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The study attempted to understand the phenomenon of a gay subculture of men who call themselves bears. A review of literature described a bear as a man with a hairy body, facial hair, and a husky, burly body type. Bears are defined by particular values, norms, and sanctions, establishing them as a distinct subculture. The bear subculture reportedly started in the mid-1980s, due to exclusionary practices by other gay males. Ideals for body image, disposition, and behavior disqualified many average men from being considered attractive, resulting in exclusion from many social arenas. This study attempted to provide a foundation for understanding one group within the gay community in order to provide the groundwork and justification for research, free of presuppositions and bias towards outdated research, for other subcultures in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Phenomenological methodology was determined to be the best way to study the bears, focusing solely on the actual experience of being bear. Following traditions in phenomenological research, several methods were maintained in order to reduce and remove suppositional contamination, including writing an epoche', utilizing a process to clear suppositional thought, engaging in a reduction phase creating meaning units, allowing thematic groups to naturally emerge within a reconstruction phase, and developing a final essential statement of the bear experience. The results of this study confirm much of the historical and contextual data found in the review of literature. However, the results found that although a bear experienced himself as inclusive of others, the bear community establishes norms, values, and sanctions that exclude many men from being identified as bears. The results indicate that bears who experience rejection from the gay male majority recreate the rejecting attitudes within their own subculture. The gay male community recreates the exclusionary practice experienced in the American mainstream. As it expands, the phenomenon of becoming the rejecter rather than remaining the rejected appears to be a universal human phenomenon. A discussion about this phenomenon, other findings, and a call for further research can be found in Chapter 5.
Select your format based upon: 1) how you want to read your book, and 2) compatibility with your reading tool. To learn more about using Bookshare with your device, visit the Help Center.
Here is an overview of the specialized formats that Bookshare offers its members with links that go to the Help Center for more information.
- Bookshare Web Reader - a customized reading tool for Bookshare members offering all the features of DAISY with a single click of the "Read Now" link.
- DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) - a digital book file format. DAISY books from Bookshare are DAISY 3.0 text files that work with just about every type of access technology that reads text. Books that contain images will have the download option of ‘DAISY Text with Images’.
- BRF (Braille Refreshable Format) - digital Braille for use with refreshable Braille devices and Braille embossers.
- MP3 (Mpeg audio layer 3) - Provides audio only with no text. These books are created with a text-to-speech engine and spoken by Kendra, a high quality synthetic voice from Ivona. Any device that supports MP3 playback is compatible.
- DAISY Audio - Similar to the Daisy 3.0 option above; however, this option uses MP3 files created with our text-to-speech engine that utilizes Ivonas Kendra voice. This format will work with Daisy Audio compatible players such as Victor Reader Stream and Read2Go.