male encounters in the woods were statistically as dangerous anywhere in the world.

1/100 encounters resulting in attack sounds like a lot? I looked at the citation for that and the statistic is based one naturalist's observations of his own encounters during a period of study. It's more accurate to say, of this one man's 270 encounters with bears during his study on bears, he was only attacked 1% of the time. I assume this researcher is experienced in the field, knows what to look for, and maintains awareness of his surroundings. Your average person may have different results if they were to stumble upon, rather than seek out, 270 bear encounters in the woods. Even so, 1% still sounds like a lot. There's got to be a few Alaskan bushmen who have had hundreds of encounters without an attacks. Probably because they stay the hell away.

Bear behavior in an encounter relies on a lot of different factors. Distance, whether either part is surprised, what time of the year it is, male or female, whether it has cubs nearby, how hungry it is, etc. The infamous Grizzly Man guy (and his girlfriend) were attacked and eaten by a hungry, sickly, aging bear at the end of feeding season.

A person's behavior will influence the outcome as well. The author of the study aggressively yelled at two bears that attacked him which scared them off of the charge. Do bears do false charges? I know my regional black bears can be pretty responsive to aggression. He doesn't differentiate if so.

In a third instance:

In the second case, a female was defending young. My companion and I disturbed her cub. The cub ran away, but the mother jumped out of the brush, knocking me down, destroying my pack on my back, and then walking away slowly. I played dead; maybe it saved my life.

Lucky guy! Bears are cool. Way cooler than bear vs. bad man discourse.

I guess it depends what an encounter is (eg how close, how many people were around, what defensive options undertaken by the humans). But again women probably see 100 men a day and don’t get attacked. Obviously being alone increases the odds of a male attack but being alone would likely need to massively increase the risk rate to get close to 1% (and that 1% itself may need to be adjusted).

I would expect being alone would massively increase the risk rate. How many people would steal a stack of bills if they were left out in the open but there are people all around who knows they don't belong to the thief, vs how many would steal the stack of bills if they had total anonymity?

But the risk rate is probably 0.000001 or something like that so even with a massive adjustment hard to get to 1%

I can't pretend to know the exact numbers, but I think you're vastly underestimating the danger men pose women, and the numbers can shift truly massively. I think a lone woman walking through a busy mall in day time is almost certainly will not experience any violence. There is a slim chance, there are some mentally ill psychos out there who randomly assault women, but it's neglible.

Meanwhile, I think the odds of a lone woman walking through certain Chicago streets at night is almost certain to experience violence. Far greater than just 1% at least, despite how low her odds were around dozens of men in the mall.

Being in a random forest with a truly random man would be somewhere in between those. The man, on average, would probably be worse than the men in the mall, since a random man could be a guy in jail or a 3rd world militant, but also is probably better than the men hanging out on the Chicago streets at night. Both of them being alone would be in between the woman being surrounded by civilized strangers in a mall and the man's criminal buddies on the street too. I'd give somewhere between 0.1-5%, personally, of being assaulted.

So if I was a woman, I'd probably take a man over a black bear, but not other types of bears.

But part of the problem with Chicago is you are likely to encounter a number of men (ie there isn’t just one person). So your theory could be correct but your odds per encounter is still probably overstated.

You also ignore age. Is the guy 40? 50? 30? That needs accounted for.

You have to account for damage per attack. Even if you are right, the woman has a much better chance against the dude then a fucking bear.

Finally, I think the 1% bear attacks is grossly misleading. The fact pattern here necessarily suggests the man or bear is very nearby. That, coupled with the lack of expertise with bears, greatly increases that 1% figure.

The bear is the option of someone who knows they'll never have to make this choice.

I would take the bear.

It is a whole ass forest! Random collisons would already be unlikely, but on top of that, I am sufficiently experienced with hiking to know how to avoid bears. I also don't need help, so the alternative (friendly human) is kind of useless here.

So, the only bad event that can occur is a freak instance of a pscho-killer sprawning and wanting to screw me over.

I have thought this through:

  • If polar bear & aduly grizzly-> climb a tree
  • If black bear & sloth bear -> you can scare it off
  • If forest has ton of food -> don't need another human
  • If forest has very little food -> don't want another human.
  • If the forest has no food -> I would rather fight a bear who gives me a few days to prepare, rather than a psycho who can rush me and won't fall for stupid traps. (also, I'd rather eat a bear than a human. Just sayin)

The only situation where I'd take a man, is if I was stuck there for life. Need some companionship, and bear ain't gonna cut it.


Actually, no, scratch that. I take the man.

Sloth bears are aggressive, nimble and amazing tree climbers. They would probably rush me and kill me before I get anything off the ground. Only about 1-2% of bear are sloth bears, but that still more than serial killers. So there are 2 bad outcomes, and an aggressive sloth bear is far likelier than a psychopathic killer who is also stronger than me.

I would rather fight a bear who gives me a few days to prepare, rather than a psycho who can rush me and won't fall for stupid traps.

you have avoided bears on your hikes because the bears also wanted to avoid you. if the bear doesnt want to avoid you it will kill you 100% of the time. a random bear of any type wanting to eat you is orders of magnitude more likely than a random person being psychopathic killer.

