Animal Farm

I don’t belong to the website Bear411 but many of my friends do. The site bills itself as the “top bear website” and boasts over 100,000 members. Over the years, I’ve heard from a few of my friends that they have had difficulty getting a membership to the site, presumably because they don’t meet the bear “standard”, namely that they are not large or furry or large AND furry.

Is this a plain and simple discretionary policy from an afficianado site that wants to stay focused on a certain physical ideal? Or is it discrimination? How about if you heard that Asian guys are apparently routinely denied membership? Read Jeffrey’s LiveJournal entry, “My Bear411 Discrimination Story.” And read Little.Yellow.Different uberblogger Ernie Hsiung’s experience with the site, “Running With The Bears.” An anti-Bear411 site called Bear411 Sucks presents a list of grievances.

So what do you think, bears and non-bears? Does a social networking / hook-up site have the right to exclude members that don’t meet a self-imposed physical ideal? Is such a thing even possible when it comes to an identity as nebulous as “bear”?