When it comes to the relationship between cartoon sex and sexual assault, bear cartoons have often been blamed for contributing to the problem.
A 2014 study published in the journal Sex Roles examined the prevalence of the practice among the gay male community in Canada.
The researchers found that “consensual bear-themed erotic content” was more likely to be viewed by male and female members of the gay community than non-bear-themed content.
“This finding suggests that, at least in the minds of those watching bear cartoons, the sexual content of bear cartoons may contribute to a perceived ‘masculinity’ in men and a ‘femininity’ and ‘masoleity’ in women,” the authors wrote.
In response, the Canadian government launched a campaign called, “Bear, Bear, Bear” to raise awareness of sexual assault.
Since then, the government has taken measures to reduce the number of bear depictions in popular culture.
Earlier this year, the federal government introduced new laws that will make it illegal to show a bear with a penis, vagina, or anus.
And this week, the House of Commons unanimously passed a bill that will remove the word “bear” from the Canadian version of the national anthem.
“It’s important to remember that we are all members of this country and we are Canadians,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
“We must take this issue seriously and ensure that we do everything we can to protect the safety and well-being of our citizens.”