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State of the Fandom

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If the furry fandom is so accepting, why do so many people feel compelled to point out that they are not Furries, and just like anthro stuff? In a follow on to my previous column on how the press view furry fandom, lets take a look on how fans and artists view the fandom.

Opinion editorials are all about opinions. My last one was about my opinion on how the press view the fandom. Well, this one is going to be about opinions themselves. I asked a fairly random? Okay, I asked a bunch of people on the Internet, why they thought people who were into anthro arts and stories often insist they are not part of the furry fandom. Several of those asked took the opportunity to point out that they were not parts of the furry fandom. Who was and wasn't may be a surprise, but I'll get to that later on in the article. Now, I'll list some of the opinions.

All the following were solicited opinions, and have been kept anonymous to protect the interests of those who did not wish to be identified. Some quotes have been edited for clarity.

Well the thing is, that the fandom is based upon a genre of fiction rather than a part of it.

Every member of furry, regardless of whether they're on the spiritual fringe, lifestylers or merely fans of anthropomorphized animation, share a common and unified affection for the anthropomorphized style of artwork.

it's 'cause it -is- so accepting - they'll let anyone in, in spite of idiocy, perversity or ripe odor

Many of us like to keep up appearances, few of us like being called freaks.

If the fandom were more discerning, I'd be happier to be loud and proud

Certain parts of furry fandom don't distinguish "things that make you a furry fan" from "things people who are furry fans also are

I don't call myself a furry because I'm not into the lifestyle aspect and it is an interest that is only a small part of my larger spectrum of activity.

'Furry fandom is accepting.' IF you take that as fact, you're buying that pretty much anything and everything that wants to call itself 'furry' can. Thus, people who do not want to associate with such a broad term, whose specifics can be applied to them, and they may not like it.

The furry fandom is obsessed with image, and part of that image is 'tolerance'.

To my mind furries LOVE anthros. Fuzzy , anime, cutesy etc. Most furry creatures tend to be humans with fuzzy coats on...a furry head human attributes. There tends to be a lot of sexual connotations around furries. Which is why personally I think some people are so quick to deny that they are FURRY.

Now, let me address who the people who make up these quotes, and insist on not being part of the fandom are. They are people who hang around on 'furry' mucks. They are people who go to the conventions, and buy the comic books. These are also some of the people who *produce* the art and stories that the fandom loves.

Some of those who said they were not part of 'Furry' included costume makers, artists, writers, and even some people who had been invited as guests to Conventions.

So, that leaves us with one conclusion. The heart of the fandom has slowly been alienated from the rest. Not only is the fandom slowly loosing those who are the 'Fans' but they are also alienating the Producers. In the SF&F fandom, the vast majority of producers, writers, artists, costumers (Yes, there is an analogue for Fursuiters) and filmmakers all consider themselves to be Fans as well. But in Furry Fandom, they don't want to be associated with the group that is meant to be their fans, and most of their fans don't want to be associated with the group that is meant to be their fan.

I know a few people will respond that the furry fandom doesn't need these people. But this isn't true. Any fandom looses their regulars over time. All fandoms need new people to invest ideas. And fandoms especially need creative people who care for the fandom that surrounds them. Without these people joining, the fandom stagnates.

So, what can the fandom do to stop this?

I suggest people take a new years resolution, and that the fandom as a whole promises that

You do not squick the mundanes. In fact, you don't even call them mundanes, they're people who may or may not be into the same things as we are.

Tolerance is a two edged sword. You can expect tolerance of some of the things you do. But you do not have the right to foster your ideals or practices onto others, nor to claim them as more important than others.

Consider that as time goes on, much of the potential fandom will have such things as Jobs and Families, and even things such as being Active in their chosen Church, or taking part in local Politics. Do not do things that are designed to alienate these activities or make it hard on them to remain in the fandom.

Then maybe I and all the others who hang around on the fringe of the fandom can feel that we actually belong to it.

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*yawn* Man. All this angst and debate. 70+ comments, I mean really. At one time I would have soaked this up and argued everyone into the ground over trivialities.

But I'm not gonna. Why? Because I'd rather be... Oh, I don't know, drawing or socializing or actually CONTRIBUTING TO THE GENRE (aka the fandom).

Look, when it comes down to it, you have no control over how other people act. Even if you have the philosopher's stone of The Solution To The Fandom's Problemz (TM) and scream it in every post from here to A.F.F., you can't make people DO it. All you do by trying to change the behavior of other people is create a massive headache, both for yourself and for everyone who subjects themselves to your rantings (though that is their choice, as well).

So.......... your choice. Headache or..... perhaps doing something constructive & creative for this fandom in whose name all this argument is occuring? If you really care for it, do something for &/or with it, instead of pouring all this effort into one massive snark-fest that, in the end, will accomplish NOTHING.

That's right, nothing. Talking, discussion & theorizing are all well and good but when it's all over people will keep doing what they want despite your 80-paragraph exhaustive essay. All the spellchecking & thesauruses & Greek philosopher references in the world can't stop an unwashed gay bestialist inflato-plushophile from saying THIS is what The Fandom is all about and all furries are Just Like Him.

