Cathy and Todd discussed the viral “man or bear” debate, addressing why many women felt compelled to pick “bear” and why some men felt hurt or angry. They discussed the importance of listening and empathy when it comes to other people’s experiences and how being defensive might be our initial reaction, but we can choose compassion and understanding. They also discussed why opting out of something we don’t want to do makes room for the things we do want to do. Todd and Cathy are hosting a live discussion about the “man or bear” debate on Monday, May 20th at 7pm CT through the MenLiving platform – all genders are welcome, see below for link to join.

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Time Stamps

(00:00:52) Sign up for Cathy’s Substack

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(00:06:11) Cathy opting out **

(00:22:46) Man or bear

(00:35:06) Get curious

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Blog Post

Navigating Parental Well-being and the Viral “Man or Bear?” Debate

Parental well-being isn’t just a concept; it’s the foundation of a thriving family. In this episode of Zen Parenting Radio, hosts Todd and Cathy delve into this topic with their characteristic warmth and insight. The episode offers a multi-faceted look at parenting, self-awareness, and the intriguing viral sensation known as “Man or Bear?”

The Essence of Parental Self-Understanding

The episode opens with Todd reminding us of the podcast’s core belief: the best predictor of a child’s well-being is a parent’s self-understanding. This principle underscores the significance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence in parenting. Cathy highlights this, emphasizing “the understanding of oneself” as the key to effective parenting.

Viral Sensations and Parenting Platforms

A lighter, yet equally thoughtful part of their discussion orbits around the viral trend “Man or Bear?” This peculiar topic has captured the internet’s imagination, sparking debates and conversations across social media platforms. What’s captivating is how Todd and Cathy navigate this viral trend, using it as a springboard to discuss wider issues of communication, perception, and societal stereotypes.

Moreover, the episode segues into a spirited talk about Cathy’s Substack, Zen Parenting Moment. Substack is described as a “more updated platform” for writers and readers seeking depth and connection beyond superficial chatter. They champion the importance of reading and engaging with content that enriches and aligns with the readers’ values.

Zen Parenting Community: A Haven for Support and Growth

Another gem from the episode is the introduction to Team Zen and its micro-communities. This part of the discussion opens a window into the world of Zen Parenting, where live talks, parenting content collections, and supportive micro-communities for differently wired families and those dealing with addiction thrive. The choice between swag items for new Team Zen members underscores the playful yet profound connection the hosts seek to forge with their audience.

A Profound Message Through Music

Music, often an undercurrent in the Zen Parenting podcast, takes center stage with references to “Stairway to Heaven.” The song becomes a metaphor for choices, paths, and the inherent possibility of change and transformation that parenting and life offer. This reflection leads into a deeper exploration of opting out of the pressure to conform to societal expectations, to prioritize well-being over achievement, and to understand the importance of making choices that resonate with one’s values and needs.

Understanding and Empathy in the “Man or Bear?” Discussion

Perhaps the most compelling part of the episode is the discussion on the “Man or Bear?” trend. Here, Todd and Cathy navigate the complex emotions this topic evokes, especially among men, and underscore the importance of empathy, understanding, and conversation. They invite listeners to see beyond defensive reactions, to understand the underlying fears and experiences that drive such viral discussions.

This episode of Zen Parenting Radio, with its mix of light-hearted discussions on viral trends and deep dives into the complexities of parenting and personal growth, serves as a reminder of the power of empathy, understanding, and conscious choices in nurturing a healthy and happy family.

Listening to Todd and Cathy navigate these discussions with insight, humor, and a deep sense of empathy reinforces why Zen Parenting Radio is a beacon for parents seeking guidance and community in their parenting journey.



Todd: We go. My name’s Todd. This is Cathy. Welcome back to another episode of Zen Parenting Radio. This is podcast number 763. Why listen to Zen Parenting Radio because you’ll feel outstanding, and I always remember. Our motto, which is that the very best predictor of a child’s well being is what, sweetie? 

Cathy: It’s a parent’s self understanding.

Cathy: That’s 

Todd: right. The understanding of oneself. On today’s show, we’re going to tease up a topic that’s gone viral as of late called man or bear. Um, I’m guessing most of you have heard of it, but it’s possible many of you have no idea what we’re talking about. So we’ll explain that. 

Cathy: And say it one more time slow, because it sounded like you said one word.

Cathy: Man or bear? Man or bear. Man or 

Todd: bear. 

Song: Stairway to Heaven: Bear. Yeah. Very nice. 

Todd: Um, [00:01:00] and I have a few things, but first, let’s talk once again about your Substack. What is Substack and why do we want people to join your Substack? Well, 

Cathy: it’s just my New Zen Parenting Moment platform, that’s all. But Substack is just a really more updated, um, platform.

Cathy: And I actually, You know, for anybody who wants to write a Substack, they should definitely go there. But Substack is also just a good place to go get the writing of anybody you love. Like I, if you go to Substack and then put in somebody that you really admire, like Brene Brown or Cheryl Strait or, you know, Liz Gilbert, you’re going to find their writing and they write all the time.

Cathy: So I, obviously I want people to subscribe to Zen Parenting Moment, but I also think Substack is another great place to go if you want something to read, uh, from people that you appreciate. 

Todd: And before we get in, so if you want to subscribe, just scroll down to the show notes and you’ll find it. Um, uh, but before we get into, uh, Man or Bear, I just want to remind everybody that we have this amazing [00:02:00] group called Team Zen.

Todd: Uh huh. 

Todd: Uh, and we do it on something called the Circle Platform and, uh, it’s an app with Zen Parenting where it is complete. Parenting content collection plus live talks. We do zoom stuff all the time, sweetie. Do you know what we’re doing this week? 

Cathy: I think we have, we, I think we have a Zen talk because last week we were supposed to, but it was your birthday.

Cathy: Oh, I know. 

Todd: Um, what we have on the calendar, um, You have a women’s circle coming up, but actually that’s not until the 15th. 

Cathy: Okay, good. I was going to say that’s Wednesday. You know, we’re traveling this week. 

Todd: Yeah, we’re traveling this week. 

Cathy: Yeah. So this is a, you and I are 

Todd: both going to go. But we have a Zen Money micro community.

