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11 Eye-Opening Misconceptions About The Furry Fandom
June 8, 2014 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I was expecting sexual stuffed animals come to life, but ended up experiencing something completely different. "This weekend I attended Califur, the annual Southern California Furry Convention, and talked to an attendee about misconceptions of the community." [SLBF]
posted by hippybear (228 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let me be the first to say "eponysterical"...

Also, if you want to see Furry Fandom at its scariness, watch the (fursuit) costumed Sports Mascots. Yipes.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:17 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Of course, this is posted 11 months after Buzzfeed published "Police Shut Down Furry BBQ Due To Yiffing".
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:31 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


Don't define a subculture by the public bad actions of individuals.
posted by hippybear at 1:37 PM on June 8 [11 favorites]


The furry fandom is real proof of the power of PR, especially bad PR. The actions of a relative minority ruined the entire thing for everyone.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:44 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


punk's not dead!
posted by alex_skazat at 1:57 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't mind occasionally (and privately) walking around looking like Jean Marais in La Belle et la Bête...
posted by jim in austin at 1:58 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


Furries have a tough time of it; see the geek hierarchy chart.
posted by Harald74 at 2:01 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


I thought "fandom" referred to groups who are fans of things like a tv show or book series. A created body of narrative art. Is it commonly understood to also encompass subcultures or is this use idiosyncratic?
posted by clockzero at 2:03 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Honest question: is the scope of this event NOT about having sex with each other in fur suits? I mean, if you want to talk about furries getting a bad rap, I'd have to say most of it seems to be how it's all about a sexual subculture that doesn't seem to mesh with accepted kinks.
posted by mathowie at 2:04 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


Could just be the mobile view, but I had trouble following this until I realized it was supposed to be a list, not an article interspersed by huge images of pull quotes. Also it's not really a list of misconceptions, but a list of facts (that may be surprising if you have misconceptions?)

-1, Buzzfeed. Now to read this thing for real.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:12 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


Oooh, cool. There's also this comic (NSFW) which gives a really neat perspective on how they came to find themselves a part of the furry community and what it means to them.
posted by BigYesh 2 at 2:22 PM on June 8 [24 favorites]


I thought "fandom" referred to groups who are fans of things like a tv show or book series. A created body of narrative art. Is it commonly understood to also encompass subcultures or is this use idiosyncratic?

The furry fandom is not based around a pre-existing commercial property. It is based around the concept of anthropomorphic animals, whether as art or costume or whatever. It's a fandom without a commercial base; it feeds itself through artistic expression which is not based on anything other than a concept.

It is very much a fandom, but it is one that propels itself into existence by its own bootstraps. The amount of artistic output in this group is astounding.
posted by hippybear at 2:22 PM on June 8 [29 favorites]


The article is very confusingly written (leaving aside it's the account of 1 person's opinions) - for instance, it's titled as a list of misconceptions, but most of the points don't seem to directly address misconceptions in their wording (unless things like e.g. "Fursuits are Complex Works of Art"/ "Finding Your Species Takes Time" are the misconceptions?). Also are the misconceptions "eye-opening" or are the explanations of why the misconceptions are wrong "eyeopening"? Under the "Dangerous" point, it's not clear whether the interviewee is talking about outsiders harassing furries or furries harassing newcomers/wannabes. Though since a later point is that furrydom is refuge from bullying, I guess it's the former (but why is this a separate point then) ?
posted by Bwithh at 2:22 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


clockzero-

There's a pretty large amount of furry-related narrative art out there. Specifically I'm thinking of underground comix from the late 70s, 80s and 90s. There was a not-insignificant portion of the comics that featured furry characters. Many of them were adult themed but more in the Heavy Metalk/Euro Comics mode, where sex and nudity are part of furry lives. I have to admit that my primary interest in these comics, being 11-14, was that they were in the adult section along with Heavy Metal, Bondage Fairies, Elf Quest (yeah it was a different time and those were considered 'adult') etc, but I distinctly remember reading Omaha the Cat Dancer (NOT going to provide a link at work) and being disappointed that the focus was on character and narrative and not sexy, sexy cat dancers. I think of Omaha in the same general area as Love and Rockets, which also contains a lot of huge boobs and appealed for naughty reasons to a young me.

That's just one example but I know that when I first started going to Comic-Con around 1995 or 96 'Furry Comics' were definitely a thing. And that's just comics. I think you could argue that the roots of it are embedded in a lot different media, esp. cartoons. The first quote in the article pretty much says it- The draw for a lot of people is the art.

I think of Furry Cons as the same thing as Anime Cons- there's probably a huge range of fans, and a not insignificant amount of the content would be pretty erotic but the event in and of itself isn't a sex-party. However I don't think you can say that its somehow less legit than a car or boat show- plenty of people that go to those shows just kinda like cars and want to do something different on saturday.

I will concede that its really hard to search for Furry related stuff without crossing the NSFW line immediately. The sexy aspect of it really colors the conversation, more so than all the crazy anime porn or horror-related porn or whatever.
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:24 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


The amount of artistic output in this group is astounding.

In terms of volume, I guess.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:24 PM on June 8 [26 favorites]


Because of the time I spent in Gargoyles fandom as a teenager and the HUGE OVERLAP between Gargoyles folks and the rest of the online furry community at the time, I ended up kind of dipping my toes into the edges of this world in a very low key way. (My intense crush on Robin Hood from the Disney animated film may also have had something to do with it.)

I don't have any problem with them at all. They're nice folks. I've had nothing but good experiences.

And I'll tell you one thing: the Furry community treats artists EXTREMELY WELL. You can make a respectable living on commissions, and I know a few people who do.

Which makes sense, really. These are people whose personal lives are tied up in identities that can never be fully realized in the real world -- even if you spend thousands of dollars on a fursuit or other costume, it will never be as expressive as the "real" thing would be, and will never quite match the picture you have in your mind. Whereas a talented artist with a style that resonates with you can create, for a reasonable fee, dozens and dozens of images of your alternate identity, by yourself or with your friends and your SO -- like they're creating a photo album for you one snapshot at a time. I can understand why that would be so powerful for some of the people in the Furry community, and it's great that they're generally willing to pay artists a living wage to have that experience.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:32 PM on June 8 [51 favorites]


My first (and only) source of information about the furry fandom was Ursula Vernon, who while not participating in the fandom as far as I know in the most fundamental sense of participation, got some not-insignificant part of her start of making a living by her art through the furry fandom, by selling her art in furry conventions and online to the fandom. (After all, "anthropomorphic animals" describes some large percentage of her output rather well.) I used to read her LJ from the early days, and there are a lot of mentions.

I am A-OK with anything that made Ursula Vernon's art career possible, or even "just" easier.

I might also consider this an illustration of hippybear's point about the bootstrapping / creating their own properties nature of the furry fandom in this comment.
posted by seyirci at 2:33 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I don't like cons but I work in downtown Seattle and see folks dressed up for all the major cons (Emerald City, Sakura Con, PAX) and there is a huge amount of overlap. Most of the cosplay is related to specific media properties, but some isn't, and you see anime warriors at pax and Spiderman at Sakura Con and Mega-Man at Emerald City. Standing right next to these folks is probably someone with a foxtail, pikachu ears, cat whiskers or tiger paw gloves, and no one bats an eye. Occasionally someone in a full suit shows up and immediately takes the head off because its so fucking hot. Those are pretty clearly indicators of some level of furry-fandom, and it does intersect with the other fandoms that use this kind of terminology. Just my observations from walking around downtown though, I wanted to go to meet Worf but was too lazy and Emerald City sold out.
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:35 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


> Don't define a subculture by the public bad actions of individuals.

I totally understand. hippybear, having spent many years hanging with Society for Creative Anachronism folks, another group that spends as many weekends as possible running around in funny clothes. The SCA's very-nearly-official alternate name is the Society for Consenting Adults.

But in all those many years I never saw or was otherwise aware of anyone who did it in armor. I did see a few chainmail bikinis but (this is secondhand, but from people I trust) chainmail bikinis, though spectacular, are not comfortable to wear. And if there is any prospect of anything frisky occurring they come off, easily, just the way your standard full metal jacket (and pants, and hat) do.


> Is it commonly understood to also encompass subcultures or is this use idiosyncratic?

FIAWOL. That's from wikifur but wikipedia knows it also. It doesn't have its own wikipedia article so you'll have to search the page or scroll down. I was aware of FIAWOL from sci-fi fandom long before there was any (openly known) furaffinity. Unless the owl suit in The Story of O counts.
posted by jfuller at 2:39 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


If you'd just let me yiff "The Otter", everything would be fine!

There's also this comic (NSFW)

I love the second to last panel: "in the furry fandom, people like me for who I am"... when I pretend to be a dog.

somehow less legit than a car or boat show

Kind of a bad analogy given that at a car show there aren't people wearing pieces of cars to reflect what kind of car they are inside, and there aren't people dressing in car costumes cruising for sex with other kinds of cars.
posted by Sternmeyer at 2:42 PM on June 8 [8 favorites]


Honest question: is the scope of this event NOT about having sex with each other in fur suits?

I went to Califur last year. The scope of the event ranges from panels that involve subjects ranging from drawing anthropomorphic animals to Q&A sessions with fairly well-known artists (this year there was one involving people involved with the animated series Gargoyles) to video gaming, both from the design and player aspects, to Disney character costume actors talking about how wearing a suit which is a giant fur body outfit coupled with a character head you can barely see out of requires a special art as far as movement of body goes to make the character come alive...

There were social events which went from ice cream socials to cabaret performances to late night rave-style dances. There was a lot of time spent talking to "best friends who just met" in the spaces surrounding the convention.

Only a small fraction of the attendees actually have a fursuit. How much hooking-up was going on, whether in fursuit or not, is something that remains a mystery and a secret known only to those who actually did the hooking up. Probably much like any convention.

To define the furry fandom as "people wanting to fuck in animal costumes" does a disservice both to those who hold that misconception as those who attending furry conventions. It is a much wider umbrella than that.
posted by hippybear at 2:43 PM on June 8 [20 favorites]


The overlap between fandoms is really understated. I just realized that all my tween crushes were not on animated women, but rather animated animal/robot women, and they all had ears and tails.

All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku I hope you are still destroying giant robots and being a cool big sister out there in the year 20XX.
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:44 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


there aren't people dressing in car costumes cruising for sex with other kinds of cars.


You're right that it was a bad analogy, but certainly a car show and a comic con are pretty similar.

And for all their usefulness there are plenty of people that dress up in car costumes on a daily basis, they just park their costume and go to the office.
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:47 PM on June 8 [27 favorites]


Honest question: is the scope of this event NOT about having sex with each other in fur suits?

That's exactly what we've been trying to tell everyone. The sexual side of it is actually only a fraction of what the fandom is about, but it gets a disproportionate amount of coverage in the press.

The fandom is mostly about celebrating a certain type of art, the people who make that art, and the community of people who enjoy that kind of art. Is some of that art pornographic? Well yes, sex sells, and sometimes people do like to make money in addition to making art.

And yes, sometimes sex happens at these conventions, and you know what? It's the same awkward geek sex that happens at most any SciFi/Comic/Anime/Video Game convention that has attendees above the age of consent. And most of it doesn't happen in the suits, because that's a very specific kink that only a tiny fraction of the fandom is into.

So to dismiss the Furry Community and its conventions because there happens to be porn and sexuality in it is about as silly as dismissing the internet for the same reasons.

(At least no one ever put out a song in a Broadway musical claiming that the Furry Fandom "is for porn", something you can't say about the internet.)
posted by radwolf76 at 2:51 PM on June 8 [12 favorites]


I am amazed at the hills some folks are willing to die on.
posted by basicchannel at 2:53 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


And I am amazed at the hills that some folks just won't leave other folks to do whatever-they-wilt-an-it-harm-none on.
posted by seyirci at 2:56 PM on June 8 [50 favorites]


The sexual side of it is actually only a fraction of what the fandom is about, but it gets a disproportionate amount of coverage in the press.

But isn't that the origin of the fandom? Stuff like LARPing and D&D or Comics that have cons and meetups but they are about some innocuous thing. The only way I heard about furries at first was as a sexual kink, the rest of the fandom world coming along with it afterwards. I understand it has been growing out to recognizing artists and being a friendly meetup, but I think the biggest problem will be getting distance from the first time anyone heard about it (it being in a sexual context). I'm sure ten years from now people will barely remember how it started and it'll be less of an issue.
posted by mathowie at 3:00 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Heh. First image in that article: the conbook cover, drawn by the artist GOH, who's an old friend of mine. And I know the person who built the glowing bird under the "fursuits are complex works of art" caption. Spent a few days at her place just recently; she's working on a glowing dragon for me.

