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Molly Soda 2015
My Bear and Me digital exhibitionMolly Soda

The digital artist who’s dating a teddy bear

Cyber feminist Molly Soda on her new exhibition and why she opted for a public relationship with a cuddly toy

Molly Soda was one of the first teens to reign Tumblr in the early-2000s with around 30,000 followers. Skip along several years and she’s now established herself as a digital artist through exhibiting glittery GIFs and selfies.

Me and My Bear is Soda’s latest series. Hosted on NewHive, the multimedia collection explores her relationship with a five foot teddy bear. What’s her intention? Well, the bear has taken the space of what the ‘perfect partner’ would fill in her life. The cuddly toy signifies love, comfort and every other superficial emotion a ‘better half’ is 'supposed' to make you feel. Below, scroll through the premiere of her latest online exhibition (and her bear's relationship) and find out if a bear really is a better lover than a man.

You’re known as a photographer, the Queen of Tumblr, a GIF maker and a super successful YouTuber. But how would you describe yourself?

Molly Soda: I suppose I am a lot of things! I like terms like “webcam princess” or “wifi material” a lot. All of the work I do is very much about and for girls in their bedrooms – from my bedroom to yours. What we do when we’re alone and making that public. Maybe I’m more like an online exhibitionist.

What was it that made you want to become a cyber feminist, and use your work like Me and My Bear as a form of activism? 

Molly Soda: I’ve always been a feminist/interested in feminism. The Internet has made it easier for women to connect with each other, and that’s really special. It’s exciting to see other girls around the world doing cool things, like helping each other and just existing really. That’s activism in itself – just existing and putting yourself out there as a woman – being totally unashamed of who you are and what you’re about.

Your latest project portrays you in a relationship with a teddy bear, out of all the objects you could ‘love’ why did you choose a soft toy? 

Molly Soda: Bear is the perfect “placeholder” for a partner. It seemed sort of like an obvious choice for me. Children use them for warmth, comfort and something to place affection onto. So why shouldn’t I?

Me and My Bear highlights the negative stereotype of a woman needing a man. What do you hope to achieve from the project? 

Molly Soda: Being lonely is okay. We’re all quite lonely. I always felt ashamed for feeling this way though. It wasn’t until I owned my loneliness that I started to feel better. I don’t need a man, or a bear, or anything really. But how often does our desire for love lead us to empty connections? Constantly. I’m not interested in seeking out romance simply because it’s something I’m supposed to be obligated to have in my life in order to be happy. 

How long have you and the bear been together now?

Molly Soda: I ordered him off of Amazon, I believe, on the day before Thanksgiving. I was sitting on my parents' couch, and a boy I had a crush on had sort of indirectly made me feel sad. So, I thought, “fuck this” and ordered myself a five foot stuffed bear.

This article has been edited