Gay Furries and Sexism: A Recursive Loop

Guest post by Witchie (@witchiebunny). Witchie is just, loyal, patient and true just like any other Hufflepuff. She also thinks way too much for her own good.

At the risk of sounding clichéd, please allow me to introduce myself: I am commonly known as Witchiebunny; artist, gamer, sometime podcaster and all around good-natured lapine.

I noticed a recent article here on [a][s] made reference to a post of mine on another blog from sometime ago. I addressed a conversation I found myself in whilst dealing with some comments I felt, and still do feel, were sexist.

For a bit of contextual framing: at the time I was a Fur Affinity admin using various communities, including Livejournal,  as a way to stay in contact with users who did not generally get face-time with FA admins any other way. In the process of reading a post regarding a then fellow admin, I noticed a comment made about said colleague by a male, and gay, furry:

“Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that she goes on the warpath every 28 days or so?”

 

Guys, if you’re out there, reading this, let me give you this bit of advice: period jokes aren’t funny. They’re not cool, and the only ones who are going to laugh are those who, in general, hate women.

Upon reading this comment, I replied. “Not cool,” said I. “Seriously, I hate misogynistic comments like this.

The response? “*shrugs* meh.

Meh? That’s it? Called out on your misogyny and all you can say for yourself is “Meh”?

Eventually, I was told that it was simply a joke that I was reading way too much into and that I was overthinking. My favorite was the apology given:

“okay… let me clarify this since you’re taking this waaaay to personally.

this was a stab at [insert name of admin here], not all women everywhere. if it was interpreted as being a stab at all women everywhere, well, it was never intended as such.

better?”

 

This is an attitude I’ve encountered all over the internet, but never so prevalently waved around, and proudly, than among gay men within the furry fandom.

As a perfect example, I once engaged in a conversation with a friend who was opposed to the idea of breastfeeding in public. He called it gross, and disgusting. (the discussion of public breastfeeding is one for another time and blog, and won’t be gone into here.) I stuck up for the right to breastfeed in public and was presented with an analogy of public breastfeeding to public fellatio. Upon calling out this comment as misogynistic, I was contacted by this friend’s boyfriend whom I was also friends with, and asked why I was trying to “censor” his SO.

The conversation came down to this friend’s assertions of the following points:

  1. Women want special treatment to feed their babies in public because they’re too selfish to stay at home and feed in private where it’s proper,
  2. Women didn’t want this special treatment in the past, because these are recent laws and what about women who just made do with this in hundreds of years prior,
  3. That women always wanted special treatment for stuff and why couldn’t they just suck it up like men.

All of which culminated into:

  1. That I, as a woman and also as a minority had MORE power and privilege than he did as a cisgendered white male.

Now I make no bones about, nor apologize for the fact that I am a feminist of a certain stripe. There are certain words and behaviors that I recognize as being sexist and harmful, and I recognize the attitudes that, at the core, make up these behaviors.

To give a very basic understanding of my brand of feminism (which doesn’t go far enough, by some standards and goes way too far, apparently, by others): I recognize that there is an inherent sexism that we, as a western society, have been socialized into thinking is acceptable, normal behavior. While I stop short of declaring that men and women are the same, period, and that ANY generalizations based on gender are wrong and part of the problem (for indeed, I also recognize that men and women are not only different, hormonally, but are socialized differently and so, on the whole, gender-wide discrepancies, differences and patterns of behavior DO exist), I will definitely say something if I see ANYONE putting down ANY gender because of a stereotype being perpetuated.

Even so, I recognize that there is a certain level of sexism that even I adhere to and end up being an apologist for. Such is life, no one is perfect.

However there is a difference between socialized sexism (i.e a young girl being less interested in science because of the ingrained idea that it’s a “man’s field”) and overt, over the top misogyny.

Take as an example the “Gay Furries” group on Fur Affinity. At one point, there were quite a few journal posts along the line of “Girls, ew.” or “Women, vaginas, scary, disgusting, ugly…” (most of those journals have since been deleted).

You get the idea. Leaving aside the quite obvious fact that by doing this, the gay men of the group are alienating all of the gay women within the group, this is a very overt form of misogyny that is not only unapologized for, but celebrated. And it’s done constantly within the fandom, in the name of gay unity, or even just “humor”.

