What is a Furry?

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What is a furry?

Resources to learn about Furries and the Furry Fandom

What is the fandom?

The furry fandom is an enigmatic collective of free-spirited and creative 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. However, most of the time, the characters represented within the Furry Fandom are original creations. These characters, called “Fursonas” are often the embodiment of characteristics and personality traits members wish they could express more often, and being able to perform as these characters under certain settings is simply a from of creative expression.

The furry community strives to create a welcoming space for creatives who simply share this affinity for character and performance based on anthropomorphic traits. In addition to hosting or attending furry-centric events, the fandom often participates in charity or community events, supports local businesses, and is always willing to brighten the day of both our fellow members and the general public.

The vast and overwhelming majority of furries know that their characters are a form of performance art. 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 have laser vision. However, furries 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.

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 incorrectly assume most members of the fandom are Therians (which, unlike Furries, are people who believe they are animals psychologically). They may also assume the fandom is a platform for sexual deviance, or for people who are attracted to animals in an unsavory manner. This is not only false, but the community, as a whole, openly rejects such extreme behavior, especially if it is disruptive to other communities. We appreciate that there are moments where characters may be presented or expressed sexually, but this is not unlike any other fandom where sex is a form of expression linked to the individual rather than the community as a whole. 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? The overwhelming majority of members in the furry community are interested in the arts, crafts, and character performance associated with the fandom more than anything else.

So, where did this stigma come from? Your guess is as good as ours! The media has played a small part in the negative press furries receive, often sensationalizing a small group of extreme individuals within the fandom to create a more controversial story to drive engagement, and in some cases, outrage. But, as with any sensationalized story, there is always a bigger picture. It’s clear that every culture and subculture has bad actors or individuals who take things to the extreme in a manner that may bring the whole community down. Even certain churches, pastors, and religious communities across the globe have had allegations and convictions related to sexual deviancy, but that doesn’t mean families are pulling their kids out of church en masse. Also, contrary to what the media says, on the rare occasions where bad actors within the fandom engage in unacceptable behavior, the community universally condemns and rejects such behavior.

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 either have Autistic Spectrum Disorder, neurodivergence, or other traits that make social interaction in conventional spaces difficult. It’s also common for furry community members to align with LGBTQ+ values. But a large portion of the community are made up of folks who are simply interested in the creativity, expression, and community that comes with the fandom.

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.

VOX Article – 9 questions about furries you were too embarrassed to ask

“Furries — people with an interest in anthropomorphized animals, like Sonic the Hedgehog or Pokémon — have come in for a lot of ridicule over the years from posters on sites like Something Awful and 4chan. Mainstream press accounts tend to portray furries as sexual fetishists united by a common interest in sex in animal costumes. But survey evidence suggests a lot of these stereotypes are wrong (very few furries think sex in animal costumes is a good idea, for instance). Here’s a brief guide to the furry community, which hopefully can clear up some of these misunderstandings.”

Read the full article on VOX…

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.