As you all know, the 2012 [a][s] Census and Survey is currently under way. We've got quite a few responses already, and there's a lot of really neat stuff being said about the fandom. However, responses are currently only visible to the survey admins and, if you maintained a copy of your code pair, your own survey is visible to yourself. We did promises that the fandom would benefit from the results, and they will indeed show up in the form of visualizations, articles, and so on here in the near future, but in the mean time, I'd like to share some of the direct results in a few short posts just to give a flavor of how diverse we all are!
For this first post, here are some responses to the question "Describe your process of character creation."
The species came to my head without even thinking about it. Also, I think that German Shepard are a very beautiful race, full of personality...
Attributes, however are still a work in progress as I can't figure out what special features my character has.
I have never really chosen a species, I just "feel" it. It's like looking inside, and seeing another side of oneself. I see a wolf, most of the time. It's just there, I don't choose.
I identify with my species through spirituality. Animal totemology.
The species I wanted to be one from my home country (the US). I chose a raccoon because I think chubby raccoons are cute, and I wanted him to be a self-representational fursona and am chubby myself. They're also easy to accessorize because of their coloration, and since I wanted him to be a Pokemon trainer I didn't want it to be difficult to design his trainer outfit...there are some bizarre clothes in the Pokemon world.
I don't actually recall anymore where the character of 'Shakal' originally came from. I have always had a strong affinity with felines. During college he became a complex mixture of both self-identity and self-idealization. In essence while being one of my strongest symbols for what I consider to be 'me', he also is an idea of what I want to be, a goal to push myself toward.
-- Shakal Draconis
There was not really a choice. I felt drawn to wolves ever since I was a joung teenager. They were mentioned in a book I've read and immedeatly I recognised myself in those animals. I startet to devour every book about them I could get my hands on. So it was clear I would be a wolf. The other attributes... well I tried to depict my charakter as myself, only more... wolfisch. So he has a lot in common with me. And some things I discovered during my shamanic practises, like the fur pattern.
Don't have a fursona.
Apperently it is very important to the furry fandom to have fursona.
Well, I started off as a generic wolf in Furcadia, but as I grew to identify more with the sub culture, I became a dragon, merely becuase I had a thing for reptiles. In time the dragon felt a little generic for me, and a little too majestic or strong. I was a person with weaknesses and flaws that needed to be reflected upon. One day while digging through IMVU i found a jackal skin and it just struck a chord in me. I tend to be loud, and annoying at times, possessing sharp tongue and mind. Jackals are seen as scavangers, which I tend to mooch sometimes, but trully keen hunters and can defend themselves from larger predators using witts. Highly undrestimated and ovrlooked.
I always liked wolves
-- CS Silver
Some additional notes:
- Sample size is 368 at the time of writing
- The following terms were mentioned (partial match):
- Totem - 2 times
- Spirit - 6 times
- Connect - 9 times
- Represent - 21 times
- Identify - 26 times
- Personality - 43 times
- Some initial reactions:
- Many referred to their character matching themselves physically or mentally
- Many refer to their character in the third person ("He is...", "My character does...")
- Character creation seems to be a pretty casual process, but a fluid and ongoing one
- Furries are pretty casual writers, but pretty good ones overall
- While character creation may be a casual process ('pick', 'choose/chose', and so on are used frequently), it's still a fairly personal one, and there's usually a reason behind the choice of species
JM recently wrote about the concept of "priming" in surveys and how difficult it is to avoid. One reader brought up a point about the concept of spirituality and how that might affect affinity with species. I agree with him that there is often a spiritual sort of connection, however ill-defined, with the animal one associates with a character. However, that question was not asked, and so it seems that we have a bit of a priming issue here on our hands. Due to the way the question was worded and the questions surrounding it (which are visible both in the electronic and paper versions of the survey), replies along that vein may have been minimized. The upside is that the survey portion of the census and survey will change every year, while the census remains fairly consistent, and so this is a question we can elaborate on more in the 2013 [a][s] Census and Survey!
As a reminder, you can always get in touch with us by leaving comments, contacting us on Twitter/FA/Google+, or shooting us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org!