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Man vs. Bear TikTok trend opens discussion about women’s safety

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The new viral “Man Vs. Bear” trend has taken over TikTok. With people on either side, this opens further discussion into the deeper meaning of this trend. This trend may seem silly, but it sheds much needed light on women’s safety.

A new trend has taken over TikTok, this time focusing on the hard hitting question: would you rather be alone in the woods with a random man or bear? While this may seem like a silly TikTok trend, there is a much deeper meaning and actuality to the question.

I would choose the bear for countless reasons. The bear would only kill you for survival. After all, it is a wild animal and expected of them. They would be quick and leave your body alone after you pass. The same cannot be said for a man.

Women are taught from extremely young ages to never trust a strange man because “you never know.” We are taught to cover our drinks at parties, carry mace pepper spray and have our locations on at all times.

When I was 12 my mom bought me a brand of pepper spray, Mace, and told me to bring it everywhere “just in case.” Alongside my older sister, she would discuss the importance of safety when we were out with friends. Yet this education was never passed along to my brother.

I do not blame her, it is just the societal norm we live in. Because of his lack of ‘education’ and society not seeing men as being in constant danger, my  brother, as a man, lives a carefree life when he is walking by himself.  However my sister and I do not have the same privilege. We check behind us constantly to make sure no one is following, we are wary of walking alone late at night or to be on our phone less we look distracted and being seen as an “easier target” to any possible dangers. 

While teaching children these practices can keep people safe, the ideas feed into victim-blaming mentalities. Why are we teaching people how to not get attacked, instead of teaching people not to attack? I understand that people who do horrible things like this are not mentally well, but that is not an excuse to commit crimes. Our current culture allows women to live in fear of the intentions of every man while men get to live their lives. 

Even men recognize that men are more dangerous to women than bears.  In fact, the most interesting Man vs. Bear TikTok videos to watch are of fathers with daughters. These fathers in these videos show genuine fear at the thought of their daughter being alone in the woods with a man.

A great place to start to solve the roots of this constant danger problem is in our health class. We have resources which inform students about all the different types of sexual harassment and assault and setting boundries. The Rowan Center also offers methods to seek aid if they are under danger.

Yet, this education should extend outside the classroom, and into people’s homes. It is important to educate your children and have honest and open conversations. Lots of things are learned at home, then brought into school or other social settings. Let’s have the learning being brought into social settings be positive.

This trend may seem silly to most but social media is, for a lot of people, Gen Z’s main form of communication and source of information. The deeper meaning behind lots of these TikTok trends shouldn’t just end on the app, but should be brought to real life.

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Ava Coyle ’25
Ava Coyle ’25, Social Media Manager
Social media manager Ava Coyle ’25 has moved all across the world – from Alabama, to Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Maryland and finally Connecticut. As a new student freshman year, the Intro to Journalism class aided her search for ways to meet new people. “Without Inklings, I wouldn’t have really felt like I had a place at Staples,” Coyle said.  The following year, she moved into Advanced Journalism, finding her love for Inklings. “It has a reputation where people do listen and people do read it,” Coyle said. “It’s just a nice way to express yourself about things you’re passionate about.”  

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