Todd: Um. Nice. We have a micro community on differently wired families, um, and another micro community for loved ones dealing with addiction. So if you’re interested and you join, you’re going to get a choice between this swag. You ready, sweetie? Oh, gosh. Um, a Zen Parenting t shirt. Or Zen Parenting water bottle, brand new water bottles that just came in.

Todd: Uh, one of Shefali’s books. Or Zen Parenting socks. [00:03:00] So they get to decide. 

Cathy: So basically what you’re saying is someone can join Team Zen and then they get to choose one of those gifts. Yeah. It’s pretty swag. Well, my book can be in there, too, because we’ve got a stack of those left over, too. I know we have Shefali’s book, but that doesn’t really, we love her and she’s our good friend, but it doesn’t really make sense with Zen parenting stuff.

Cathy: Sure does. Does it? It’s similar messaging. True. Definitely similar messaging. Yeah. But, 

Todd: uh, 

Cathy: maybe we can, we’ll see. 

Todd: Yeah, okay. You get to choose between Kathy’s book or Shefali’s book. Who do you love more? 

Cathy: That’s not what I’m saying. I love Shefali, but 

Todd: I love you 

Cathy: more. I know. Well, I, that’s not what I’m saying.

Cathy: I’m not doing that. I’m just saying that, like, we’re trying to give away stuff with our name on it. You 

Todd: know what 

Cathy: I mean? 

Todd: That’s true. That’s true. Um, so here we go. Here’s with a little clip from the Zen Parenting Moment inspiration. Oh, good. 

Song: Stairway to Heaven: It’s just a sprinkling part of the base.

Song: Stairway to Heaven: Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s [00:04:00] still time to change the roles that 

Audio Clip: you’re on. I 

Cathy: love that. I love that quote. I love that whole verse. 

Song: Stairway to Heaven: Um, 

Todd: I just love the words to this 

Cathy: song. 

Todd: It’s so odd. It’s such an overplayed song and such an amazing song at the same time. It’s one of those songs that you wish.

Todd: You could hear again for the first time. 

Cathy: And some people, there are some people who may not know what that song was. 

Todd: Um, well, this is what I say to that. I say, 

Cathy: who 

Todd: hasn’t heard of Stairway? 

Cathy: Well, you were just playing like a kind of a random part of it. So obviously everybody knows Stairway to Heaven, but I just was wanting to make sure that everybody felt connected.

Cathy: If 

Todd: you’re 30 or younger, I’ll give you a pass. If you’re 30 or older, you must know what that song is. is when we played that clip. You must know. 

Cathy: Um, so yeah, but I just love that verse. And I told Todd, I’ve been, [00:05:00] I wrote that down, I don’t know, like a couple of months ago and I’ve just been waiting to use it with a, uh, Zen parenting moment.

Cathy: And this was the one. So 

Todd: let’s talk about it. What did you say in your moment? 

Cathy: Um, I was talking, well, I, I read, so Dr. John Duffy, our buddy, um, he has a Substack as well. And I read his, uh, Substack last week. He’s in Italy with his family and he told a story about how he. He, his family was all gonna, they were all gonna go jump off of something.

Cathy: I can’t remember what it’s called. I think it was paragliding. Paragliding or something. Paragliding. And they all wanted to do it as a family. And he really, just really didn’t want to do it. And he had a gut feeling that he didn’t want to do it and he finally listened to himself and he opted out. That’s the language he used.

Cathy: He called his um, blog The Art of Opting Out. So I, the first thing I said to myself is I thought, gosh, you know, if I were to say to my family, who opts out the most in our family? I think everybody would say me, and I am, and, and while that’s not something I am trying to do on [00:06:00] purpose, I’m not trying to be the opter outer, I, I also am very proud of it.

Cathy: I don’t like saying that. I also am very comfortable with it because what I’ve realized is a, I’m so tired. Of just doing things to make sure that everybody else is okay. And let’s be honest, I still do that all the time, but there are times when I can choose something for myself. For example, we go to the beach.

Cathy: Everybody wants to get in the water. Everybody’s like, you’re lame, Kathy. You won’t go in the water. You suck. You’re not fun. Even if they aren’t using those words, there’s that vibe. Don’t talk about Cameron like that. 

Todd: She didn’t say that, but like every there’s anybody’s gonna say it, it’s going to be me or Cameron.

Todd: Right. Jason and Skye will let you off the hook. 

Cathy: Kind of, but everybody’s like, you know, get in. Everybody’s like, do this. And I don’t want to, I want to read. I want to walk. I want to listen to a podcast. I want my feet in the sand. I don’t [00:07:00] want to do what you’re doing. And I think as a mom, When you, I think first of all, as a girl or a woman, you feel kind of forced to do that your whole young life.

Cathy: Then you have children and you have to get in the water and you have to get in the pool and you have to go on all the hayrides and you have to do these things that aren’t, do you know what I mean? 

Todd: I don’t remember doing any hayrides. Well, 

Cathy: you weren’t always with me on Playdate and stuff, right? I was, I was doing, you know, doing the zoo stuff, going the butterfly thing.

Cathy: And sometimes, I mean, I say this in the blog, sometimes it’s really fun. It’s not that it’s always bad and that I’m so put out. It’s that I, I am not listening to myself. I’m listening to you. And the truth is there’s nothing wrong with sitting on the beach and reading a book. That’s lovely. And, and I don’t like people telling me that’s not good because that’s my choice.

Cathy: Now, that’s just one example of, of having to do this throughout your life, that I tend to, yes, I am known for being the one who opts out, but I also opt in to so many things [00:08:00] that other people don’t. So, my point is, is that, and, and, I opt in to, Going to yoga, and I opt into playing drums, and I opt into creating a conference, and writing books, and, you know, going on trips to see bands that I love.

Cathy: Like, I opt into things that a lot of people may not have space for, and that’s because I opt out of other things. Do you see what I mean? 

Todd: Sweetie, did you say by choice? 

Cathy: Yeah, by choice. 

Guest: I got a question. If you guys know so much about women, how come you’re here, like, in gas and sip on a Saturday night, completely alone, drinking beers?