My quick explanation of the whole thing is "okay, you know how you probably spent time pretending to be an animal when you were a kid? We never stopped after we grew up."

Costuming I'd say is similar to cosplay in any other fandom. It's a thing some people do, and the con is a great place to show it off, but you're perfectly welcome at the con in what you'd wear normally.

As to sex - yes, many furries are now grownups, we sometimes have sex, and sometimes pretend to be animals in bed. Sometimes various bits of costumery are involved, but not always; that stuff can be bulky, awkward, and really hot. Plus full-body fursuits tend to START at $2k if you commission one.
posted by egypturnash at 3:00 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


It's kind of impressive how hard some people are willing to work to not try to understand others
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:02 PM on June 8 [25 favorites]


mathowie > But isn't [sex] the origin of the fandom? That seems like the biggest reason for it, that stuff like LARPing and D&D or Comics that have cons and meetups were about some innocuous thing. The only way I heard about furries at first was as a sexual kink, the rest of the fandom world coming along with it afterwards.

Nope. Basically the origin of the fandom is people in the eighties doing weird independent comics, zines, and whatnot, about anthropomorphic animals. Lots of early "furries" were in animation school, many of them were profoundly moved by Disney's "Robin Hood" in their youth.

I cannot say it was always squeaky-clean; even back in the early days there were lots of pinuppy drawings of rabbit girls and whatnot (often with guns), and some pretty outrageous porn (which makes more sense if you think of it as 'the kind of porn that bored residents of Toontown would get up to").

But really it just basically comes down to the idea that drawing animal people is a fun way to abstract people. And then once the Internet got involved, we found out that pretending to BE animal people can be an interesting way to explore who and what you want to be.
posted by egypturnash at 3:07 PM on June 8 [20 favorites]


In my experience, Furry folks aren't any more or less sex-obcessed than any other group of nerds. Their sexuality is just "weird" and so it gets a disproportionate amount attention outside of the community.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:15 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


People get influenced in how they think of themselves by Batman, Superman, Humphrey Bogart, George Clooney, etc. You know, media influences.

Is it really that shocking that some people apparently just had Bugs Bunny, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the like play a similar role in the development of their psyches?
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:16 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


But isn't that the origin of the fandom?

If you had to pin down an origin, it's probably all those Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons many of us grew up with. And SF lit like Larry Niven's Man-Kzin Wars. Or even sports mascots. There's tons of ways non-sexual ways people get exposed to the concepts of anthropomorphic animals at young ages. Some of us just never lost interest in it as we grew up.

I'm sure ten years from now people will barely remember how it started and it'll be less of an issue.

Given that the "Furries are sexual deviants" meme has been a thing in mainstream media going back to an article in Wired and an episode of MTV's series Real Sex both in the mid 1990's, I don't see what difference a third decade is going to make when it's still going strong after the first two. Especially with tangentially related fandoms getting tarred by the same brush. People jumped on the chance to claim that the Brony community is only in it for the "clop".
posted by radwolf76 at 3:17 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I for one am DISGUSTED by the fact that furries might be interested in sex with each other. As a non-furry, I would NEVER have sexual intercourse with another human, look at sexy photos of humans having sex (or as they call it, "fucking"), or flaunting bits of my hairless skin-covered body like some kind of DEVIANT.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:19 PM on June 8 [56 favorites]


Furries have a tough time of it; see the geek hierarchy chart.

The clever thing about that chart is, if you look at it carefully, furries see themselves at the top of it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:19 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


More like Geek: Hard Mode, but yes.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:23 PM on June 8


I've seen Cordwainer Smith's Norstrillia pointed out as an important piece of proto-furry fiction. It's a great book and not offensive in the way some silver age SF can be.
posted by kittensofthenight at 3:25 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


To define the furry fandom as "people wanting to fuck in animal costumes" does a disservice both to those who hold that misconception as those who attending furry conventions. It is a much wider umbrella than that.

Has there been any reasonably serious analysis concerning how this particular subculture became perceived as primarily sexually oriented as opposed to other costumed subcultures? I remember the subculture was referenced in a few US detective TV shows, but I am asking about events long before that.
posted by chambers at 3:28 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


For us that lived through the Dialup age, Furries were one of the first "Holy shit, look at these sex freaks" area of the web.

It really rounded out the rainbow of MIT Internet coffee machines, TimeCube, JennyCam.

Now, Furries seem kinda dated in the spectrum of car crash rubbernecking sexual fetishes.
posted by wcfields at 3:38 PM on June 8 [11 favorites]


Huh. I grew up in the dialup era but somehow wound up stumbling on the furry world gradually enough through friends of friends that it wasn't even immediately obvious that there WAS a sexual component, except pfffft, duh, of course there was, because there ALWAYS is a sexual component, forever and ever, amen
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:52 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


"Furries are not sexual deviants"
"I used to have bad feelings about furries, but I realized, ok it's not just a sexual wasteland. It's really just a culture."
"Like almost any outsider you are fed the propaganda, the negative of it,” Allison said. Although there are late night adults-only workshops at the convention, none included blatant sex acts."

I get it. It really isn't just about the sex. There are plenty of furries that aren't in it for the furry sex. But there are furries that are sexual deviants (in the non-prejorative sense). There are furries whose sexuality both involves the fandom and isn't a wasteland. There is a ton of blatantly sexual art and that sexual drive is not negative.

I am glad they are trying to show how diverse the fandom is but othering the wonderfully sexually deviant in their culture is the most helpful thing to do.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:56 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


The clever thing about that chart is, if you look at it carefully, furries see themselves at the top of it.

But not, you'll notice, erotic furries. That arrow only goes in one direction.
posted by Justinian at 3:56 PM on June 8


There are way better Disney movies than "Robin Hood".
posted by zscore at 4:03 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I too (as an outsider to the culture) am curious how furry became perceived so strongly as a sex thing, and then as a punchline- I think I blame the internet. I'm generally too polite to ask, but I've been of the opinion that it's not all about that (and comments in this thread from those who are in the know are very helpful- thanks!) I know that's how I first heard about it, as a "can you believe this crazy sex thing?!". Whenever furries come up in conversation, I always try to suggest it's something misunderstood, but even some of the fairly liberal people I know seem to hit a wall when it comes to "furries are people just like us".

I like that explanation of "remember when you were a kid and used to pretend you were an animal?".
posted by Secretariat at 4:07 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I like having sex naked.
posted by crayz at 4:08 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


I'm a morris dancer. I've met a lot of people at morris dancing weekends, including most of my closest friends. I've also dated people I met at those events. Hell — I've always had a peference for dating other dancers, because dancing with someone is an important way for me to feel connected to them.

A couple times, at dance weekends where people were camping out, I hooked up with someone at the event itself.

This is all pretty much normal for people who are big into folk dancing.

That doesn't mean we're a "sexual subculture" of "erotic morris dancers." Thankfully. Because ew.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:12 PM on June 8 [50 favorites]


My former publisher (now out of business) published a lot of furry comics. Although mine wasn't a furry comic he invited me to a local furry con because he was running a booth there. I knew next to nothing about furries, but it was fun. He didn't even have my book for sale, but everybody was incredibly nice and it was the one and only time I've ever sat anywhere and signed autographs all day (which makes me think you could stick anybody behind a table at a con with a pile of cards and people would come up and ask for autographs). My only worry after a while was "I might work with some of these people and they know who I am but I have no idea who they are."
posted by lagomorphius at 4:26 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I thought "fandom" referred to groups who are fans of things like a tv show or book series. A created body of narrative art. Is it commonly understood to also encompass subcultures or is this use idiosyncratic?

No, your use is idiosyncratic, though sadly getting mainstream. Originally fandom never was anchored in the enjoyment of a specific thing, but rather in a shared interest that could be as broad or narrow as the fandom itself wanted.

Science fiction is the original fandom; furries are a distant offshoot.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:34 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


Look, I try to be a very tolerant person as a rule. But furry porn creeps me out. And while some people may not be in it for the porn, the furries I've gamed with were.

(Not to mention, Furry Pirates was the worst tabletop roleplaying game I've ever played.)
posted by graymouser at 4:58 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Sure, furry fandoms, and particularly furry conventions, aren't entirely about sex. Few things are. I've been to orgies that were more about socializing, showing off tools, and learning oriented around the shared interest than actually banging on the mats. Most people at furry conventions do not go there specifically looking to suit up with someone and yiff - from my experience at cons, most people at furry conventions don't fursuit to begin with.

But it does everybody involved a disservice to pretend that the fandom isn't fundamentally sexual in nature. It doesn't come from just liking Bugs Bunny. Own it.
posted by kafziel at 4:59 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I was pretending to be an otter long before I hit puberty. Admittedly, sometimes I was a dragon, or a bunny, or a kitty, or a peregrine falcon, but I spent waaay more time in mental 'animal form' than I ever spent pretending to be, say, a princess or a bride or an astronaut or a Mommy. Instead of dolls, I played with toy animals, and I collected animal fact cards instead of baseball cards.

I made my own first otter costume when I was about 13 (a very innocent 13 I might add) and wore it, in all innocence, to a sci-fi convention. It included a full head, and a bodice and skirt worn over the fursuit. A couple of people said "Nice costume!" and sounded sincere. But no one so much as touched me, and it was years later that I realized "furries" had any kind of 'reputation'. I liked animals, and liking animal-people was a natural extension of that, because they could talk and think and have adventures while doing animal things too, instead of just growling and eating fish. I was/am reluctant to call myself a furry, though, even though I'm pretty sure I am, because of the stigma of the sexual aspect of it. That was never part of it for me... but you know, why shouldn't it be? Why should I be a prude about that aspect of it?

The notion that anyone would want to have sex with a full-figured otter woman is just as difficult to grasp as it is that someone would want to have sex with, say, a person of their own gender, or a fat person, or an immortal vampire, or an old person, or a Twi'lek, or an ugly person, or a demon from Hell; that is to say, it shouldn't be that hard to grasp. The thing about "furries" (anthropomorphic animals, that is, not the members of the fandom) is that they're not animals. They're people. Animal-people, the way that vampires are dead-people and aliens are space-people and some folks are kinky-people and some are vanilla-people and so forth. If it's sapient enough to consent and/or agree with enthusiasm, then it deserves to have a chance to have sex. I'm not going to go "ew gross" if I see two women kissing, and if two people want to dress in leather and latex, or put on fox ears and tails, before they go into their bedroom, then more power to them, say I.
posted by The otter lady at 5:03 PM on June 8 [72 favorites]


Oh sure all of a sudden just growling and eating fish isn't good enough
posted by angerbot at 5:15 PM on June 8 [21 favorites]


There are way better Disney movies than "Robin Hood".

Yeah, true, but from the view of a disinterested observer, I thought that the Maid Marian vixen was pretty cute when I was 11 years old.



I've seen Cordwainer Smith's Norstrillia pointed out as an important piece of proto-furry fiction. It's a great book and not offensive in the way some silver age SF can be.


Norstrillia is one of the greatest SF novels of the 20th century. Smith has a kinda casual tone at times, but he touches on some really profound ideas.
posted by ovvl at 5:20 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to me how many people in the fandom here are saying, "But no, really, it's not mainly about the sex, actually," while other people with no investment in it are saying "But c'mon, it really is all about the sex."

I tend to believe the person inside the circle being drawn, myself, for telling me what it's like inside the circle.
posted by Andrhia at 5:20 PM on June 8 [20 favorites]


But it does everybody involved a disservice to pretend that the fandom isn't fundamentally sexual in nature. It doesn't come from just liking Bugs Bunny. Own it.

kafziel, there are quite a few furries who would seem to disagree with you, for what it's worth. Interestingly though, they seem to have the same opinions as you about other furries, which appears to be a sad example of stereotypes leaking back into the community being stereotyped.
posted by Poppa Bear at 5:26 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Or, y'know, a public denial paired with fingerpointing could mean something else.
posted by kafziel at 5:35 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I like Michael Arthur's Exploration of the Straight Media and just his articles in general on furry. For instance, here's an interview with a photographer who looks at furry sexuality.
posted by subdee at 5:43 PM on June 8


I'm kinda shocked and disappointed at how rude this thread has been. Is it so hard to take Mefi's own furryfolk at their words about this scene? We are better than this.
posted by janell at 5:45 PM on June 8 [56 favorites]


I went to a furry con with a head full of acid once. It was AWESOME.
posted by smackwich at 5:47 PM on June 8 [14 favorites]


I agree, Janell. I don't know enough about furries to have an opinion, but it seems like a weird line for mefites to draw. Metafilter, where we are ok with you, whoever you are. Unless you are a furry.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:51 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


kafziel, it's an anonymous, online survey about and for a group of people who, at the very least, are wildly "sex positive". You are welcome to believe what you believe, but short of putting cameras in every hotel room in Pittsburgh this June (Anthrocon!), self-report census (again, meant primarily for the community itself) is the best insight into the community that I know of.
posted by Poppa Bear at 5:52 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


And that insight says that the interest that furries have in their fandom is not nearly as sexual in nature as people would like to believe.
posted by Poppa Bear at 5:53 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Metafilter, where we are ok with you, whoever you are. Unless you are a furry.

