17 January 2016
Being A Furry, What Does It Mean?
There is no one single definition of what a furry is. Even within the furry fandom people cannot always agree on just what makes a person a furry or not. Some would argue that to be a furry, you must think and talk like one (i.e. use furry specific words and phrases). Even if you go to conventions, wear a fursuit, draw the art, write the stories, etc. but don't talk using furry lingo, you're not a furry. Basically, someone that may walk the walk but doesn’t talk the talk. Others would argue that even liking anthropomorphic creatures makes you a furry. You may have no idea the furry fandom exists or have ever heard of a furry convention, let alone any of the websites; simply liking 'anthro' critters makes you a furry.
The way I see it, if you do or if you don’t consider yourself a furry is a matter of personal opinion. As with any hobby, most furries are normal people just like anyone you'll meet at work/school or going to/from work/school or anywhere. Then there is the small percent that are hard core fans and have taken what for most is a hobby and perverted it (sometimes in an all to literal sense). As is with so many other things in life, the few that take it too far tend to be the loudest. The silent majority are often forced into silence by the loud majority for fear that people will label them as being in the same class as the minority that have perverted it. One unfortunate side effect of the internet and the relative anonymity that some sites grant their users is people are able to engage in activities (even if only on a virtual level) that they would never even consider doing in real life. An example of this is trolls of message boards that say things to people they’d never say to them in person. I think a lot of the stereotypes associated with furries are because of this.
In conclusion, as with any hobby, there are some furries that have taken it too far and/or perverted what for many is a fun harmless hobby. If only the silent majority were not so silent, people would realize there is more to furries then perversion.
The Furry community
The furry community, is basically a sub-culture, referred to by many as furry fandom or just the fandom, it is the virtual universe inhabited by all those who refer to themselves as "Furries." It is a separate entity from what many fans of furry entertainment mean when they use the term furry fandom. To a traditional furry fan, furry fandom means fans of furry characters, period. But the community encompasses a great deal more than just the fandom for furry characters. It includes elements of religion, lifestyle and philosophy. "Furriness" is the action of doing anything related to the furry character of a person
The most commonly stated interest cited among members of the community, other than an enjoyment of furry entertainment, is a sense some may have of personally identifying with a certain kind of animal. This is a relatively common aspect of human nature. Many people may feel an affinity for a certain type of animal. Marketers of collectibles have been creating products for people with such feelings for generations. Though it has rarely been something one had an open atmosphere in which to explore and get more deeply in touch with. The furry community, through its many virtual role play environments, provides this avenue for exploration into why certain people feel their particular affinity. Some may view animals with a kind of religious reverence reminiscent of Buddhism, Shamanism or Otherkin. They may feel that they are the reincarnation of an animal, or that an animal spirit watches over them.
Because the furry genre is widely considered to be a children’s market, there is a considerable lack of furry entertainment specifically geared to adult aged audiences. The community of mostly adult aged furry fans that has formed around the genre is particularly dedicated to filling the need for such products through fan creativity. Content available from furry fans on the internet and at conventions covers a wide range of interests, including all manner of fantasy, philosophy, sex, politics, religion and lifestyle.
The genre is considered to be so versatile that it can extend into just about any form of creativity, from things as simple as recipe books with anthropomorphic illustrations to technical creations as complicated as interactive furry companions for your desktop. Other forms of furry craftsmanship include the creation of flash animation and fursuits.
But by far the most prolific output of furry fandom is artwork. Furry artwork produced by the fandom ranges from basic cartooning to highly detailed works fit for hanging in galleries. Furry artists also create a wide variety of comic strips. The subject matter of this artwork being as flexible as any other area of the furry arts, ranging from innocent depictions of cute furry character suitable for all ages, to mature works that are age restricted. There is also some writing in the furry fandom.
Others may join the furry community simply because it is a free environment where one can form friendships without the normal social problems of having to hide one’s sexual orientation. It is also a place where some may come to find compassionate understanding and assistance with personal problems. The furry community prides itself on a concept of open mindedness and tolerance.
Many people misunderstand the fandom due to a lack of non-prejudicial information being available. In many cases, the first things outsiders see of the fandom is sensationalistic fiction on TV shows. Others may take note of the adult themed art on the net and assume this is the whole point of the fandom.
Erotic furry art
If one looks on games like Star Fox and movies like Over The Hedge as the main furry genre, and the erotic art coming out of the community as a parody of the main genre, a direct parallel to anime and hentai can be seen as well as a parallel with the general fantasy genre and erotic fantasy art. Types of hentai might straddle both furry and non-furry genre. The major difference is that the output of furry titles by major companies is relatively small when compared to the output of other genres.
Thus it is easy to mistake the mature art aspect of furry fandom for being more prominent than in other fandoms. When, in reality, the amount of erotic content coming out of the furry community pales in comparison to the anime/manga erotic output, which is much better organized and even supported by the main industry.
Anime fans enjoy the availability of endless hours of erotic animation created by professional companies, and even the erotic manga comics created by anime fans display a level of professionalism that furry artists can not even begin to aspire to. Yet, this tends to not be a problem for anime fandom, as the high output of non-erotic anime keeps the erotic subgenre in perspective as parody. While with furry fandom, it is highly likely that the first output of the fandom an outsider will see will be something of an erotic nature or sexual humor art.
In years past, the only value the mainstream media has seen in furry fandom has been over emphasis on the fetishists and lifestylers within the community. Many of those who were interviewed for such media portrayals claim they were deliberately misquoted. As a result, misunderstanding of the nature of the fandom has been widespread. However, this appears to be changing, as less sensational media sources are starting to take note of the community, which are more inclined to see interest in the fandom aspect.