Guest: No women anywhere.

Audio Clip: By choice, man. That’s right, man. Conscious choice. It’s a choice, man. Choosing it. I’m choosing it. I’m choosing 

Todd: it. 

Cathy: Conscious choice. And so, I feel like this comes with age, you know, that’s, that was kind of Duffy’s point in his. He like Because he did the 

Todd: paragliding thing before. He’s done it before. He, he like, not that it, it, I, there’s a part of me that liked the fact that he did it before, and he, it almost makes it more [00:09:00] powerful.

Todd: That he did it once and he doesn’t need to do it again. 

Cathy: Yeah, that’s part of it, but he doesn’t need to do anything you think he should do. Right. Because that’s you. 

Todd: Right. 

Cathy: Like I, I have also everything that I, in my blog that I opted out of, I’ve also done all those things. I’ve gone in the ocean a million times.

Cathy: I’ve gone on, you know, the, the hikes. You know that when we go to Seattle to see our family, my family will get in a car and drive two and a half hours to go somewhere to do a hike. No thank you. Like I get it why they do it. It’s beautiful. They come back with amazing pictures. They love it. I’m not shaming their decision, but that is not for me.

Cathy: I’m, I’m happy to go on a hike around where we’re staying. I like to walk. I like to see beautiful things, but that whole thing, I’m like, I would much rather do something else. And it took me how many years to be like, goodbye, you guys go. I’m 

Todd: just realizing one of our daughters called us this morning and she was struggling with whatever school stuff.

Todd: And we’re kind [00:10:00] of inviting her to opt out of the rat race that Her peers seem to be entering. And when I say rat race, I’m saying, well, this is what you have to do. You have to do this. And then you have to do that. And then you got to get a job and then you got to get an internship and then you got to get a job and then you got to work this much amount of time.

Todd: And then you got to get the AP and then you got to do this. And. You know, the invitation to our kid is, let them have their thing and tune in and trust your own gut. 

Cathy: And here’s the thing, Todd. I think we can all, and I’m not just going to put you on the hotspot, I’m doing it with myself too, but we all talk a good game.

Cathy: Oh, 

Todd: I talk the best game. You talk 

Cathy: a great game. But you just then were like, well, Duffy, it’s better that he had done it before because then it’s okay. It’s like, why does it matter? Right. Like, why do you think there is a right way? 

Todd: Well, I don’t know if I think there’s a right way. I know that there’s a thing that makes me feel good.

Todd: And what makes me feel good is to be super productive and doing all those things. 

Cathy: Right. And so you, what I do give you a lot of credit for is because that’s [00:11:00] your thing, you don’t apply it to other people. Like, I think sometimes there is an expectation of you that you’re like, I wish everyone would be more looking for jobs early.

Cathy: You’re like, they should be doing this early. And this is what I did when I was a kid. And you do apply it. But I think when it really wouldn’t. When the rubber meets the road, is that a thing? 

Todd: Today on the call, I could have been like, Nope, sorry, you got to do blah, blah, blah. I think you drop into a place where you realize that’s all of crap.

Todd: It’s my stuff. Yeah. And then when I’m with her, I don’t pass my stuff down. I try not to pass my crap down to her. 

Cathy: We can only be aware, right? We can’t be like, we can’t become completely different people as parents and be like, You know, I don’t have any of these issues. Like we, we have to own it, but then it’s like, what, what have we learned from it?

Cathy: And, and what I was trying to write about in this sub stack is that I have, opting out is hard, you guys, I actually said to my daughter this morning, I want you to know that your dad and I, this is on your dad and I, and that we have raised you in [00:12:00] such a way that it’s a little more counterculture where the goal is more mental well being and the goal is more success based on what you love and enjoy and the, and so you’re gonna, you’re now like at the starting line with all these people who think very differently.

Todd: So what does that look like? So real quick, so like we were always open to our kids getting a mental health day. During high school and grade school, right? And that’s just like, I just want to like give some illustrations to the listeners of what we mean by that. Like prioritize your own well being. 

Cathy: You don’t even need to give specific like actions we took.

Cathy: I think it’s more about that in the end, the most important thing always. is how you are doing internally. And that everything else can take a back seat because once you are feeling that you can like, you’re not drowning, everything becomes a little easier. So you can go back to school, you can go back to work.

Cathy: But when someone’s drowning and we’re like, Get [00:13:00] in the car and go, you know, like you’re, you’re then forcing them to either completely disassociate from their experience or struggle or not come to you anymore, or have to lie or have to fake or have to, to, you know, quit or have to fail. And, and the whole goal is to set them up so they know that their well being.

Cathy: Is the essence of what makes everything else successful. Yeah. And that sometimes that looks different than other people. Because she’s got a lot of people right, right now around her. Entering the rat race. Like and they’re, they’re on it, you know. And they’re going here and they’re doing this and they’re working three jobs or whatever.

Cathy: Admirable in many ways. Like there’s no like they’re bad, you’re good. You gotta read the nuance here. Because for some people that’s exact, like I would have said last summer or last year there was a semester where. This daughter was, she was working a full time job. She was like working in her sorority.

Cathy: She had 18 credit hours. She was doing that thing and she got really burned out. And [00:14:00] she’s like, okay, now I need to take a backseat for a little bit. And then she went abroad for, you know, and was so busy and had a job and doing this. So you’re moving in and out of it. It’s not about never push yourself.

Cathy: It’s about make it make sense. When you’re doing that, like, are you strong enough and healthy enough to be able to move forward like that? 

Todd: Um, so I know that there’s some inherent, um, hypocrisy in what I wanted to share with our daughter and I just didn’t get a chance to this morning, is that comparison is the thief of joy, right?

Todd: Isn’t that a quote? It is. And I, and I believe it to be true. And of course, I compare myself to others, whatever, my amount of productivity, My house, how good I am at basketball, whatever. Like that we’re, we’re built as human to compare. Um, but I think it’s true. Like it, that when we do compare, it’s. It’s very limiting.

Todd: It’s a limiting thought belief. 

Cathy: Well, you can’t be everything. You can’t do like, you can, if you have a group of friends or people around you or [00:15:00] neighbors and this person’s like crushing in this area and this person’s crushing in another area and another person’s crushing in another area, you can’t do all those things at once.

