Tag Archives: Gender

Furry Women at Furry Conventions

In recent months, several [adjective][species] contributors, including myself, have been writing about issues faced by women who participate in the furry community.

In general, we’ve suggested that furry isn’t a welcoming environment for many women. We are male-dominated, and we don’t always do enough to reduce or prevent deliberate or accidental sexist behaviour. Many women avoid socialising in large furry groups, and many others choose to stop associating with furry altogether.

We have presented a wide range of evidence that supports this point of view, all of it necessarily either indirectly inferred from Furry Survey data, or based on anecdotal evidence. This evidence is certainly good enough for the basis of discussion, but many furries felt we were either inventing a problem that doesn’t exist, or exaggerating the issue.

Last week, the IARP published some hard data. And it doesn’t make for nice reading.

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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?”

 

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Dogpatch Press on Women

“Could it be, that guys aren’t here to oppress, as much as reacting to being repressed?”
– Patch O’Furr, Dogpatch Press, 21 April 2014

 

In recent months, I’ve written a couple of articles looking at how the furry community treats women. I presented evidence and discussion for furry being ‘inherently sexist’. Those articles received a fair bit of criticism.

I chatted with a few of the people who were critical and asked if they’d be interested in writing a counterpoint article for publication on [a][s], or otherwise go into a bit more detail. I had two motivations: firstly, because criticism is good thing in general (we’ve published several counterpoints on various issues in the past); and secondly because I wanted to explore the differences in my language, and the language used by someone who doesn’t think that furry is ‘inherently sexist’.

I think it’s an important conversation, and one worth having. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find someone who had the time and motivation to make the argument. That is, until last week.

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Why Pronouns are Important

Butene isomers

GreenReaper—WikiFur founder, Inkbunny owner, and Flayrah editor-in-chief—was at the centre of an online foofaraw in December after someone asked him about comments he made in 2011:

A screencap from LiveJournal that has been widely circulated
A screencap from LiveJournal that has been widely circulated

He said: I’m not going to call someone “he”/”she” if they are not physically male/female.

His point of view is uncomplicated (if unsophisticated). In short:

  • He prefers to use pronouns to refer to primary sexual characteristics.

@coyoteseven I believe gender is a subjective and fluid value, and so prefer to use pronouns to refer to primary sexual characteristics.
— GreenReaper (@WikiNorn) 1:12 AM – 28 Dec 2013

 

  • The correct use of words, including pronouns, is primarily an issue for the person using them.

@coyoteseven My point: the correct use of words, including pronouns, is primarily a matter for the person who must choose which to use.
— GreenReaper (@WikiNorn) 1:10 AM – 28 Dec 2013

 

To many people, this will seem like a small semantic issue and hardly worth thinking about. To other people, this will seem like a very big deal indeed. It’s actually both: it is a semantic issue, but an important semantic issue. And as is often the case with this sort of thing, the truth is more complex than parties on either side might suggest.

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The Uniquely Furry Distortions of Gender

Guest post by Thesis White. Thesis is a writer-artist, cognitive science student, and peachy dalmatian who loves creating their own discourse. (Thesis is on Twitter and FX.)

The furry identity is thought by many to be one of sexual and romantic liberation, where furs can engage in relationships with others, bound by a shared sense of playfulness and fetishism. Not all furries have exclusively romantic interests towards others within the fandom; I myself am mated with a non-fur. However, where there is much literature about sexuality and relationships in the furry world, it is outside of what I’m going to discuss. More interesting and dynamic than our sexuality is the uniquely furry distortions of gender.

The internet facilitates our ability to be furry. For most furries, furryness is an interest and a self-identification through a fursona, but to understand it, we must understand its origins. A legacy of human-animal hybrids throughout mythology and 20th-century fiction is behind us, and in our early years exists televised pictures of Bugs Bunny and Balto. Where originally the mythical monstrosities of human and animal were to be feared as gods and demons in the flesh, modern anthropomorphics are adored primarily by children in an intimate relationship between entertainer and audience.