Or Cory Doctorow.
posted by sidereal at 5:56 PM on June 8 [13 favorites]


An online survey is not a quality polling method
posted by Benjy at 5:58 PM on June 8


The point when I decided furries were probably not as much about sex as they were made out to be was a number of years ago, when I figured out that one of the guys in my greater nerd-circle and his interest in animation--anthropomorphic animal animation--was really his nice way of being a furry. I literally couldn't wrap my brain about the stuff he talked about being "furry" fandom based on the reputation. So probably it was just mostly furry-interested nerds doing their nerd thing about animal-faced people, and the reputation was just the way the media presented it, kind of like the way the reporters always talked to the craziest people and the dude who looked like Charles Manson when there was a news story about our local gaming con.

Which is not to say I imagine furry cons being sweetly chaste or whatever. Given the stories I know about people who let their freaky sex flag fly at various fandom conventions I've attended, I'm sure there are folks getting their furry kink on too. But people having sexytimes at cons is probably more common than people think and much less of a furry-con specific thing.
posted by immlass at 6:07 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


As a furry myself, I wouldn't deny the sexual part; but although that's important to a fair few people, it is not something I would use to define it.

My personal definition is that if you're >2 sigma away from the mean in effort of envisioning yourself as an animal person, you're a furry. There's an overlap because people who get sexually turned on by animal people will be disproportionately represented in this sample; but it's not the definition in itself.

So probably it was just mostly furry-interested nerds doing their nerd thing about animal-faced people

Sums it up pretty well too.
posted by solarion at 6:08 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


I don't think people are trying to be dismissive of furries here. Some folks, myself included, are just honestly surprised to hear that no, it's not primarily a sex thing.

In my case, I was under the popular misconception that it was. Even then, my reaction was basically YKINMKBYKIOK. I'm a little chagrined to find that classifying it as strictly a kink is selling short a lot of nice people and their perfectly charming corner of regular ol' nerddom.

But honestly, as noble as the intentions of the article might have been, it was kind of a jumbled mess. I learned more from the comments here, frankly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:09 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Being a furry has dangerous consequences

Do the costumes NOT have functioning claws?
posted by sammyo at 6:09 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


I only joined Metafilter for the sex.

I want a refund.
posted by roger ackroyd at 6:09 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


Stop trying to define it. It isn't a primarily sexual thing unless it is a primarily sexual thing. The fandom is large. It contains multitudes.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:15 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


After hearing from the furries here, what I am taking away is: it's not primarily a sex thing, just a costume enthusiasm/form of roleplaying; but like a lot of people who really enjoy costumes/role playing, some of them find getting it on in costume extra hot, because duh.

Makes sense. Not really that hard to understand. You don't think some Xena and Gaby cosplayers are getting it on after cons? Be real.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:20 PM on June 8 [19 favorites]


Do the costumes NOT have functioning claws?

Fully functional Wolverine claws are more of a comic book fandom problem.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:30 PM on June 8


The whole movement is strange to me and ripe for psychoanalysis, but I live in a glass house filled with pots and kettles.
posted by The White Hat at 6:32 PM on June 8 [13 favorites]


What color are these pots and kettles? THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU ANSWER
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:41 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


it's not primarily a sex thing, just a costume enthusiasm/form of roleplaying; but like a lot of people who really enjoy costumes/role playing, some of them find getting it on in costume extra hot, because duh.

This may be the most straightforward and accurate thing I have ever read on the subject.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:54 PM on June 8 [15 favorites]


I really only know people on the outside of furry culture. And that's fine. I don't pretend to really understand it but I'm not bothered by it.

So I guess -- who cares that I don't understand it? Why do I need to? Most of these people are having fun and finding a place they're accepted. Who doesn't want that? I'm also happy to learn what this means to the people who are a part of this scene.

I think sometimes "To each his or her own" sounds dismissive but in this case, I don't mean it to be. This isn't hurting anyone and I think it's mostly making people happy. I have no issue with that.
posted by darksong at 6:55 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Okay, fine, lay off the furries, got it.

I can still think otherkin are hilarious though, right?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:58 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I wonder how many "mainstream" people's first encounter with furries was the scene in The Shining?
posted by Windopaene at 6:59 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


My intense crush on Robin Hood from the Disney animated film

OK if this makes someone a furry then I am a furry for sure.
posted by naoko at 7:01 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


I'm sure ten years from now people will barely remember how it started and it'll be less of an issue.

I can remember the sexual side of furry being treated for the lulz back as far as 1990 online and for all I know it was already old hat at that point. Like with foot fetishes, sexualizing something that for most people is entirely non-sexual makes it easy to make fun of (unfair though that is).

I'll defer to the people in that community as to the role that sexuality plays in it, but the reverse is to acknowledge the extent to which the sexualized side of it has come to dominate the public perception in a way that has never happened for the SCA folks or comic book people.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:06 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Key figures in Furry Conversion:

-- Robin Hood and Maid Marian from the Disney movie
-- Justin from The Secret of NIMH
-- Thundercats
-- Gadget in Rescue Rangers
-- Half the cast of Gargoyles
-- The Beast from Beauty and the Beast
-- Simba from The Lion King
-- Captain Amelia from Treasure Planet
-- Sonic the Hedgehog

The Wolf Children anime looks promising as a new contender.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:10 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Oh, also Rebecca Cunningham from TailSpin. Obviously.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:13 PM on June 8


Metafilter, where we are ok with you, whoever you are. Unless you are a furry.

I am okay with whatever anyone does... as long as the furries stay OFF MY DAMN LAWN! (and don't park in front of my house...okay?)

You're leaving hair everywhere, and I already swept today.
posted by Benway at 7:16 PM on June 8


Also Ninja Turtles. Particularly the Archie comic series. Even more particularly the character Ninjara.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:17 PM on June 8


I can still think otherkin are hilarious though, right?

You can, but the vast majority of otherkin are 14-year-olds trying to figure out why they feel so lonely all the time.

Making fun of otherkin is like kicking a paraplegic puppy.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:22 PM on June 8 [20 favorites]


Key figures in Furry Conversion:
Animalypics
Pogo
Spellsinger
Fur Magic
Wind in the Willows
posted by The otter lady at 7:25 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Oh maaaaaaan HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN ANIMALYMPICS?

That movie blew my tiny preteen mind.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:28 PM on June 8


I think furries are weird but I think taking any work of fiction seriously enough to book a hotel for a weekend just to dress up like a character and gawk at content providers is weird. The sex stuff is the only part of it I actually can relate to. But that's my problem, probably.

I think I might be an opposite furry. Like I am a koala bear who would prefer to wear a human suit and hang out with and sleep with humans. "Hey fellow humans, let's Go To Work together haha. This is fun I'm typing a computer. Yay, the. And and and. The. I'm a good human."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:30 PM on June 8 [28 favorites]


Meh. Of course there's a significant number who are primarily not-sexual in terms of their character(s). I used to lurk on one anthro message board to learn more about anatomy in artwork. Most of us were teenagers, some of us 13 and 14, down to 11. No sexual content here, only lots of redlining.

I don't quite get most furries, but to each their own. I think I'd like the subculture more if more of their members actually reflected their animal's behaviour and personality, as if a human-animal hybrid were possible for their species. It'd be cool. Maybe kind of strange, but cool.
posted by quiet earth at 7:33 PM on June 8


Key figures in Furry Conversion:

I thought for sure your list would include Minerva Mink. [not a furry, myself]
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 7:34 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I don't get the furry community either as a fetish or community, but I really don't see any reason to be bothered by them. I mean, we're on the internet where there's so many worse people around than just people who have weird sexual practices (to your subjective opinion of what is weird re: sex).

I can't really be too bothered by any sexual community so long as everything is consenting, safe and between adults. Yes, I can find things bizarre or even worth a laugh, but that puts all of us in glass houses if the laughter goes beyond "human sexuality is weird," to "these specific people are specifically weird and deserve to be made fun of."
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:38 PM on June 8


To define the furry fandom as "people wanting to fuck in animal costumes" does a disservice both to those who hold that misconception as those who attending furry conventions. It is a much wider umbrella than that.

Well then define that umbrella, because what we know about them is that they fuck in animal costumes. Every large group has a diverse population; that's nothing new.

What makes a group is what binds them together. What seems to bind these people together is that they fuck in furry suits...or just show up at places where there will be fucking and furry suits at the same time.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:38 PM on June 8


I'm kinda shocked and disappointed at how rude this thread has been. Is it so hard to take Mefi's own furryfolk at their words about this scene?

No kidding. How, exactly, do you know more about this than the people who are actually living it?
posted by Ndwright at 7:39 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Well then define that umbrella, because what we know about them is that they fuck in animal costumes. Every large group has a diverse population; that's nothing new.

What makes a group is what binds them together. What seems to bind these people together is that they fuck in furry suits...or just show up at places where there will be fucking and furry suits at the same time.


Did you even read the article linked in the FPP? Because this tone-deaf comment indicates that you probably did not.
posted by hippybear at 7:41 PM on June 8 [8 favorites]


Just to clarify, when I said, "there's so many worse people..." I didn't mean to refer to other fetishes. I realize it was poorly worded. I meant that outside of sex, there's a lot of the internet that is really, really reprehensible in ways that a sexual fetish never could be, like hate groups.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:46 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of the anti-furry stuff is like the fear of conversion some people have

Like people don't want to shower with a gay person because they're afraid they might somehow turn gay

They think about furries and then remember how turned on they get by the playboy bunny ears

The strange thoughts they had about Yankee Poodle
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:46 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


Well then define that umbrella, because what we know about them is that they fuck in animal costumes.

I think people have been making a pretty consistent effort to do exactly that in this thread?
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:49 PM on June 8 [8 favorites]


I think some people get annoyed when furries protest that it's not a sexual thing because it seems so disingenuous. Like, most people would be "okay, whatever floats your boat" and let it go if you'd just admit it already.

I think furries are weird but I think taking any work of fiction seriously enough to book a hotel for a weekend just to dress up like a character and gawk at content providers is weird.

This is where I'm at. I've tried and tried but I just do. not. get. the whole dressing-up-as-someone-else thing. Even "normal" cosplay like Firefly characters or whatever. It's a completely alien mindset to me. But, I'm into stuff that other people think is weird so I won't cast stones.
posted by desjardins at 7:50 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I can still think otherkin are hilarious though, right?

It's unclear to me where the line is, or if there even is a clearly defined one. I'm reading MeFites' experiences with curious interest. For instance, one person commented that furries are people "the way that vampires are dead-people and aliens are space-people." If we're talking about fictional vampires, then I fail to understand the analogy because furries is a term used by and for real people; and if we're talking about so-called "real" vampires, well, that's exactly the problem: they aren't dead-people, however much they claim to be.

When Barbara Adams says she's a Star Trek officer, I understand her meaning: the show is fiction, but her group is real, and she's genuinely an "officer" in that group. I don't have a clear understanding of what furries mean when they describe themselves in animal terms. Moreover, I get the impression there's a spectrum on that very point—which means, presumably, that some of them fall toward the end blurring a distinction from Otherkin.

Did you even read the article linked in the FPP?

It's a listicle. Let's not pretend this is some long-form Vanity Fair about furries. Especially because many of us would be very interested in reading an article like that, but it's not something we'd get from Buzzfeed.
posted by cribcage at 7:55 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


I think some people get annoyed when furries protest that it's not a sexual thing because it seems so disingenuous.

Yeah, but for some people it seriously, honestly isn't. It's been closed for a while now, but back when I was paying attention to this stuff a site called Yerf was one of the largest websites for posting furry art online, and adult content of any kind was strictly against the rules.

This argument honestly isn't all that dissimilar from the "But all fanfiction is PORN!!" conversation I find myself in from time to time. Yeah, sure, a lot of fanfiction is porn, but plenty of it isn't. And fanfic writers who write non-porn stories get understandably irritated when people tell them, essentially, that they don't exist.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:56 PM on June 8 [8 favorites]


It's a listicle. Let's not pretend this is some long-form Vanity Fair about furries. Especially because many of us would be very interested in reading an article like that, but it's not something we'd get from Buzzfeed.