Not to be mistaken for apathy or We can't do anything about it so why care -- I do care, greatly, but there are better things to do with my caring than trying with words to exert control over those I can't.

So I'm gonna go follow my own advice. Think about it, toss it in the trash, use it to train your puppy... I can't make you do a blessed thing, and thankfully, I will not try. ^_^

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It's good, I think that these dabates come up: they bring focus back into bear, and at least a small sense of unity.

You have a point in taking action, but I think the above poster also has a point in one of the reasons that someone might want to leave the fandom in terms of a long-term concern.

Additionally, it also takes a more long-term view, which is great.

In reference to many of these posts to this topic, I think that many of these posters are saying similar things. I also believe that they're personally working to change what they can.

So...it's good that these debates come up every now and again. Sort of like taking the local temperature, and making sure that yes, they still care about it. And yes, if they personally care about it, then likely they're working towards change.

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NECRO COMMENT!

hehe :3

Isnt writing news articles a creative effort?

I generally see news articles, even opinion pieces (or perhaps ESPECIALLY opinion pieces), as being a creative and contributory element as part of the furry fandom.

I do not see this as somehow outside of it.

Heaven is not a place, it's being with people who love you.

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I'm not sure if it's a glitch or a screw-up from lack of sleep, but all your apostrophes are question marks.

Tlaren }:=8}

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Are you using a non-M$ browser and/or a non-M$ OS? This can cause trouble.

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Well, you're entitled to your opinion and your respondents, (whoever
they are), are entitled to theirs. It seems to me, though, that hard
data would help more than opinions. For instance, is there any reason
to believe that these people are actually leaving Furry" Or are they
just not calling themselves Furry, but hanging with us anyway" I also
have qualms about comparing Furry to SF Fandom; it's also related to
Comics Fandom, which is different altogether, and possibly others.
(Furry is a bit of a bastard that way.) I'm not saying that you're
wrong Lamar, but you might have been a bit hasty.
BTW, is there something wrong with your keyboard"
D'Otter

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You seem to be equating 'People who hang around with some furries' as being automaticaly a part of the fandom and also furries no matter what their opinions on the matter are?

Not everyone who owns plushies or read and liked watership down is a furry. But I've often met the opion that 'They are but dont know it', or of course that they are 'In denial'.

If someone tells me they are not part of the Furry Fandom, and not a Furry, then I'm inclined to respect that wish. Furry Fandoms insesive demand for all inclusion is odd to me. If people dont want to be part of the fandom, then either consider the reason they dont want to be and try to change, or just leave them alone.

ps. Yes, I know Furry fandom isnt SF&F fandom, nor is Comics fandom SF&F fandom. Its called an *Analogy*. Furfu!

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You see, it's just that you said at one point that these people were
leaving Furry fandom. (I'm pretty sure that's what you said?) So I
admit that I assumed they'd referred to themselves as Furries at some
point and then stopped doing so. Also, you implied that these people
were still interacting with Furry fans; making art that we like,
selling it to us, writing/drawing/inking/lettering comics and so on.
Again, I admit, I assumed that they hadn't cut all contact with us.
Are they nevertheless Furries? They say they're not, (I think that's
what you said), so I guess they're not. Doesn't mean they can't still
hang out with us.

About Furry fandom not being SF/F fandom, or Comics fandom for that
matter; of course not. I know you were drawing an analogy. It seems to
me, though, that the comparison isn't as apt as you believe. There are
enough differences between SF and Furry that the analogy breaks down
too easily. Likewise any comparison between Furry and Comics fandoms;
there are too many differences. Furry is also a fandom of movies and
TV; if there's any similar fandom, there are probably similarities --
and differences -- enough to draw an analogy. But you mustn't lean too
heavily on analogies. Do you see?

One other thing, while I think of it; squicking the mundanes. Now this
is definitely borrowed from SF fandom! The term "mundane" was coined
when SF fans were a scorned and laughed-at minority, purely defensive.
(These days it's mostly neutral, since SF fans are no longer scorned.)
If Furries borrow the term, it's probably for the same reason it was
coined.

D'Otter

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You seem to be equating 'People who hang around with some furries' as being automaticaly a part of the fandom and also furries no matter what their opinions on the matter are?

While "hanging around with furries" doesn't make someone a furry, I don't really see why claiming that they are/are not furries would affect this either, any more than me saying "I'm not a computer-user" while typing this would make sense.

As far as I can tell, "furry" is a descriptive term, not a club you declare membership to. It applies to anyone who is interested in animals with human characteristics (or vice versa) to the point of near-obsession. And... that's about it. If I collect drawings of humanoid animals, have a wall full of plushies, and occasionally walk around in an animal costume, claiming that I'm "not a furry" is pretty silly of me, as I'm pretty obviously obsessed with furry subject material.