Cathy: You can’t be everything all at once. And this is something that I think necessitates, and I’ll just speak to women for a second. And I think we kind of figure that out as moms, if we want to be. You know, once, if we become moms and if we also want kind of a high profile career and we also want time for ourselves and with our friends, we start to realize, and our partnership, we start to realize this is all impossible to do at once.

Cathy: And even though everyone says that we can have it all, there’s a very literal like making choices at different times and you, And when you make one choice, you know, as we all know, this is very cliche. You decide to go to work every day and then you see someone walking with their babies in a stroller and you feel awful.

Cathy: And then if you decide to stay home, you’re like, you know, you’re on social media seeing people at a conference having a ball and you’re like, Oh, like, You, there’s a ability to sit in [00:16:00] the discomfort of the paradox and that, when I say an ability, I think that’s a practice throughout our lifetime. But recognizing that there’s, there’s nobody that we’re all making choices about what we’re doing at any given time.

Cathy: And you know what, Todd, I’m at the age now, and again, I feel like I’ve been talking about this since I was like, in my late thirties. But you know, there’s a woman that I follow on social networking. My girls laugh when I say social networking, social media. Jeez, mom, that’s your problem. They’re like, it’s so updated social media.

Cathy: And she’s a writer and kind of an influencer. And she just told everyone over the weekend that she has a cancer. She has glioblastoma and she was, she’s like younger than me, I think. And she’s like, you know, life changes very fast. Everybody. And I don’t say that to scare people. I say that like, what are we doing?

Cathy: Like, because I know whenever I’ve been depressed or anxious or had migraines or, or thought that I, I had a mental check or [00:17:00] not mental, a, um, physical ailment. Cause I’ve gone through periods of time where I thought something significant was wrong. You start to just realize this is all crap. And what you really want to do is do what you love, be with the people you love, walk outside, breathe the air.

Cathy: And so it’s also very false. This, like, idea of, because Todd, guess what happens when you get ahead and you make a million dollars? 

Todd: Everything changes. 

Cathy: Well, maybe you do get a nicer house or a boat or something. I was just 

Todd: kidding. 

Cathy: But you 

Todd: It’s fleeting. That’s the one thing we learned. Who’s that guy that talks real fast who wrote that book on happiness?

Todd: Shawn Achor. 

Cathy: Shawn Achor. Yeah. 

Todd: Yeah. Uh, it’s, it’s temporary. Yeah. All these things that I want for Zen parenting to grow tenfold, men living, have a bunch of money, whatever it is, it’ll give me short term happiness, but it does not sustain. 

Cathy: You’ll get like a zip through your body and then you’ll be like, now what else can I do?

Cathy: It doesn’t sustain. Like honestly, and I’m not even ripping on Taylor Swift when I say this, but her most recent album [00:18:00] is about her being miserable. Okay, not all the time. There’s some up songs in there and her whole point of putting out the album is to, is to release that misery. So I don’t think she’s being, I’m, I’m not criticizing, but like, there’s a song called, um, I can do it with a broken heart.

Cathy: And her whole thing is about how she was performing on stage in this tour. And she was absolutely miserable. And everybody is like, You know, she and her whole thing about the song is it she’s kind of saying to herself, I’m really good at this because people have no idea that I’m heartbroken right now, and I know how to get out here and do this.

Cathy: End. Other people don’t even know. 

Song: Stairway to Heaven: I can handle my shit. They said fake it, gotta fake it. Till you make it and I did it. Lights, camera, bitch, smile. Even when you wanna die. 

Todd: I’m looking at the video. It’s in black and white. Have you seen the video? I’m sure it’s not hers. It’s an official lyric video, whatever that means.[00:19:00] 

Todd: I haven’t gotten to that. So last week we talked about how to connect with our kids in the morning. Uh huh. And I took some advice either from you or maybe I don’t, I don’t know who’s Oh, it 

Cathy: was, it was me. I mean, it was through our conversation. 

Todd: So there’s 31 songs on this new Taylor Swift album, uh, Tortured Poets.

Todd: It’s, you can say TTPD, the Tortured Poets Department. Um, and I’m listening to, um, one song a day. So I have something to talk to my kid with in the morning, and it’s actually working out beautifully. Like, she’s ready. Even early in the morning, she’s ready to, I said, I just listened to this one. She listening to Down Bad today?

Todd: Uh, I listened to whatever the sixth song was. It was the Papa Don’t Preach type thing, which is the one I was at. 

Cathy: Oh, that’s my favorite right now. Yeah. Um, but Daddy, I love him. 

Todd: But Daddy, I love him. And I started asking her questions about some of, uh, a few lines in there that I didn’t quite understand. So what’s your take?

Cathy: Let’s hear it. 

Todd: Well, [00:20:00] I don’t know if this will be interesting listeners because most people don’t know that song, but it’s a song. It seems like metaphorically she got pregnant with a boy and she wants to piss on anybody who thinks that this is a bad idea to have the baby or whatever and But then there’s a line in there.

Todd: That’s a little confusing. It’s like But I’m really not keeping it or something like 

Cathy: that. What she says is she says, um, um, I’m having his baby. No, I’m not. But you should see your faces. Yeah. 

Todd: That 

Cathy: so what’s up with that line? Because the song is actually, uh, we think like, I mean, yes, 

Todd: it’s about Maddie Healy and it’s, well, let me tell you my two 

Cathy: cents.

Todd: It’s about some of her fans or critics. Um, criticized her for dating this boy, this man, this man, and she’s like, forget about you. I’m going to date whoever I want, and I don’t care what you say, because it’s my life. 

Cathy: And my reputation is mine to ruin if I want to do 

Todd: that. So that’s my two cents. 

Cathy: Yeah. And I [00:21:00] think, I mean, the more I listen to it, um, It is definitely for the fans, meaning she’s talking to the fans and saying lay off, you know what I mean?

Cathy: And she’s also, and you’re right, there’s a lot of like symbolism and metaphor. I really do think there’s, it’s not that she like really used Papa Don’t Preach, but it’s that same kind of idea, like, but dad, you know, but I want to be with this guy and that, Other people telling her what she should and shouldn’t do isn’t okay.