Does a bear wanna kill me ?

Afaik, only 3 kinds of bears attack humans

  • Polar bears for food
  • Mother bears to save subs (a solo bear has no subs, so not a factor here)
  • Other bears when they scared
  • Sloth bears cuz they crazy

A Polar bear will need to be starved for weeks before it starts hunting the one other human in the forest. And they don't climb trees, so I can reliably protect myself in the short term. Most other bears can be avoided strategically.

The reason humans are scary is that a serial killer will want to start planning their kill from minute 1. You have to fight the human on even ground. On the other hand, the bear will take ages before it decides to engage with you. You can plan your engagement with it perfectly.

That's why a sloth bear is the scrariest. They can climb trees, eat more often, actively engage with humans and react with incredible aggression. Nothing I can do. Dead before sunrise.

if the bear wants to kill you, you will die. they can all climb trees. if they couldnt you wont climb fast enough. if you could climb fast enough it will wait at the bottom of the tree.

Afaik, only 3 kinds of bears attack humans

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

bears attack for lots of reasons

And they don't climb trees

"polar bears in trees" -> google image search

A response to this I've seen that I think cuts into some of the absurdity of this is:

So you understand why we don't want random men in the girl's bathroom, then?

Something that I think is also lost here, is that men also view other men as predators. A lot of chivalrous behavior (the type of behavior that radical feminists fought so hard against) was specifically designed to minimize the risk that men pose to women.

Walking a woman to her car at night is so that a good man can protect a woman from the bad men.

Encouraging women not to go out at night alone is because men realize that there are predatory men that they might encounter, and realize that this is dangerous for them.

Permanently stuck in a forest with a man reminds me of this story: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/for-40-years-this-russian-family-was-cut-off-from-all-human-contact-unaware-of-world-war-ii-7354256/

One should take precautions against both bears and some men, but the real problems with any situation that can be described as "stuck in the woods" is much more likely to have bad outcomes from exposure, starvation. and sometimes drowning. I lived in grizzly country for a while, and people were much, much more worried about people trying to cross weak ice.

Why would changing from yourself to your daughter being in the forest change anything? The bear is far more dangerous in either case (assuming we're talking about an average male human vs average bear) and can't be reasoned with. If anything your daughter is better placed to charm the man and get him to sacrifice himself for her if needs be than you are.

On the other hand if the comparison is between a particularly dumb human vs Yogi Bear then I would go with the bear...

I absolutely agree. I am a hiker and there is unsaid camaraderie among hikers everywhere I go. It is something automatic that kicks in if we are in nature and shit can go down the drain very quickly, we have to help each other out. I personally helped administering first aid to a young girl who fell from her bike when she was on a trip with her mother, while her father was away to catch a signal so he could call for help. I cannot imagine myself saying to my daughter or any female relative not to go hiking - they can encounter a man for Christ sake! While I would certainly be against them - or anybody - going to a spot with known lair of brown bear, you can bet on it.

Young daughter has incredibly high chance of any man to help her if she is stuck in a forest, while if there is only a bear then she will die either to the bear or the wilderness. Any rationally thinking man has to know it.

Because we have been conditioned by society to tell our daughters to avoid strange men (and for good reason!) and men are applying that same conditioning to this scenario. It's a trick to try to get men to consider the scenario from a woman's perspective.

As you point out, your daughter would have greater chances with a random man than with a bear.

If I ever have daughters (yes yes I know, ultimate cuckoldry and all that) I hope I train them well enough that they consider a random man (statistically IQ 100 with nothing going for him) they are stuck in the forest with as an asset (and know how to utilize this asset properly) instead of a threat.

If your daughter gets eaten by a bear, the Daughter Question pasta can still apply:

I cannot think or comprehend of anything more cucked than having had that daughter. Honestly, think about it rationally. You were feeding, clothing, raising and rearing a girl for at least 18 years solely so she could teehee off into the woods and get eaten by a bear. All the hard work you put into your beautiful little girl - reading her stories at bedtime, making her go to sports practice, making sure she had a healthy diet, educating her, playing with her. All of it had one simple result: her body was more enjoyable for the bear who would eventually feast on her every limb.

I would hope she’s at least smart enough to know random male hikers are less likely to be a threat than random bears, even if she doesn’t ‘know how to use this asset properly’.

As others have suggested, many women (performatively or genuinely) overestimate the danger men pose, due to a combination of lipstick feminism, movies and television, being meme-susceptible, humble bragging as to being so desirable as to be a constant target for rape, a lifetime of being sheltered away from actually being under real risk of physical harm, perhaps some rape fantasy and hybristophilic wish-fulfillment sprinkled in there.

I’d also posit that on the flipside, women underestimate the danger animals, whether wild or domesticated, pose in general. Or at least, the modal woman underestimates the danger animals pose to her in particular, under the belief that in such situations her Disney Princess powers will kick in and she’ll have immediate rapport with the animals. Hence why defending pitbulls as nanny dogs is female-coded and the countless selfies of young women making a sad face with cuts and scratches after some mostly gentle mauling from getting too cuddly with a dog.