From what I can see, the "I'm not a furry, despite the fact that I act like one" crowd
is objecting to being labelled as a lifestyler/plushiophile/what-have-you if called a "furry". If one considers the term "furry" to be a descriptive term with a definition similar to the above, then fearing labelling like this is just as silly as claiming you're not something you act like. It's the labeller who's looking foolish, not the victim.

So, chalk this post up on the "if it looks like a duck and acts like a duck" side.

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The term mundane was browed from other fandoms and groups. And it should be dropped for the same reasons its no longer used there.

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[You do not squick the mundanes. In fact, you don?t even call them mundanes, they?re people who may or may not be into the same things as we are.]

This has been a pet peeve of mine for years and years, practically since I first heard somebody utter the phrase "Let's squick the mundanes!" I wholeheartedly agree with the statement above, and let me take a moment to build upon what Lamar has said here so that the clueless can maybe better understand why this "game" is a bad thing: For starters, calling non-furs "mundanes" is insulting. You don't want to be called a skunk-f#*%er? Then don't call them mundanes. Second, it implies a massive superiority complex (as if furries are somehow more "enlightened" then those who aren't "furry"?!? HAH!). Third, it creates ill-will. Fourth, it creates a deliberate separation between the fandom and the very group of people this fandom is supposedly searching for acceptance from.

And oh yeah, last but not least: doing something deliberately to provoke a negative reaction from those outside the fandom is CHILDISH BEHAVIOR. Most people get over that game by age five!

[Tolerance is a two edged sword. You can expect tolerance of some of the things you do. But you do not have the right to foster your ideals or practices onto others, nor to claim them as more important than others.]

Another good point right there. How so many within this fandom can claim to be tolerant -- and demand that others tolerate their outlandish behavior -- and then proceed to lash out at people for some trivial reason or another (I seem to recall the backlash generated by the announcement of the "Wild Angels" comic because it was *GASP* CHRISTIAN) is beyond me. Practice what you preach, people. This goes hand in hand with the previous quote. You want people to treat your opinions with dignity and respect, and to consider you an equal? Then stop deliberately pissing them off! Don't even try to cry "I'm furry and I just have to let it show, I won't hide my true identity from everyone and they'll just have to cope with it!" A little thing called discretion and tact comes in handy. People are a lot more respectful of your beliefs if you don't constantly use it as a way of aggravating them. Think about your behavior for a moment. Would it make you cross if the guy across from you on the bus wouldn't shut up about how he's a devout Christian and he goes to mass three times a week and reads the bible every night for four hours and will pray for your salvation? That's how other people might feel when you won't shut up about your involvement with Furry and wearing your tail and trying to find the best price on an auction over at Furbid.

It's not rocket science, people. It's just common sense. Please, exercise it.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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Lighten up d00d!

For starters, calling non-furs "mundanes" is insulting. You don't want to be called a skunk-f#*%er? Then don't call them mundanes. Second, it implies a massive superiority complex (as if furries are somehow more "enlightened" then those who aren't "furry"?!? HAH!). Third, it creates ill-will. Fourth, it creates a deliberate separation between the fandom and the very group of people this fandom is supposedly searching for acceptance from.

Is referring to non-furs as "mundanes" elitist? Of course it is; that's part of the fun! It's also human nature. I have an uncle who's a long-term member of Alcoholics Anonymous. AAers refer to non-AAs as "Normies" and "Earth People". (As if being a lush were something to be "elitist" about. I'd much rather be a known fur than a known drunk.)And how about Linux people? Do you know how they refer to users of that other OS? "Lusers!" "Winderz Lusers!" "Redmondites!" "GUI-morons!" Other terms even less complimentary. If only Linux people would use a term as tame as "mundane". Linux people are their own worst enemies. I've seen all too many newbies scared off because of the 'tude.
"You don't want to be called a skunk-f#*%er? Then don't call them mundanes." I guarantee you: they don't call us "Skunk-f**kers" in retaliation for our calling them "mundanes". Indeed, it isn't "Joe Sixpack" who's doing this. Mr. Sixpack probably doesn't even know what a "fur" is, let alone care. It's people from other, non-fur fandoms who are calling us "Skunk-f**ckers" What does that tell you about their self-esteem? If they don't have anything better to offer, other than to tear down rival fandoms, then t'hellwiddem! Why should we even care?Of course, furry-dom has a PR problem. That's the price you pay for becoming known. Lately, I've been seeing adverts that have very obvious furry-appeal. If you are well enough known that "Madison Ave." sees you as a valuable demographic, it goes with the territory. There have been all too many so-called "journalists" (And you know who they are) who have traded on the fandom for an easy story and cheap thrills. It's all too easy for George Gurley or Rick Castro to zero in on yiff, as though that were the Alpha and Omega of Furry. It beats actually having to do real journalism (that's too much like work) which, all too often, reveals a truth that's, well, mundane. Furthermore, they can get away with it since there's no such thing as "Furry, Inc" -- complete with a well-staffed legal dept. that can hit these @55-holes with a big, fat law$uit for libel. As Linux people have long known, all you can do about that is to just keep on fighting the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) After all, Microsoft is a helluva lot bigger than Vanity Fair and MTV put together. And the Linux Community utterly defeated the Mighty Microsoft. Just about a year ago, Steve Ballmer announced MS's unconditional surrender in the Great FUD War.There are more important things to worry about here than what furry insiders call the outsiders within the fandom.