This article from the Chicago Tribune from last December may be more up your alley. 4 lengthy fairly well-written pages looking at the furry fandom from the POV of an outsider trying to understand what is going on.
posted by hippybear at 7:59 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


I think a lot of the anti-furry stuff is like the fear of conversion some people have

What about that it's like a play version of zoophilia? I know it's an adult dressed as an animal and they are adults and there is consent and no one is getting hurt and I understand fandom and all and that's cool, but if you wonder why uninformed people are weirded out by it, maybe it's because they kind of recreate stuff we have laws against?
posted by mathowie at 8:01 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Sort of like how people find it unthinkable to act out violent fantasies in sex or how that song "Hot for Teacher" cratered Van Halen's careers forever
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:03 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I feel like the problem with people decoupling sex from the furry fandom is that furries aren't that interesting to people who don't get it unless there's a sexual aspect added to it, as it's then scandalous and when they see fanart that is of a cartoon they saw as kids, it feels almost sacrilegious.

As a result, the stuff people see and joke about and pass around is the odd porn rather than the community as a whole. I totally do get that there's a nonsexual part of the furry community, but I feel like it's hard to convince people of that when that's what doesn't get broadcast or makes an impact on non-furries.

There's actually an interview from a sister podcast of the podcast The F Plus, a podcast that makes fun of odd internet posts from all sorts of communities. This sister podcast, Irregular, has interviews with people from a community that they either mocked or the internet as a whole tends to mock. Here's the furry episode. It's kind of interesting to hear this interview, as the hosts have also joked about furry posts in the past.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:04 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sure, a lot of fanfiction is porn, but plenty of it isn't. And fanfic writers who write non-porn stories get understandably irritated when people tell them, essentially, that they don't exist.

Following which, they insert themselves into a rambling and poorly-written fanfiction, to assure to themselves that they do in fact exist.
posted by angerbot at 8:04 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


I have been totally fascinated by this thread and appreciate all of the sharing of perspective.
posted by clockzero at 8:04 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


What about that it's like a play version of zoophilia?

Well, the whole reason that having sex with animals is illegal is because animals can't consent. The kinds of characters that people are interested in in this context are much more like Star Trek aliens than actual animals -- they're just people with fur and different heads, in most cases.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:05 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


I suspect the "fucking in furry suits" is almost apochryphal. I was definitely around in some of the internet communities that really discovered furry as a something to make fun of (which I'm not proud of at all - obvious we were not remotely better than they were) and I'd say the big things were

a.) people were put off by the sexualization/pornified drawings of characters from children's media, which is something you really did see a *lot* of

b.) even by fandom standards there seemed to be a lot of weird drama and truly crazy people like in that yiff the otter story

if you think there are really whole conventions about having sex in animal costumes though you're pretty much buying into CSI
posted by atoxyl at 8:11 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


So what does this mean about that whole part of the internet/society that is just way too into guns?
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:11 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


DoctorFedora, I just visited GunOil.com, and like, oh my god! What perverts!

actually, gun oil is a great brand of lube
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:16 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I can still think otherkin are hilarious though, right?

Now, yes. Try not to leave a paper trail. It's conceivable that sentiment will be some thing you can lose your job over in 5 - 10 years.
posted by codswallop at 8:16 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Look, I try to be a very tolerant person as a rule. But furry porn creeps me out.

Who gives a shit?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:16 PM on June 8 [36 favorites]


hey, bondage and power play and BDSM creep me out, but you don't see me not complaining about it, loudly, to people who don't care
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:17 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


What about tht it's like a play version of zoophilia?

Continuing to focus on the portion of the fandom that has sex in fursuits (which are a definite minority within the population) and trying to gain understanding about the fandom through that lens is something that everyone needs to just stop doing. Period.

Furry is a reality warp. The members of the fandom find it fun to develop an alternate anthropomorphic animal self to present themselves in the real world (a "fursona") which often but not always is chosen to reflect aspects of their personality or what they want their idealized personality to be. They participate in the fandom through art, music, cosplay (of varying levels of intensity and involvement), dance, mutual support, a broad acceptance that "how you present yourself is who you are", and many other creative ways.

It is a community which has mutually agreed to disbelieve the reality directly in front of it in favor of a reality which lives in the imagination. A fursona may be a complete fursuit, or it may be simply represented by a name badge with a drawing hanging around the person's neck.

There is so much more going on with furry, the fursuit fucking thing is such a tiny part of it.

Fursuits are, however, a lot of fun, and large groups of them can warp reality in odd ways. Here are two videos organized by Duke The Dancing Dog: Good Time and I Like How It Feels. Much fun, such wow.
posted by hippybear at 8:20 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


I mean Jesus, there are folks in this thread talking about their actual lives and experiences, and then other people in this thread saying 'I think those people are weird!' and 'That's creepy!' and 'That's not who you really are, it's pretend.'

Grow the fuck up.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:20 PM on June 8 [34 favorites]


Police Shut Down Furry BBQ Due To ...

... potential boar/cow furry cannibalism?

sorry, couldn't resist
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:23 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Exactly. There's a big difference between being grossed/creeped out by a sexual practice and being against other people doing it. That's why I really don't get homophobes who lobby out of disgust (the type who emphasize how gay people have sex), since that's a terrible and horribly subjective metric to legislate others' behavior around.

And I feel like disliking a consensual and safe sex act for yourself is fine. Disliking other people over that is wrong, and I think that's a distinction most Mefites can make.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:24 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


That Chicago Tribune article is excellent. I did not know that there were Samurai Cockroach Furries. Fucking cool.
posted by kittensofthenight at 8:27 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


As someone who is pretty heavily into role playing games of the sward and sorcery variety I can totally understand furry fandom. I love pretending to be something I can't ever be.

Sternmeyer: "Kind of a bad analogy given that at a car show there aren't people wearing pieces of cars to reflect what kind of car they are inside, "

Well a lot of them will be festooned with logo wear like they just got off the grid of the Piggly Wiggly 500.

Dip Flash: "I'll defer to the people in that community as to the role that sexuality plays in it, but the reverse is to acknowledge the extent to which the sexualized side of it has come to dominate the public perception in a way that has never happened for the SCA folks or comic book people."

The comic book people have the opposite stereotype to overcome IE: they are sexless nerds who will never get laid.
posted by Mitheral at 8:27 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


"There's a big difference between being grossed/creeped out by a sexual practice __________ and being against other people doing it."

Please fill in the blank with something that doesn't define furry as people fucking.
posted by hippybear at 8:27 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Here are two videos organized by Duke The Dancing Dog

....One of those videos features a panda in a Star Trek TNG-era science officer uniform and I am super charmed.

Man, I haven't done anything remotely connected to furry fandom in about fifteen years, but you nice folks are making me miss it.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:28 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Even MBMBaM, a comedy show with three midwestern straight white bros (literal bros) learned to correct their misconceptions about furries and stop indiscriminately mocking subcultures, but I guess that's just too much to ask of some MeFites.
posted by kmz at 8:28 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


I wonder how many "mainstream" people's first encounter with furries was the scene in The Shining?

Well, we can rule out the Monty Python fans who saw this bit from 1969.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:29 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Maybe a lot of the misguided notions of this come from the same sort of place that apparently assumes that what defines gay guys is that they are fucking, constantly, just an unending existence somehow divorced from the need to eat or have a job or do anything that isn't defined by sex
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:30 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


although I guess as a member of neither the Gay Agenda nor Furry Fandom I suppose that there is a chance that I am mistaken and that maybe there are gay guys who live lives of unceasing erotic hedonism

though as far as I can tell actual sex-having is really mostly just a small part of what defines both subcultures
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:35 PM on June 8


Comparing homosexuality and furry is a bad example. It's like saying all black people like Star Trek and while Avery Brooks skews the sprectrum wildly it's just not true.
posted by angerbot at 8:37 PM on June 8


I'm neither gay nor a furry but I certainly aspire to unceasing erotic hedonism.
posted by kmz at 8:37 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


Okay, maybe it's better to compare the furry community to the capital-D Deaf community, then? Statistically speaking, members of the Deaf community are much more likely to have sex with each other than with those who aren't part of their subcommunity, but gosh, is that really what defines someone who identifies as Deaf?
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:41 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Duke The Dancing Dog

That is one charismatic goddamn German Shepherd-dude. Fuckin' A.

I like his serious eyebrows.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:42 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


That Chicago Tribune article is excellent.

It is. Thanks, Hippybear. That's exactly the kind of reporting that's useful about subcultures. I don't want a journalist's broad proclamations; show me the individuals. And just speaking personally, I'm glad to see not much focus on the sexual aspects. That's the least interesting facet. If it were just another sexual fetish...God, who cares. There are a million of those.
posted by cribcage at 8:42 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


For instance, one person commented that furries are people "the way that vampires are dead-people and aliens are space-people." If we're talking about fictional vampires, then I fail to understand the analogy because furries is a term used by and for real people; and if we're talking about so-called "real" vampires, well, that's exactly the problem: they aren't dead-people, however much they claim to be.

That's why I clarified : The thing about "furries" (anthropomorphic animals, that is, not the members of the fandom) is that they're not animals. "Furries" can mean the fandom and the people in it, but it's also a shorter term for saying "anthropomorphic animal characters". I was meaning to state that the idea of animal-people having sex should not be any more repugnant than any other type of people, real or imaginary, having sex, because they are sapient and can consent. A big "ick" factor around the furry idea seems to be "Its BESTIALITY!!", and I am saying that, no, bestiality is sex with animals, and animals can't consent. Animal people, however, if they did exist, could consent.

Or maybe what you're getting at is, Vampires and cat-people are not real things, and therefore, being interested in them, pretending to be them, and/or having sexual fantasies about them, is wrong/sick/sad/stupid. To which I can only say, if all we ever are allowed to enjoy is what's real, that sort of kicks the whole scope of human imagination in the balls, doesn't it?
posted by The otter lady at 8:45 PM on June 8 [15 favorites]


cribcage > I don't have a clear understanding of what furries mean when they describe themselves in animal terms.

Okay, let me try to give you some of the shades of meaning this can have.


I'm Peggy. I'm a dragon.

This can unpack to some or all of these statements:

1. I like to pretend to be a dragon on the Internet.

2. I am an artist, and my cartoon shorthand for myself is a cartoon dragon. I may or may not have "normal" human cartoon shorthands for myself too, depending on how good I am at drawing humans.

3. I like to pretend to be a dragon in real life. Low level: growling and rumbling when your boyfriend pets me, calling whatever I may collect my "hoard", calling my apartment my "lair". High level: Spent a few thousand dollars on a cool dragon costume to wear at furry cons and wherever else I can get away with it. Really high level: Serious body modification. Okay he's a lizard not a dragon - but I personally have tattooed wings that stretch from one elbow to the other, and know other "dragons" with huge backpieces of folded wings, dorsal scales down the spine, and tails curled around one leg or the other.

4. I am convinced that in some mystical way I am a dragon in a human body. (This tends to shade into being "otherkin", which can be briefly summed up as claiming that 'I was not human in a past life and I kinda remember it'.)

5. I feel that certain aspects of my personality are best described by those that are stereotypically assigned to dragons. (I may have shaped my personality over the years to correspond to these stereotypes better, too. It goes both ways.)

6. When I am curling up with my SO, their pet names for me tend to be things like "lizard-hips" or "scaly-butt" or "wretched beast of the apocalypse" instead of "muffin" or "baby-kins" or "love boodle".

This is not an exhaustive list, there can be other shades of meaning to "I'm a dragon". These are just the ones I thought of offhand.


In my case, all but #4 are statements I would intend when saying "I'm a dragon". I'm not Otherkin. I've known some crazy Otherkin, and I've known some Otherkin who were quite sane aside from that one strange belief about themselves. If you believe in reincarnation it's not that huge a step. Hell, I'm sympathetic to them - I'm a transwoman, I know what it's like to have a body that doesn't match up with what your brain thinks it should be. I can fix my differences, they can't. Yet.


I'm not only a dragon. Sometimes I'm a fox, or a raccoon, or a few other things. Usually I'm a dragon these days. But what I say I "am" right now can tell you something about my mood at the moment, both in terms of knowing the general stereotypes of what that species "is like", and knowing my particular aspects.


Hope that helps some.
posted by egypturnash at 8:50 PM on June 8 [57 favorites]


I hugged a furry once.

It was at a Beck concert in Houston for the Sea Change tour with the Flaming Lips as the opening act (and backing band).

The Flaming Lips performed Do You Realize [http://youtu.be/lPXWt2ESxVY] with some furries on the stage waving lights around. At some point the furries came off the stage and out into the audience dispensing hugs.

I will never forget how I laughed and truly embraced some stranger in (if I remember correctly) a blue elephant suit that smelt sweetly of fabric softener.
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 8:52 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


Sometimes I'm a fox, or a raccoon, or a few other things.