Male gay furries constantly feel at liberty to demean, insult, and otherwise marginalize any woman they come across for the simple fact that they’re a woman. And while I can understand it as a level of group-reassurance (i.e “The societal norm is to expect us to be straight, and we identify as gay, which means we’re not attracted to women, so therefore in order to satisfy each other that we’re all right, and all ‘normal’ within our peer group, we’ll marginalize the apparent subject that makes us outsiders, women”) this goes far beyond that. This goes into outright hate.

And if you attempt to point out to them that they are being misogynist, or sexist, the tendency (as the aforementioned furry did) is to bring up misandry, as if the fact that sometimes women hate on men validates their misogyny.

I will only say this once:

THE FACT THAT WOMEN SOMETIMES EXHIBIT A HATRED AGAINST MEN DOESN’T MAKE WHAT YOU DO RIGHT, IT MAKES EVERYONE EXHIBITING MISANDRY/MISOGYNY OR OVERT SEXISM IN GENERAL DEAD WRONG.

Misandry is typically exhibited as a retaliation against rampant and unacknowledged societal misogyny. By using it as a justification for further misogyny, a recursive loop is created.

To put it in coder terms: gender relations between (in this instance) gay men and ALL women will eventually segfault.

This is NOT rocket science. A lot of gay men don’t realize that they have such a high level of misogyny, or even identify what they feel/think/believe AS misogyny, or sexism. They will say “Well I can’t be a misogynist/sexist, because I have a woman friend.

This is the same thing as saying “I can’t be racist, I have black friends!

Let me tell everyone this: having a friend who falls into this general category of those you hate, even a good friend, doesn’t stop one from having and exhibiting the signs of the underlying problem. Using it as a shield against accusations of being any kind of *ist usually ends demeaning the friend you claim to care so much for.

The funny thing is, if a woman speaks up against this particular stripe of misogyny or sexism, then they’re an evil feminist who can’t take a joke, and this from the same gay men who “can’t take a joke” when the joke is a hateful homophobic one, and not a hateful misogynist one.

This is particularly bad among furries because we are ALREADY marginalized to a great degree by “mundanes” in general, and the internet as well. Socially, furries are already seen to be at the bottom of the totem pole. Do we really, truly have to further marginalize and fragment ourselves by having such hatred towards those whose only crime was an accident of birth?

I realize that this is a deeply ingrained and socialized issue, but seriously folks. Have the testicular fortitude to do some self-reflection and self-introspection. It’s painful but you will be a better person for it.

And that goes for everyone.

Before posting a comment, please read our Code of Conduct

21 thoughts on “Gay Furries and Sexism: A Recursive Loop

  1. On Twitter I was engaged in a discussion about my former job at a major game retailer and how horrible I find them because they’re out for numbers of preorders and discount card sales, not employees who know the product and can help the customers.

    Some responses I got literally included “The worst thing they ever did was start hiring women. Ew.”

    I can’t fathom that level of horrible worldview. It’s the “fake geek girls” mentality we see so often in various fandoms now. It’s a vicious need for vengeance.

    “I got picked on so now I’m going to pick on someone because I DESERVE to.”

    Same thing when Furries start with the Brony hate. There’s finally someone lower on the hierarchy than us, so it’s easy and popular to trash them, and no one but those horrible bronies will call us out on it.

    1. I feel like it’s actually more than just the sense of needing to pick on someone. (though that can certainly account for the Furry on Brony hate.)

      Let’s be honest, geeks have never really been high in the social hierarchy until recently and so any places that they populated were safe spaces, safe havens from those who would otherwise make their lives miserable.

      Jocks, parents, the world at large and of course girls. The thing about it is that when a geek of ANY stripe is presented with a threat (real or perceived) to their space they tend to get out the claws.

      And really this goes for any group: presented with an outsider who claims membership they will invariably demand proof. The problem becomes that women, no matter how hard they try for the most part can *never* present the proof geeks really want and so are declared “fake”.

      This is a uniquely misogynistic issue because you see, men are almost never presented with the types of grilling quizzes and demands that women are in these cases.

      I don’t think it’s so much vengeance as it is the simple desire to keep “what is ours, ours” so to speak, though it can be vicious.

      Rest assured, I’m not done talking about this yet. ;) Expect more from me soon.

      1. I realize this is a bit nit-picky, but I think you should say “male geeks” in the third and fourth paragraph, otherwise it seems as if you are agreeing that only males can be true geeks (although I realize that is not at all your intent).