What types of images did we see, though? Many furry cartoon characters weren’t physically sexed, but given gendered social roles. Disney’s fox, Robin Hood, wore no pants and was explicitly physically androgynous, but still played the role of the masculine hero and saved the princess from the horrid King Richard. As we move into adulthood and gain entrance to a mature furry community, we see both sexed and non-sexed furs. As we reach puberty and onward, we discover that our furry personas can serve a sexuality and character that we adopt to explore ourselves and our interests.

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How to Pick Up (Furry) Women

The number of straight (or bi) male furries far outweighs the number of straight (or bi) female furries. Around 1 in 5 furries are female, and some of those are gay or asexual. We looked at the numbers last year and estimated that about 16% of furries—1 in 6—are women who may be interested in a relationship with a guy. And many of those will already be in a relationship, or otherwise not available.

You can read how we reached that conclusion, along with some discussion in a previous article (which has my favourite title to date): It’s Raining Men. It shows how furry’s gender imbalance and sexual orientation demographics conspire to make it difficult for heterosexual guys to find a relationship with a fellow furry. (It’s even worse if you’re a furry lesbian.)

This article is a guide to how a heterosexual male can maximize his chances of finding a furry girlfriend; without being a stalker, without pulling any pick-up-artistry nonsense, and without being creepy or otherwise contributing to the problem that’s keeping women away from the furry community.

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Furry As A Queer Identity

LGBT stands for two things: firstly, a delicious sandwich (lettuce, guacamole, bacon & tomato); secondly a group of people who don’t easily fit into a heterosexual, binary gendered world.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are lumped together into LGBT mostly for convenience. The four groups are discriminated against in a similar way and the political action required for equality are much the same. LGBT people can generally be classified as being ‘queer’ which roughly means that they diverge from a traditional sexual or gender identity.

Of course, there are plenty of people who diverge from a traditional sexual or gender paradigm who are neither L, G, B or T. And so we can continually add letters to LGBT until it spells something awesome like TERABULGE, or we can toss a catch-all Q to give us LGBTQ, an acronym which is gaining traction.

We furries are already accepted within the LGBT community to a large extent, which is at least partly due to our own gender and sexual diversity. But I think that there is a strong argument that the entirety of furry can be recognized as a queer identity, a Q, including the 30% or so (according to the 2012 Furrypoll) of us that are heterosexual and cis-gendered.

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Only 22% Of Furries Are Gay

Every three weeks, the Londonfurs hold a meet in a City bar. The bar is closed to the public on Saturdays, so it’s a private party.

Every three weeks, one or two hundred so furries turn up. And just about every three weeks, there is a new member of the bar staff boggling at the crowd.

I recently overheard a new bartender ask, So, are you all gay or something?. And his furry customer responded, Yeah.

(But he was wrong. We’re not all gay. We’re not even mostly gay.)

The bartender made a comment and a knowing face, as if the Furry Universal Gayness Theory explained everything, and the furry wandered off with his drinks. I thought of correcting the bartender as he shaped to serve next in line, but I figured that he probably wasn’t interested in a short lesson on furry demographics. And besides, I was thirsty.

The truth is that about 22% of furries are gay*.

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A Bitch About Furry

Tolerance is one of the great features of the furry community.

We need to be tolerant. Our community contains a lot of people who are sometimes marginalized in general society: gays, transsexuals, zoophiles, kinksters, even geeks.

This tolerance is sometimes positive acceptance, but it’s often simply neutral, the absence of rejection. Furry behaviour is often more tolerant than general society simply through such tacit acceptance. This is clearly demonstrated by the language we use, especially online where less direct methods of communication are less significant. Put simply, intolerant or offensive language is not appropriate in furry spaces.

There is one significant exception: women. Some furries, especially online, use sexist language. Worse, it’s being ignored, perhaps tacitly accepted, which fosters an environment which is unwelcoming towards women. Furry culture might reasonably be considered a sexist one.

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