There’s a video that comes to mind but I can’t find, of a girl in a skirt or dress and Uggs getting rammed by a goat or sheep (wait, not that kind of video) because she picked up its offspring for a cUtE Insta photo. When she saw the mother coming, she tried evading by daintily kicking up a puff of dirt (“ugh, stupid mother! shoo”) and half-heartedly jogging away with the offspring in her arms before getting chased down in like half a second. Thot status: patrolled and offspring protected.

And of course, as always there’s the whole Who? Whom? aspect, as the bear vs. black man permutation hilariously illustrates.

If I, as a male, want to be a bit cheeky, I can actually agree that a random bear is less dangerous to an American woman than a random male.

Statistically speaking, if the male is chosen COMPLETELY at random from all living males, then the odds are more likely you're getting a middle aged guy from Asia (esp. China), India, or Africa. I really have no direct frame of reference for what I expect such males to do in this situation, but the stereotypes are concerning.

Cursory Google search shows there are about 200,000 brown bears in the world, and around 800,000 black bears. Then presumably negligible numbers of Pandas, Koalas, and Polar bears, along with more exotic types.

So odds are that the randomly chosen bear is a relatively less dangerous black bear vs. the "will attack you instantly" brown bear.

So playing the odds, I might say yeah, a given woman is better off with a randomly selected bear in most cases, vs. a randomly selected male human.

But if we restrict the question to American males, and we specify that the bear WILL be one of the more dangerous varieties, I think the answer is clear.

American males

Uh huh... so what kind of American males?

If I, as a male, want to be a bit cheeky, I can actually agree that a random bear is less dangerous to an American woman than a random male.

I call it as absolute bullshit theorizing. And I as an avid hiker I have a proof living in Slovakia, a country full of Brown bears and where we have huge problems with them - including severe injuries and fatal attack in last few months. It actually created quite a controversy, maybe I will make a top level post about that. Just for context, here is a footage of brown bear strolling in a mountain town in broad daylight last month and how such encounter looks like - including encounter with women with strollers. And notice a considerable difference compared to encountering a random male.

If you told some random female hiker in Slovakia that you saw a random a male hiker on a trail she is about to take, she would look at you incredulously. Of course there are male hikers, she meets them all day every day. If you told her that you actually saw a brown bear chilling on the top of the hill, she (or me for that matter) would certainly change our plans. Don't fuck with bears, they are very dangerous and highly unpredictable animals.

The answer women give has nothing to do with actually assessing any kind of danger. At best they are stupid and ignorant, but more likely there is some kind of social game they play. Something along the lines of how even hideous women rate themselves as perfect 10 out of 10 if asked publicly.

India

most rape stories on European women in India are of multiple assailants; Indian men (in large part due to worse nutrition) do not have height and strength advantage over Euro women than Euro men have.

Yes, there's certainly an argument that a well-fed and generally fit European female has less to fear from many of the individual males of certain populations on a sheer physical prowess angle, compared to most grown bears. If she can run faster and further that's all she really needs.

I can understand why that argument ("those men can't rape you, they're too small/weak") wouldn't be comforting in this context, though.

in context of comparison with bear which can eat you alive?

It certainly is a vague question, and vagueness does seem to be a requirement for things to go viral since people can interpret things in so many different ways.

What's interesting is how people choose to interpret the question.

To be counter-pedantic, I'd argue the bear still has the worst odds. Plenty of women go abroad alone to dangerous countries like India. Sure there are some examples of women getting raped/killed there, but plenty more aren't. And they encounter a huge number of foreign men before those negative events occur. Most men who commit crimes also tend to be on the younger side. If I recall, stats showed 3% of young boys have violent tendencies, most of which are raised out of it. Even if I was generous and gave black bears a 0% chance to attack, that's a 20% chance of a dangerous encounter. I would not say 20% of men across the world would choose to assault/rape/attack a lone female. And even actual criminals don't commit crimes all the time.

I still remember the blue/gold dress discourse.

Plenty of women go abroad alone to dangerous countries like India. Sure there are some examples of women getting raped/killed there, but plenty more aren't.

If the questions specifies that they're in the woods, this presents a situation where the male in question can reasonably expect not to be observed by a third party.

THAT much, I will grant, is reason for concern for the woman.

I would not say 20% of men across the world would choose to assault/rape/attack a lone female. And even actual criminals don't commit crimes all the time.

I'm not quite willing to say 20% of men would not, purely on the evolutionary argument that assault and rape were a common element of our ancestral environment.

Really, my concern is that I don't know to what extent all men, everywhere on the planet, are actually socially trained against any sort of violence against women... and have enough to lose that they care about that social training. I could see it being higher than 20% who would in theory be dangerous to an unaccompanied female. But the error bars on that estimate are large.

But I can say for damn sure that a tiny handful of bears is trained not to be violent towards humans in general, but some are more naturally inclined towards it than others.

If the questions specifies that they're in the woods, this presents a situation where the male in question can reasonably expect not to be observed.

That is a fair point but I will still have to disagree with you that greater than 20% of men when given the opportunity will have a near 100% chance of committing rape/assault on a lone woman.

I'm not quite willing to say 20% of men would not, purely on the evolutionary argument that assault and rape were a common element of our ancestral environment.