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Any opinion on the third part of the resolution?

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Yeah well, squicking the mundanes is defined in various forms. Frankly, if i want to walk down the street wearing a plushie on my shoulder and a tail on my belt, then that's my right to do so. It's the "mundanes" perogotive whether or not they are "squicked" by this.

-- jaxxfox@hotmail.com

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"Most people get over that game by age five! "
- Really? Optimistic aren't we?

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Wheeeeeee! Yay for missing the Point!

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Why yes, it IS their perogative. And as long as this world is not actually run by happy bouncy fuzzy critters, so it shall remain.

PROTIP: Freedom of expression includes the freedom to express dissatisfaction with something.

Anja, The Amazing Arabian!

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Okay, how about age 20? Gotta throw in those rebellious teenage years. Hopefully, by the time one is declared legally an adult, they start acting like one.

Hopefully, but not bloody likely.

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man, I'd love it if that were true.

"Steve Ballmer admits defeat."

Pffft. x3

Heaven is not a place, it's being with people who love you.

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You spend ages collecting quotes, writing an article, running it past spell checkers...

And then sodding Windows XP turns all the apostriphies into question marks because it cant do unicode to seven bit translation properly!

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Hmm... that's rather odd, I haven't had that problem.

Tlaren }:=8}

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That's interesting....I'm running XP, and I haven't got that problem. Makes me think of a guy I worked for 20+ years ago....anytime someone had a complaint about anything at all, he'd say, "Sounds like a personal problem to me." Could it be that your eyes are playing strange tricks?

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Actualy, I think its the quote marks that it dosnt understand how to translate from its character set.

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Well, I ran it past Word to do the spell checker. And that's probably turned all the quote marks into windows char set ones.

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"Squick the mundanes"? Hell, I'd appreciate it if some people would quit squicking others in the fandom including me. Show some simple courtesy and consideration.

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For all that people have complained about folks squicking others, in and out of the fandom, I've never encountered it myself. Only one incident stands out in my mind where someone actively tried to make me or anyone around me nervous. That was in CF9 - I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to the reasons behind it.

People come and people go in all fandoms; it's a given. We currently are gaining more people than we are losing as the standing growth in almost all conventions proves.

Most of this "squickiness" can be attributed to two causes: recent MTV shows and the poor social skills of the current net culture. As we have now appeared in the national headlights, it is understandable if the inaccurate portrayal of our genre is attracting exactly those types of people who would be interested in that and that alone. Also, over the past 3 years or so, the level of courtesy on the internet as a whole has sunk to Titanic depths - it's not just the furs or fans of any genre at fault.

In closing, their is nothing new in people trying to "squick the mundanes." I've seen people dressed as Klingons at a Burger King before. What is different is that previously it was all in fun - todays wild neo-fan is out solely to cause disruption and chaos, much like folks who start riots after winning a ball game. It is a sign of the times rather than a sign of the fandom alone.

Reality is not only stranger than we think, it's stranger than we CAN think!

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Just when did this term "squick" originate? I've never heard it before......and in usage, it appears to be simply replacing "freak". Nothing wrong with freaking mundanes at all...and no, it's not childish either.

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"Squick" has a strange and colorful etymology, apparently. Originally coined by someone in relation to gory horror movie effects -- the sound a head makes when it's run over by a vehicle. It was taken up by people on alt.sex.bondage to refer to exceeding someone's limits, making them uncomfortable in a way they did not desire. From there it spread to the polyamory and gay lifestyles in the form of "squick the mundanes," to behave in a way that makes people outside the lifestyle uncomfortable, or to do things which such people may find disgusting. It seems not quite as intense as "freak," which implies someone freaking out in reaction, while a "squick" reaction would be more like squirming.

Frankly, I find it exceedingly rude and immature for someone deliberately to behave in a way intended to make someone else uncomfortable.

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In closing, their is nothing new in people trying to "squick" the mundanes." I've seen people dressed as Klingons at a Burger King before.

Guilty as charged, Shockwave. It's been many years since I've gone out in full TNG uniform, but I have certain discrepancies like that in my past.

I look at it this way: There are many levels of squicking the "mundanes", and some of them are more acceptable than others. The question is, how far is too far?

Does not taking your ears and tail off when you go away from the hotel to get something to eat count as "squicking the mundanes"? If so, does it push the edge? How much?

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I'm only out to have fun. In fact, if I make someone seriously upset, it gets ME upset. I prefer not to "squick" the "mundanes" unless they happen to be outraged and offended by what I do in good fun. Wearing tails and ears in public isn't "squicking" except for those who are "morally outraged" by such things. In my experience, most people think it's 'cool' or 'cute.' And I respect people's wishes too; my dad doesn't want me to be seen in town where his co-workers are...so when in that locale, I don't wear my tails or ears.

