Bear Culture: An Exploration

Posted by Administrator on 6/5/2014 to Events

This weekend, we are taking part in one the very first Beef Bear Bashes right here in Edmonton, Alberta. This event marks the opening of Edmonton Pride festivities, and celebrates a facet of queer culture often talked about but never truly understood.

To understand Bear culture we must look back to the eighties. Gay (male) culture was out, loud, and full of thin, wiry men who flamboyantly were reclaiming femme and feminine roles in their relationships with their bodies, society and the world (the common slang vernacular for these men were ‘twinks’). Completely subversive to the stereotypes of gay men being ‘girly’ or ‘sissies’, gay men were loudly proclaiming their right to shave their chests and fuck each other in the ass.

Like in many subcultures, there were gay men who did not fit this stereotype – big, muscly, hairy ‘manly-men’ who were also gay and who - for one reason or another – did not want to embrace the feminine, flamboyant stereotype. They instead embraced their broader frames, hairy chests, and raw masculinity; calling themselves ‘bears’ was fitting to the perceived nature of bears in the wild. While not turning their backs entirely on the subversion of societies’ views of gay men, they did veer to a new direction of renewed man-on-man love and all the testosterone that entailed.

At this time, there were many men interested in the idea of bears and bear culture, but did not specifically ‘fit’ the ideal model of a ‘Bear’ – burly (muscular or chubby), hairy, masculine man with testosterone oozing from every pore and action, often in their (at least) mid thirties with plenty of sexual experience and skill. This developed itself into many titles that fell under the umbrella of bear. ‘Cub’ for those that were younger or less hairy/burly, ‘Otter’ for the skinny or slender bear, ‘Polar’ bear for the older bear (dubbed due to the graying of hair), and some ethno-centric nicknames that are currently under debate due to their pejorative implications.  

Bear culture also defined itself like many other sexual minority groups of the time, with an oft-cited flag with a bear paw insignia, bear-centric groups that held pageants such as ‘Mr. Big Gay Bear (Place Name)’ or  ‘Cub of the Year (Place Name). Unfortunately, due to the AIDS epidemic in the late eighties and early nineties, many of these organizations fell apart as founders and senior members succumbed to the disease. They were also subject to infighting, as the old(er) members of the club had little transition (due to AIDS deaths) to the young(er) members of the club, causing a generation gap in the way membership and events were to be organized. Further discussion about the problems facing bear culture at this time up to the present can be seen in many gay and sexual minority communities to this day.

Moving forward from the negativity that was rampant in Bear Culture is something many organizations are trying to accomplish in the present. All-inclusive Bear Bashes like the one we are attending this weekend is just one such example. Bear focused groups across North America are reorganizing with inclusion in mind, attempting to move from muscle-focused to fat-inclusive; eliminating some of the rampant racism and setting up TNG communities for cubs and otters like you would see in other sexual minority groups.  This is a wonderful step in the right direction and we look forward to seeing the further growth of this community. Vive La Bear!


For more information on the Beef Bear Bash this weekend, please visit www.albearta.org

Quick Shows Update!

Posted by Administrator on 10/23/2013 to Events

Just a quick ‘n’ sleazy update for all of our lovely customers…our winter show season is ramping up here right away and we want to keep all of you in the loop!

Coming up very soon is the Alberta run of the Taboo Shows. We will be giving away some tickets, so make sure to check our facebook page for more information! Calgary is November 7th through 10th and Edmonton follows very shortly behind on  November 14th through 17th.

As far as community events go, we have started to add a calendar to our newsletters to keep you up to date on where we’re at. Very soon we are helping with Lupercalia’s Hallowed Screams Halloween themed event; very shortly after is Crimson Events’ DRESSCODE on November 10th. This should be a great event, as it’s right after Taboo! COPE Edmonton has also announced a pre-Christmas Kinky Flea Market that is December 14th, and if anyone was at this past weekends’ ASK Kinky Flea they’ll know exactly what a good time these are!

 

That’s all for now folks, catch you next week at the same bat-channel!

Let's Talk About Sex (Shows)!

Posted by Administrator on 9/11/2013 to Events

With the end of summer, September marks the beginning of yet another very busy show season for us here at KinkStore.ca. We do approximately 3 shows or events a month, almost all falling on a weekend or Sundays of a long weekend. When we do various events and shows, we get to come out and interact with you, our customers! And we’re not being sarcastic when we say we LOVE to see all of you out at events. We love to talk with you about different products, toot our own horns a little bit and then at the end we sometimes get to send you home with some brand new gizmo or gadget that will bring you plenty of pleasure (or pain, but we’re okay with that).

With that in mind, we’ve created a new section on our newsletter that will keep you up to date on where we are going to be! Each month, around the 10th, if you are signed up to our newsletter (if not you can sign up on the bottom of every page of our website), you will see our upcoming events and a lot more.

We’ve also begun to develop a ‘Community Calendar’ section to the newsletter. In this, we plug local events across Canada that we may or may not be attending, such as munches, play parties, fetish nights and so on. If you would like your event listed on our community calendar, all you need to do is e-mail us with the name, date, and (if you are comfortable sharing it) the address or location of your event! Currently we have room for about 6 different events, and we want to further diversify the cities we are including events in!

As always, you can keep your eye on our events page for more information regarding events we will be attending. But - our events page doesn’t feature the top secret code word of the month. So get on our mailing list! What are you waiting for?!