        Unless of course you intend to mean that female geeks likewise are more likely to be critical and demand proof from other females? I suppose that is possible, sometimes these things can be so ingrained…

      2. This quote is sort of amazing:

        @Witchie “The thing about it is that when a geek of ANY stripe is presented with a threat (real or perceived) to their space they tend to get out the claws. ”

        The way we define spaces in the internet is weird. An invasion of space can come from a blog post that you CHOSE to read. This blog post was not on your personal web site, it was not forced upon you to read it, but it was the act of READING it that caused the invasion.

        Oftentimes it can be nerve-wracking to be part of a group that is causing abuse. I remember I was doing training for a job once when the trainer made a joke that was fairly offensive towards women. I nervously glanced about the room and breathed a sigh of relief when I noticed there were only men there. I chuckled, nervously.

        If there was a woman there, would I have spoken up? Probably not, though if the conflict was escalated I know I would take her side. When a joke offends someone, they may or may not tell you. When they tell you it offends them, the correct professional response is to apologize and move on. This is conducive for good inclusive community-building. Since the individuals doing the offending in these cases don’t seem to care much about all that, it is important to understand what they are going after.

  2. I really have a hard time understanding this type of sexism. The period jokes are quite straightforwardly misogynistic.

    The trickiest aspect I can see is with regard to female external genitalia. I think it is perfectly reasonable that a gay man would not find them sexually arousing/attractive, but one does not need to go from there to saying they are ugly or that individuals who have them are somehow inferior. I think, however, I can see how someone might be pushing back against the supposedly normal attraction of males to women by emphasizing that they do not find women sexually attractive without thinking that the way they phrase that could be going beyond the “I am not personally attracted to…” to another level in which they denigrate an aspect of the female anatomy which tends to then imply denigration of females/

    I am trying to think of a similar scenario with heterosexual men, but no matter how much they might denigrate male genitalia and say how they are not attracted to it, it would still not be seen as denigrating males as a whole since they themselves are male. And there would seem to be nothing odd if they said they had male friends but found male genitalia to be offputting.

    Some terms that seem to be misogynistic and homophobic are common enough (not in “polite society” of course), that I have heard both women (rarely) and gay men (more commonly) use the term “suck” and the related “cocksucker” as a derogative without actually meaning the act itself. And surely many of the heterosexuals who say it enjoy having the act performed on them, yet are dismissive or the ones who perform it.

    I can understand how people might have been raised to expect certain behavior from men and different from women (I don’t agree with this but I can see how it happens).

    1. Confused about why period jokes are different than dick jokes, huh? OK, let me see if i can be helpful.
      First, some dick jokes are demeaning towards men. Not nearly as many, but there are some. Jokes about pulling a lorena bobbit are never going to be funny, as far as i’m concerned. And as a general rule, if someone says something that hurts or offends you, it’s always ok to say “Hey, that’s not ok, please don’t.”
      Second, allow me to offer a similar situation, in jokes about sexuality. Yes, there are some unkind terms for heterosexuals, just as there are unkind terms for folks who are LGBTQ. Because straight people are in a position of social privilege, however, because western society starts from the assumption that straight is the norm and the ideal and anything else is an aberration–nasty names for straight people probably won’t ever carry the same sting. Similarly, to me dick jokes just don’t carry the same weight, because my society starts from the assumption in most cases that men are the standard and women the aberration. If you think about the terms that mean “you’re a man and that makes you less” and compare them to the corresponding terms for women, that may be helpful.
      Third…is there really a male equivalent to the period-based “you have a vagina, so if you say stuff i don’t like, i can chalk it up to hormones and write you off” phenomenon? Off the top of my head, i can think of only one circumstance when i’ve seen men’s arguments written off wholesale solely because they were male. That one circumstance is when i’ve seen men try to explain to women when and where they should feel demeaned by sexist behavior…and that would be like a white person explaining to people of color about what their experience should be as racial minorities. It just doesn’t work.

  3. My only experience with this was at a furry house party, with 15 men and one woman. The woman said quietly to someone else that she was thinking of drinking alcohol, but was worried about being the only woman with all the men here. The man she was speaking with said, “Everyone here is gay.” He started pointing around the room: “Gay, gay, gay, [pointing at me] gay, gay.” (Actually I’m bi, but non-practicing in either case.) For one thing, it was strange that after a few years of seeking out specifically gay spaces, here I was an incidentally gay space. Mostly this gave me the impression that furry fans spaces were safer for women than more hetero places.