I think that's where I draw the line between being "openly furry" or "militantly furry"--the respect factor. I call non-furries "mundanes" in a light-hearted way. It's not disrespectful.

Smile! The world could use another happy person.

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Doing something simply because you get a mean-spirited kick out of it is childish. There's very little margin for interpretation on this.

... or maybe you never got past the stage of thinking that leaving a bag of flaming dogshit on somebody's porch and sticking around so you can watch their expression after they realize what they've been stomping their foot in is comedic genius.

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I call non-furries "mundanes" in a light-hearted way. It's not disrespectful
------
I call furry fans skunkfuckers in a light-hearted way. It's not disrespectful.

The existence of respect lies with who's being named, not who's doing the naming...

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How much is too much? Ultimately that's for the individual to decide, because it's a matter of freedom of speech. But that comes with a caveat: if someone is going to push the envelope, and say things they know are unpopular or regarded as "weird" then they immediately forfeit the right to act so shocked and hurt when their little game of willful antagonizing leaves people pissed off at them.

I mean, think about it for a minute: if you were to walk into the dirtiest, loudest, most unwholesome looking biker-bar in a backwater town somewhere and shout out "HARLEY-DAVIDSON OWNERS ARE ALL FAGS" at the top of your voice are you really going to be surprised when the entire crowd takes turns beating the hell out of you? This is the same thing. You can't demand to be accepted for "who you are" and then pull stunts like that.

When the majority of people within the fandom can understand that simple line of reasoning, then this fandom will be ready to become a subculture that will be more readily accepted by the "mainstream". Right now a vast majority of the participants are simply too immature on an emotional level, and a lot of them bask in the status of "outcast" even though they claim otherwise.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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I think I fixed most of the mis-translated apostrophes. Sorry about that. The oddly large paragraph breaks are one of those weird bugs (features?) in the PostNuke code, I can't do much about them.

Interestingly, this is perhaps one of the first times I've agreed with Lamar. ;) I run this website, I run the third largest furry convention, and I've often contributed to fanzines. Yet, I consistently feel like I'm alienated from most of fandom. In fact, I'm embarrased by a lot of what I see occurring in the fandom. Most of it is just pure and utter lack of common sense. No, sorry, being a 'furry' does not excuse you from the rest of society.

On the other hand, I've met enough fans who do have their shit together, who can function in normal society as well as fandom, and who I'm not embarrassed to point at and say 'that person is a friend of mine'. It's because of these people that I'm still here, doing the things I do.

It's also for me...I enjoy what I'm doing, and I'm not about to let a bunch of utter morons ruin that enjoyment. I'm stubborn that way. I've always maintained that the best way to 'change the fandom' is to create the sorts of things that you would like to see. In my own way, I've always tried to do that. Whether I'm having any success is questionable, but I do try.

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Ah Aureth, you run this site and yet you can't make HTML work on it. ;)

Frankly, I have given up on the Furry Fandom. Most of the people in it bother me in some way or another. Yes, I do chat on Furry MUCK. Yes I am on staff for a major furry convention. Yes, I draw human figures with animal faces. I even have a large stuffed animal collection at home. But I do not consider myself to be a part of this fandom. Because of all the furs who insist on pushing their lifestyle on the rest of us.
Furry is not all about dressing up in a fox suit and boinking your teddy bear. It is not about drawing the raunchiest spooge porn you can with lactating hermaphroditic vixen taurs. It is not about declaring that you are really a dragon, and that you are simply stuck in your human form while on this plane of existence. These may be fringe elements of the fandom, but they are not the end-all be-all of the fandom that some furs want you to believe it is.
I also have issues with the people who think that furry should be an exclusive club, and how dare you be Christian, or married with children, or openly straight, or crap like that. They preach for tolerance of their lifestyle, and yet won't tolerate someone elses just because it's mainstream or something. Tolerance is important. You never know when you're the one being tolerated. For the most part, it's us, tolerating you. Think about that.

I stick around because I have found some good friends through the fandom. I have discovered an outlet for my creative energies. I've found a group that doesn't consider it weird to hug ones friends hello and goodbye, and sometimes just because. But I'll never dress up in a fursuit, I won't draw fur porn, I won't claim that I really am a wolf in human skin. If that makes me not furry, then I'm not. And that's perfectly okay with me.

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Finally, somefur mentionms the sexual aspect! That's probably the biggest turn-off for most folk, just being associated with the sexual aspect, even if they aren't plushophiles, or don't yiff. I consider myself Furry, the same way I consider myself an F&SF fan, a baseball fan, a media fan, etc. I started out in Trek fandom, and as it has matured, it has mainstreamed. See a lot of scadalous articles about them lately? (Aside from 'Trekkies', and that was scandalous, just satirical) Let's not get ourselves confused here. When we talk about the fandom, the current public image is associated with deviant sex. Only those who are patient and thoughtful will take the time to convince those who are not Furry otherwise. That shows maturity, and I believe that as the fandom ages up, it will come.

