Foreign Furry Fandoms: Brazil

The fifth largest country in the world in both size and population takes up nearly half of South America’s land mass. Possibly most notable to foreigners for Carnival (“Carnaval” in Portuguese), encapsulating 60% of the most biodiverse forest in the world, football (“soccer” here in America), and a 130-foot tall statue of Jesus Christ iconic of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is a richly cultured country, so of course it’s bound to have a fascinating furry population.

Christ The Redeemer

It’s kind of an iconic statue.

The fuzzballs I talked to were very receptive and really enjoyed talking about the furry atmosphere that thrives where they live. One of the respondents, Koush, mentioned that much of the “furry” population of Brazil is focused in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Curitiba, which are Brazil’s first, second, sixth, and eighth largest cities, respectively.

I talked to three furs who all gave input on the nation’s furries: Nisharu Etzel, Koush, and Tanuki Gokuhi. As per the format, their responses are summarized below.

 “Furmeets”, small gatherings of 10-40 or 50 furries, usually at a furry’s house, are popular in America. Do those exist in Brazil, and if so, are they prevalent?

These are often held at public places; malls, zoos, cafes, restaurants, and parks were all cited. Koush mentions that many furries are young enough to still live with their parents. This isn’t uncommon. Survey data posted from the Anthropomorphic Research Project suggests that 70% or so of furries are under 25 years old. Where I live, meets are held exclusively at an older couple’s home. Public Brazilian furry events can have up to 20-30 participants, while smaller gatherings at homes are usually just close friends and go up to maybe 8-10.

How important is sexuality to Brazilian furries?

I have to admit, this one always makes me laugh. It’s such a divisive topic and everyone always has something different to say and people always have some fun insight into the subject. It’s mentioned that there’s plenty of sex appeal in the art and the RP activities. Koush did mention that there’s a strong tendency towards homosexuality within furries in Brazil, that since a lot of furries are young that they’re still closeted about their sexuality, and that furry is a sort of hand-holding support for them to be more open about bi- or homosexuality. This phenomenon is discussed in depth here on adjective|species by JM here. In short, “furry” can act as a sort of gateway sexuality, allowing for people to accept homosexuality in a more comfortable and low-stress environment, and this leads to more people sort of realigning their sexuality as they progress in life. It happens in Brazil just as it happens everywhere else.

Is there a skew towards gay/bisexuals in the fandom like there is in the American fandom?

I have a feeling this is going to continue being answered in the previous question. Tanuki suggests around 2/3 Brazilian furries are gay or bisexual, a rough equivalent to the degree of homosexuality elsewhere. The agreement was strong on this one.

How do Brazilian furries see the American furries? What do they think of us?

I really liked the responses to this. Nisharu and Tanuki mention that there’s some sort of admiration. It’s easy to argue that America is the most furry-active part of the world, and that lends to the idea that there’s somewhat of a privilege here. Conventions and meets are common, and the “furry” population here is huge. As Koush adds, there’s also another dynamic at work. Since Brazil’s furry fandom is still a new concept, they can see some of the territory we tread and adjust accordingly. America’s furry activity is laced with sex scandal, and Koush mentions that there’s an aura of precaution: “let’s grow like them, but avoiding those points”. America sort of pioneers the idea of “furry”, and other budding furry populations get the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.

Captain America Eagle by Jaleo

We’re sort of like a rowdy older sibling; the younger sibling gets to watch us make all the life mistakes so that he doesn’t end up repeating them.

Do furries in Brazil have a strong internet presence? How important is social networking over the internet?

The furry population of Brazil, according to Koush, probably doesn’t exceed a thousand. This is in the fifth largest country in the world. Furries are very scattered. Social networking over the internet is very important. The national language is Portuguese, so there’s a significant language barrier with Americans over the internet as well. It’s why many Brazilian furs aren’t as active on FurAffinity. However, there are plenty of Brazil-specific furry websites. Tanuki says the biggest is Fauna Urbana, a news and social site. Brazil also has its own e-commerce site that resells for SofaWolf, RabbitValley, and FurPlanet at www.furries.com.br. There are also some prolific Brazilian artists such as Nexus, Ursofofinho, and FurryBob.

What differences do you think there are in the artistic styles of Brazilian and American furries?

Nothing special here. Brazilian artists dabble in all mediums and styles. Tanuki does mention that the art seems more “warm” like the people of the country.

Cary Raepper by CarykaibaI couldn’t find a particularly Brazilian motif or style, so here’s a picture by Carykaiba, a Brazilian artist, of her fursona looking rather like “PaRappa the Rapper” – awesome.

What does the fandom mean to you?

Plenty of pretty common themes here. The creation of a second identity to use to interact with people. An escape from the real world into something more imaginative. Tanuki compared it to a massive multiplayer “real life”. Koush, an admin on both Fauna Urbana and Abando, Brazil’s big furry gathering, naturally has plenty vested into “furry”. Lots of ways to be involved.

Abando Promotional Art

I lied! I totally do have culturally-influenced art to post! This is some old promo art for Abando I found back when I wrote that article about international furry conventions. Charming, isn’t it?

What does the fandom mean to those in your region/locally?

Basically between a simple “It’s a thing to do for fun”, to breaking it down into categories: art, sex, escape, religion, socializing. Everyone dabbles in something or other.

How is furry seen as by non-furries in Brazil?

Just like anywhere in the world, not many non-furries know about furries. Public opinion is difficult to gauge, but these articles are about subjective impressions, not hard statistics. One felt like opinion might be better than it is in America, simply thinking they’re “weird people in animal suits” since the stigma American furries have largely doesn’t exist in Brazil. Or, maybe the opposite of that. My favorite response, from Tanuki, suggests that those who aren’t furries but know about furries think they’refreaks/zoophiles/pedophiles/nuts and have a severe mental problem and should be fixed by applying severe and experimental treatments as seen on Fringe.” Admittedly, I chuckled when I read that. It’s a great way of wording it, for sure.

How are fursuits different in Brazil from America?

This was the most interesting set of responses. Faux fur, it turns out, is very low quality in Brazil. It’s also extraordinarily expensive to import. Tanuki mentions that a few fuzzies are great at making fursuits, but the lack of good materials is still a handicap. Koush mentions seeing good faux fur only once, only in black, only in one style, for $80/m2. Taxes also end up increasing the price. It’s an interesting problem I would have never suspected of a large country like Brazil.

Faux FurWorth its weight in gold in Brazil.

What do people do in fursuit in Brazil? Community activities? Furmeet activities? Just private/conventions?

Just about the same as meets. Some people fursuit at Abando. Some fursuit at meets. However, the main fursuiting activity seems to be just hanging around in public at malls, parks, and the like, just to show off and interact. Nothing to do with any sort of “community” like the zoo volunteering I’ve heard of. Seems like a simpler “Let’s hang out and wander around!” idea. Which, to be sure, is awesome.

And that’s that. As always, it was a pleasure to get an insight into a new exotic area and to learn not only more about other furries but ultimately more about our own. I’d like to continue this as a recurring sort of series. Stay tuned and shoot me any ideas you’d like to see next time!

References:

About zik

Zik is an otter who’s been dabbling around the furry fandom for nearly a decade. When he isn’t doing schoolwork, he spends time raging at videogames as well as hunting down music, art… and fish.

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