The first notable academic study on furries is six years old. Completed in 2007 (published 2008), Gerbasi et al’s Furries from A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism) provides a review of furries based on 246 responses (including 217 furries) to surveys distributed at Anthrocon, plus an ad hoc ‘control group’ of 65 psychology students.
The study had two main goals: to test the validity of the usual furry stereotypes, and to investigate whether furries exhibit signs of personality disorder. Continue reading
Here’s a scene familiar to most furries (or at least the 80% of us that are male): visit the toilets at a public gathering and you’ll see furries queueing to use a stall. Furries prefer to avoid the urinal.
[This is a pause in my article to allow the reader to creatively speculate why furries might want a stall. Come back once you're done giggling.]
This doesn’t normally happen. Out in the non-furry world, there might be one or two people who prefer to use a stall, but most people are happy enough to use a urinal.
Why the difference? Because loads of furries suffer from shy bladder, otherwise known as paruresis, a condition where they will be unable to pee when someone is nearby. And as it turns out, it’s an easy problem to solve. Continue reading
Strange dark night
a fox crawls on the ground
towards a beautiful melon
- Bashô, Summer 1681
“We often act as if our animal-person representation really exists” wrote JM in his article, Furries with Physical Disabilities, here on [adjective][species]. In this article, he notes that for “for many furries, there are big physical differences between their real-world bodies and their preferred avatar” and this can be “a liberating experience”. This would be particularly true for furries with physical disabilities. But more than liberation, I would say that the furry I met who had physical disabilities was overcoming his handicap, because his wished hybrid identity was not so far from him as you may think at first sight. Continue reading
This article is a counterpoint to Rabbit’s article published last Friday, Not-So-Distant Cousins.
Rabbit argues that furries and mainstream SF fans have a lot in common, that the two groups are similar enough such that “we should be treating each other as respected and beloved cousins, if not brothers and sisters.”
For evidence, he cites a common geekiness, a shared private language, a similar culture, and finishes by drawing a parallel between fursuiting and cosplay. He says:
“We’re all fen together, is what I’m trying to say. Natural allies, not rivals. I mean, how many places can you find people who not only enjoy discussing terraforming over barbeque, but are good at it? Not many, in this sad and intellectually-declining world.”
I disagree. Continue reading
This is a lightly-edited reprint of a column in Anthro Magazine that first appeared in Issue #14, in 2007.
Perhaps my favorite activity at conventions is having dinner with groups of friends at local eateries. Anyone who knows me well will recognize that I’m pretty fond of my chow to begin with, and to be able to share my dining experience with a (usually) mixed group of old friends and new acquaintances is, well, the highlight of my calendar. Usually, at least once during a con I’ll try and round up a suitable group, and off we go for what is always a memorable time out.
One of the most remarkable such con-dinners I’ve had in recent years took place in Memphis, during Mephit, at the Germantown Commissary. A group of about fifteen of us of mixed ages and of varying degrees of my acquaintanceship formed a convoy and ran across town to this trendy establishment, which allegedly sold the best barbeque in town. On the way our convoy broke up and some of us were separated, causing much anxiety. The Commissary proved to be the most highly-overrated restaurant I’ve ever experienced; it was crowded, the servers were rude to the point of surliness, and the food was okay at best. At any other time I’d have been very unhappy with my evening.
But because of the people I was with, the experience was absolutely magic. Continue reading
Guest post by Lunostophiles.
Emotion lives out its life in poetry. It might summer in prose, it might vacation in speeches, and it may even spend a nice weekend wrapped around a pithy quip. But, in the end, emotion’s country of origin is poetry. Even before we wrote stories on paper, far before we recorded everything we created in a fashion archivists scratch their heads at, there was poetry and verse.
The fandom has been slow to adopt poetry, and it’s not without its reasons; too often these days culture equates verse with self-absorbed and self-diagnosed loners who attempt to pour their sadness onto the page in recursive stanzas. Are they wrong in choosing this course of release? Of course not, but these ‘angry emo journal poets’ have eclipsed the multitudinous and varied styles of poetry there are out there.
(There is, to be fair, a lot of blame to be laid on the poetry curriculum in schools, but that is a conversation for another day.)
With growing sub-communities devoted to writing verse, I’m confident there is a place for poetry in the fandom in the same way there is a place for prose, art, and fursuiting. There is no end to what poetry can accomplish, both within the constraints of meter and rhyme and without. If prose is the way by which we show others how we view the world, then poetry is the way by which we glean meaning from the world we view. A sunset is just a sunset until you can describe it as something else. Then it is much more.
Furry is a genuinely international phenomenon. There was a time when furry might have been accused of being an English-speaking Caucasian phenomenon, but those times are long gone.
Here at [adjective][species] Zik has put together a review of Furry Cons of the World, which remains the best single demonstration of furry’s worldwide spread. Despite its length, it’s not a comprehensive list, with some oversights and some new cons appearing in the year since Zik’s article was published.
One new con is based in the city where I grew up: Perth, Australia. FurWAG will be held at the Rendezvous Studio Hotel on October 4-6, 2013 (www.furwag.com.au/), a con that has some claim to being the first in South-East Asia. Continue reading
There are always key moments in any human relationship, whether said relationship is rooted in business, romance, politics, or pretty much anything else. When I was an adolescent, one of the most current memes in society was that a person’s first impression of someone or something was the most crucial moment of all. While of course I can’t recall all this in encyclopedic detail, at that time the market was flooded with books on how to improve your first impression, and said books were filled with charts “proving” just how vitally important this was to success in life’s endeavors. The principle was even carried over into academics—kids were given “fun math” to do on their first day in school, to improve that vital initial impression. I recall this pretty well because, being a teen at the time, it provided me with my first-impression of the self-help book industry and, well… We all know how lasting a first impression can be, no?
At any rate, it’s inevitable that furs coming into the fandom tend to undergo a whole series of “firsts”. Continue reading
There are a lot of ways to think about furry. Tons and tons. It’s a bit confusing at times, trying to sort out how best to talk about what we are and how we fit together as a subculture. Even the choice of the word “subculture” is loaded with its own meaning, just as is the word “fandom”. Both imply certain ways of thinking about how furry works. It’s a bit confusing, but, well, it’s certainly served us well here at [a][s]: we’ve got plenty to write about, after all.
One more way of thinking about furry is to think of it as appropriation – or, rather, a series of appropriations – that help provide something of a common core to our being a relatively coherent group. Appropriation is a big and complicated word, and there are several connotations attached to it that I’ll get into closer to the end of the article, but first, I’d like to explore furry through this lens and see what can be gleaned from thinking of ourselves in this light. Continue reading
Recently I spent an afternoon watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, in an attempt to understand why ponies have become so visible in the furry community. (Read the Prologue and my Verdict.)
Criticising the show brought one expected reaction: MLP devotees thought I was unreasonably negative and dismissive of the show’s qualities. But the fact is, I had a blast: the show is charming. Plus I was drunk.
In that spirit, I am proud to present the Official [adjective][species] My Little Pony Cocktail: Vodka is Magic. (Alternate subtitle: The Party Cannon.)