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HI all,

First of all, Lamar, congrats to you for having the guts to post this. And a bigger congrats for doing it with some sense of tact and diplomacy -- just about everyone who's criticized the fandom before this did it from a 'you sicken me, you loathsome freaks!' platform that did nothing for anyone.

That said -- just how does one define 'squicking the mundanes'? To me it means what you get when fursuiters walk through the non-con parts of the hotel on their way to the con proper -- and I've got to tell you, I've seen more fascination and delight with that (on part of the non-fannish folks) than I have dismay.

Just fishing for a definiton here.

Ardashir

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Posting from work, so this is Anon, but it's from Lamar.

I define 'squicking' as a deliberate atempt to generate a negative responce, by an act designed to gross out, alienate, show predjudice against or deliberatly attack the belifes of other people out of malice.

And yes, I do consider most of Marshal "Eninem" Mathers (How do you spell that boys name?) to be low order squicking to a catchy tune.

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'Marshall Mathers" Close, only missing an 'l'! ;*)>

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Hmmm....How then, does it differ from any random yahoo being an asshole? I mean, with your definition, it isn't actually a fandom thing at all, and doesn't need a fannish term for it.

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You're right, it certainly isn't a fandom thing at all. It's entirely psychological. Nobody wants to admit to being an asshole to others, much less to themselves. So to avoid admitting they're being a jerk they try to cover it up by giving it a cutesey name -- in this case calling it "squicking" instead of "being an asshole." Having relabeled the behavior they can now lie to themselves and pretend that what they're doing is "cute" or simply "mischievious" instead of mean-spirited manipulation of others. They honestly think their behavior "okay" so long as they're "squicking the mundanes" instead of "being a jerk."

It's sort of like having an older sibling who is always beating the merry hell out of you, and when your parents call him or her on it they sputter indignantly and then proclaim "We was just foolin' around!"

It doesn't change the fact they're being an asshole, though.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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I've always termed 'squicking' as messing with somebody's head/world view. Personally, I only squick people that need it, like the royal idiots that say that the Holocaust never happened, those are the kind of people I actively try to mess with. As for the 'normal' population, I don't see any reason to mess with them just for the fact that they aren't hurting anyone (whereas the non-Holocaust movement is trying to get people to believe that, for the most part, 6 million Jews just up and died of natural causes and Hitler was an average guy).

There's my .002 cents, now I'm outta here...

Tlaren }:=8}

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HI all,

Now I understand what you mean. I've got to say, though, that I've been going to furry cons for several years now, and the only real instance of 'squicking' I ever saw was at last year's AC when some fellows had a room party, got very loudly drunk, and stuck a foot-long doggy dildo on the door of their room. The hotel staff was NOT amused -- though Kage broke things up and calmed them (the furs) down when he found out.

It's not quite related, but to me, that's how you handle problems at a con -- quickly and quietly.

Ardashir

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And then there is the problem of Militant Homosexuals in the fandom.

I'm not gay, but if you are I don't care.

Problem is there are certain people that want to drive the straight people out of the fandom.

Furry is NOT! Gay only, stop trying to hijack it!

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Problem is there are certain people that want to drive the straight people out of the fandom.

So? There's certain people that want to drive the gay people out of the fandom, too.The real problem here is with people wanting to drive other people out of the fandom, not who people go to bed with.
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Try to see what happens when families/parents try to get involved with the Cons.

When discussing this on FM with Kage in the room, his attitude was less than encouraging.

Damn us parents with our horrible children. (Funny considering so much anthro stuff out there is geared FOR children.)

You think being straight is a problem? Try being a straight parent and then watch people talk trash about your crotch droppings and other such pleasant words.

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Funny, since most of the people in the fandom are bi (based on a survey I've read and simply what I've seen on webpages). Not to say I don't believe what you're saying, there are probably a lot of gay furries that want a gay only fandom. But, there are probably quite a few straight furries who want a straight only fandom. Also combine that with the fact that an enormous emount of people want a straight only planet. I can almost understand why they'd want something for just ourselves.
But don't worry, not all of us are trying to hijack it, and probably not even half of us.

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Does anybody actually do that? I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "if you're straight you can't be furry".

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Doodles here. Mark Merlino, former head of Confurence, personally told me such at a CF one year. Maybe he's grown a brain since...

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When discussing this on FM with Kage in the room, his attitude was less than encouraging.

That's unfortunate. It's difficult to encourage the next generation of fans if the current generation doesn't want anything to do with them.

We're trying to strike a good balance at Midwest FurFest; we have several members of our staff who are parents, we have a budding kid's track (cubs track?), and we try assiduously to enforce our behavior policy and our rules relating to the public display of 'adult' material.

We also have several staff members who are quite openly gay, without being 'militant' about it. I think one of the strong points about our constaff, and the fandom in general, is the wide diversity of people found in it. I like this.

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I think I've heard that half of people in the fandom are bi, and 20% are gay. Leaving a nice 30% straight.

