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When bears became people: the rise of bear culture

Once a year, the small New England town of Provincetown is transformed into bear heaven. The resort town, tucked away off the coast of Cape Cod hosts its annual Bear Week event which draws over 10,000 tourists to celebrate all that is hairy and rugged.

“People at Bear Week… they come, they eat, they’re happy. We are jovial. We dance. It’s nice. It’s easy,” says Ivan Luna who alongside his partner, make their way every year from Long Beach, California.

The origins of the term “bear” goes back to 1979, when writer George Mazzei published “Who’s Who at the Zoo” for “The Advocate.” Over the years, the bear community has been gaining visibility and momentum in mainstream media, from cult classic films like “Bear City” to viral music videos like “Bears” by Tom Goss.

Dating apps are also getting in on the action. Apps like Scruff and Growlr are now making it easy for bears to find and connect with one another.

“I think that one thing Scruff and other apps have done…is that they’ve increased the visibility and the access to the bear community,” Scruff co-founding partner and chief product manager Jason Marchant told Fusion.

Even the adult industry is reaching out for bear hugs. More and more production companies and adult film stars are catering to a new demand in the market.

“If the studio puts me with someone who isn’t masculine and hairy, I’ll fake it till I make it,” says adult film star Topher Ellsworth, who goes by Dolf Deitrich in the industry. “It’s a fine line between acting and getting what you want, but what I really want in my life is a nice hot bear.”

When bears became people: the rise of bear culture

Once a year, the small New England town of Provincetown is transformed into bear heaven. The resort town, tucked away off the coast of Cape Cod hosts its annual Bear Week event which draws over 10,000 tourists to celebrate all that is hairy and rugged.

“People at Bear Week… they come, they eat, they’re happy. We are jovial. We dance. It’s nice. It’s easy,” says Ivan Luna who alongside his partner, make their way every year from Long Beach, California.

The origins of the term “bear” goes back to 1979, when writer George Mazzei published “Who’s Who at the Zoo” for “The Advocate.” Over the years, the bear community has been gaining visibility and momentum in mainstream media, from cult classic films like “Bear City” to viral music videos like “Bears” by Tom Goss.

Dating apps are also getting in on the action. Apps like Scruff and Growlr are now making it easy for bears to find and connect with one another.

“I think that one thing Scruff and other apps have done…is that they’ve increased the visibility and the access to the bear community,” Scruff co-founding partner and chief product manager Jason Marchant told Fusion.

Even the adult industry is reaching out for bear hugs. More and more production companies and adult film stars are catering to a new demand in the market.

“If the studio puts me with someone who isn’t masculine and hairy, I’ll fake it till I make it,” says adult film star Topher Ellsworth, who goes by Dolf Deitrich in the industry. “It’s a fine line between acting and getting what you want, but what I really want in my life is a nice hot bear.”

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