Tag Archives: Social Interaction

Death in the Fandom

This article was originally published in March, 2012. In the wake of another death of a member of the fandom, we’re reposting a few articles on remembering our lost.

If we accept the fact that the furry subculture, the fandom as a cohesive group of somewhat like-minded individuals, has only existed for about thirty years, then we have available to us a growing and expanding membership at the beginning of what I hope to be a long thread of human society. We’re still in that bright, almost expansionist era of our creation where we are doing out level best to create more than we can consume. We bring in new members not only through the shared interest in anthropomorphics, but also through both the vibrancy of our existence and the social currency of our creative output. Furry, such as it is, is on the rise.

We are still young though, there’s no getting around that.

Thirty years, in the grand scheme of things isn’t really all that long of a time. The United States has lasted eight times that long, Christianity approaching 70 times, and, according to some, the universe almost 200 times that long, and that number is considered very, very small by many others. Our vibrancy and social currency is strong, but we are not the only group on the rise out there. In western culture, the anime fan base is taking a similar track, as have countless other subcultures and fandoms before it. Our output is copious and so, in turn, is our social currency, but they are not out of proportion.

Our fandom is young, and given the median age of about twenty years old, we are a fandom made up of many, many young people. Really, then, it’s no surprise that a single death among our ranks affects so many of us so greatly.

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On Postfurry

I’m not really sure how I wound up getting involved with the postfurry community.  I mean, I can point to the moment that I found furry itself and how what went from a curious interest built into something decidedly more (a passion? an obsession?), but the same isn’t necessarily the case with postfurry.  If I start tracing the lines backwards, rather a lot of them converge on one critter in particular, Indi.

Indi (art by Cinna)
Indi (art by Cinna)

Indi has been a friend for quite a while now, actually.  Ve is most often seen around as a synthetic coyote-otter hybrid – a coyotter, or simply yotter – with glowy markings that range from cyan to blue to purple.  Indi, being synthetic, along with ver gender identity, is the source of ver pronouns, ve/ver/vis.

I think I’ve known ver for about two or three years and we’ve connected on a lot of different levels, from our shared interest in mead and other tasty drinks, to our paths along the road to genderqueer identities that share many similarities.  We’ve acted as part of a support network for each other with some frequency, and that, probably more than anything else, served as what passes for my entry point to postfurry.

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Witnessing and Mirroring

I don’t often read Reddit – the site and I get along fine, I just can’t seem to maintain interest in any subreddit for more than a few weeks – but I do occasionally find a good link or two when I wind up there. Most recently, I was trawling several different subreddits about gender and came across a set of delightful concepts that I think fit in well with the furry fandom.

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Play in Furry

On a recent work trip to London, I had the privilege of attending a LondonFurs meet, which I have to say was spectacular. There’s not really an analog around where I am, though I imagine the meet known only to me as “Chicken” in California might come close. It was big – hovering around 50 or so people – and there were a good percentage of the attendees in suit, which was new to me. In Northern Colorado, we don’t have too much in the way of furmeets, and what we do are quiet, intimate affairs with maybe 15 attendees, tops. Suiting happens, but is uncommon, and tends to represent only a small portion of the furries in attendance.

*hoist* Another interesting thing was the barrier-to-entry in that the meet took place at a city bar, and thus attracted an older crowd, at least of drinking age (though note JM’s recent comment that this includes furries 18 years old and older, rather than 21 as it would be in the United States).

As I sipped mediocre cocktails (seriously, how hard is it to make a Pimm’s?!) and aggressively pink wines, I noticed a common trend among the furries – notably among the fursuiters: playfulness. Childish, simple playfulness. This, I think, is something of a universal within our fandom: the tendency toward play.

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Trends Within Trends

Tiny foxes: good for comforting.
Tiny foxes: good for comforting.

It started innocuously enough with a tweet. I don’t remember the exact phrasing of it, but I had been having a rough day and was feeling the need for some sort of protective affection that I just couldn’t quite find offline; I’m rather tall and so it’s hard for me to find a way that’s comfortable for all parties involved to get that sensation of being held and protected. I think I wound up tweeting something silly to the effect of “I just want to curl up in a shirt pocket where it’s warm, cozy, and hidden.” I suppose I’ve always been a bit of a sap.

Like most things with far-reaching consequences, this start into the exploration of the “micro” side of the furry fandom had a seemingly inconsequential beginning. I’ve mentioned before that, after changing the ways in which I interacted online, several people treated me as though I were smaller than I really am (helped, no doubt, by the combination of text-only interaction and the lack of any specified height in my character description). With that trivial sentence, however, it suddenly became explicit, and before long I was interacting with those around me specifically as a tiny anthropomorphic fox.

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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.

Continue reading Dogpatch Press on Women

What We Talk About When We Talk About Furry

Guest post by Rick Griffin.  Rick is the creator of Housepets and can be found on FA, DA, and Weasyl, as well as on Patreon. Rick will be Guest of Honor at Confuzzled this May.

I often find, when I’m trying to discuss furry with someone, that we tend to get hung up on personal definitions. Now, while this is considered a boon for the fandom ­– furry can be ANYTHING you want, man! Just like, open your mind, and let the furry flow through you! – this is often a problem when we’re determining whether or not we really do have something in common beyond just the label.

The thing is, most of the time when I talk about furry, I mean it is the most original sense of the word: I like cartoon animals (for varying degrees of the word “cartoon” and “animals”). This sometimes means it’s very hard to discuss cartoon animals in a general fandom sense without someone stepping in and saying “Furry isn’t just about cartoon animals!”

Yes, I know that. I got that. I’m not attempting to marginalize anyone, but you have to admit that the proportion of cartoon animal fans tend to vastly outweigh the others. And when I speak, sometimes I’m just attempting to speak from a very specific platform, for which we all have a word: “Furry”

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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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