Online debate lets women talk about safety

Women explain why they would feel safer encountering a bear in the woods than a man they don’t know. This hypothesis has led to a broader discussion about why women are afraid of men.


If you were alone in the woods, would you rather encounter a bear or a man? The answers to this hypothetical question have sparked an ongoing debate about why the vast majority say they would feel more comfortable choosing a bear.

The topic has been hotly debated for weeks, with men and women all over social media expressing their thoughts.

Screenshot HQ, a TikTok account, started the conversation asking half a dozen women if they would rather encounter a man they didn’t know or a bear in the woods. Of the seven women interviewed for the piece, only one chose a man.

“Bear. Humans are scary,” one of the women responds.

A number of women echoed the comments in the original video, writing in the comments that they too would choose a bear over a man. The hypothetical divides people, with some expressing sadness at the state of the world and others joking about the situation. Some men are baffled.

Here’s what we know.

Many say a bear is the safer choice. There’s no doubt about that

There were many comments, over 65,000 to be exact, under the original post, many of whom wrote that they understood why the women would choose a bear.

“No one will ask me if I led the bear or give me a pamphlet with tips on preventing bear attacks,” wrote @celestiallystunning.

@Brennduhh wrote: “If I die and leave my body in the woods, the wolves will be gentler than any man.”

“I know a bear’s intentions,” another woman wrote. ‘I don’t know a man’s intentions. No matter how nice they are.”

Other TikTok users took it a step further and asked the hypothetical question to loved ones. Meredith Steele, who goes by @babiesofsteele, asked her husband last week if he would rather their daughter encounter a bear or a man in the woods. Her husband said he “didn’t like either option,” but said he was leaning toward the bear.

“Maybe it’s a friendly bear,” he says.

Diana, another TikTok user, asked her sister-in-law what she would choose and was left speechless.

“I asked her the question, you know, just for a giggle. She said, ‘You know, I’d rather it was a bear because if the bear attacks me and I come out of the woods, everyone will believe me and pity me,” she said. “But if a man attacks me and I get out, I will spend my whole life trying to get people to believe me and sympathize with me.”

The bear versus man debate stirs the pot, women and some men disagree

This hypothesis has caused some tension, with some women claiming that men will never truly understand what it’s like to be a woman, or the dangers associated with it.

Social media users have answered this question for themselves through memes, spoken word poetry and skits in the days and weeks that followed.

So, what would you choose?