Tiddy Bear Hagar Hirsch

Aviv Hirsch

The Tiddy Bear is a vessel that draws on my childhood memories of being sexualized and having femininity forced on me. The teddy bear is an agendered symbol of childhood innocence and the addition of human breasts challenges the sexualization and gendering of them.

 I went through puberty at a young age and the first time I was catcalled I was around nine years old. At age eleven, I was sexually harassed by a group of men. Eleven-year-olds are not sexual, but, since my body looked a certain way, those men chose to sexualize me. Experiences such as made me uncomfortable but not just because I was being harassed, but also because of why. For me, being assigned as a woman meant I was sexualized and that my femininity was for the enjoyment of men. 

As a kid, I had no way of expressing gender other than being a girl. I identify as non-binary, not existing inside the boundaries of male and female. With no connection to my gender identity, I still choose to present femininely because it is what I like, not because that is what is expected of me.

 The Tiddy Bear is a way to share my feelings of having womanhood forced on me. The teddy bear is one of few childhood toys which don’t have ties to any genders. The addition of human breasts to the bear both genders and sexualizes it. When confronted with the Tiddy Bear in the context of a children’s toy, people tend to feel uncomfortable. They have an urge to take the bear away from the kid as it is seen as inappropriate. It is the goal of this project to have people reconsider what causes them to have that reaction. 

The project explores how we view female bodies as inherently linked to both womanhood and sex. These factors made me uncomfortable with my body as a kid. It took me a long time to explore and be confident about my body and my femininity. I want to shed these connotations so kids like me can grow up unlimited by these factors.