Wait, what? A RACOON??? Pervert. *facepaw*

[/joke]
posted by hippybear at 8:58 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I can kind of get the longing to have an animal (or animal-esque) body; human bodies are weak, don't have cool things like claws, tails, wings, or whiskers, and we have to wear clothes because we lost most of our body hair. There are a lot of examples of literature/movies that play to this longing; people with wings, people who can transform at will, or with the aid of a magical whatsit. And the part of those stories everyone likes is when the person is the animal, thinking like a human but able to run like a gazelle or fly.

I don't know that this is related to those who become furries, of course, but I was reminded of it by the comment about Thundercats. I wanted to be Cheetarah, not because Sexy Cheetah(!) but becuse she was fast, and powerful. Better than human.
posted by emjaybee at 9:01 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Wait, what? A RACOON???

Get used to it. Unless Guardians of the Galaxy turns out to be absolute ass, raccoons are going to be the 'trendy' species for at least the next year or so.

Either that or trees.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:03 PM on June 8 [12 favorites]


NarrativePriorities > Man, I haven't done anything remotely connected to furry fandom in about fifteen years, but you nice folks are making me miss it.

you know you want some of those sweet, sweet, sweaty fursuit hugs

and the scritchies, how can you not miss the scritchies.

and oh my god the dances have become amazing things, there is nothing like being in a huge room full of pounding dance music and people in full/partial suits (or normal human garb) dancing around, flailing glowsticks, and waving suit parts covered in EL wire or LEDs.

come to the fluff side, we have snuggles. (says the woman who is planning on taking at least the next year off from the furry cons, sometimes you just Need A Break.)

Also I'm pretty sure some of your stuff would sell in a dealer's table if you felt like funding your Anthrocon trip that way.
posted by egypturnash at 9:03 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


How far does the pretending-to-be-an-animal extend? Are you allowed to use your opposable thumbs? I would think that would make it difficult to get back in to your hotel room at the end of the evening.
posted by desjardins at 9:05 PM on June 8


and oh my god the dances have become amazing things

Well, the Seattle-based FurTheRecord conglomerate is swiftly becoming one of the sought-after groups of DJs across the nation regardless of whether the event is furry or not. DJ Recca is astounding.

I'm so stoked about RainFurrest's dances this year I can hardly contain myself.
posted by hippybear at 9:07 PM on June 8


hippybear > A RACCOON??? Pervert.

A pervert who has all your valuables, now. Pff. Bears are slow. *vanishes in a stripey blur*

(Furry stereotype example for you non-furries: Raccoons are almost inevitably accomplished thieves. Who also have a magpie-like weakness for shiny things rather than actual value.)
posted by egypturnash at 9:07 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


How far does the pretending-to-be-an-animal extend?

Furries aren't pretending to be an animal. They have an alternate reality anthropomorphic animal self. Thumbs, of course, are allowed.
posted by hippybear at 9:09 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


egypturnash, what would it mean to treat this aspect of your identity with respect? Because I'm not sure that flattery will keep me alive.

This is a thread in which you've been repeatedly, groundlessly insulted. Is there a way of turning the conversation around into something that would be more fun than that or is this thread a lost cause?

It's not as though metafilter has a shortage of Hobbit/GoT fans who might play along, O greatest of calamities.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:10 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


A pervert who has all your valuables, now. Pff. Bears are slow. *vanishes in a stripey blur*

Pffft. As you already know, my fursona is a wolf, not a bear. (Want to meet over nail polish again on the Thursday night of RF this year?)
posted by hippybear at 9:12 PM on June 8


I just feel really sad about the whole thing, because I think anthropomorphic animals are awesome, but I could never consider joining the fandom because of the pervasiveness of kink: it's like airplane fans sharing a convention with the Mile High Club.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 9:20 PM on June 8


desjardins > How far does the pretending-to-be-an-animal extend? Are you allowed to use your opposable thumbs?

Okay I know this is mostly cracking wise but--

For the most part we're not pretending to be animal animals. We're pretending to be animal-headed people. The average drawing of a furry character will show them standing up on their hind legs, manipulating things with human-like hands.

There are instances of pretending to be non-anthropomorphized animals. People may often refer to their character's "feral" form, which is pretty much non-humanoid, though they may affect handkerchiefs, jewelry, and/or makeup. Some people have characters that are pretty much exclusively "feral". Often they have a mysterious ability to manipulate things with their paws/hooves/claws/feather anyway.

You'll also occasionally see "quad suits", which are fursuits designed to mimic these kinds of characters. Those take a LOT of practice to operate well, and get a lot of oohs and ahs.

At any rate, if you're out party-hopping in the hotel, you're certainly not gonna leave your opposable thumb at home, as that would interfere with the important business of drinking or waving glowsticks in the con's dance. People are only realistic about their fursonas* when it doesn't get in the way of having a good time.

* fursona: lit. "furry persona", basically the cartoon animal character you "are" in the context of the furry fandom. Folks often have more than one fursona; in those cases, it's not uncommon for one to be more prominent than the others.
posted by egypturnash at 9:20 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


You know what, I'm fine with furries. Live and let live, they're not hurting anyone. I dearly hope people are sticking to having sex with ears and tail on rather than in full on sports mascot suit because that sounds like the smelliest thing ever, but hey, as long as I'm not forced to have sex while wearing a fursuit, I'm cool. It's your life. There are far worse things out there than wanting to be a cool animal. And come on, a lot of people here have wanted to at one point or another.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:28 PM on June 8



Okay, maybe it's better to compare the furry community to the capital-D Deaf community, then? Statistically speaking, members of the Deaf community are much more likely to have sex with each other than with those who aren't part of their subcommunity, but gosh, is that really what defines someone who identifies as Deaf?


Okay, I'm reading the thread with curiosity and willingness to learn, but I have to say when I got to this point, it really kind of stung. Considering how disabled people are constantly desexualized by mainstream society, can you not abuse the maltreatment of Deaf people's sexualities as a convenient tool to drive focus away from the sexuality of furries? And considering how much time I have to spend (including here on Metafilter) telling people that being Deaf isn't all about not being able to hear, I'm not sure if your point is even quite getting across the way you intend it to, honestly.
posted by Conspire at 9:30 PM on June 8 [9 favorites]


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow > This is a thread in which you've been repeatedly, groundlessly insulted. Is there a way of turning the conversation around into something that would be more fun than that or is this thread a lost cause?

Well, you forget - I'm a dragon. Obviously this means that the petty concerns of you short-lived little snacks mean nothing to me, except when you take some idiotic exception from me eating the occasional cow, or entertaining a princess, and start making with the knights. But if you want to try to please a dragon, giving her some of the gold that you've been keeping for her* is always a good start; in the absence of gold, one could praise our wisdom and majesty... *grin*

More realistically, man, I've seen all these insults so many times I don't even notice half of them any more. And I have some well-thought-out responses to the ones I do deign to notice. I figure, fuck it, I've been around here long enough to have stuff I do that's FPP worthy refer to me as "Metafilter's own", I can spend a little time sitting around here and being eminently sane about these rampaging misconceptions, and talking about what I enjoy about the furry fandom**. (At the risk of being called out for threadsitting.)

* all gold, of course, belongs to the nearest dragon; they just haven't necessarily bothered to put it in the hoard yet. We are patient.
** I am not quite sure I actually enjoy the tendency of any message board discussion involving furries to break out into light roleplay, but that is definitely part of the Furry Experience, so what the hey.


hippybear > my fursona is a wolf, not a bear.

oh shit ugh I totally forgot! My bad. And yeah, I'll definitely be around RF this year though I'm not sure of my schedule in the evenings yet...
posted by egypturnash at 9:35 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


All I know is that I've always loved furries and other intense communities like Star Trek cosplayers and anime con folks and I wish that I we had a small amount of the community spirit they experience in my chosen(?) community of weird rock and underground metal. I promise there is 100% more judging going on at a small underground rock/metal fest than in a huge furry convention and I've always respected their fandom for that.

Seriously man bands won't even talk to each other.
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:39 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


Conspire,

Ack, yikes. I didn't mean to disparage the capital-D Deaf community (which I'd hoped was a given seeing that I am even aware of its existence in the first place). I mostly meant to compare the communities as being defined by something other than the fact that people tend to have sex with each other, even if that is an incidental thing that happens. There's a whole ton of Deaf culture that exists in much the same way that there's a whole ton of Furry culture that exists, but the difference is that people seem to be hung up on the idea that one of them is defined primarily through the fact that people among that subculture get their bone on with each other, rather than the obvious 99% of stuff that more obviously and more thoroughly defines them as people and as a subculture.

In other words, I was trying to draw comparison to Deaf culture as being a group that is rightly regarded as being about something other than "they hook up with each other" rather than to insult Deaf people. The part about statistically having sex with other Deaf people was mostly just because Deaf culture fits the definitions of a minority group (i.e. noticed tendency to marry within the minority, separate culture and history, separate language).

Sorry for the derail.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:39 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I am not quite sure I actually enjoy the tendency of any message board discussion involving furries to break out into light roleplay

Noted. No further comments then about my internet-invisibility and slightly hairy feet.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:45 PM on June 8


Do da de dot de da dodo, de ba ruda doe! Depa repa dopa deum deum de uhn uhn de doe! Muah ha ha ha.

*resumes whistling*
*cue kazoo*


Oo-de-lally!

I'd totally be be Alan-A-Dale, at least I like to think I would be.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:46 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


I guess the reason I'm having so much trouble grasping this is that I'm coming from the BDSM world where people really do pretend they're animals (usually ponies or puppies). They don't speak, they drink from bowls, they're lead on leashes, etc. Generally the point is dehumanization/being trained/controlled, and the animal aspect is mostly/entirely a means to that end (I have never met someone who was into both horse/puppy play and bestiality, though I'm sure there are some out there). It's not really my thing, though I've engaged in it here and there as the human master/owner, but I'm gathering that the furry thing is pretty different. It definitely looks different; here's an example of pony play and here's an example of puppy play (both sfw).
posted by desjardins at 9:46 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


I'm also a weirdo that doesn't do Halloween or cosplay or (generally) any roleplay so it's just hard for me to grasp why you'd want to pretend to be someone else in the first place.
posted by desjardins at 9:48 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


For me, it's not a matter of going “animals are stronger/faster/better”, it's not even a “ugh I hate humans”, it's just a.... it's a pure, visceral, “this is what I do, this is where I belong” when I'm around animals, which I never get around humans. If I go to your party, you'll find me sitting alone on the floor in the coat room, talking to your cat, or watching your fishtank. But I know I'm human, and I have to live in a human world, so I adapt. I manage. The longing to be an animal, though, the connection I feel with them, never went away. I don't ascribe any woo, reincarnation or whatever to it like Otherkin do; I'm quite willing to admit my brain's just screwed up somehow, but it doesn't make the feeling any less real. Why otters in particular? I don't know, I just know that's where the feeling is strongest.

And yet, I know that if I was an animal, I wouldn't be able to think about being an animal; I don't think animals have the same capacity for self-awareness as humans. But that's what makes the idea of anthropomorphic animals so appealing; I could be an animal in shape, I could do animal things, I could, I -would-, be able to indulge the aching need I feel to dive into swift-moving rivers and grab salmon out of the rapids, to stretch and slide and groom my fur and wag my tail in the mud, while still being able to do human things like write stories and hold conversations. My idealized self is the otter lady, who is on the outside what I'm like on the inside, and who isn't ashamed to be so.

I'm not involved in the furry fandom because it's too painful, actually, to indulge that side of me; no matter how I draw, no matter how I roleplay, even the best costume in the world, isn't going to change the fact that I'm a hideous fat old human woman and that will never, ever, change. It's like reading about chocolate, looking at chocolate, smelling chocolate, and you will never actually taste chocolate, because it doesn't exist. But trying to pretend I'm happy as I am, in this body, has never, ever worked for me. You can mock me all you like, but believe me you can't hurt me any worse than I already am.
posted by The otter lady at 9:54 PM on June 8 [50 favorites]


If I had pet fish, I'm not sure I'd want an otter watching them. Just joking.
posted by desjardins at 9:55 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I actually got a reputation at the pet store I worked at for being the best at catching fish. I had to use a net, though. Stupid rules.
posted by The otter lady at 9:59 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


(P.S. Yes, I've tried therapy. And meds. Didn't help.)
posted by The otter lady at 10:05 PM on June 8


Thanks for sharing your experience. It's enlightening, and I mean that respectfully.
posted by cribcage at 10:13 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


desjardins > [knows too much about BDSM petplay and keeps reflexively imagining furry is like that]

There IS some crossover. I have played those sort of BDSM games now and then, with the added context of being somehow involved with some light "furry" roleplay as well.

