…The Secret Life of Pets
Ratchet and Clank
Sing, the Movie
…Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows!
My fellow hairless “naked mole rats” of the primate family, 2016 is set to be the year of the Furries. They’re running amuck! BUT FEAR NOT! For once, this journalist is not referring to “gay men having sex in animal costumes”.
(Dramatic whisper) No…
There’s a much bigger picture here that most people seem to be missing. So unlike so many before me, I will be doing my actual duty as a journalist and shedding some clarity on this fuzzy subject and preventing any fur-ther confusion.
A Furry is an animal depicted as a character.
But, a Furry is also a person who’s a fan of animals being depicted as characters.
In my writing career, I’ve prided myself in my ability to make other cultures make sense to people. But what I find bizarre about furries is how out of whack their public image is. In researching for this story, I thought to myself “For such a huge diverse community that loves non-human characters, how bad could the stereotypes be?”
An episode of ER
An episode of CSI
An episode of The Drew Carey Show
An episode MTV’s SEX2K
An episode of Entourage
An episode of 1000 Ways to Die
An episode of Tosh.0
An episode of 30 Rock
An episode of Orange is the New Black
An episode of Dr. Phil
Article in WIRED magazine
Article in Vanity Fair magazine
Column from Savage Love
Holy Fucking Fursuits, it’s worse than I thought…
“I think problem is that [stories about] sex sell [for the corporate media],” said writer Ian Wolf, in his interview from one of first balanced articles on our favorite costume wearing people with “species identity disorder”: BBC’s “Who Are The Furries?” (Interestingly, the article also compares it with “gender identity disorder” making one think about how quick we were, and are, to label those who are the least bit different.)
“The public tends to be very suspicious of things they don’t understand, with an inclination to presume it’s in some way perverted,” said Samuel Conway, a research scientist and chairman of the largest Furry fan convention in the world, Anthrocon, which sees a stampede of 6000 attendees each year. (His commentary and more can be found in the article: “It’s not About Sex, It’s about Identity: Why the Furry Fandom is Unique Amongst Fan Cultures”.
Indeed, I won’t be the first journalist to have discovered the largely innocent nature of these “incredible friendly party animals” like:
City Paper’s Melissa Meinzer
Hartford Advocate’s Jennifer Abel
The Stranger’s Matt Baume
Kotaku’s Patrica Hernandez
Debra W. Soh from Men’s Health or
NBC’s Amna Nawaz who visited the legendary (in Furry terms) Anthrocon, which I may add is one of 50 to 100 conventions that happen across the world annually!
It goes without saying. Furries are a thing. There’s an inside joke furries often have about their niche obsession someday “going mainstream!” Whether that will ever happen, jokes and not taking anything seriously seems to be the prevailing mood in any Furry community. Either way, according to National Geographic, the community could potentially number in the millions.
“Cartoon animals have a universal appeal,” said Conway from It’s Not about Sex. “A love of animals and a fascination with the idea of them acting as we do transcends most national, geographic and religious boundaries” Some Furries even go as far back as the anthropomorphic beings in Egyptian mythology citing how the Furry fandom in truth encompasses a very long-standing concept.
“For me, I started getting into it when I started drawing dragons, and then I was like… ‘Oh, what if I drew like a dragon DUDE with a normal body but with a dragon head, that would be so fucking edgy!’ And then I found out there were already thousands of people doing that… so I joined them!” said quick-tongued Furry YouTube blogger Blü. Some non-Furries, like the host of YouTube’s Gnoggin, hilariously argue that anthropomorphizing animals may be a very human way of making stories memorable. (And I’m sure all the Dandy Dickians of our site have noticed the Furries in our intro video, right?)
Video bloggers, like the well spoken demolisher of misconceptions on YouTube’s Culturally F’d, take it a step further in saying that wanting to actually take on the personas of these “cool animal dudes” like an avatar is an obvious place any fan community would take it.
“Yes, there’s lots of role play in the fandom,” starts Blü, “and being a fandom that creates [and celebrates] characters, of course there’s going to be role play. It helps you realize the character!”
“Furries are fans of each other,” adds Conway from It’s not About Sex. “Star Trek fans are chasing someone else’s dream. Furries create our own fandom.“
In Culturally F’d, you can learn about the evolution of the fandom touching on lesser-known facts like how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles likely brought comics into the mainstream or how there are so many white gay males in the fandom because some of the very first online environments (called MUDs) were “safe spaces” for LGBT men in universities with anonymous furry avatars. (According to the International Anthropomorphic Research Project funded by Canada, 14-25 percent of people in the fandom identify as gay with another 37-52 percent identifying as bisexual – much of this likely because of the sex-positive and open nature of Furry communities.)
In other videos from Culturally F’d, the host also goes over Furry lingo, addresses all the stereotypes dogging the fandom and even talks about how the pro-touchy-feely attitude in the community has become a social statement about how humans block themselves off from each other. Which lead to the creation of films like The Animal Project. (Suffice to say, the film’s touching.) On that note, a surprising number of stories from the fandom have similar themes of shy people having their lives changed as soon as they disappeared into their first costume. (Watch Furries: A Fandom, A Lifestyle)
“OK. OK. So all of this is cool... and stuff, I guess,” you may bark at me. “BUT WHAT’S WITH THOSE STUPID SUITS?”
Well, the concept is pretty simple. The natural evolution of any fandom about characters would be to encourage cosplaying as their characters, right? And it’d probably end up looking like hotels full of mascot performers. (Unfortunately, not every fandom can look as badass as a cosplay convention.)