I'd guess that it would only make sense that they'd be militant gays and straight people in the fandom, like any other group. Although I personally do not see the point of trying to force one group out of the fandom when we ourselves should know better than anyone else that that won't solve problems.

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I won't doubt there was a survey taken, but I will doubt that the methodology behind it was entirely sound in the sampling methods used and in the statistical sense. I too could do a sexuality survey of this fandom and with very little effort make it appear that it is populated 100% by heterosexuals.

Statistics are supposed to be absolute but in truth they are nothing but a game, and with a little bit of knowledge anybody can bend the figures any which way they like. With that in mind any survey should be taken with a grain of salt in even the best cases. At worst the results are especially suspect when broad generalizations are made (such as "most of the people in the fandom are bi") for a tiny dataset but no information is available explaining how that conclusion was arrived at.

Having said that, everyone wants a place that's exclusively for people "like them," it's human nature. But accusing one group of trying to take the fandom over entirely for itself is far-fetched, and just goes to show blinding ignorance on behalf of the accusor.

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I've heard "If you're a girl you can't be furry."

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Okay, time for a parent to chime in here.

I would not take my kids to a furry con. Nor would I take them to an SF, anime or comic con. It has nothing to do with anything the kids might experience, either.

Conventions are my (very) rare escape from the regular world. I get to set aside my job, commute and family for a weekend. It's my "weekend off" from reality where I get to have fun for a change. So I don't want to bring the most stressful part of the outside world - my family - inside with me.

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Actually those numbers are very close to what the survey said (too lazy to get the exact numbers right now).
I don't really see the point either, divisiveness has torn up our fandom enough.

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The survey I think people are quoting can be found here. This survey came up with 25% straight, 48% bisexual, 19% gay, and 8% 'uncertain'.

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Sheesh. Well anyway, yeah, that's definitely a bad attitude.

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That was in fact the survey I was referring to.

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You do not squick the mundanes. In fact, you don't even call them mundanes, they're people who may or may not be into the same things as we are.

- That's probably a good idea, but I'd like it if they'd stop calling us skunk fuckers (Sometimes it's hard not to consider them the enemy).

Tolerance is a two edged sword. You can expect tolerance of some of the things you do. But you do not have the right to foster your ideals or practices onto others, nor to claim them as more important than others.

- THANK YOU! I get so pissed off at these people who think tolerance means "be nice to me regardless of how I act towards you," or maybe "I'll tolerate you as long as you act/think as I do."

BTW, we seriously need to dump this "burned fur" thing. That's probably one of the bigger obstacles to tolerance in the fandom.

Consider that as time goes on, much of the potential fandom will have such things as Jobs and Families, and even things such as being Active in their chosen Church, or taking part in local Politics. Do not do things that are designed to alienate these activities or make it hard on them to remain in the fandom.

- Well, honestly, if they're going into politics, I'd strongly recommend they NOT remain in the fandom. They'd never win an election once it got out (And it would). Although, it would be interesting to see how many votes they would get.

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An addendum to my original post:
I don't think there's anything wrong with calling someone a mundane if you're just joking. For example, if you're talking with a friend and say something like "well, you're just a mundane anyway," I think that's okay if you're joking and the person being called a mundane knows you're joking (Ideally, they'd also know what mundane means).

Just a thought.

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"(Sometimes it's hard not to consider them the enemy). "
---------------------------

I'm still trying to figure out why there is a need to classify anybody as an "enemy" when we're talking about something that is, for most of its participants, a hobby.

When is the last time you heard a model train collector talking about his persecution at the hands of the "enemies" outside his niche? Sound outlandish? So does this. People inside Furry are taking this way too seriously and way too far if they're talking about "enemies." Maybe there are people who don't agree with you but for crying out loud, it's not to the point of "enemies."

----------------
"BTW, we seriously need to dump this "burned fur" thing."
-----------------

Well, if you mean the movement that was so vociferously lead for a period of time by Peter "Hangdog" Schorn, then I think you can rest assured that it has pretty much self destructed (huzzah). If you mean more the furry mentality of "we're so picked upon, woe is us, the world is just MEAN" then you're completely right, that is a major obstacle to the fandom. At some point people are just going to have to suck it up and quit playing the part of the victim and start taking charge of things. It comes down to a matter of responsibility: either fans are going to be willing to take it on and shoulder their share of the burden -- in which case things will change for the better -- or they won't, and things will stay the same or get worse.

------------------
"Well, honestly, if they're going into politics, I'd strongly recommend they NOT remain in the fandom. They'd never win an election once it got out (And it would)."
-------------------

I'd pay to see that. I mean, hey... as a nation we've elected an actor to president, and one state elected a wrestler to governor. We need more of this sort of entertainment. ;)

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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When I'm in a really charitable mood, I like to think that maybe the Burned Furs finally wised up, moved on and voluntarily let their domain name expire.

