Teddy Bear

Mindmaps about teddy bear

The symbolic meaning of teddy bear

  • Toy as Texts
  • Ambivalent Feelings
  • Antidote for loneliness
  • Transitional objects
  • Similar to fictional stories

Other things about the teddy bear

Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition

Teddy Bear Effect

Epic Pooh

Teddy Bear Cop

Teddy Bear and Human Vulnerability

This story has used the author’s personal experiences to explain the particular role of teddy bears in consumer culture. It has taken a reflexive approach and used photographs to elucidate memories (Hill, Gaines, and Wilson 2008). Furthermore, the story has told the insights gained from the teddy’s point of view – the latter representing merely one form of creative writing (cf. Gould 2008). The story shows part of the process through which a teddy has achieved a sacred status in the author’s life (Kopytoff 1986). All in all, it leads me to suggest that the teddy bear does not necessarily function as an icon of consumer culture, or popular culture, but rather, as an icon of vulnerability.
Let me clarify my suggestion. First, the very birth of teddy bears is, to a great extent, a story of vulnerability. The man, Roosevelt, showed his vulnerability by choosing not to kill an animal that was in a vulnerable state, that is, unable to defend his or herself. Second, teddy bears seem to
have a critical role in breaking the vulnerable boundary between adulthood and childhood. Teddies appeal to both children and adults: people may have a lifelong devotion with their childhood teddy, and adults may give teddies as gifts to other adults to signify love, warmth or sympathy. Everyone is in need of a bear hug. Third, teddy bears are linked with vulnerable and intimate moments in life: in the privacy of the bedroom and, especially when asleep, humans are vulnerable socially, emotionally
and existentially. A furry bodyguard may soften the angst caused by emotions such as fear and loneliness.
Fourth, through their materialized cuteness teddy bears become vulnerable: Their small and soft appearance is linked with helplessness, harmlessness, even pity. Finally, as Kopytoff (1986) reminds us in his essay on the biography of things, both humans and things are vulnerable in the sense that they both reach their end. The death is waiting for both (Levy 2014). What will happen to the hero of this story, Kalle Nalle, after the author’s death? The author does not have children to whom he would probably be given. A sociologist at the University of Lapland, Veera Kinnunen, is writing a dissertation on divestments of singularized material objects and her ethnographic study details the range of strategies and energy people are employing for bequeathing their beloved things. Kalle Nalle could be placed in a museum, become part of a collection, re-sold
through online sites or the second-hand market. Or, he could end up in a landfill or be incinerated. That would be one option for returning him back to nature, but perhaps such an iconic and beloved object merits being rescued – that is, adopted into another home. Will there be a teddy-minded
human being, just like Roosevelt, who won’t let Kalle Nalle be killed?

Teddy Bear Museum

Teddy Bear Museum

Teddy Bear Museum Dorchester

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