Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bare Necessities for Bear


Pic from http://www.amazon.com
Look for the bear necessities
The simple bear necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bear necessities
Old Mother Nature's recipes
That brings the bear necessities of life!
 
Mowgli, Kaa and Baloo (pic from http://ytuser87.deviantart.com)
The lyrics above are from the song, Bare Necessities of the Disney's cartoon feature film, The Jungle Book (except that I changed the word Bare to Bear instead). The cartoon used to be one of my favourites when I was a kid and have watched it countless of times before. I memorized all the songs including the lines by some of the characters like the kid, Mowgli; the bear, Baloo and the python, Kaa. Of course my sexual inclination during that time was still uncertain as I recalled, but my interests in songs and dance since that age probably suggested my sexual stand leaning more towards the rainbow spectrum.
 
Who's the REAL bear? (pic from http://www.city-data.com and http://www.flickr.com)
So what’s the necessary attributes of being a bear? And I meant specifically an Asian Bear. Before we go into the details, we must look at what’s the definition of necessity. Let's ask ourselves, besides being huge in size, is it necessary for us to be hairy? And when we say huge, what size is huge enough? And do we need to have facial hair? What are the bear essentials that are required to be an Asian bear? Is there an actual or proper description of how an Asian Bear should look like and if so, what is it?
 
1990 Bear Magazine by R. Bulger (pic from http://www.amazon.com)
Recently, I had a chat with Christopher, my fellow blogger from Australia and we were sharing our perspectives on the Western and Asian Bears. In fact, he was kind enough to quote me on one of his podcast episodes of That’s Mental #15: Panda Vs. Horse. According to Wikipedia, the western definition of a bear is a large, hairy man who projects an image of rugged masculinity. Apparently, the term Bear was popularized by Richard Bulger, who, along with his then partner Chris Nelson founded Bear Magazine in the late 80s.
 
I'm the ORIGINAL Bear! (pic from http://greatamericanwest.com)
While I totally understand that since the term Bear was first coined in the West, the prerequisite of being hairy is therefore a must as most of our western counterparts are more hirsute than us. In addition, it only makes sense because the characterization or association of a bear’s image to a man suggests that both should have similar physical attributes, such as being hairy!
 
Look, I'm a Smooth Bear! (pic from http://donnarosenartists.squarespace.com)
However, since the insurgence of gay pride in Asia especially during the last 10 years, more and more Asian who’re huge in size while not necessarily hairy due to their genes but project a hyper-masculine image are calling themselves Bears or Pandas. But wait a minute, isn’t the western’s view of a bear indicates being hairy as one the requirements? If that’s so, are we wrong to call ourselves bears? Or are we the genetically flawed hairless bears instead? Some purist western bears will probably agree with that although some may be more inclusive and lenient on their views.
 
Where the Bears are (pic from http://www.thebacklot.com)
Being a plus-size gay Asian myself, I definitely disagree with this myopic definition of the Bear although to be honest I can understand why some of our western counterparts still stick to their original views firmly. To be fair, the initial definition of Bear conceived during the 80s did make sense in the West where the term I believe started out from a casual suggestion to categorize the large-size western gay community.
 
Jiraiya G-men Illustration (pic from http://www.gproject.com)
However, a couple of years later during the early 90s and on the other side of the world, the increase of interest on the masculine blue collar type of men among the Japanese gay community led to the conception of the monthly Japanese gay  magazine, G-Men. This medium provided an avenue for chasers to idolize the beefy, hyper-masculine gay Asian man. While the Japanese called these G-men クマ (Kuma), the Chinese associate these big and burly men with the term (Xiong). Both terms mean Bear in their respective languages.
 
You may be hairier but we're the same body size! (pic from http://www.flickr.com/photos/louiskwong/)
And fast forward 30 years later to 2013, I strongly feel that the original western view no longer holds. Although the west may have a few years ahead of the east where the terming of Bear is concern, but I strongly believe that each definition has it’s own roots and different evolutionary paths. The disagreement of the bear definition only arises when our two worlds overlapped where both the Japanese and Chinese terms are translated into a common language. But one characteristic of Bear remains constant, which is the body size.
 
Pic from http://www.ebay.com)
Well yes, both the exclusive and inclusive camps can always argue until the bears come home, but the fact is that the continuation of using the term Bear, Kuma or Xiong in Asia will not fade regardless of the level of acceptance of our western counterpart. I believe that it's time for all of us to be a Modern bear and abolished such archaic Bear fundamentals and notions.
Aren't we all the same? (pic from http://shinka3.exblog.jp/15566880/)
My advice to all is let’s just accept and celebrate our differences by being inclusive as we go along and worry about more important matters rather than nitpicking on who’s a bear and who’s not! And remember, in spite of the general consensus acceptance, the most significant is really not about whether your physical attributes fall into the bear category or not.
 
Being inclusive where all are welcome! (pic from http://www.thesun.co.uk)
It is about being the real you and being tolerant as well as accepting in this ever challenging world of gay brotherhood. For even if you’re a twink, lean fit, or skinny mini, it really doesn’t matter. One thing for sure and most will probably agree with me is that the new generation of bear community on the whole should love and accept everyone regardless of their animal typification! 
Baloo teaching his little "bear" Mowgli on the bare necessities (pic from http://www.dailymail.co.uk)
Before signing off, I'll leave you with this lesson from The Jungle Book. Mowgli, the kid was brought up by Baloo, teaching him how to survive in the jungle just like a bear. But in Baloo's eyes, Mowgli would always be his little bear, regardless of how he looked like. 

This is Jimen signing out! Be Beary Happy Always! Cheers.

1 comment:

  1. hey, love the blog :D
    i was wondering if you knew what the bears are called in your third pic quoting 'who's the REAL bear?' they are so hot.
    many thanks :D

    ReplyDelete