Cathy: And then she gets to do what she wants. But I also sometimes think with her, she’s not always being so literal about this one person. I think there’s kind of an amalgam of like relationships where people are always telling her what to do. And then, but what I think is kind of cool is there’s a change at the end where the sound, like she kind of changes the sound.

Cathy: I think she ends by saying, you know, she, she’s like, it’s over. And then the tone of the song kind of changes and it’s like, Now I’m, I’m in the sun, you know, I’m running in the sun or whatever. Um, and, and it sounds more like she’s in a relationship now that [00:22:00] she says, even my daddy loves him. So it’s most likely about Travis, you know, at the end and that she’s good and that she don’t, don’t think you have to pray for her all the time.

Cathy: She’s a grown woman. She could make her own choices. So I think that’s kind of the gist of it. Um, but who knows? ’cause we don’t know. We pretend. We know. Sweetie wants to know. I always wanna know.

Todd: All right. There you go. 

Cathy: So, good, 

Todd: I’m glad that was your song of the day. Song of the day. Tomorrow I got Fresh Out, Fresh Out the Slammer. Fresh Out the Slammer, yep. Okay, so let’s go to the main piece. Okay, let’s do it. [00:23:00] What is Manor Bear? 

Cathy: Okay, so a couple weeks ago, it’s literally two weeks ago, so we’re a little like late.

Cathy: Um, not late to the conversation, but late to talking about it on the show, because I happen to be someone who’s on threads every day. I don’t know if people are on threads, but we left Twitter a long time ago, and I find, um, threads to be very up to date and current, and all the journalists I like to follow are there.

Cathy: And there was a conversation that started, it actually probably started on TikTok, but then it quickly moved to threads, about, the question was, if you were stranded in the woods. Okay, and this was being posed to women. If you were stranded in the woods, who would you rather run into? A man or a bear? A man whom you don’t know.

Cathy: Yeah. Just, they just said man or bear though. There was no, you know, like there was no distinguishing. And in the original TikTok video. All of them except one said bear, [00:24:00] okay? We don’t have any real research and data on who said what. But the amount of commentary that came afterwards, the vast majority, I don’t have the stat, say bear.

Cathy: Okay? And so I brought this to Todd. The day I saw it. So I think it was at the end of April, like April 26 or something. And I said, Todd, listen to this. You didn’t 

Todd: keep it like some of those women taping their husbands with their reaction. 

Cathy: No, I’m not going to do that to you. Cause I, I wasn’t trying to catch you in something.

Cathy: I really wanted to see what you thought. 

Todd: So my, it’s been whatever a week, but my. reaction was one of, my immediate reaction was logical, which is, okay, where in the woods, what type of bear, which man with all these questions, trying to qualify and seek out the most appropriate answer. So I really didn’t answer the question.

Todd: I think I was asking more questions instead of. 

Cathy: [00:25:00] And you’re not saying, because I think this is important, Todd, is you also were defensive. 

Todd: Yes, absolutely, 100%. 

Cathy: Yeah, and I can’t remember exactly what you said, but I remember having to stop for a second and say, Wait a second, this isn’t about you. Because he got very, um, that’s ridiculous.

Cathy: The 

Todd: reason I thought it was about me is because I am part of the male group. Right. I identify as a man, and the fact that the majority of women would rather be with, um, an animal that can kill them instead of a man, I got defensive. I’m like, there’s, most men are good. I’m sure I said something like that.

Song: Stairway to Heaven: Yeah. 

Todd: There’s some men that are, make horrific, terrible decisions, but most men are good. So statistically, of course you’d want a man instead of a ferocious animal that might be hungry and kill you and want to eat you. 

Cathy: Okay. So I’m just going to tell you a few things just since you said that sentence, why would they want to be with someone who kills them?

Cathy: Yeah. Okay. So, uh, during the pandemic. Yeah. Um, the domestic violence went up [00:26:00] significantly, and in 2021, more than five, um, more than five girls are, oh, this, I didn’t read the whole sentence, let me start again. In 2021, more than five girls or women were killed every hour by someone they knew, male. So women aren’t safer in their homes, okay?

Cathy: So with people they know, they aren’t safer. Women are more likely to be killed or assaulted by a man that they know. Okay, so like even if it the stranger question we haven’t even asked yet, but these are just men. 

Todd: This is people. They know that’s a stranger 

Cathy: According to data from the United Nations almost 89, 000 women and girls are intentionally killed Intentionally by a male and that was just in 2022 89, 000 UN data also shows that one in three women across the world have experienced intimate partner violence or Non partner sexual violence and that doesn’t even include Uh, the rest of like domestic violence and, and, you know, like sexual assault and that [00:27:00] kind of thing.

Cathy: So my point is, is that women are harmed by men all the time. And in, and I, it’s, and the, the hard part about talking about this, and this is kind of what I want to get into rather than debate the, you probably have more information cause we found a bunch of like great statistical information about this and bears versus men, but.

Cathy: What I really wanted to focus on with Todd was the ability instead of to be defensive, and I’m not just talking to Todd, but men overall. 

Todd: If you find yourself defensive in, in asking this question. 

Cathy: Then why aren’t you curious why women would say that? Yeah. Like, not everything is about us trying to personally hurt you with words.

Cathy: I think there’s this, this, you know, the Margaret Atwood thing comes into my head, her quote about, you know, men are afraid that women will make fun of them and women are afraid that men will kill them. So I, I sometimes feel like [00:28:00] when I bring things to a group of men or, you know, to Todd or a man I don’t know, the instant reaction is, why would you hurt me with that?

Cathy: Why would you tell me that? Why would you give me that stat? That hurts me. That makes me feel bad. And understandably, I, I’m totally cool with the fact that you have to have your first response. Like, I’m not like, you shouldn’t feel that way. Of course. But then the next thing is, what do women feel in this country that they would choose a bear over a man?

Cathy: Like the, I would feel like my curiosity would kick in. And instead of going to the easy place of we don’t trust women, I’m writing a whole chapter right now in my book right now about the stats and history of not trusting women. Women are making things up. Women are trying to hurt us. Women are disingenuous.