On the evolution argument, the child has to survive to pass on their offspring. Babies and pregnant women are extremely vulnerable. The genes that foster safety in groups and willingness to cooperate will outpace the genes that might make a man rape/assault someone. There could be an argument for tribes taking women as a prize after some kind of war/battle, but that's distinct from just an early caveman just raping/assaulting any woman.

The genes that foster safety in groups and willingness to cooperate will outpace the genes that might make a man rape/assault someone.

Right, but in this situation, as stated in the question, there are no groups to cooperate with or intervene, the male's behavior is based solely on whatever he himself chooses to do in the absence of any observers, and thus no immediate social consequences.

I am going to argue that in the ancestral environment, if a random male happens across a random female, both complete strangers to the other, in the middle of the woods, nobody else around, rape WAS probably a common outcome. And this would eventually lead to general norms that women shouldn't travel anywhere alone.

I have seen decent evidence that many males of certain cultures are willing to engage in violence against females even in the full view of other people. Can't say what that percentage is with precision, but I'd have to assume a higher percentage would willingly engage in violence if there were no observers.

I think I will stipulate that the number has to be <50%, but 3% is probably the absolute lower bound.

But we built society to heavily punish males who do such things. Therefore there was evolutionary pressure against “randomly rape women”

I still remember the blue/gold dress discourse.

Was I the only person on the planet that went with "huh, that's a cool optical illusion"?

No, but it was a good example of people not being aware of how human perception works, and thus jumping right to "these people have to be lying to me" rather than "there's something weird about that dress."

I don't recall anyone claiming that the other side was lying.

Was I the only person on the planet that went with "huh, that's a cool optical illusion"?

Was there another way to view it besides a cool optical illusion? Was there some crazy blue/gold dress controversy that I wasn't aware of?

We used to be a proper nation.

There is a bear in the woods

Bear pickers would get what they deserve. At least you can expect a man, if he's forced to eat you, to kill you before he begins.

I'm glad you posted this, because I wanted to rant about this, since it's the most irritating feminist trend I've seen since 2017ish, but I didn't know how to phrase any of it in a way that would be "leaving the rest of the internet at the door".

I do think that, like other commenters have called out, the trend is childish and virtue signaling, and no one is being sincere. I think takes like this:

If a bear attacks you, people will believe you, if a man attacks you, people will not believe you.

do more to show exactly what feminists think about men, as opposed to how women are actually victimized by men in society.
What is the difference between a bear and a man? Maybe that men are people and bears are not? Men have other people who love them, and trust them, and care about them. Is that perhaps the reason why people may give men the benefit of the doubt in the case of an ambiguous he-said-she-said situation, but not give such benefit to a bear? Do men not deserve such a benefit over bears, because, you know, they're actual people and bears are not?

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I should post this topic either, since at the end of the day it's just one of many hundreds of viral internet trends indicating the battle of the sexes. People will say anything on the internet to get clout, there are hundreds of ragebait topics being discussed. Plus are TikTok/internet trends indicative of general trends in the population?

What made this trend more interesting is that it's gotten so viral to the point that there are now journalists and news articles that are using this to push the "women's lives are so hard" narrative, and we have a few actual polls now to get a better understanding of what the split is. So at this point it's not just a stupid viral TikTok trend, it's a question that is being used to push an agenda.

Is that perhaps the reason why people may give men the benefit of the doubt in the case of an ambiguous he-said-she-said situation, but not give such benefit to a bear? Do men not deserve such a benefit over bears, because, you know, they're actual people and bears are not?

I've always had a problem with women complaining about how no one would believe them if they cry rape/sexual assault. I think it's similar to when people said people didn't vote for Hillary Clinton during 2016 just because she was a woman. Well yes, but people also did vote for her solely because she was a woman. #BelieveAllWoman was (and still is?) a thing, the biggest high-profile case I remember in recent times was the case between Amber Heard and Johhny Depp. Plenty of people automatically believed her story, just as plenty of people automatically doubted her. We didn't know the facts so the most unbiased stance should be "I don't know, let's wait for some evidence before concluding." Well based on the evidence, the jury did find Amber Heard liable of defamation and that he did not abuse or assault Amber Heard.

People should give men the benefit of the doubt because of the mantra "innocent before proven guilty". Anyone can accuse anyone of anything. Yet the mere accusation can destroy a man's livelihood and his reputation. There are plenty of examples you can find that have impacted everyday average men. Women have plenty of reason to falsely accuse men, whether it be an act of revenge, some way to get clout, and so on. And women tend to overdramatize their experiences. Men face harassment online more often than women, but women are more upset about it. There was also that video of a woman walking through New York to show how much catcalling/harassment she got and all it did was show how it wasn't much of anything at all... (and also, how the men doing the "problematic" activity was a certain demographic of men, specifically black/latino but it's racist to point that out). Or that one journalist that wrote an article complaining about catcalling... only a few years later to then write an article complaining about how nobody would catcall her anymore and how she misses it (can't find the source atm).

If a bear is falsely accused, well nobody really suffers from that. If a man is falsely accused, there is an actual victim in that false statement. Which is why the appropriate response should be to hear out their case, and if it sounds like an actual crime is investigated, then a police report should be filed and the situation investigated. Surely spending a few hours at the police station and getting some justice is better than spending days/weeks/months suffering and letting the criminal go free?