Interestingly, according to the IARP, 39 percent said that if they were given the opportunity to be anything other than human, they would take it. Personally reminding me of the futuristic world of Batman Beyond where splicing your DNA to take on animal characteristics became a huge fad amongst teens. Stalking Cat (featured on Totally Obsessed and seven other shows) of the Native American Wyandot tribe himself identified with furries, where in his culture, altering your body to resemble your totem was a spiritual practice. (Also check out Lizardman while you’re at it!)
No matter how you philosophize it though, the fandom has always been and always will be a social group of artists, and there’s real money in it! (“Furry” is now your new favorite word, I’m sure.) A single suit can cost thousands (one even went for $18,000), which explains why according to the IARP, only 10 percent of Furries actually own a fursuit, which REALLY makes you question how much the media preoccupy themselves with the extreme. And for many, like suit-maker Sarah Dee, it’s their full time job that has them booked for 12 months. “If this was me from seven year ago, I would have been like, ‘Uh, OK, this is weird.’ But I think if 8-year-old me walked down here right now, I would be so excited and think I had the coolest job in the world.” It’s a big market, as the video “Furryconomics” explains. Special commissions from anthropomorphic artists can go for $500-3000, ears/tails range from $20-200, while common commissions like those below often go for $150.
“Oh! I get it now. So Furries are just lovers of innocent, fuzzy, scaled and feathered cartoon characters, right? Ha ha ha...”
While I have always understood the fandom on four levels, as a fandom first, an art community second, a lifestyle role-play community third, the last part of it is an undeniable part of the fascination for some. Yes, porn of anthropomorphic characters and people who have sex in fursuits do exist in the fandom… but Furries make no attempt to hide any of it.
“Acting as if we’re doing something to be ashamed of and denying this side to the fandom only reinforces the stigma that we are doing something totally outlandish that should be shunned,” said host of Culturally F’d addressing a media controversy.
Plus, I think Furries may have a point… nonhuman beasty dudes are kinda hot.
And given the anatomically correct attention to detail so many shows have given to their characters like Digimon or Thundercats, you can’t help but wonder if sexy people with animal characteristics really is that much of a stretch…
When it comes down to it, according to IARP, 20 percent of all furry content on the internet is mature (which falls in line with porn in general on the internet: 4-30 percent). As far as how many Furries are in it for the porn, it’s fairly split down the middle. You can check every Furry site yourself if you’d like!
(In case I missed some, here are nearly 300 more…)
There’s also a website called Bad Dragon that sells sex toys that allow you fantasize about being fucked by a man-beast.
“Yes, Furry porn is a thing… but there’s porn of fucking everything! Fucking. Everything!” said YouTuber Blü. “You’re not actually attracted to dogs and cats, you’re attracted to PEOPLE who have attributes of those animals,” said young YouTube life coach Onision. (It’s also worth noting that the amount of zoophiles in the fandom is only a single percent higher (16 percent) than outside the fandom (15 percent), with Furries attracted to stuffed animals coming in at just 1 percent.)
“BUT WHAT ABOUT FURSUIT SEX!?” you ask.
Well yes, it’s a topic surrounding furries that’s often all the rage and not in a hot way. But it’s an interesting one to say the least. Firstly, since only 10 percent of furries even own suits, likely even fewer use their expensive suits for sex in the first place.
But to honest, everyone seems to utterly fail at the logic we’ve built up to, let alone separate the fandom from the fetish itself. It goes like this: When you find muscular dragon dudes hot, you’re likely going to want to dress up as one and fantasize having sex with another muscular dragon dude.
While the whole world likely see’s a freakish fetish for mascot costumes, they’re likely just trying to live out the fantasy of being these beasty people in the closest way they can. (It’s not their fault it looks so goofy.)
But I digress. Blü says it best: “Don’t judge another person for their interests because we all know you’re into some freaky shit behind closed doors!”
In the end, we’re all into things that most other people would never be able to understand; this especially goes for interests that don’t make automatic sense to outsiders on the surface. But certainly what I’ll never be able to understand is our insatiable urge to make a big fucking deal over that obvious truth.
Personally, I love strange, I love different and I love things that confuse me because it makes me realize how many crazy ways there are to experience fun, beauty and passion in this world. Life’s best crazy, man, so why not be crazy? We just need to practice our most human talent, which is to love, because we’re really just mammals…
So let’s do it like they do it on the discovery channel.
Sources: Disney, Paramount Pictures, Sony Computer Entertainment, Illumination Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Anthrocon, Universal Pictures, Namco Bandai and Dart Dense Boy, FayneofFur, Demonic Conpendium, CYBERCAT, Narse, Ezwolf, Jailbird
And who the hell am I? If you’ve been following the blog at all, you may have wondered out of which horny hole this perverted punk has stepped. I won’t reveal too much – a bit of mystery is sexy, right? But a few things may be in order.
First, I was born in that part of the world that most people think is actually Canada, but it’s not. I was born in Alaska. Who would have thought that place could produce more than oil and Sarah Palin – two decidedly unsexy things.
Second, I’m no stranger to sex on screen. I appeared in two arty porn films with DVD releases: one in San Francisco and one here in Berlin. There may be other footage of me out there, but if so, I don’t know where. And yup, I moved to Berlin from gay ol’ San Francisco, where I learned to be a proper fag and how to be a writer all at the same time.
There’s more from San Francisco coming your way via Dandy Dicks, so stay tuned.
But I left San Francisco. And took my heart with me. Five years now in Berlin and I can’t think of a better place to be. I’ve been making it here as a writer ever since and I’m happy to report there’s no going back.
I think I’ve given you enough of the basics. More you’ll just have to find out either through this blog or a little Google. But I hope with that you stick around Dandy Dicks – for this blog and of course, the boys!