Petplay is pretending to be a totally normal dog, who is treated like a dog. A furry is pretending to be a cartoon dog-person, who probably stands on their hind legs, wears clothes, and talks. (Or a cat, or a horse, or whatever other animal you want.)

It's like, we're pretending to be Goofy, not Pluto, you know? They're both dogs, but one of them is a dog-man who can speak perfectly well, while the other is Just A Dog.

You can also do petplay and furry stuff at the same time! I have a friend who does a lot of kinky furry commissions, and it's not uncommon for him to draw, say, a bird-man trussed up in a petplay dog costume, being forced to drink out of a pet bowl - he loves drawing seriously elaborate bondage and all kinds of dehumanization scenarios. You can take this humanized animal character and re-dehumanize them if that's a game you want to play. Hell, I was looking through an old sketchbook just this morning and found a drawing of my dragon-woman character (who "is" "me") in something quite intentionally like pony-play dressage. My boyfriend has occasionally threatened to do some petplay stuff with me and my response has been to just blink and go "Rar?" like a putative non-talking dragon who walks on all fours. Furry identities are malleable that way sometimes.

Any furry con of moderate size will probably have at least one person selling collars, leashes, and bondage harnesses, in a much wider variety of colors than the usual black, brown, and red. Not all furries are into BDSM by any means, but we're no stranger to the concepts.

Oddly enough, though, a furry con is one of the Weird Kinky Spaces where you're MOST likely to get in trouble with con staff for pulling someone around on a leash; we're skittish about it because it's so obviously *S*E*X*U*A*L* and because it comes so close to triggering some people's OH NO THEY MUST WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH REAL ANIMALS buttons that a lot of cons have banned that.
posted by egypturnash at 10:20 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


I'm also a weirdo that doesn't do Halloween

Do you just hate fun?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:40 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


Furry Fandom definitely does get the short end of the stick. It always has been the go-to fandom to abuse or to treat as a joke. Which is sad because there clearly are many very kind and emotionally caring people involved with it.

That said in my experience in a number of (if not exactly overlapping but at least adjacent) kinks or fandoms is that those aren't the people running around openly identifying as furry. So not unlike a great many other closed groups you get the very last people you'd choose as an ambassador filling just that role. Not that anything that can be or should be done about that and really as time goes on that sort of thing naturally gets minimized.

And to the people who are shocked at how impolite some people have been in this thread.... REALLY? If there is one 'rule' of the internet it's that if you need to make yourself feel better or higher on the food chain you can always kick a furry. It's a tribute to the community (and I'm sure the moderation) that a conversation could be as civil as this one has been. Still the fact that the 'experts' in this thread have been willing to share and be patient is definitely worth commendation.
posted by cirhosis at 11:08 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]


Huh. I'm now realising that while I did get a lot of strange responses to my choice of "Platypus" for the Identity Project (more for artistic/metaphoric reasons rather than anything akin to furrydom) no one's really asked me if it was a furry thing. Oh Tumblr, how have you managed to miss that.

I don't think I'd have a lot to do with the furry fandom (mostly because my art capacities are shithouse) but I could relate to some of egypturnash and otter lady's musings about connecting to animal-like traits (bats and platypodes for me). And as someone who has actually engaged in petplay I would say petplay and furrydom are very different things: there may be some crossover, but not by design.

running around campus in batwings wheeeeee
posted by divabat at 11:24 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


oh and the talk about snuggles reminded me of how I befriended a couple of furries at Feast Festival (sort of like Adelaide Fringe but for queer art) and watched a friend's show snuggled up with scritches, because I am also sometimes a cat. purr :3
posted by divabat at 11:25 PM on June 8


egypturnash: "It's like, we're pretending to be Goofy, not Pluto, you know? They're both dogs, but one of them is a dog-man who can speak perfectly well, while the other is Just A Dog."

Which, not to derail, is really fucking weird within the context of the Disney universe, honestly. It's a dog who has another dog as a pet.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:11 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Pluto is Mickey's pet, not Goofy's.
posted by hippybear at 12:18 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


"maybe it's because they kind of recreate stuff we have laws against?"

That doesn't work, because it could be just as readily applied to BDSM (arguably even more so in my opinion), and people who admit to being into BDSM get orders of magnitude less shit thrown at them than furries do. To make a pretty direct media comparison, look at how BDSM is treated in CSI vs. furries - I think the two episodes are "Leave Out All The Rest" and "Fur and Loathing" (note: I've never seen more than clips of either, not a CSI fan myself). There's something else going on with furries that really tweaks people, and I wish I knew what it was.

Otter lady, I'm not sure if this changed in the otherkin community, or really what became of the otherkin community in the last...oh, decade or so since I left that part of my life behind, but there used to be a good-sized contingent of folks who felt very much the way you describe yourself, without any of the woo that's been attached to the "otherkin" label. I'd say many similar things about myself - I've never believed I was anything other than a very screwed up homo sapiens, but at the time that group seemed to be sympathetic to this kind of dysphoria in ways that other places weren't, at least when I was hanging out there (and if there's any a.h.w.w. peeps out on the blue, *waves*).

I participate in the furry community for lots of reasons (it's fun, it's a great party, it's hugely creative, it's full of many people who try very hard to be kind), but also because it actually does help me come to terms with feeling like I'm in a body that isn't the one that I should have. I have this big fuzzy werewolf costume, and when I put it on I can be a lot more like the me that's in my head than most other times. And it's this amazing piece of wearable art, and I love the performance aspects of it, and it's fabulously liberating to put on a costume and play a character in front of people.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. I almost didn't comment in this thread - really, who wants to set themselves up for getting mocked on the Internet again? - but after the otter lady's comment and the other kind folks who showed up, furry and otherwise, I felt like it would be OK for me to chime in too.
posted by hackwolf at 12:25 AM on June 9 [16 favorites]


Ok, seriously, has anyone even considered the logistics of actually having sex in a fursuit? They are at best uncomfortably warm, thick, and just generally in the way. Outside of a very small minority who are either extremely dedicated or have both the right kind of body and a lot of money to spend on extraordinarily well engineered and crafted suits, it really honestly doesn't happen all that much.

I'm also amused that someone wanted a longform Vanity Fair piece, because when that actually happened they got it all wrong.
posted by darksasami at 1:16 AM on June 9


I'm not involved in the furry fandom because it's too painful, actually, to indulge that side of me; no matter how I draw, no matter how I roleplay, even the best costume in the world, isn't going to change the fact that I'm a hideous fat old human woman and that will never, ever, change. It's like reading about chocolate, looking at chocolate, smelling chocolate, and you will never actually taste chocolate, because it doesn't exist. But trying to pretend I'm happy as I am, in this body, has never, ever worked for me. You can mock me all you like, but believe me you can't hurt me any worse than I already am.

Hey dude, even if you're having a tough time, I'll be cheering for you tomorrow. Take care.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:33 AM on June 9


Is there a mechanical equivalent to furries? I can't see being a little squishy animal in my free time - although a dragon, that makes sense - but I would love to spend my time as a backhoe or a steam shovel or a Sherman tank.
posted by gingerest at 1:42 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Mike Mulligan: steam shovel
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:53 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Is there a mechanical equivalent to furries? I can't see being a little squishy animal in my free time - although a dragon, that makes sense - but I would love to spend my time as a backhoe or a steam shovel or a Sherman tank.

Actually there is a strange occasional trend in furry art about anthropomorphic fighter jets. So yes, I think that's a thing, if one that's regarded as a bit of an outlier within an outlier community.
posted by solarion at 2:00 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Hey, here are some SFW (well, depending on your workplace - clean, anyway) galleries of furry artists who have neat or accomplished styles and/or interesting subject matter!

How did these get here.

lundi lingrimm PseudoManitou SulaCoyote (OK some pinup type stuff in there but damn, that SFW concept art though!) Stigmata 22mg Firefeathers Toulouse AlectorFencer Musa birds Galgard kutakuinkinnoin Rhyu gasp PegiBruno Raccoonwolf CentraDragon MarcoTheCat EclipseWolf Venezia MacroAtor grind Ruskova woari

This is a small slice of a very small slice of the good artists in the fandom!
posted by Drexen at 2:11 AM on June 9 [3 favorites]


I knew very little about furry fandom - so it was really enlightening to hear from furry mefites - thank you hippybear, otterlady and egypturnash for sharing your experiences. Big hugs to you all.
posted by motdiem2 at 2:15 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Actually there is a strange occasional trend in furry art about anthropomorphic fighter jets.

Sounds like an intersection of furry and Strike Witches fandom.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:30 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Actually there is a strange occasional trend in furry art about anthropomorphic fighter jets.

Not to mention anthropomorphic big breasted, tied up AT-ATs.

Human fantasy is a wonderful thing.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:33 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Fursuits are, however, a lot of fun, and large groups of them can warp reality in odd ways. Here are two videos organized by Duke The Dancing Dog: Good Time and I Like How It Feels. Much fun, such wow.

And, if you're the slightest bit fannish, you can't help but think that on some level, Those Are Your People.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:36 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I hugged a furry once

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that wasn't a furry. The people who were dancing onstage in furry costumes on that tour were fans who lined up outside beforehand for the privilege. I mean, the person inside the costume may have been a legit furry, but probably not.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 4:38 AM on June 9


They were incredibly high, though
posted by thelonius at 4:46 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


otterlady, your comment was the most human thing I've read on this thread (and I mean that as a compliment)
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:19 AM on June 9


I've been involved with Star Trek fandom since 1976, and I would never, ever treat any fandom like I've been treated.
Trekkers/Trekkies used to be the Go To fandom for ridicule and abuse - remember the Shatner skit on Saturday Night Live?
Yeah.

I say more power to you, my furry friends.
Have fun, be kind.
Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 5:24 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


It's pretty weird. Good for them for finding something they like, but it's still weird. It doesn't mean they should be bullied, but it seems odd to put this out there and demand that no one think it's strange. If you post an article about furries, written with the help of actual furries, to a social website, you're asking for people's opinions, good and bad.

And comparing furries to gay people seems kind of stupid, honestly. Gay people are specifically singled out and denied civil rights. No one is writing anti-furry legislation making it illegal for them to marry.
posted by stavrogin at 5:29 AM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Anyway, I am now going to talk about my being a furry and what that entails in hope that this thread will find its way somewhere to adding understanding.

So. I think I've mentioned before on MeFi how my memory is unsettlingly bad? This is not entirely the case; it just seems to be not quite jigged in the same way. I'm constantly surprised when people fail to remember lyrics, and yet can recall little more than two or three experiences of my primary school years. I am not well equipped to handle sensory data, apparently.

The second earliest thing that I can remember coherently is my two-week-long endeavor mothering a plaster dragon's egg. I slept with it, and in general did not let it go. At some point in this I broke it so you could look inside, which in hindsight is a success of sorts. Something I am told more secondhand is that depictions of anthropomorphic animals in media distinctly unnerved me, and I could in general not really deal with them. This is more likely a result of autism spectrum - light now, it manifested quite strongly when I was young and couldn't intellectually figure out how to deal with things. Then when I was thirteen or so, I drew a picture for some reason I believe had to do with lucid dreaming; of a kind of sea serpent. And when I finished that it metaphorically up and smacked me in the face and said "Hey, you know all those things that are in the back of your mind about reptiles? Well, congrats, you've just found out what you want to be." It's stayed that way ever since. Not quite such a powerful impulse now, perhaps, but where at times I have doubted my sexuality, intellect, gender, purpose, spirituality, you name it, I have never doubted I would like to be a sea serpent. It's fucking stupid.

Maybe a year after this I discovered there was a subculture of people who felt similarly. My interactions have mostly been confined to the internet. I am dissatisfied with a lot of culture that seems to go with the nerdy air of conventions - I do not game, club, or find fursuits particularly interesting, and sneaking into one near where I live to take an unpaying look I didn't see anything that interested me on the schedule. But I like talking to people who are similarly minded because they'll understand the occasional drunken rant about not having fins, and I enjoy occasional art because it lets me live vicariously.

Is it a sex thing? Sometimes. I find some people attractive, I find some anthropomorphic reptiles attractive, and I don't talk about either in polite company. Occasionally I play the latter on the internet, because I play the former in reality and there's a lot more of that than there is internet, and because the dysphoria doesn't hurt me in the way it does some people (great empathy is extended to you, otterlady). Such things may involve sexual chat, but are much more often just nattering in such a way that allows the parties involved to envision themselves in forms they wouldn't otherwise have without A: severe cracks in reality or B: a really good fursuit. Self-identifying with a reptilian aesthetic that strongly (not actual reptiles, mind - to me it is always a mix of conscious human qualities with animalistic visuals), I'm not surprised it leaks into my libido sometimes.

