A series of photographs of gay bears by Alan Charlesworth featured in the New York Times' Lens blog has been criticized for suggesting that the group accepts all gay men.

The piece includes a slideshow of 18 photographs and an accompanying profile of the artist, who is described as confused about his place within gay culture. That is, until he found gay bears – big, burly men who are attracted to other men.

“It's not perfect body, gym-toned, and no facial hair,” Charlesworth said. “That's what society deems as being a normal, stereotypical gay male. That's not what I identify with.”

The Times wrote: “The more he photographed, the more he came to see that being a bear had little to do with adhering to one body type. He said he now sees the culture as a way for gay men to be accepted as part of a group, no matter what its members look like.”

And Gawker's Rich Juzwiak responded, “That's ridiculous.”

“Even within the range that Charlesworth describes, he is still capturing guys who all tend to be bigger and more hirsute than others. The idea that this somehow represents an all-embracing pool of men is just untrue. … If gay bear culture were really so accepting, it wouldn't need to exist as such – it would just be an amorphous free-for-all.”