As a favorite toy of both boys and girls, teddy bears seem fairly gender-neutral, but that isn't the case at the Vermont Teddy Bear company. While most bears "for him" are professionals, those "for her" are "Bear-Foot and Pregnant."

Interestingly, a lot of the bears on the company's website seem to be aimed at adults (there is a separate tag "for kids," with only 19 options). Here are some of the 51 bears listed on the page for men:

The "distinguished" salt and pepper bear:


Occupations/jobs: m = 10 w = 4

Family/housework: m = 2 (including a groom) w = 10

Sexy/romantic: m = 10 w = 6

Sports: m = 4 w = 2

Non-sport leisure activities: m = 5 w = 8 (including yoga)

Shopping/fashion/superstar: m = 0 w = 4

Fitness/beauty: m = 0 w = 3

Other sex presented as romantic interest: m = 0 w = 2

Military: m = 3 w = 0

Other: m = 15 w = 12

We also see gender differences within those categories; for instance, men and women are shown doing different sports and having different jobs (with only one overlap, the businessman and businesswoman, but otherwise pretty gendered occupations). And only men are interested in "computer geek" bears. The kids' bears section shows a similar pattern.

Just another little example of how gendering permeates our culture, with gendered products both resulting from larger cultural assumptions about gender and reinforcing them in a recurring feedback loop.


As for the fact that most of the company's bears seem targeted at adults, I don't know what to make of that. I just don't get it. My sister gave me a teddy bear a few years back for Christmas and I was entirely confounded, though no more so than when my mom gave me a set of romance novels set among the Amish.

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