Is it a spiritual thing? Nope. As far in as I can be said to be spiritual, it is; but I am an atheist and materialist (if one who is not entirely satisfied with the philosophical position, but hasn't found his way out). It's something that's relaxing to imagine myself as, or totemic in times of stress, but has no actual basis in reality. I'm not bothered by this; many important things are not real, such as Harry Potter.

I don't like voices which complain about "fursection", if one will - as stavrogin says, it's not exactly a civil rights issue. But I associate that with people who are trying to garner attention or place themselves socially in a sense, and that occurs with any group, and it doesn't make me any happier to see the whole thing being tarred with one brush. The problem with any article on it is that you are never going to get the voices of the insular. The people who are slightly odd and decide they rather feel a kinship with large blue reptiles, and buy pictures of those, maybe go to Maccas with people who feel the same way, and otherwise get on with their lives; it's just not very interesting reading, is it? A slightly mockable hobby, but little drama. This kind of thing doesn't seem to be in the minority for those I know.
posted by solarion at 5:46 AM on June 9 [15 favorites]


I guess I consider myself pretty lucky that I ended up meeting a number of furries during my early days on the internet. Around my early teenage years I was pretty tuned into how I was weird, so it was simple enough to just categorize furry-dom as another flavor of weirdness. The fact that there was a sexual and pornographic aspect seemed like a natural outgrowth because, well, Rule 34 was a clear and present phenomenon long before it had a name.

I can't say that I understand the appeal, or that I grasp the concept of a fursona, but I don't understand what believing in God is like either. And, like many converstions about atheism on the internet, I'm seeing a lot of people who are in roughly the same ignorant place as I am saying a lot of ignorant-ass things because someone else is expressing themselves wrong.
posted by griphus at 5:53 AM on June 9 [6 favorites]


Just to expand on that last bit: This article inspires something of a derisive snort from me, but not because I think it's inaccurate or because it seems like a silly thing to be into. It just has a lack of relation to much of my internal experience.
posted by solarion at 5:53 AM on June 9


Also, hippybear, otter lady, egypturnash, et. al., I really appreciate your comments in this thread.
posted by griphus at 5:54 AM on June 9 [11 favorites]


I'm not sure that the author is aware that the term "deviant" does not have to have a negative connotation. Furries who have consensual sex with fursuited friends or while fursuited are deviating from the "norm". It doesn't make them immoral or "perverts" they just deviate from the typical. So, yes, furries are sexual deviants, so what?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:05 AM on June 9


There's something else going on with furries that really tweaks people, and I wish I knew what it was.

I think that comes from the sexualization (again, acknowledging that for many people that isn't the primary motivation, but we're talking about the reason for the strong response) of things that are otherwise associated with childhood and play -- cartoon animals and the same kinds of animal suits that you see on children's tv shows.

In one of the videos that hippybear posted above there's a scene where one of the furries is posing with a smiling kid, which is something I've seen before in furry bios, and that becomes really jarring juxtaposed with drawings and photos and videos of people having sexual encounters in the exact same kinds of costumes and characters (and the masks elide identity, so there's no clear sense that these are different people).

That, to me, is the biggest difference between furry and the kinds of animal/pet play that desjardine linked photos of above -- there's no move that I know of to bring "pony boy day" to the local children's hospital, nor is it explicitly referencing media aimed at children.

I could well be wrong, but that's been my interpretation of why furry culture gets a pretty consistent stink eye; the more that it can move itself away from the NSFW stuff the less that stigma will attach, probably.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:31 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I haven't a lot of interest in or concern with furries or furrydom (it doesn't seem too much stranger than many of the other hobbies humans get up to), but I was delighted when I discovered that passage in Mademoiselle Maupin where Gautier's man D'Albert is "seized with a fancy to roughly fondle" his mistress while dressed as a bear. "It was," D'Albert says, "the drollest evening of my life." (pp. 54-55 of this 1905 Société des Beaux-Arts edition since it's the only one at hand.) And that's 1835!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:34 AM on June 9 [4 favorites]


The 10th Regiment of Foot: "I'm not sure that the author is aware that the term "deviant" does not have to have a negative connotation [...] So, yes, furries are sexual deviants, so what?"

First of all, no, really -- "furries" != "people with a kink for furry", even though the two sets do overlap!

But leaving that aside, and talking about furry as a kink -- I get what you mean, but it's not quite accurate to say that it 'doesn't have a negative connotation'. It has plenty of negative connotations to plenty of people, and those people might be family, friends, employers, clergy, potential lovers, etc, random strangers on the internet, and anyone else in one's life... like any kink, just because it can have a neutral or positive connotation in certain circles and circumstances, doesn't mean it's a label that can be adopted and proclaimed with carefree abandon.

Which is kind of sad, especially given it also affects people who are into the fandom for things other than sex, of which there are many! But it's still true, until general tolerance and acceptance grows to the point where this niche little interest is picked up and brought along into the fold along with the others.

Which I'm sure it will; the numbers in the fandom seem to be growing steadily, younger millenial types are well-primed not to give people flak for what they are or what they're into (or what they want to be!), and I don't know if it's just me but I'd swear the use of anthropomorphic imagery of all different kinds is on the rise in pop culture, advertising etc.
posted by Drexen at 6:41 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Furries are fine. What weirds me out is listicles.
posted by flabdablet at 6:51 AM on June 9 [11 favorites]


people who admit to being into BDSM get orders of magnitude less shit thrown at them than furries do.

I think that's because a lot of people can imagine themselves doing some degree of BDSM, if only on the blindfold-and-fuzzy-handcuffs. They don't necessarily perceive themselves as "doing BDSM" but the base desire is there. Rough sex play (usually men dominating women) is endemic in popular culture. Furries are totally outside the mainstream, and I'd wager that a majority of people have not the slightest bit of interest in it (or understanding).

No one should be shit on, of course, but since BDSM has a much wider appeal, it's not a surprise to me that they get less scorn, even though they're more "extreme."
posted by desjardins at 6:59 AM on June 9


I'm not sure that the author is aware that the term "deviant" does not have to have a negative connotation.

A word's meaning consists of both its denotations and its connotations. You can't just decide that the connotations aren't there. The word "deviant" has mostly negative connotations, and it's reasonable for people to take offense to being called deviant because of that.

(Also, beware the etymological fallacy.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:12 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


> It's pretty weird. Good for them for finding something they like, but it's still weird. It doesn't mean they should be bullied, but it seems odd to put this out there and demand that no one think it's strange.

Go ahead and think it's strange. But does that really need to be said again and again and again? What does it add to the conversation here?

Lots of people are weird or strange to others, in all different kinds of ways. Most of us, however, try to be more or less polite about that, especially when talking to those people. Like you are doing now.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:34 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]


You can't just decide that the connotations aren't there.

Who did? I said it doesn't have to have the negative but at the same time I can't pretend that "sexual deviance"means "perversion" because it often does come loaded. Furries are deviants, plain and simple, they deviate from the typical, that's not an invented definition of the term. Furry culture is socially deviant and the sexual aspects are sexually deviant. That isn't a statement of judgement on their morality though some people believe it is becuse they still have the impression that deviance from the cultural norms somehow make you immoral or bad. These are often the people at school that shoved kids into a locker for being "fags" or excluded some "freak" from their clique because she wore the wrong shoes and the ones that stood by and watched because they were too scared to do anything about it. But I digress, no, you're right, you often can't avoid the negative connotations of being a deviant.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:38 AM on June 9


What's there a MTV True Life about furries, that was on TV way back when? I blame a lot of that for the popular perception.

Furries are weird but they are no weirder than Renaissance Faires or football games or me.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:45 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I'm not a furry, but a few of my oldest friends are. As a rule, being a furry has been good for them and their psychological health. It has provided them a sense of adopted family, an art community, meaningful romantic relationships, career contacts, etc. There is an undeniable sexual component for my friends (they like the porn), but, no, that is not the sole point.

I'm actually a bit envious, and wish I had that kind of community in my own life.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:46 AM on June 9


There's something else going on with furries that really tweaks people, and I wish I knew what it was.

My own armchair estimation is that it's a combination of a few factors.

First, furry fandom (as a gathering of people and as a concept) comes off, to an outsider, as just kind of goofy. Even not considering the sexualized parts of it, which we'll get to. And the thing is, I think that's fine. I absolutely do. I think that if you find something in this world which speaks to you on a level that other things don't, you totally should chase your particular blue heaven. And other than its being centered around something which is a little more abstract, it's really not any different from any other fandom I can think of.

Second, it's relatively new. I say relatively because the turn of the century was a long time ago now, but the mainstream really only became aware of furries within the last fifteen or twenty years or so. A lot of the early response to it was fairly shocked, but I think at this point it's well on its way to being seen as just another kinda weird thing done by kinda weird people, and safe to make toothless jokes about, the way we now see Star Trek fandom or whatever. Oh ha ha those crazy Trekkies with their phasers and their mom's basement, et cetera. But I think we're still getting used to it, and it's on its way to becoming background noise.

Third, yeah the sex. People tend to focus on the most tabloidy aspect of anything, and the tabloidy aspects of furry fandom are pretty out there. Nobody who knows what they're talking about would claim that sex is the basis of furry fandom or the only thing going on there, but the thing is, the less sensational aspects of furry are pretty much only interesting to furries. The rest of the world is largely interested in the shock value of a thing. That's not humanity at its best, but it's what we've been given to work with.

I take as axiomatic that any sex act will read as, at best, fairly funny to anyone not interested in having it. I have no doubt - and I am not being sarcastic here - that pretending to be a cartoon fox having cartoon fox sex with someone pretending to be a cartoon skunk is an exquisite, transformative, freeing experience for someone who's wired that way. But if it's not your deal, it's hard not to crack up a little at the thought.

And to some people, if anything it's kind of weirder when an interest in furry is defended as nonsexual. Like, okay if someone just has a fetish for catgirls or whatever, okay, that's weird but it's a fetish and we can basically understand that people have fetishes. But if you're just into the whole scene because, I don't know, Pepe le Pew or Sonic the Hedgehog speak to you on a deep, personal, almost spiritual level...I mean, again, go for it and I'm honestly happy you've found a place where you fit - but that's one of those things that either you get or you don't, and if you don't, you probably never will. It's a completely opaque experience to the outsider. Human beings aren't always great at handling concepts they don't understand, and this is one of those things that's really not easy to make intuitive sense of.

Fourth - and related to the sex - the emergence of furry fandom into mainstream consciousness was accompanied by any number of PR disasters and people who had no business speaking for anyone or anything at any time but nevertheless appointed themselves as spokespersons for the fandom. If you weren't aware of furries at all, your first exposure to them was likely either hearing about some mutant who wrote pages-long defenses of bestiality or yiffing the otter or how they're a nine-tailed fox on the astral plane (none of which are intrinsic to the fandom, I say in the interest of fairness), or someone on a soapbox declaring that if you think it's kind of silly to go around the mall food court with ears and a tail on and barking then you are basically Hitler. Which brings us to...

Fifth, because I think it's worth reiterating, the effect of sensationalism cannot be overstated. Normal, unproblematic people are not news. If there are five hundred completely cool, absolutely down-to-earth people who have a healthy relationship with their own quirks and the expression thereof, and then you have one guy who screams that you're committing a hate crime if you don't think he should wear his coyote costume to work, guess which one you're going to hear about? So unfortunately, most people have a skewed, negative impression of the fandom because the benign are invisible so all they ever see are the crazies.

Plus, like a lot of other fandoms, there's no gate. If you want to be a furry, you're a furry. There's no central authority, no official membership, and there are no appointed spokespeople. When Tress MacNeille had to cancel a couple public appearances because of the fellow who wouldn't stop sending her his erotic Babs Bunny fanfiction, there was no Furry PR Department to come out and declaim the guy.

So that's my take on it. I've got a few friends who are furries, and the way they tend to come at it is to say, "Yeah, it's a little ridiculous, but so are a lot of things, and it's what I'm into, so whatever," and it's all good. Because those same friends have emailed me from Anthrocon or whatever convention they were attending at the time, and it was clear just from a few short emails how overwhelmingly positive the experience was for them. It's not like they chose to be inclined the way they're inclined. This is the hand life dealt them and they spend an inordinate amount of time being made to feel like a freak or a pervert for it. But there are places where they can go and be who they are. There are places where they fit in, where all of a sudden for a couple days and in a highly specific geographic area, they're the norm and not the exception. I may not be able to relate to the specific reasons they suddenly felt like they were walking on air, but I can definitely relate to the experience in a more general sense. We're all weird about something.