If a woman told her friend she was raped/assaulted, in reality, it's likely 80 - 99% of her friends would automatically believe her unless she did such a horrible job of telling the story that it would cause reason for doubt. Most people's automatic response is to believe, not to doubt. But because some people might dare question the story, it's a huge problem.

It is also dumb. If you are attacked by a bear there is a good chance you won’t live to tell the tale and that your death will be painful.

But it does provide some kind of insight into women—or at least modern women. Their main concern is with the social benefits derived from being able to say “I experienced trauma” compared to actually minimizing the amount of trauma they experience.

but I didn't know how to phrase any of it in a way that would be "leaving the rest of the internet at the door".

Look dawg, I'm an admin and even I have no idea how to enforce that rule without ruling out about 95% of everything that gets posted here. I presume it mostly exists to avoid petty drama and forum flamewars from leaking through.

Until someone tells me what the hell it's supposed to mean, I'm just going to slink away whistling. I don't recall seeing anything ever reported as a violation of said rule, and that should tell you something, given how certain users here consider themselves the effort police and report with a zeal worthy of the Stasi.

It's been used a few times (here's one example), exactly as you said.

Good to know, thanks! I can now recall a specific time it was invoked against me, ages and ages ago on the old subreddit, but I haven't noticed it come up since then.

I think it means, as you say, specific, personal drama from other forums. If I recall correctly, someone got tempbanned a few years ago for making a top-level post that was just a blow-by-blow of drama they'd had on a different site. I would guess the intent is to prevent the Motte being recruited for internet raids and turf wars. Probably less relevant now we aren't on reddit.

It's a bit odd to me that everyone is so confident in their answers (regardless of which answer they choose).

I don't feel like I have a good enough baseline intuition about how dangerous bears are to answer with confidence. How likely is the average bear to attack you? Is it possible to outrun a bear? This is far outside my domain of expertise.

I certainly understand why a lot of women would say "bear", even if they might ultimately be mistaken.

I don't feel like I have a good enough baseline intuition about how dangerous bears are to answer with confidence. How likely is the average bear to attack you? Is it possible to outrun a bear? This is far outside my domain of expertise.

If you found yourself in the same, say, square kilometer as a bear, it is extremely unlikely to attack you. But you are also unlikely to see the bear; it will very much want to avoid you as much as he/she can. If the terrain is open maybe you'll see it at a distance, it's not likely to care unless you get close. But if you do find yourself face-to-face with the bear, the probabilities of attack are very different to the baseline. You might have wandered in proximity to its cubs. The bear might be habituated to human presence, associating them with food. The bear might be starving. These are all bad things.

A human is not gonna outrun a bear. Especially not in uneven terrain and in the forest. You can't climb a tree to evade it. And it has excellent sense of smell so you're unlikely to be able to hide from it.

A black bear lives by my parents and they’ve only seen it three times in a decade… it seems to ignore them but then again it’s hard to say if it actually saw them since each time they were downwind of the bear.

Anyway one time my dad was fishing in a river near their house and according to him the bear swam across the river much faster than a person could even wade through water much less swim. They’re also fast climbers. It’s impossible to outrun a bear should it decide it wants to hurt you.

It’s impossible to outrun a bear should it decide it wants to hurt you.

That's why we are not calling it by its secret name, Arth, we'd all be attacked before we could finish typing our post on the Mott----

There’s a saying I’m paraphrasing that I think is basically right,

Black Bear is fine unless you startle a mom with cubs

If a brown bear sees you it’s too late

If you see a polar bear it’s too late

"If it's black, fight back. If it's brown, lie down. If it's white, good night."

I believe the rhyme goes as follows:

If it's black fight back.

If it's brown stay down.

If it's white, goodnight. (never really liked this one, although to be fair this is the one you are least likely to encounter so I guess the rhyme doesn't matter too much).

In the event of a brown bear, a California ranger told campers to make lots of noise, bang stuff together, yell, and whatnot, the bear would probably think there was a group of people, or more people were coming, and leave. But also that they're really focused on food stashes, so don't be dumb and leave food lying around.

In grizzly or polar bear country, what are people doing out in the wilderness without a group and multiple guns? I think when I was in Alaska the men in town shot any brown bear bold enough to show its face. Each family had a half dozen or so guns.

In grizzly or polar bear country, what are people doing out in the wilderness without a group and multiple guns? I think when I was in Alaska the men in town shot any brown bear bold enough to show its face. Each family had a half dozen or so guns.

This Alaskan can confirm. It's why you always take a gun — one with serious stopping power — when salmon fishing (at least, salmon fishing anywhere other than Ship Creek, which runs through Anchorage right by Downtown and the Port).

Bears are faster than pretty much any human. Rate of attacks is “it depends” on a lot of things.

Does it specify which species of bear? Black bears are common in the lower 48, and I've run into them before: I've even heard of people aggressively chasing them off. Not cuddly, but some of them aren't that much bigger than a large adult human. Grizzly and polar bears are much larger and dangerous.

I think the distributions of danger here are relevant: a 99th percentile dangerous human might well be much more dangerous than the equivalent black bear, even if the median black bear doesn't even get seen because it avoids humans. The median human is, I would guess, a net help in a survival situation, or at least tries to do so. In my experience, people evaluate risks like that very differently.

