January 10th, 2006

Autumnfox mischief

Discussion of "furry"

A friend recently got into a discussion about exactly what furry is, and the fact of the matter is, it's an lot of different things to a lot of different people. I've been thinking about this myself, since I walk the line between various communities (furry and non), so I figured it might be helpful to myself and others to create a greater understanding of what exactly what makes a furry.. well.. furry.

Before I go too far, I feel a need to point out that the term "furry" is a slang term utilized by those involved in the furry fandom. Do not assume that just because someone likes anthropomorphic characters, that they necessarily are involved in the furry fandom. I know quite a few people who have such interests, yet are not involved in furry at all. Specifically in this post, I'm referring entirely to those who do consider themselves furries.

The basic definition of what furry is, is simply thus: (1) an anthropomorphic animal, and (2) an individual with an interest in such creatures. Furries (1) are animal given human traits: walking on two legs, talking, that sort of thing. They can be cartoon characters, werewolves, unicorns, dragons, all sorts of things. At it's simplest, I really agree that's what the furry fandom is all about.

However, the fandom has long evolved into a subculture, and as such tends to incorporate a lot more than simply the statement above. Here I'll try to make a list of various different types of furries (2) I have come across.
  • Fan - simply an individual who has an interest in anthropomorphics
  • Lifer - someone involved in the subcultural aspect of furry; tends to be involved in furry for many years, usually far longer than fans
  • Roleplayer - an individual who simply enjoy playing an anthropomorphic character, typically on mucks and the like
  • Artist - an individual who utilizes furry as a means of artistic expression, through drawing, writing, sculpture, and the like
  • Collector - someone who collects furry paraphernalia, be it art, comics, plush animals, or whatnot
  • Performer - typically a fursuiter (someone who wears an animal costume), who performs for fun, profit or charitable purposes
  • Spiritualist - one who perceives furry as a spiritual path, a way of connecting with her inner animal
  • Fetishist - one who uses furry as a way of expressing his sexuality; the subculture has a history of tolerance
  • Lonely - someone who uses the fandom as a way of finding friends, trying to find a place to "fit in"
  • Neurotic - an individual who uses the fandom to express personal angst or to whine; the subculture has a history of acceptance
  • Fanboy - a person who oogles over artists or other individuals he perceives as somehow being great individuals within the fandom
I think that covers them all, but feel free to suggest more (or better terms). To be fair, these are not neat little classifications (and even each category has varying degrees of extremity). Most furries (2) fit into more than one of these categories. I do not believe that any one category describes what a "real" furry (2) is. I think that kind of statement is foolish, since individuals each have their own reasons for their interest in the furry fandom.

I will say, however, that it's unfortunate that the least desirable individuals tend to be the loudest; something which I've found true of most any group of any type: cultural, religious, political, etc. It's a sad aspect of human behavior in general.

So, thoughts, comments, flames? *chuckle* Seriously, I am curious of other's thoughts and opinions, both furry and non.
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