What is a Furry?

What is a furry?

Resources for families and parents

What is the fandom?

The furry fandom is an enigmatic collective of free-spirited and creative individuals who are often painted in a negative light. Media and other communities tend to regard the furry fandom as being dominated by either social immaturity or sexual deviance, but these stereotypes (like most stereotypes) are an unfair assessment. The furry fandom is a community that strives to create a welcoming space for creatives who simply share an affinity for character and performance based on anthropomorphic traits. The vast and overwhelming majority of furries know that their characters are a form of performance art and expression. Unlike what politicians and the media might say, most furries do not believe they are actually animals or that they identify as animals. It’s much like how folks who attend comic book conventions understand that dressing up like Superman doesn’t mean they can fly or stop bullets.

The fandom has a diverse collection of individuals, including artists, costume makers, performers, musicians, and more. If you could compare the fandom to any other sub-culture, it would be pop-culture communities like cosplayers or comic book/MARVEL fans who enjoy embodying or performing as characters to express their love for the subject material or show pride in their creativity. The only difference is furries enjoy embodying characters that look and act like anthropomorphic animals. That is animals with human traits, like standing on two legs and dressing in conventional clothing. This is not unlike how most Disney characters are represented.

Why is there such a negative stigma?

This is an excellent question. Many negative stigmatizations surface when people outside the fandom think of furries. They consider the fandom a platform for sexual deviance for people who are attracted to animals in an unsavory manner. This is not only false but this behavior is actively rejected within the fandom. The community, as a whole, openly rejects such behavior. We appreciate that there are moments where characters may be presented sexually, but this is not unlike any other fandom where sex is a form of expression linked to the individual rather than the community. Think of Catwoman from the Batman lore. She is often overwhelmingly sexualized within the comic book character and costuming scene. But is it fair to judge the comic book costume scene as a platform for sexual deviants aligned with animals as a result of this?

So, where did this stigma come from? Your guess is as good as ours! Yes, it’s true that on rare occasions, fandom members will act out in a manner that even the furry fandom will strongly condemn. But we must understand that every culture and subculture will have bad actors that may bring the whole community down. Even the Catholic Church has a reputation that has resulted from allegations and convictions related to sexual deviancy, but that doesn’t mean families are pulling their kids out of church en masse.

Ultimately, we believe that these stigmas come from a lack of understanding. People are afraid of what they do not understand, and the furry fandom is undoubtedly weird enough to be subjected to this judgment.

Why are furries so weird?

It’s a statistically sound observation that many members of the furry community tend to be either on the spectrum (Autism) or have other traits that make social interaction in conventional spaces difficult. It’s also common for furry community members to align with LGBTQ+ values.

These traits and behaviors are not the result of the fandom; rather, the fandom is a vehicle and platform for judgment-free expression where these traits are not considered negatively or punished. This is why many people judged or pushed out of other communities will often gravitate to the furry fandom. The fandom acts as a conduit to allow individuals to break past social barriers and express themselves. To see a person with social anxiety able to smile as they express themselves as a different character is magical, and no parent or family member should treat such an incredible display of creative expression as a blight.

What are some other resources to look up?

We get it. You want to know about the fandom and may not be willing to take one platform’s word for it. This is why we have provided some additional resources below.

The Moms of Furries

An excellent resource created by two moms who have learned that the fandom means for their children.

The Fandom (a furry documentary)

THE FANDOM is a documentary film about the furry fandom. It dives headfirst into the imaginative world of “FURRIES,” the often-misunderstood internet subculture of fans of the anthropomorphic arts. Using a bountiful collection of archival tapes and images, this documentary traces the evolution of the furry fandom from its roots in the 1970s to the expansive, international community it has become today. Join a host of charming characters (including the grandparents of the fandom itself) on this heart-warming journey through the decades; witness the many triumphs and challenges that shaped “furry” into the most unique fandom of all time.