Somewhere in here is a decent joke about cougars in the woods: mountain lions are quite dangerous if they decide to kill you, but so are divorces.

Gay son or thot daughter?

Surely thot daughter is the better option, unless you're super picky about the quality/hue of your grandkids' dads

Gay son, not even a contest (and especially so if you have other children who can continue on the bloodline). Being gay isn't a personal or moral failing.

Jesus man why would you want your son to be molested?

LMAO (yes yes I know, Rockthrow plays Yahtzee).

I'm almost ambivalent. The primary issue I have with a gay son is that I want genetically related grandkids, and while that's by no means insurmountable even today, I expect it to be even more of a non-issue by the time a hypothetical child is sexually mature.

My response to a gay son or thot daughter being thrust on me, fully grown, would be a huh??? rather than anything more considered.

Wait, what?

A similarly stupid but very popular online question.

It's interesting how "thou shalt not take too much dick" is a universal prohibition for both genders. There's something of an asymmetry here.

Straight men having a lot of sex is praiseworthy, and society seems to have less of an intrinsic disgust reaction to lesbians than to gay men.

Straight men having a lot of sex is praiseworthy

Because it's an accomplishment. The opposite is easy.

Straight men having a lot of sex is praiseworthy,

"Rake", "Cad", "Bounder", "Fuckboi" and "Manwhore" are all insults (though not as severe as the equivalent insults for promiscuous women). "Swordsman", "Ladykiller" and "Stud" all imply respect for competence without expressing moral approval or disapproval. The only common term for a successfully promiscuous man that suggests moral approval is "Alpha", and the person who coined the modern usage of the term (Roissy/Heartiste) was entirely comfortable that he was stealing positive moral valence from the older use of "alpha" to refer to a man feared and respected by other men.

The simple truth is that nobody, either man or woman, should ever go hiking in the woods alone, with or without bears inhabiting those woods, period.

Funny enough, I was hiking in the woods alone last weekend and crossed paths with a woman also hiking alone. She greeted me with a somewhat exaggerated "I'm glad to see you out here!" (I was unaware of bear discourse at the time, so it went over my head).

Anyway, I didn't eat her. She didn't eat me, and we both continued on and didn't die to the best of my knowledge.

…are you a bear?

"If you judge safety to be the paramount consideration in life you should never, under any circumstances, go on long hikes alone. Don’t take short hikes alone, either – or, for that matter, go anywhere alone. And avoid at all costs such foolhardy activities as driving, falling in love, or inhaling air that is almost certainly riddled with deadly germs. Wear wool next to the skin. Insure every good and chattel you possess against every conceivable contingency the future might bring, even if the premiums half-cripple the present. Never cross an intersection against a red light, even when you can see all roads are clear for miles. And never, of course, explore the guts of an idea that seems as if it might threaten one of your more cherished beliefs. In your wisdom you will probably live to be a ripe old age. But you may discover, just before you die, that you have been dead for a long, long time."

(Colin Fletcher, The Complete Walker)

Isn't hiking/trekking supposed to be a communal/social activity?

Not by me, my personal acquaintances (not that any of them are exclusively soloists, but all of them go alone from time to time--if nothing else, it's tough to match schedules with your buddies as an adult), the other respondent in this subthread, or Colin Fletcher, whom a reasonable man might consider an authority in these matters.

More importantly, who cares? It's your time, your money, public land (or private land where you have permission to pass, or private land and you're being sneaky enough that you have a reasonable expectation of not getting turned around, etc.). As long as you're not bothering anyone else or tearing the place up, do whatever the hell you want. No International Federation of Outdoor Recreation is going to helicopter in and write you a ticket for failure to comply with the true spirit of hiking as determined in the twelve-point statement of the Lausanne Conference of 1889.

Thinking about it some more, it makes a lot of sense that a guy who's scared to go into the woods alone (or pretending to be, for the lulz) would ask this. Another commenter seems to imply that you're American but this attitude sounds very European or possibly Australian to me. (Aside: no, I don't know why a vocal subpopulation of Australians on the Internet are like this, you'd think a frontier nation settled by convicts would have a stronger instinct to live freely, but there it is.). It's not for me to tell you how to live, but I hope I've made the point that there are other ways.

My point is this: isn't hiking normally considered as a social/bonding activity by its enthusiasts, or at least the majority of them? I'm looking at this in the context of social conventions, not legality. The issue isn't how hiking is to be regulated. I know a bunch of people who have hiking as their hobby, and almost everytime they go in groups. When I first heard about this whole social media brouhaha, this was my first thought: why is a - presumably young and single - woman going hiking alone in the first place? Especially in a forest inhabited by wild bears? Isn't it women who do not like solo activities as much as men?

I've gone solo hiking in brown bear country and have come across solo women doing the same thing. They were motivated by a sense of adventure and wanting to see beautiful parts of nature and were willing to travel very far to do it. That being said, when these women came across me, a lone solo guy in his 30s, they were quite willing to join with me and hike out together.

That's good to hear.

Botond mentioned in the thread about the Korean gender war that he is not American.

