However, in San Francisco in the 1970s any hairy man of whatever shape was referred to as a 'bear' until the term was appropriated by larger men and other words had to be found to describe hairy other-shaped men such as otter (slim) or wolf (medium-build).
The term bear was popularized by Richard Bulger, who, along with his then partner Chris Nelson (1960–2006) founded Bear Magazine in 1987.
", The bear concept can function as an identity or an affiliation, and there is ongoing debate in bear communities about what constitutes a bear.
Some bears place importance on presenting a clear masculine image and may disdain or shun men who exhibit effeminacy, The bear community consists primarily of gay or bisexual men.
At the onset of the bear movement, some bears separated from the gay community at large, forming "bear clubs" to create social and sexual opportunities for their own.
Many clubs are loosely organized social groups; others are modeled on leather biker-patch clubs, with a strict set of bylaws, membership requirements, and charities.
" Disgust: "There are no bears in San Francisco." Anger: "I saw a really hairy guy, he looked like a bear." One of the works of art is metal bootprints along the curb which honor 28 people (including T.
Michael "Lurch" Sutton, biker and co-founder of the Bears of San Francisco) who were an important part of the leather communities of San Francisco.
The bear community constitutes a specialty niche in the commercial market.
centers around the life of the bear Andy Mc Cubbin, a rich entrepreneur and heir to the Howell/Mc Cubbin fortune, and his friends and family.
A vast majority of the other characters are also bears.
Some also note a lack of racial diversity in the bear community, perceiving hirsuteness to be a standard of physical attractiveness that genetically favors white men aesthetically, socially and sexually among bears. " The December 2007 issue of Instinct magazine featured an article by writer and director Kevin Smith on its "The Last Word" page.
In the season 14 episode of The Simpsons called "Three Gays of the Condo," originally aired in 2003, Homer Simpson is standing on the street in Springfield's gay district talking with Waylon Smithers. Smith wrote about his gay brother Don and about his (Kevin's) being on the cover of A Bear's Life magazine and the related cover story, and his feelings about being a "bear icon" in the gay community.