What are furries?
Furries are a subculture that grew out of science fiction and comic book conventions in the 1980s. The Internet played, and continues to play, a role in expanding this subculture. No standard definition exists for furries, but generally, furries are people who have a fascination and love for anthropomorphic animals. Cool, right? Wait, what the heck is anthropomorphic? Well, the term usually refers to animals that possess human personalities and characteristics, which may include, but are not limited to walking, talking, and wearing clothes. Creativity is pertinent to the furry population. The fur scene has its own unique art, animation, comics, and literature. Many of the activities are conducted online through members’ adopted “fursonas,” or the furry personality used in role playing. Some furriness occurs through group gatherings and furry conventions. In fact, one group meets in Fox Valley, Wisconsin, for those interested.
What are typical furry activities?
Furry activities really aren’t any different from any other community. Furries engage in a variety of activities that may include hockey, bowling, dancing, fundraising, crafting…pretty much anything a furry fandom (furry community) wants to participate in or organize. However, certain activities help harness the creativity and allow furrydoms to connect with one another:
Furry Crafting. Members of the furry fandom may create their own plush toys known as plushies, design puppets to utilize in performances, make accessories like ears or tails, or even build elaborate costumes called fursuits. Fursuits allow furdom members to take on their fursonas, or furry attitudes. Fursuits may simply be worn for fun to take on the fursona of the fursuit, or to participate in parades, group meetings and activities, conventions, dances, or even fundraising. Fursuits range from being a full suit similar to sport mascots, to sophisticated mechanical suits. However, due to the expensive price of the costumes, the majority of furries do not own a full fursuit. Many fans do own partial suits, which may consist of ears and a tail, or paws, a head, and a tail.
Fur-ocious Role-playing is an activity that may take place on or offline. Online communities and websites play a key role in expanding the furry fandom. Role-playing allows us to get in touch with our “inner kitten,” and take on a persona that we may not possess as our human self. Many furdoms enjoy engaging in petting, hugging, and grooming at their social events as well. Furries are all about fun and creativity.
With ample interest and growing membership, many fur-some conventions have developed worldwide. These conventions are for fans to get together and buy and sell artwork, participate in various workshops, wear costumes, and socialize. Anthrocon, held in Pittsburgh every June, is the world’s largest furry convention. These conventions and other events allow fans who share a common interest to get together and entertain themselves.
Fur-life. For some, this is a hobby, for others, a lifestyle. Members may feel that they have an important spiritual connection with animal(s), real or fictional. Some furries describe their interest predominantly as a means to socialize with others who share common interests in anthropomorphic art. Others describe themselves as only part human, some as non-human, and some who desire to become the furry species they identify with. Some furries also feel that they are trapped in the wrong body.
“You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals so lets do it like they do on the discovery channel…”
Furries, furry fandom, furrdom, furrydom—however we decide to refer to it—is largely misunderstood by people outside the culture. Unfortunately, stereotypes exist that furries are sexual deviants and socialize solely to have sex. While there is erotic art and fantastic furry sex (both online and off) in the fandom, the sexual aspect of furries tends to be exaggerated through media portrayals. The term “yiff” is used to indicate pornography or sexual activity in the fandom. The bottom line is that sexual attraction to furries is a thing! However, it’s not what furries are mainly or even partially about. While some furries state that sexual attraction is important in activities, others are ambivalent, and some say that sex has nothing to do with their furry activities.
Being in a costume allows furries to take on another persona and allows them to do and be things that people may not do otherwise, like dancing in public or hugging people. It’s a creative outlet. If someone happens to be a shy person, their fursona may be the center of attention and allow them to be more confident. This chance to escape daily life is something that those outside the fandom may not get to experience. Many furries keep to themselves because of worry that they will be perceived negatively by world around them. However, at the end of the day, being a furry is primarily about having a great time.