It depends on the individual. For me, going on long solo walks in nature is my favorite way of de-stressing and having introspective time. Hiking with others doesn't lower my stress and doesn't give me the unbroken mental space for self-reflection.

I live in the western US and work in the woods, and while I guess "shoulds" are ultimately hard to argue this post reads as massively cucked safetyist nannyism.

Heavily depends on location, claim you made is silly and reveals that you are unaware that situation elsewhere is different.

Are we allowed to do anything alone or do we need adult supervision at all times no matter what?

That's not the point. It's a matter of not being careless.

  • -12

I don't think that taking minor risks is careless.

That is not a truth. Lots of people go hiking in the woods alone in my country, without incident.

It's still not advisable though. Getting lost or suffering an injury can have grave consequences in such a situation, especially if there's no cell phone signal.

Broken leg? Walk it off.

I'm sure that's what she tried doing before Mother Nature snuffed her out.

He's swearing he's not American, but he does seem to say a lot of (sort of) American things. They do have huge swathes of actually wild land over there, so I can understand the sentiment. Though even then, I'm pretty sure plenty of Americans still go hiking alone.

Maybe I'm stunted, but I think this is an essentially elementary school bullshit, on the level of pulling girls by their braids (does anyone still do it?) or calling boys/girls gross: confused flirtation going too far. To the extent that adult American women are sincere in saying that they're less afraid of a bear, they're stunted too; unfit to be citizens, literally infantile, living in an egocentric world where "beliefs" are merely transient activations of the underdeveloped brain, means to coordinate physical wailing and flailing to get gibs from the infinitely caring environment. Admittedly this is an adaptive mode of reasoning in a spoils-based society, so long as you belong to the correct caste.

But I presume they aren't sincere, for the most part, and just do not care about contents of their words or the impact on too serious men. So it's signaling and taking jabs at men.

Few great comedians are women, but on average women are impressively adept at wordplay and deadpan sarcasm, in my experience.

Now as for men and their daughters, this is more obviously pure signaling to fit into the stereotype of an overprotective macho. No one's actually leaving anyone in a forest with a bear or a stranger, so it's a cost-free signal.


This is all trivial. The interesting question here, if any, is whether norms encouraging such long-winded and massive pranks are acceptable or a sign of dysfunction. Remember, many Americans are in fact retarded, paranoid, schizophrenic, pathologically anxious etc. – a middle-class joke that's presented as consensus can have real impact. Is [functional] 85 IQ enough to reliably distinguish ubiquitous mean-spirited kidding from common sense, without it leaking into world-model representations? Is 80? 75? The true distribution is not Gaussian, there are lumps on both tails, and plenty of outliers.

Beyond this straightforward utilitarian concern for unwell people and their close ones, though, I'd say the problem of normalizing casual deadpan sarcastic misogyny is the same as with any other kind of mistreatment, and the appropriate response is the same as we see high-agency minority groups provide to politically incorrect smartasses. It is perceived, correctly, as the beginning of a slippery slope towards rhetorical superweapons and physical discrimination. In a degenerating culture like the modern American one, defending your personal and your collective identity's honor is in fact the sane attractor; it's unsustainable for some subpopulation, even if it be all men, to be all sticks-and-stones-but-words stoics, and others be of the "if they don't fight back this means we can hit harder" persuasion. (I'd go so far as to say that you can't be a stoic period; stoics are simply cuckolds with extra steps, just like their hero Marcus Aurelius was a literal cuckold. But that's beside the point).

My (obvious) belief is that it's not really acceptable but there's little that could be done.

it's not really acceptable but there's little that could be done.

Repeal the 19th

I don't think there's a difference between a 'sincere' statement and 'signaling' statement - the words emerge from the same processes, the same process that generates 'abortion is a FUNDAMENTAL right', and the same process that 'everyone is beautiful in their own unique way <3'. I wish the average person had a clean separation between signaling beliefs and sincere ones, everything would be so much nicer.

And, of course, if teleported 10 m from a bear with saliva dripping from its canines and 10 m away from a random male, the same woman would run away towards the man, that's a deep instinct one can't deny.

The interesting question here, if any, is whether norms encouraging such long-winded and massive pranks are acceptable or a sign of dysfunction

I think the above belief is closer to just a 'stupid popular belief' than a long-winded prank, and as such is just a universal human phenomena. But long-winded games of social deception are also human universals, small-scale human societies are no more honest and harmonious than we are, and intelligence and self-interest combined necessarily leads to such games.

I think a lot of WEIRD people are stunted. And I don’t think men would do much better in a similarly worded “would you rather” scenario aimed at them. The issue is that the way we raise kids and the way we’re taught (or more properly mis-taught to judge risks, rewards, and dangers) tends to create an entire culture of infantile adults who can’t understand let alone handle the real world. And we do it to ourselves.

The first issue is extreme safetyism. We’ve gone from being a frontier people who were used to handling our own lives and the risks that came with it, to a people that are suffering from anxiety and depression in probably the safest environment humanity has ever known: a country that hasn’t had a war on her own soil in almost 200 years, where the biggest health risks are diseases of gluttony or old age, where most people face the workplace dangers of paper cuts, and where we commute strapped into cars that are designed to withstand collisions going much faster than they normally go. And I think a lot of it is down to safetyist lifestyles that not only don’t teach people to reasonably handle a risk, but create a mindset in which you’re taught to ruminate on the idea of injury death, insult and loss.

The second thing we’ve been taught is to put our own feelings on the level of facts. I’m not suggest that your feelings don’t matter at all, but I do think that we’ve put them much too far forward in our thinking process, which leads to all kinds of problems. First of all, feelings about a subject are not always true. You might be afraid of spiders, but if they aren’t actually dangerous to you, that fear is only going to harm you by diminishing your own life and your ability to live it. Second, focusing on feelings especially negative feelings just makes you feel worse. Focusing on positive emotions isn’t all that great either if you get so attached to the good feelings that the loss of them is catastrophic to you, or leads to unrealistic expectations of what life is like. Negative emotions are normal, and losses are common. You will experience both often. And if you’re focused on feelings, you’ll be miserable.

The third thing is that we aren’t taught to look to facts. Nobody is asking whether a thing they believe is actually true. They aren’t taught statistics, probability or logic in school, so they have no real toolsets to use to decide what is real or not or whether a thing they read or see is true. What are the actual facts on the ground in Ukraine or Gaza? Would this not change how we think about what to do in those situations? What is the actual cause of inflation? Would knowledge of the cause change what we do to solve it?

I think the best things to teach kids are sensible risk taking, stoicism and not getting attached to luxury, and good sound thinking and truth-seeking. These things can be taught, and to be honest we used to teach them. In STEM and philosophy we still do. It’s just that we’ve removed most of this from the curriculum of people who don’t need to use them for work and then wonder why our systems don’t work and problems don’t get solved.

Jokey or not, it does reveal that it is socially accepted and even fashionable to denigrate men.

Two astronauts orbiting, one with his arm extended, holding a handgun.

Come on, it's fun as long as it's just a joke. You can poke fun at women too, though it's different kinds of jokes.

The problem is that nobody is joking.

You can poke fun at women two, though it's different kinds of jokes.

Not if there are any around.

Maybe I'm stunted, but I think this is an essentially elementary school bullshit,

That's how I took it, and in that sense the whole meme seems pretty fun. It's just bants, confused flirting at worst, like you said. But then, I regret to inform you, that the male (or otherwise) feminists are at it again taking the whole fun out of it.

Maybe the devil is the details on this one? But my personal take is that the misandry is off the charts here. As in, I'm people saying they'd choose the bear because men are necrophilies.

The big divide I see, however, it's the same as I always seen. Theory people and practical people are just going to see things in an entirely different light. So I think for the theory people it's fun and bants, for the practical people, I think for them it becomes a bit more serious, because to essentially "obey" this concept isn't really healthy. The question really I personally have is how much should men hold themselves accountable for triggering these reactions? And it's not a theoretical, right? Because I've seen enough cases where having the wrong type of person present acts as a barrier to inclusion (which is supposed to be good and proper and what everybody wants).

Should people be aware of the effect of their presence on potential other people, or this something we're supposed to ignore and just push through?

Because I've seen enough cases where having the wrong type of person present acts as a barrier to inclusion (which is supposed to be good and proper and what everybody wants).

If having the wrong type of person present acts as a barrier to inclusion, then "inclusion" taken seriously is self-defeating and should be discarded as a concept. If having one type of person present discourages other types of people, you must make a choice of which to include and which to exclude; this is not "inclusion" but "discrimination".

It's funny how so many people online think that's a good response but all it does is serve as yet another example of how poorly so many people understand and use statistics.

Passing remidial statistics should be a requirement to be given the vote. If you don't understand the difference between standard deviation and variance then for the benefit of society you should be disenfranchised.

Ugh, I can't watch more than five seconds because I know where it's going.

Woman or bear: would you rather have to deal with a bear, or a woman who potentially has no water, food, or gear and needs your help to get to safety? I feel like the latter is more likely to ruin my day in the woods.

It's all just signalling, though; at most 1% would take the bear. Plenty of women go on hikes in the woods and regularly share the space with men without issue or note, and the few who encounter a bear would typically throw a fit over it. I read it as low-key trolling of men more than anything else. (And I have to admit, it's at least a little bit funny to see some men seemingly taking the question at face value and getting testy over something that obviously bears no relation to reality.) It's like someone joking they'd rather have a blind person drive them around than someone from California.

Testy? Just a tired and resigned addition of another pebble to the mountain of evidence that "female" is equivalent to one of the many kinds of enemies.

"female" is equivalent to one of the many kinds of enemies.

Don't fall for the psyop, man. There's always going to be tensions between men and women, they're probably even necessary for our growth as a species, but we cannot let this turn us into enemies, or Klaus Schwab wins. Do you want Klaus Schwab to win?

Klaus Schwab

The turning of a befuddled, milquetoast neoliberal German finance professor who started a conference into the arch-villain of modernity is quite something.

We've been through this. He's not a milquetoast neoliberal, he's a radical transhumanist techno-surveillanist, with sympathies for (if not direct allegience to) Critical Theory.

The way you say it you'd think Critical Theory was an esoteric subversive cult and not a very popular and influential historical school of thought, whose notable figures rank among the most cited individuals in all of published research everywhere.