    I have seen my share of gay sexism. In a gay hiking group when I came out as bi, someone told me, “So, you like camel lips?” I’m even more floored by the racism I see from gays. I would think as an oppressed minority we would be more conscious of these things, but people seem to act before they think; like the bullies we all knew and hated.

  4. Did you stop to think that gay males, many of whom are bullied relentlessly into near suicide and often have to remain closeted to avoid being fired or disowned may have earned a free pass when it comes to being mildly offensive towards others? It’s just like how Jews can still get a free pass for millennia of violent discrimination and genocide that continues to this day.

    Perhaps instead of complaining you can just dish it back out because women have a whole bunch of free passes and double standards working for them as well.

    1. Yes, I did. And the argument does not hold water.

      As I noted elsewhere:

      “This topic has a time and a place.

      On a journal about misogyny directed at women by gay men is not it.

      In short: “What about the MENS???” IS a derailing tactic when used in this way, however you mean it and whether or not you intend it to be. ”

      That said: Gay men are targeted because of misogyny, in that they are seen as being less of a man, and more of a “woman” which is seen as inherently shameful for a man to want to be, or to act at all like, and thus they are treated badly and bullied and even killed for who they are. This is wrong, but the root cause is *still* misogyny, and a hatred of/disdain for women.

      That said, NO ONE has earned a free pass towards oppressing another group just because they are themselves oppressed. It’s not cool when blacks are offensive towards/act badly towards whites, it’s not cool when women hate on/disregard and insult men, and it’s not cool when gay men insult/are offensive towards women. The subject of the “Jews” aside (I assume you mean the state of Israel and not the Jewish race/religion in general, and even then that is a complex subject that has nothing to do with the topic at hand – again, derailment), there should be no need to “Dish it back out” because there should be no dishing in the first place. Gay men did not choose to be gay and women did not choose to be women.

      Both are demeaned for who they are but the root cause is a hatred of women as a whole, and if you need me to break it down further for you I would be happy to do so/point you towards some sources who are much more eloquent than I could be.

      The end result, though, is that no: Gay men do NOT get a free pass just because you think they have won the Oppression Olympics.

      1. Mostly agree, although I think this:

        “That said: Gay men are targeted because of misogyny, in that they are seen as being less of a man, and more of a “woman” which is seen as inherently shameful for a man to want to be, or to act at all like, and thus they are treated badly and bullied and even killed for who they are. This is wrong, but the root cause is *still* misogyny, and a hatred of/disdain for women. ”

        Is a bit of an oversimplification. This is all I’ll say on this post.

    2. A free pass? No. Perhaps just a little bit of compassion? Yes. But your post is kind of an attitude that I see that really disturbs me. Recently, a woman made a video in which she was being video-taped cat-calling. Many people noticed that the individuals were darker-skinned, and they preferred to call the video maker out for being racially insensitive, rather than acknowledge that cat calling is kind of a problem. The woman in question was accused of not wanting to be bothered by dark skinned people.

      As a gay male, you should be concerned about this phenomenon, that underprivileged groups should be given a free pass to be bigoted. This argument could be made to justify letting blacks and latinos to say nasty things about gays. And very recently, that seems to be kind of a big phenomenon.

      I don’t think gay males should be focused on so much, but I also would like for you not to imply that females don’t often get brutally taken to task for making even the smallest mistake. Laci Green got numerous death threats because she used the word “tranny” when she was 19. Someone dug up this information about her. She apologized in a heartfelt way, and that wasn’t enough. So people threated to dox her and go to her house.

      Women and gay males both have one thing in common: We’re not allowed to fuck up. We get taken to task by the people on top, and then again by the people on the bottom. Think about this next time you decide to be rude to a female.

  5. wow @Sturmovik, just wow. You literally say nothing but that you are a bigot and want a free pass to be one because others like you were oppressed.

    Getting to brass tacks though I am a guy and I have seen this many times with other gay furries; there are allot of straight leaning bi guys out there who would only consider a female in real life. And that’s a threat to gay guys who knew they would never stand a chance on a level playing field. So many of us try to dehumanise and demonise women in the fruitless hope that it will land us a boyfriend.

