As someone who has been in the bear and gay community for a little over ten years now (I am wondering when I am getting my sash or pin for all the hard work I have done. Emphasis on hard hehe), I have come to find a bevy of terms that gay men have come up to describe their physical appearance. Albeit a twink, cub, muscle bear, otter, wolf, and a new one that I heard recently, ram (big horns and like to charge. Giggity.) there is always going to be some terminology involved in describing yourself or to your friends about the guy you hung out with last night/cruised/hated for whatever reason possible.
Recently, I have discovered a brand new term that really doesn’t have much to do with physical appearance at all- Bearlebrity. This is a term that unlike words like “Chocolate” or “Buy One Get One Free Burrito at Chipotle” has a very negative connotation attached to it, yet for some reason no one really seems to pinpoint what it actually means. I recently made this a status update for my friends to reply and divulge what their true meaning of the word was, and the responses were plentiful and vastly different. Take a look at what people (who will be kept anonymous) thinks about what a Bearlebrity really is-
- “To me, a Bearlebrity is a guy who takes a zillion selfies each day just to get the satisfaction of the 300 likes they will get, many are from men that they have never met before. On top of the likes follows with 30 or 40 comments ranging from the same old shit such as “Grrr!” “Woof” or the tragic “I wish I was that cupcake (said bear is eating cupcake in photo)” and the added likes onto each comment made. They are narcissistic, rude and what is the worst about this community.”
- “It’s a myth, that term. It’s a label of status that a person generally uses only when they are talking about themselves. It’s a self-absorbed type of thing and a word that is rarely tossed around in social settings.”
- “A big hairy gay celeb. :)”
- “A “Bearlebrity” is a self-imposed title for someone who considers themselves popular and influential within the bear community. Another question that needs to be asked, is why the Bear community insists on putting “Bear” as a pre-fix in front of everything. What once was charming and humorous now comes across like Smurf Speak.”
- “An individual lacking in self esteem.”
- “Yet again, people who are stared at by other people have negative stories made up about them in order to make the starers feel better about themselves after they have made themselves feel bad.”
- “I think of bear performers. People like Kendall Kelly that make a living touring and performing at bear runs and such.”
- “I use this term all the time. Not derogatorily. In my opinion, it’s someone in the bear community who has high public visibility. They may own bear brands, organize events, DJ bear dances, act in bear films, model bear brands, have bear themed Facebook pages…etc.”
- “The most common bear term I have heard being used BY the people calling themselves it, is A-List Bears. Yes, I have heard people call themselves this. I mostly bear see Bearlebrity used by “others” to describe someone who is super popular in bear world. I think i may have heard once or twice someone call themselves that.”
Those weren’t even all the comments, but if you get the gist of the above it seems to be that this still has a negative viewpoint to it but there are some that think differently and use the term in a positive angle. It is also further proof in my writings that in the bear and gay community we consistently judge and label each other for whatever reason that may be. I don’t understand how even in the grown up world that we live in that many men resort back to our middle school and high school days where we become Regina George and label everyone based off of whatever qualities we deem to be not up to par with our likings in the world. Granted I am completely guilty of this as is many men, but this question does remain- how can we take a word like Bearlebrity and change it into something that is described in a positive way and not so negative way?
What is your definition of this? Do you feel we use labels all the time as a way to describe and ultimately judge other people? Hit me back with your viewpoints on this.