I think furries will always be a punchline to some people on some level, but I also think that the novelty is gradually wearing off and over time they'll be seen as just another goofy but harmless subculture, like Trekkies.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:48 AM on June 9 [13 favorites]


I could well be wrong, but that's been my interpretation of why furry culture gets a pretty consistent stink eye

I'm not a furry, but I've been a part of internet fandom for around fifteen years now, and furries were a popular target of mockery there for a while. I think it's died off - it's less cool to mock in general now, but also, furries are passé.

I think it had to do with two things:

It's kind of goofy.

It's kind of popular.

If you think about it, a lot of roleplay is goofy - but some is more normalized than others. Furries weren't known for their socially sanctioned domination fantasies. And yeah, I think that the perceived childishness of putting on an animal costume or imagining yourself as an animal could add to the goofiness, but I never noticed an undercurrent of "for the children" in the mocking. For a lot of fandom, that would be throwing stones at glass houses.

There is a lot of oddball stuff that is just as goofy as sexually explicit furry fanart, but there just weren't the numbers. It would get mocked, but then people would forget about it, because the subculture was small and you'd run out of material.

(Note: I don't think furries are all about teh sex, but it's the sex stuff that got mocked.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:03 AM on June 9


Who did?

You did - or rather, you attempted to, because it's not possible.

You've just reiterated your definition of "deviant," which as far as I can tell is based on an etymological fallacy; it's not how most people use the word. Then you said that furries are sexual deviants, but calling them that isn't a negative judgment because deviating from the norm isn't necessarily bad. You're just choosing to disregard the connotations.

It doesn't work that way, though. You're confusing a hyper-literal denotation of the word for its meaning.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:20 AM on June 9


I'm only about halfway through reading this thread, but it got me idly wondering what my fursona would be. "Something big and soft," I mused to myself, "with really soft, sleek fur. That likes basking in the sun all day."

A cat. My fursona would be a housecat. A plump, couch-pillow type of housecat. The kind that is very pampered and has its own bed in a sunny window and has a very loud purr.

Oh, my goodness. My fursona isn't just any old housecat. That is a spot-on description of my beloved cat Susie, may she rest in peace.

On the one hand, this seems like a really good fit. On the other hand, one wishes for something a bit cooler.

This thread also reminded me that from the ages of about 11 to 17, I commonly fantasized stories in which I made friends with a large animal, like a mythical cave-bear or a dragon, and a big feature of these fantasies was curling up against them to sleep, safely enclosed by their mighty forelimbs. These fantasies are super-easy to interpret if you know how lacking my life was in big people who took good care of me.

I can see how my lazy sun-basking tendencies, and my fantasies of there being someone big in my life I could trust, have played out for me in my life. I can totally imagine a parallel-universe me who is off to the furry convention wearing cat ears and a t-shirt that reads, "Pet Me—I Purr," and who roleplays some kind of caretaker game with with a powerful dragon or wolverine or big soft-bellied bear, which might or might not be sexual. It's really not that much of a stretch.
posted by not that girl at 8:40 AM on June 9 [10 favorites]


not that girl: Welcome to the furry fandom! *hugs*
posted by hippybear at 8:46 AM on June 9 [3 favorites]


And other than its being centered around something which is a little more abstract, it's really not any different from any other fandom I can think of.

And, as someone mentioned upthread, this is one big thing Furries have above most other fandoms. It's not owned.

Brony fanworks that get popular enough to just barely surface into mainstream recognition, like Fighting Is Magic, have to worry that Hasbro's legal department will smash them down. Nearly all fandoms that reach a certain level of popularity ultimately have to consider this, because nearly all fandoms are based on a specific licensed commercial property. Not Furries.
posted by JHarris at 9:31 AM on June 9 [4 favorites]


Dip Flash > In one of the videos that hippybear posted above there's a scene where one of the furries is posing with a smiling kid, which is something I've seen before in furry bios, and that becomes really jarring juxtaposed with drawings and photos and videos of people having sexual encounters in the exact same kinds of costumes and characters (and the masks elide identity, so there's no clear sense that these are different people).

And yet we don't find it jarring when we juxtapose stories of horrible sexual scandals involving politicians - up to and including accusations of child molestation - with photos of them kissing babies on the campaign trail.
posted by egypturnash at 10:25 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]



What's there a MTV True Life about furries, that was on TV way back when? I blame a lot of that for the popular perception.


yeah, there was. That was how I first heard about it, and it definitely was played as weird, or at least i got the impression that the furry kink was weird based on a few episodes. It followed a kid going to a convention and I think having sex with people? Not sure? And also one kid telling his mom about it, which was really awkward. I remember thinking the kids seemed like nice people but that the sex convention seemed really out there.

I remember talking to total strangers about that episode, like "Let's bond over this totally weird thing we saw once" type conversations.

Since then and Metafilter I've learned to see a lot of things as less "weird," so, power to whomever for whatever kinks they have.
posted by sweetkid at 10:27 AM on June 9


I'm a bit surprised with all the talk of having your sexuality informed by anthropomorphised animals nobody has mentioned Fritz the Cat. Or Catwoman. Or the ubiquity of "sexy cat lady' costumes every Hallowe'en.

In any case I think it's weird that the vast legions of anthropomorphised, sexualised robot fans aren't mocked, but for whatever reason people that are into anthropomorphised, sexualised animals are. I mean c'mon, sexy robot ladies have been a thing since back in the days of airbrush art.

This is not to say that I think all furries are into it for the sex, but that for those that are, I don't really see what the big deal is that people who aren't into it seem to get so bent out of shape about.
posted by metameat at 10:32 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]



My intense crush on Robin Hood from the Disney animated film

OK if this makes someone a furry then I am a furry for sure.


I can remember my and all my fellow little-girl friends having a crush on the fox Robin Hood when we saw that movie as kids.
posted by sweetkid at 10:39 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


The following is a real thing that happened. Spoiler: I didn't get the job.

Dear hiring manager,

This writing sample is in no way intended to belittle furry subculture, the Baha’i faith, or Otter Pops—all for which I am privately neutral to enthusiastic. Also, as far as I know, there is no such place as the Tucker Baha’i Unity Arts Center, which, if you ask me, is our collective loss.

FurrFair 2012
North Dekalb’s foxiest round-up of furries and fursuiters gets serious in its second year.

What’s to Do
Arts and crafts
Exhibitors and vendors
Music
Discussion panels
Roleplay

Breakdown
Dust off your plushies. North Dekalb’s premiere furry extravaganza hits its stride with a larger venue and expanded schedule. Relocated to the Tucker Baha’i Unity Arts Center following last year’s record turnout, the 2012 lineup boasts over eight local artists and vendors. Get your whiskers on at the face-painting station, then pad over to the music pavilion for the jungle stylings of DJ Pocket. Mosh until you drop and rehydrate in the chill-out tent. Four left feet? Dance like a herb? Get thee to the real-life discussion forums and check out any of the six panels on topics both practical (plushy pattern design) and informative (fabulist roots of furries in Greek myth), or grab an Otter Pop and browse vendor booths for that perfect Avatar print or collectible. Other area furry conventions may do it bigger but nobody does it with more affordable parking.

Deets
Tucker Baha’i Unity Arts Center, Tucker, GA
Saturday, November 17, 2012
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Fine Print
Free parking (limited availability)
No pets

posted by echocollate at 10:44 AM on June 9 [4 favorites]


My biggest problem with furries is that seeing them in Southern California weather with the damn fursuits on just makes me palpably overheated — it's like cosplaying Arctic Explorers while in the Sahara. I can't believe that more of them don't die of heat exhaustion. If they were only in, like, places that get legit cold, I could understand it. Maybe they're all mesh with secret fans and hidden icepacks?

Re: Internet/derision

The first place I really learned about them was on LiveJournal, which had a big furry community, and also over at /b/, and there was a fair amount of overlap there, and in both cases there were just incredibly earnest furries constantly trying to get other people (who generally didn't give a particular shit about furrydom) to respect them. It was a recipe for mockery — so much so, that there were probably more fake furries there trolling /b/ than there were real ones.

Re: Versus BDSM

The idea that furries take more shit in the real world is, at best, a function of confirmation bias. BDSM regularly comes up in court cases, people get arrested, it's hell in custody battles — there was even a case (oh god, a decade ago now?) where basically a 24/7 d/s relationship either led to what a lot of people in the BDSM community think was a murder (the Delia Day thing) where because of the BDSM, there was no real investigation. But a lot more people lose their jobs being outed as into BDSM than for being into fursuits.
posted by klangklangston at 6:36 PM on June 9


secret fans and hidden icepacks?

Fans mounted in the headpiece and ice vests are certainly a thing.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:59 PM on June 9


> I can't believe that more of them don't die of heat exhaustion. If they were only in, like, places that get legit cold, I could understand it. Maybe they're all mesh with secret fans and hidden icepacks?

This is actually a major concern for cons that occur in the summer during warm weather; every furry con I've been to has at least one dedicated fursuit lounge that is well stocked with water and large fans, and there are water coolers and pitchers of icewater throughout the con space. And, as radwolf mentioned, some suiters have heat mitigation apparatus as part of their suit.

Also, it's great to see some of the awesome responses to this thread. I was initially tempted to write something myself after seeing some of the initial comments, but I can't think of anything that wasn't already covered.
posted by Aleyn at 8:12 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


The news about Gangnam Style's gigantic view count and the PSY thread that was posted earlier reminded me, there is a furry remake that is oddly fun to watch.
posted by hippybear at 11:42 PM on June 9


Definitely check out that Gangnam Style link. Those people are having fun, and it is infectious.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:24 AM on June 10


With a cameo by kabouter buttplug I see.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:58 AM on June 10


Disney's "Robin Hood" : 1973 :: "What Does the Fox Say?" : 2013 ?

Because an awful lot of little kids were obsessed with that video...
posted by Asparagirl at 10:13 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


xkcd.
posted by homunculus at 10:56 PM on June 10


My wife and I still say "Did you meow?" "Not once!" to each other when one of us is in her Full Professional Office Lady Getup.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:09 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


The power of an animal costume.
posted by The otter lady at 5:11 PM on June 11 [8 favorites]


That was really cool. And well written. "The thing about being an unstoppable force is that you can really only enjoy the experience of being one when you have something to bash yourself against. You need to have things trying to stop you so that you can get a better sense of how fast you are going as you smash through them."
posted by cribcage at 9:26 PM on June 11


The power of an animal costume.

Goodness. That was a very entertaining thing to read.

I'm in my mid-40s, and I recently acquired one of these. Once I got it, I basically wanted to LIVE in it. I'm afraid I got a bit of a reputation in the neighborhood because I don't smoke inside the house, and I was That Guy On The Corner Wearing The Bear Suit after about a month.

(One evening very late I was standing out front smoking and this guy came walking down the street, I noticed him about 2 blocks away, he was singing along with his iPod. I just stood there and smoked and then stood VERY still as he got close to my house. He suddenly froze in his tracks and stared at me, and then said just barely loud enough for me to hear, "I don't see you standing there" and proceeded to walk past me VERY slowly until he was just past the property line and then he broke into a run and disappeared around a corner at the end of the next block. To this day, I wonder what he was thinking.)

I've been sensible enough to change out of it if, say, I need to make a late-night beer run or something. Well, mostly. Okay, there was that once. No, twice, that I went to the nearest grocery store wearing it. (Hey, it was really cold, and that thing is WARM!) Okay, and also that one time picking up food at the drive through. BUT OTHER THAN THAT...
posted by hippybear at 11:33 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


It took a whole month? My neighborhood is full of people who became That Guy with All the Books or the Chick Who Carries an Accordion overnight.
posted by gingerest at 12:44 AM on June 12


He suddenly froze in his tracks and stared at me, and then said just barely loud enough for me to hear, "I don't see you standing there" and proceeded to walk past me VERY slowly until he was just past the property line and then he broke into a run and disappeared around a corner at the end of the next block.

I think that must be the non-gamer version of "I roll to disbelieve."
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:18 AM on June 12


LOL Bearsuit.
posted by klangklangston at 11:42 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


If you had to pin down an origin, it's probably all those Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons many of us grew up with.

Or, you know, it could have been this. Just sayin'.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:21 AM on June 13


Or, you know, it could have been this. Just sayin'.

OMG PREHISTORIC FURVERTS
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:16 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


It is a concept that has been around for a long long time.
posted by hippybear at 10:19 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I aten't a fur. But I'm pretty sure my spirit animal is a badger who talks like a NY cabbie, so I'm down with the bear jams.
posted by mikurski at 9:47 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Which, not to derail, is really fucking weird within the context of the Disney universe, honestly. It's a dog who has another dog as a pet.

Goofy isn't a dog, he's a dingo.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:15 AM on June 28


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