Cathy: They’re, you know, instead of going to that trope, what if we sat for a second and thought, why would women want a bear? You know what I mean? 

Todd: Totally. Yeah. What is it about us guys that make women [00:29:00] women so afraid. And my guess is because of what they’ve experienced. 

Cathy: Exactly. And you know, maybe this is the bigger part.

Cathy: Maybe it’s not about you personally, because that’s where people get stuck. Yeah. Is they will, and again, we need to do that inner work. I’m not saying let’s completely not look at ourselves. What I’m saying is, what if you looked at the woman and stepped in her and instead of saying, wow, you’re offending me, I’m pissed off.

Cathy: You stepped in a woman’s shoes and said, help me see through your eyes and One thing that, because obviously I’ve talked to my daughters about this whole thing, this ManBear thing, we’ve talked about it, is, it’s something that my oldest daughter brought up, is she’s like, my whole life, you know, this is not new, we talk about this on Zen Parenting all the time, but she’s like, I know how to see through men’s eyes times ten.

Cathy: She’s, she’s like, I’m not saying I know exactly what a man’s going to say, or whatever, but I have been forced to learn how to look through a man’s eyes. How do men think? What hurts them? What, what challenges them? Because that’s our [00:30:00] world. We have to learn how men think. Because men Control most businesses are they control our country, they control things, right?

Cathy: So we have to learn how to live within that. And I think in this kind of these scenarios, what they bring up are what if you Not just your, your wife or your partner or your daughter, but what if you thought about women as a whole, like step in their shoes. What is happening that they would say that? And, and that curiosity, because what ended up happening is, um, the, the discussion was going on and a lot of men got really angry online.

Cathy: And there was a lot of like really unpleasant things said. And then of course women are like, okay, now we feel safe. Right? Right. You know, like men are like being violent with their words toward women and women are like, so you’re trying to convince me you’re the better option. And then there was a lot of women being harmful to, you know, coming back with the same kind of negative language.

Cathy: You know, there was fights, right? [00:31:00] But my whole thing always, and this is, and I’ll just bring it to Todd and I, is whenever he gets defensive about anything with me, I’m like, why don’t you not think about yourself for a second and think about how I feel? Because a lot of the time, the majority of the time, I am thinking about how you feel.

Cathy: So this is not me saying only do it for me and I won’t do it for you. 

Todd: Yeah. I think that this is just an invitation for guys to get curious, be empathic, see the world through somebody else’s walk in their shoes. Yeah. See through their eyes. Yeah. And instead, my first reaction was defensiveness. Um, and maybe it’s because I’m an advocate for men.

Todd: And then I think about, Oh, well then, um, You know, what is this messaging about us men being so dangerous? How does that land for, you know, a 13 year old boy who’s sitting in his basement, blah, blah, blah. And what you said was, yeah, that, that sucks. And it [00:32:00] also sucks being a woman. Well, 

Cathy: I didn’t say that. I said you’re very concerned about what could possibly be thought of by a 15 year old boy when women and 15 year old girls are being raped and assaulted and hurt and killed.

Cathy: So you’re more worried about what that could possibly mean and trickle down instead of what is actually happening. And there’s just a lot of that. And again, it’s not, the thing that I always want to come back to is, so it’s like, well, then what do you want us to do? Hear us. Just be like, if, if a woman is like, yeah, I’d choose a bear.

Cathy: If this is your wife or daughter or someone in your world who says that, say, tell me about that. 

Todd: Well, it kind of reminds me of when Me Too is happening. I think we invited. Um, our guy listeners to ask their, if they have a female partner, what their experience is with sexual harassment. Correct. Right? Yeah.

Todd: So this is a kind of an extension of that. Um, by the way, quick plug, we are going to be having, um, in real time [00:33:00] conversation about this on Monday, May 20th? Yeah. Monday, May 20th. At 7 p. m. central through the Men Living platform. So if you want, if it’s open to all genders. If you want to be a part of that conversation, um, just sign up.

Todd: That’s the link is in the show notes. 

Cathy: Like, if we could, you know, and this is where we, we kind of all go into our camps of I’m, I’m a woman, I’m a man, so I’m going to defend men and I’m going to defend women. What if we, like, kind of just put a pin in gender for a second, just for a second, to ask a person who’s saying they would choose a bear what their experience has been?

Cathy: Yeah. Why they would choose a bear rather than you’re a jerk for choosing a bear. Or you’re wrong. Because you make me feel bad. Yeah. Um, and you know, like I, uh, you were having a meeting with some of your, um, guys on MenLiving, amazing men, by the way, men I know well who are great, who are trying to change the world and who teach these amazing classes and who are, do all this work with MenLiving.

Cathy: I love them. And I told, you know, when I told them this, This, this hypothesis, [00:34:00] or what would we call this, this question, they got, they all got really sad. 

Todd: Yeah. The one, I said one, one to three words, what it, cause they hadn’t heard about it. 

Cathy: Right. 

Todd: And the one man said sad and the other man said disappointed.

Todd: And I believe them. Me too. And I don’t 

Cathy: want them to feel that way. And 

Todd: I just wonder if there was an element of defensiveness that they chose not to reveal in that moment. Maybe because I was there. 

Cathy: And again, here’s the thing about us being human beings. We can’t help the feeling that comes up. Like me saying, bringing up with Todd, him being defensive first, that was his first, that was like his, his reaction.

Cathy: Yeah. And then we get, I have no time to think about it because my first reaction then is to want to come back at him and be right, right? And be like, you don’t understand. We can’t help. I didn’t want to make these men sad. My intention isn’t to go around and make men feel sad about who they are. That’s not it.

Cathy: That’s the first reaction. And then after that, They’re, and now we’re doing a, you know, like Todd said, we’re doing a [00:35:00] discussion about it because let’s talk about it. What does it mean and how can we better understand each other and relate to each other? This isn’t a question of how do we then go home and feel guilty about it all night and think we’re bad men.

Cathy: It’s about how do we take ourselves out of our experience? And ask these women, tell me why, so I’m more well informed. 