  6. Forgive me for de-railing your topic, but I am a bit disturbed by your insinuation that homophobia in the fur fandom is cracked down on quite quickly. It’s apparently not. I mean, maybe on the websites you’ve went too. But the kind of misogyny you are referring to seems to consist of micro-aggressions, and people who say misogynistic things without really considering it to be misogynistic. I myself either have never or have made an effort to refrain from doing the things you’ve mentioned.. but the things you consider to be misogynistic, well.. the homophobic equivalent, we deal with quite a bit.

    I wrote a journal about it.

    http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/6235859/

    You may see my name and realize that I have a reputation for saying something misogynistic, too. For that, I apologize.

    1. This topic has a time and a place.

      On a journal about misogyny directed at women by gay men is not it.

      In short: “What about the MENS???” IS a derailing tactic when used in this way, however you mean it and whether or not you intend it to be.

      Please stop.

      1. I apologize, this was meant for another post. Actually, I must have mentally combined your post and another post, thinking they were the same, and commenting on this one! Whoops.

        I do understand that men on the internet have a habit of bringing up unrelated issues while failing to address the points raised by the feminist. That wasn’t what I was trying to do here. I was trying to nitpick on a part of the post that I actually felt needed to be corrected. But I ended up doing that anyway. Whoops.

        Sorry.

        1. It’s okay!

          Your topic is actually a REALLY important one to talk about! I tend to come down harder on derailment of topics about women because there tends to be this trend of validating women’s experiences through the point of view of men, and especially with the catcalling video you referenced earlier this can lead to invalidation if men decide they don’t like what’s being said or shown.

          Homophobia is a HUGE problem, and one I could tackle in and of itself and probably will at some point, not because it hasn’t been done before but because it CANNOT be said enough.

          Thanks for the support up above, and if you want, I’ll look over your journal and consider it in an article I’m writing really soon!

  7. “Male gay furries constantly feel at liberty to demean, insult, and otherwise marginalize any woman they come across for the simple fact that they’re a woman.”

    Okay, so… if men can’t be offensive to or generalize about women, then why can you generalize about men? I happen to be a male gay furry, and I’m proud of it. I may not like women sexually, and I’m very open about it, but that does not mean that I will “demean, insult, and marginalize” women just because I am a gay man. I feel no need to put anybody through that, gay, straight, bi, male, female, cis, trans, asexual, intersex, whatever.

    In fact, I am very close friends with several women, and they are important people in my life. Regardless of even that, I am a very timid person, and I would not purposefully insult someone, but there are honestly too many people who are insulted by things nowadays. If I were offended by every gay joke I heard, I’d be going insane, but there are some of them that are just funny and aren’t meant to cause any harm. Even those that are meant to be offensive, I don’t bother with them. Those people who would do that aren’t worth my time.

    I digress, though. You should not generalize people. Just because you encounter this problem with one or two people, or even a lot of people, does not mean every male gay furry is like this. I’m certainly nice. Again, I’m a nice person, and I would never purposefully insult anyone, but that doesn’t mean I have to stand by and take it while someone says something about me (because it is about everyone when you generalize) that isn’t true. Doing that is just as bigoted as those people who would insult women.

    Thank you, and have a nice day.

    CJ Roth // FennecFoxee

  8. This is seriously just stupid and honestly can’t fathom anyone how agrees with this blog.

    For 1. It should obvious that after many years on this planet that people should be able to tell that man *and as in humans* are flawed. We perseve ourselves to be this high and might creature that we brought our own downfall.
    2. This blog is a very hypocritical of its self and the person who wrote this just in the wrong as everyone she is calling out herself.
    3. This blog is a really good example at how humans believe that everyone should follow a oneway argument and that the one arguing is just right about everything just cause they can pull some words from a dictionary and make an essay on something as trival as this is just utter ignorance.

    Last, man is a hypocrisy in themselves the fact that one you can’t take a joke that has no way nor no how to effect your personal living or health or finances is honestly amusing. you hate hearing a joke about women, well what makes you think people want to hear or read about your claim on generalizing everyone under your “hate radar” as I would call it. You are just really butt hurt at truly nothing, if this is how you plan living what could be a long or short life then I pity you. There millions of people in the world with different ideas and personalities, so best get used to this shit In your life or you’ll live a sad pitiful life with nothing but hate and disgust.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *