113 Comments

The men who are upset about women choosing the bear are the men responsible for women choosing the bear.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

Bingo.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

I grew up on a farm. It was my job to pick green beans when they were ready to harvest. Our vegetable garden was about 15 minutes from our house down a dirt with no house close by.

I was working in the garden in my swimsuit, so I could get a tan. (Farm girls do not get to lay beside the pool.) A man on a tractor went by on the road. Pretty soon I heard the tractor again, so I stepped into the cornfield beside the garden. I had an uneasy feeling. The guy on the tractor turned into our path and drove around, looking around. He could see my mom's car was still there, but he couldn't see me. He left after seeing no one. Thank God, he didn't stop and get off that tractor!

I know he must have seen me when he first drove by. I didn't know him; he had no reason to be on our farm, as he worked on an adjoining farm. I have no way to know what might have happened, but I am SO glad I stepped into that cornfield to be hidden by the foliage and that I had on a green swimsuit, so that I was hidden. I would rather meet a bear in the woods than an unknown man. Men have NO idea how it feels to be so vulnerable.

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a bear, for sure- at this point in my life - turning 77 in a few short weeks - i have no reason to be out alone at night as i had when i was a divorced mom with two kids traveling back and forth at night in a dangerous city to complete my teaching certification. I think that things have gotten worse since then: increased misogyny and an acceptance of violence towards women in the political arena, whether it be banning abortion ,denying contraception to women, prosecuting doctors who perform abortions on children who have been raped or suffered incest, or celebrating a candidate who rapes women.

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Keep writing girl

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Keep writing WOMAN.

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Beautifully written, Jess. And, devastatingly true for most women. Long before this was a question on the internet, we all knew the answer. Bear.

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How dare she wear a bathing suit picking beans. Didn’t she know that would make her fair game to any tractor driver that came along??? I say this with much sarcasm. The old excuse is that “she dressed like she wanted it”. It’s such a shame that women have to tame bears rather than just have a friendship with a man. But, being wary is just what we’re taught when very young. Did I ever tell you the story about my mom meeting the Fuller Brush man at the door of our farmhouse with my dad’s old shotgun in her hand………?

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

Please, please tell the rest of the story about your mom and the fuller brush man!

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Thank you for asking. The story just embellishes Jess’s comments today and is not remarkable. My dad was a farmer. In late summer one year, he got a job in northern IA cutting hops and was away for

The week leaving mom and 3 little kids. Mom must have felt really vulnerable. Dad kept his shotgun under the bed. I remember the car driving up the long driveway and mom peering out windows. She didn’t know him when he got out of the car. Told us kids to hide, grabbed shotgun from under the bed and decided to open inner door after hearing him knock a few times. He said he was the Fuller Brush Man and had a few things she might like, all the while looking at the shotgun. Mom said she didn’t think she wanted anything. He went to his car, after saying something, got in, and took off. Mom looked down at the gun and said, “oh dear. I wonder what he thought”

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Thank you. Your mom must be a wonderful woman.

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She was. She lived to be 100. Sound of mind and very opinionated. She didn’t like to go to drs. “ because they always found something wrong with you

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Mom scores without shooting. Great story, great mom.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

Thank you for a well written, sobering piece. So many of us have had these incidents. And how many women are the victims of some sort of sexual abuse, not always rape? I think i read 3 out of 5 women will experience some sort of sexual abuse in their lifetimes, and sometimes more than once. Hell yes I'll take the bear! I'd even chance 2 of them to a man.

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I think its more likely the real number is 4 out of 5. Some of those women, more than once, since there are different tactics.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

We do all have our stories. And yet, many men seem surprised. Can we even imagine what it would feel like, what we might do, where and when we might go, if this wasn’t our reality?

Maybe a good exercise would be to dream this… I might start.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

Jess you earned that English Literature degree. You just always hammer it on the head and in such a way, one is hooked from the opening paragraph. I applaud your grit, your fortitude, your courage and your fine way with the words. Once again, thanks for all you do.

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This wasn't NEARLY as bad as your experience, but coincidentally, the scariest encounter I had with a man was in fact in the woods near my home. I'd gone out for a walk, headphones on, and waved at a guy as he passed me the other way -- you know, as you do -- except it turns out that was my first big mistake. I didn't realize it at the time, but he immediately turned around and started following me.

He chatted me up and started talking about how he used to be a male stripper and that he's still super ripped. This somehow segued into how he'd done time, supposedly for beating up a guy who threatened to rape a past girlfriend. At this point I wanted to be literally anywhere else. I nodded and smiled and bid him farewell when I reached my trail exit. He did the same. I thought it was over.

As I headed toward home, something pinged me -- I don't know what. I half-turned, pretending to adjust my portable CD player, and saw out the corner of my eye that the guy from the trail was now following me down the street toward my home.

I tried not to let on that I'd seen. Finished adjusting my music and began walking again, subtly increasing my speed until I got around the corner, and then ran to the nearest neighbor's house and rang the doorbell, because I did not want to lead this person to my home. She was there, thank god, and immediately let me in when I told her what was happening.

She was fostering puppies at the time, and we cuddled them as we watched the street. Finally this dude appeared, reaching the nearby intersection and turning in all directions, obviously puzzled as to where I'd gone. I thanked my neighbor profusely and finally left once he was gone, gone, gone. Didn't walk in the woods for months after that.

By contrast, the one time my mom encountered a bear in the woods, it freaked out and ran up a tree.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

Even bears have the problem. Visiting Alaska we saw a mama with two cubs foraging near the road. A male came into sight and was spotted by the mama. She started hustling the cubs away, staying between them and the male. He caught their scent & started to pursue. It was a near thing, but they escaped over a nearby hill. Turns out that the males will kill the cubs in order to bring her back into heat so he can mate. Jeez!

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I know this is true—my daughters have faced this—and i so wish it were not. One daughter worked for Planned Parenthood—received threats. Was stalked. I offered to take a guy or two out with a baseball bat—she smiled and said”bad career move dad”. I probably wouldn’t have done that —probably—but the raw emotion to protect her and to face the ugly in person—thats a a powerful emotion.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

Story well told, women who share their stories do a great service for their sisters. I have four daughters and eight granddaughters, and I've made sure all have been schooled in tactics that could save their lives. It is very sad that women in America are still experiencing misogyny and violence at the hands of men.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

I feel for you Jess and all women who've feared for their safety, and their lives. I'm sorry to hear this truth.

It will take many, many men to make. a difference, enough for the "Hundredth Monkey" affect. THAT is a LOT of testosterone to activate toward a good and honorable manner, and to be public about our intentions and demands.

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First… I want to tell you that I appreciate your comment. Truly. The more men that stand up to acknowledge that it will take “many many MEN to make a difference” shows me you hear us and you understand. We’ve been asking for centuries. This is not something we can change.

And in response to it being a lot of testosterone to activate toward a good and honorable manner… To that I say “Yup. Better get on that“ because our solution is to stop engaging with men entirely.

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Gosh, this is sobering. Thanks for sharing - and sorry about all the men who are complete a**holes and worse.

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

This is so real and sadly it is true that every woman has a story or three that matches this one. The terror and fear are real! Many of us also have a “me too” story that changes our Lives forever where entitled men SA and more. So, yes, I choose the bear. I wish I could live in a world without this fear

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May 22Liked by Jess Piper

Truly terrifying… in no small part because of how well you’ve written! You’re no small cub😉

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