Todd: So the question is an on ramp for, I’ll say, men. Right. To get curious. Correct. And ask some questions of how 

Cathy: Believe us. Yeah. If we’re saying bear, we’re not doing that to be a holes. Yeah.

Cathy: We’re not doing that because we want to, like, be annoying. There is a real life experience there that gets pushed aside as soon as someone says, well, you’re a jerk for saying that. Then we’re not only being assaulted or followed or ridiculed or on top of that, we’re being told, we don’t believe you. And on top of that, you don’t [00:36:00] matter.

Cathy: Like there’s, there’s a lot of layers. And so the ability, and so it’s so simple. I said, I told Todd, I said, If, if someone, if that video would have been made. And the response would have been, wow, that’s incredible. Tell us about your experience. This wouldn’t be viral, right? Because if someone’s just hearing you, then you feel seen and then we don’t need to get in this big tornado of, you know, where people are calling it.

Cathy: Do you guys ever use the word misandry in your, in men living? No. 

Todd: I don’t even know what it means. Oh, 

Cathy: being a misandrist is someone who like is in, um, who really wants to just, it’s like misogyny, but it’s with men, you know, look it up. So I’m saying it the right way. I use the word misandry, but it really is the desire to hate on men.

Cathy: I think. 

Todd: What does misandry mean in simple words? According to Webster, misandry is a hatred of or contempt for prejudice against men or boys. 

Cathy: Yeah. So this is [00:37:00] not. The goal, at least, and I can only speak for myself, is not to perpetuate misandry. It is to explain an experience that came out of a very simple question.

Cathy: So I’ll just share that, um, you know, I’ve talked, I feel like I’ve talked, you know, I’ve been doing this show for 12 years, so I’ve talked about a lot of my experiences historically that I can share more if I need to. But, um, two weeks ago I was dropping my daughter off in Chicago and a friend met me at a like a parking lot and then he picked up my daughter and then I was gonna take off but I decided to instead go in and get a sandwich real quick and I got out of my car and there was a guy next to me in his car and he’s playing his music really loud.

Cathy: And I think I made kind of a motion like I was, I made my hands kind of twirled or something like I was listening to the music and I had like a response to it. It wasn’t like dancing, but I kind of did something that made it look like I was [00:38:00] enjoying that music. And he started yelling at me like, Hey, come back here.

Cathy: Hey, do you like that? Hey, what? Oh, are you not going to look at me? Hey, are you not going to listen to me? So that that’s happened to me a ton in my life. Women have that experience all the time. Men yell at them, smile at me, look at me. Oh, you’re not going to look at me. You’re a B, you know, blah, blah, blah.

Cathy: We, that’s not new. I was kind of surprised because I’m 52 and I’m like, why is this guy still, you know what I mean? Like I, it doesn’t happen as much. So I went in, got a sandwich, kind of forgot about it, came out and he was standing outside his car by my car. You know, and nothing happened. He, I went to him.

Cathy: I didn’t make eye contact with him. I know how to do this. I’ve been doing this since I was 13. Um, you don’t talk back. You don’t, you get in the car and he’s like, Oh, okay. I see. Now I see you can’t, you know, you’re not going to look at me, whatever. And I drive away, but that is, I don’t think you guys understand how that happens all the time, 

Todd: nor do we understand how it feels.

Cathy: [00:39:00] And that’s the big part is because it’s not So, think about the fact that I am dressed, that day I was wearing flip flops, a big sweatshirt and, and shorts, right? And I’m 52. So, if I told that story to you, you wouldn’t be like, well, what did you say to him to make that happen? If I got out of the car and I was 25 and I was dressed like my daughters are, where they wear like, you know, yoga pants, halter tops, you would be like, well, if you didn’t dress that way, maybe he wouldn’t do that.

Todd: Yeah. Obviously not true because you weren’t doing any 

Cathy: of that. Because it’s not always about sex and how we look. It’s power over. Someone is trying to have power over you. He feels powerless in some aspect of his life, so he’s going to make me feel uncomfortable and have power over me. He is going to threaten me by getting out of his car and showing me he’s bigger than I am and that I should look at him and give him what he wants.

Cathy: So you can only imagine that in sexual situations or in a date or this is so normal for women. And this is our reality. It’s what [00:40:00] we breathe. It’s what we swim in. And it’s less when we’re this age, but I told Todd, you know, I told him that story and a month ago I was driving in my Jeep, the top was off and a trucker like followed me and kept like honking and like, you know, making, cause he could see over the top of my car and he followed me.

Cathy: And again, why, why are you, why? You know, I know why. And I know. that it wasn’t new, but I don’t even tell Todd all these things because why, why this is, this is what happens. So you can imagine Todd, we have three daughters. Yeah. Think about the things they experience every day. Yeah. Especially on a college campus or, you know, going out into the city and that’s their, that, that’s what they have to learn how to navigate.

Cathy: And then when they say bear. 

Todd: Now I understand why. 

Cathy: Yeah. And, and you know, what women say about bears, they’re like, well. A bear can be predictable, meaning you, you know, if you play dead, they’ll walk away or sometimes they don’t [00:41:00] really, unless they have cubs, they don’t want to be around you. So and you know, and people then, you know, they say comments like in a bear, if you got attacked by a bear, people wouldn’t say, I don’t believe you.

Cathy: They would really believe you. Right. Right. So these are all just, it’s not about, this isn’t a men versus women thing. I think it’s more about. The ability to step outside of your own experience and be curious about another person’s experience. And I’m talking about women specifically, but someone of a different race who is telling you their experience or someone in the LGBTQ plus community who is telling you their experience.

Cathy: Instead of saying, well, you know, maybe if you did this, that, or the other, that wouldn’t happen. Instead, ask them about it. 

Todd: Well, it’s funny, like, um, as a white, straight male, I have not been, um, a victim of isms, right? Yeah, isms. Um, but if, if I’m lucky enough to get old, it will happen to me and that will be my first real, you know, I’m coaching guys right now [00:42:00] and a lot of them are in this midlife crisis and they want to pivot to a different job and they’re realizing that they’re, they’re getting discriminated against.

