California State University Fullerton
Colorist for Cartoon Network’s Regular Show
20 April 2011
Internet meme/Folklore 2.0-Pedo Bear
“I don’t remember when I first saw slash heard about pedo bear. It just kinda popped up on the Internet a few years ago. It’s just kinda this innocent looking bear thing that supposedly preys on little girls. People like to photobomb pictures of kids with it, and post them on the Internet for laughs. Its pretty much viral now, there’s now a website dedicated to pedo bear, it appears on shirts. I don’t think that in anyway is it actually supposed to be used to signify child pornography or anything. For awhile the media was portraying pedo bear as some sort of secret code or rallying message for a group of pedophiles. While I’m sure some do, it really isn’t used for that from what I’ve seen.” AT considers pedo bear as largely harmless, an Internet phenomena that’s being tossed around by bored people on the Internet. Some of its use seems to be making a joke of something that is obscene and terrible. She states, “sometimes young people put up risqué pictures of themselves online, like on Myspace. People take these photos and then insert pedo bear to show that the fact that someone is posting these pictures in the first place is inappropriate.
Looking at the description and argument put forth by AT, I conclude that her observations are pretty spot on. As an artist, she is familiar with the ways characters can personify meanings and stereotypes. Pedo bear is an example of Folklore 2.0, it originally started on 4chan, an internet blogging site. From there, pedo bear had gone viral and has jumped to several different mediums. I have seen it on shirts, mugs, hats, and stenciled on a school sign. Pedo bear has gone so mainstream on the internet, that I saw a news report to watch out for child molesters after an individual dressed up as pedo bear at an anime convention. During the Vancouver Winter Olympics, a Polish newspaper printed a picture of Pedo bear that was snuck into an image of the Olympic mascots. Calling someone a pedo bear is akin to calling someone a pedophile. The biggest characteristic is that he is basically a pedophile. Though a pedophile, the character is considered funny and likeable to an extent.