Todd: Because of their age. Because they’re 52 and they could pay a 25 year old for something similar who will do, uh, who will take less money and work more hours. So it’s, it’s our, as a white straight male, it’s like our first, my first real experience of, uh, being discriminated against. And it took me this long 

Audio Clip: to get 

Todd: there.

Todd: Um, and it’s one other kind of side comment. Um, I remember talking to. a professional colleague and I was telling him about what I thought was obvious. Like, you know, how when women have to like be smart about where they parked their car in a parking garage and all these other things, he’s like, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Todd: And it’s just, it illustrated to me, I feel like I’m getting to the point where I can understand it a bit. Um, and there’s, you know, some of these [00:43:00] guys on YouTube, like the one we watched last night, where he did all this, this, that, that was so cool. And, like, he’s doing all the work to be able to view it from a woman’s lens, and I’m not that far, and I’m working towards that.

Todd: And then there’s these other men that are just totally ignorant, because we haven’t had to. 

Cathy: And because they think it’s personal against them. That’s what I’m trying to, like, take it. Off of is that the men who get so mad, it’s because they already feel disempowered for some reason in their life. Maybe the work world isn’t going well, things with their partner isn’t going well, their children, they’ve, maybe they did get passed over for a job by a woman.

Cathy: Do you know what I mean? Maybe there have things that have been happened that have been happening to them where they already feel disempowered. And then they hear that a woman chooses a bear and they just want to be like, well, screw all you people. And I get it. Like, I understand it’s, this is never about.

Cathy: There’s only one category of people that are disempowered. Everybody feels disempowered at certain times, but everybody has different [00:44:00] experiences in the world. And like Todd’s point about what he just said, like my daughter and I went to, um, my youngest daughter and I went to Iowa a couple of weekends ago to pick up my daughter’s stuff.

Cathy: Cause she’s coming home from college in a couple of weeks or this week, actually. And we, just like you said, we parked in a parking garage at night and we always park under the light. And I’m trying to show her how to do this too, right? You know, we park under the light and we park as, we’ll go higher up to be closer to the stairs.

Cathy: So we don’t take the first parking spot we see. We go higher up, we go under a light and we go, and that isn’t something we always talk about. Now Todd knows that because of me. Um, I also, um, what was the other thing that we, we did that night? I felt like there was two things we did. Well, it doesn’t matter.

Cathy: There’s all these things that you need to be thoughtful of as a woman that kind of have become rote to us, that to your point, a lot of men don’t even know we’re [00:45:00] doing. And then the, then to add, you know, insult to injury. Then when we say we’re doing that, they’ll say, you’re neurotic, you’re, you’re crazy.

Cathy: You’re, you’re scared. You’re, and there’s a lot of like, pain put on, or like, criticism put on top of us trying to keep ourselves safe, because again, that man who’s hearing it takes offense, even though we are being assaulted, and the sad thing is, is the statistic I read at the beginning, it’s mostly by people we know.

Todd: Do you 

Cathy: see what I mean? 

Todd: Which is totally, which is even more interesting. 

Cathy: Isn’t that, yeah, it’s not strange, uh, stranger danger stuff all the time. We have to protect from that. Right. But it’s most of the time, it’s people we know and then after the, you know, the assault takes place, they say, no, that’s not what happened.

Cathy: And then we watch women on a main stage, you know, trying to talk about people who are being nominated for the Supreme Court, telling their stories and [00:46:00] everyone’s like, no, you’re lying. You want to be famous. You want to write a book? These women’s lives are destroyed. Like from what it used to be. Now you may say, Oh, but they have a book out or whatever.

Cathy: Well, that’s all they can do now because they can’t go to work and do their old jobs and do what they used to do until a decade passes. So it’s this misunderstanding of trying to share your life. And trying to be honest about something and what you give up in the process. So 

Todd: the takeaways are, get curious.

Todd: Curious. Yeah. About the question. Model the behavior. Talk to your sons and your daughters about this. Um, anything else? 

Cathy: Well, just, you know, get curious. And then, and this is the hard part, after you have the first sadness or defensiveness or whatever feeling you have, then have a moment where you’re like, I’m not going to Personal offense to this, I’m going to look at this through the lens of another human being having an experience.

Cathy: If a man came to you, Todd, and said they had been hurt or [00:47:00] harmed or sexually assaulted, would you question him? 

Todd: Of course not. 

Cathy: Okay. So then that’s where we go instead of think about gender, men, you know, human being, this other human being is telling me a story. So I’m going to get interested and not make it about how that hurts me.

Cathy: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s kind of the, that’s, that’s my hope. This is a heavy topic, right? Sure. But that’s my hope with everything. In partnership when, you know, when your partner’s coming home and telling you something about their life instead of them saying, well, I go to work every day and I bring home the money and I do my thing.

Cathy: So, you know, instead it’s like, why are you feeling this way? What’s going on? Tell me about it. And getting out of the mode of that you need to be defensive, that you need to Make their story untrue for you to feel okay. I, I think about this too as parents, Todd, like sometimes when the girls are struggling with something and I want to be like, but, but we never said that.

Cathy: Right. 

Cathy: Do you ever feel that way? Like sometimes I want to be like, but we didn’t teach you that. 

Cathy: [00:48:00] Yeah. 

Cathy: Our first, my first thought is defensiveness. 

Todd: It’s how we’re wired. 

Cathy: Exactly. 

Todd: Yeah. 

Cathy: And then I have to realize, Kevi, even if you didn’t quote unquote teach them this, they’re having this experience and they may have learned it from someone else or, you know, it may not be about you.

Cathy: But they’re having the experience. So it’s something we can all learn regardless of gender. 

Todd: So if you want to continue the discussion with Kathy and I, uh, Monday night, May 20th, 7 PM, would love to see you. Um, the link to register is in the show notes. Um, and don’t forget to, uh, sign up for Team Zen and Kathy’s Substack.

Todd: If you’re not getting it in your inbox every Friday morning, you’re missing out. Um, and lastly, Jeremy Craft. He’s a bald headed beauty, painting and remodeling throughout the Chicagoland area. His phone number is 630 956 1800 and his website is avidco. net. Uh, we’ll see you next Tuesday. Keep [00:49:00] truckin 

Round two. Change a little bit. And change a little bit. Pretty pleasant.