...Probably not, but it is a pleasant thought. :}

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Not talking about just non-furries in general, just the ones who "squicK" us, and I've heard of a few occasions of violence against furries. Not sure if they're true, but I'd believe it. I really hate thinking of them as enemies, I really try to tolerate it, but like I said, sometimes it's hard.
Good news on the burned fur thing, I thought that was still around. Never heard of the other definition for it (this being my first time posting to any furry forum). It sucks too, but it does make a little more sense than the other.
Honetly, I'd like to see a furry try politics too. I could die happy if I saw a presidential debate where one of them was in a fursuit.

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Saddly, it is the fringe elements that get noticed in the media. Groups will always be identified with the actions of the worst of its members. Take animal rights activists and environmentalists, for example. When someone hears animal rights activists one thinks paint slinging, labrabory breaking, tire spiking hunter trails, etc. When someone hears environmentalists, they think industrial sabateurs, tree spikers, etc. The fringe attracts more media attention, so it is more readily identified as being representative of the group.

Perhaps what is needed to keep the fandom together is subdivisions. I know it sounds strange, but having subcategories of furry-dom might make it easier for someone to say they are furry. If divisions are made so that a person can more readily identify where in the fandom they belong, then saying they belong to a certain subdivision may not be as stigmatizing and would definately be more informative.

For example:

Those who like/draw mostly "clean" furry art (where the characters are either clothed or, in the absence of clothing lacking visible or discernable genitals) can be called "furitans" (a play on the word "puritans" though a less religious term may more appropriate, it was just the only descriptive term I could think up).

Those who like/draw mostly furry nudes/porn can be called "playfurs" (a play on words "Playboy/girl").

Those that draw/like mostly furry porn with bondage, vore, etc. can be called "furverts" (or perhaps a less durogatory sounding term).

All categories will still fall under the larger, more inclusive category of "Furry"

These are just suggestions though, but I think they would help a lot in the fandom not only in helping people better identify with the fandom as a whole, but also to help furries find like-minded furries so that they can feel that they are part of the group and not just an anthro artist surrounded by fringe elements.

I personally fall in the category of Playfur as described above, though I still appreciate "clean" furry art. I do not like images of vore, bondage, orgies, or things of that ilk. I also fall under another descriptive term... "Pacifur" can be used to describe someone who does not like violence of any sort in the art.

Other subdivisions may be neccessary, and other names for the subdivisions may be neccessary for wide acceptance, but it is a suggestion that I think is worth entertaining.

Note on subdivisions: terms such as "Burnt Fur" should be avoided. Any term that implies violence or superiority should be avoided. The terms should be nuetral, informative/descriptive terms that are meant to help people find like minded people, not to insult others not in your partucular subdivision.

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But this fails to adress the problem. The people who stay away from the fandom do so beause they do not want to be assoiated with an all inclusive group. So, evne with 'catagories' they still wouldnt want to be in one of them.

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Actually, I think it addresses the problem fairly well. Those who worry about stigmas may not want to mingle with the main body of the fandom, but they will still feel like part of the fandom if there is a group of the fandom that they can relate to that isn't associated with fringe behaviors. Those already jaded are already lost, the only thing we can do is make it better for those that may join the fandom in the future and those that are on the fence hoping for something more representative of themself to show up. It will take time to have an effect, but it can be integral to changing the whole image of furry fandom.

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Why do people avoid the term "furry" if they like anthropomorphic animal art and stories? The short answer is that it's a simple case of denial. The fact is, people who like anthropomorphic animal art and stories are furry fans.What I wanna know is, why don't these folks who claim to enjoy anthropomorphic animal art and stories stand up for something they like?You make some good points with your proposed New Year's resolutions, but I should point out they're not really anything I don't do already.I'll close with my obligatory suggestion that the fandom is best served by encouraging folks to work together instead of split apart.

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But the probelm is, some people dont *want* to work with others. They dont want to be assosiated with some parts of the fandom. So insisting that they are part of the fandom they feel includes things they do not want to be assosiated with deeply alienates them.

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But the problem is, some people dont *want* to work with others.

Yes, and that's unfortunate, because it would mean suggesting New Year's resolutions to make people feel more welcome in the fandom is a pretty futile endeavor. As I said, working together is better than splitting apart. United we stand, divided we fall, as the saying goes.
So insisting that they are part of the fandom they feel includes things they do not want to be associated with deeply alienates them.
I get the impression you're reading something into my statement that isn't there, so I'll reiterate: Furry fandom is about anthropomorphic animals. I'm not sure how that could possibly alienate people who claim they like anthropomorphic animals, or why they wouldn't want to be associated with that when they're claiming that's what they're into in the first place.
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"I get the impression you're reading something into my statement that isn't there, so I'll reiterate: Furry fandom is about anthropomorphic animals. "
-----------------

I think that's the problem right there, Xydexx. You've defined "Furry" to mean "Y," and it's a definition I happen to agree with. But you know as well as I do (how can you not after years of activity on A.F.F.? :)) that to some other folks it means "X", while to yet another group it means "Z" and to a group of radicals it means thing "A."

When I really step back and take a good look at it I come to the unnerving conclusion that most of the internal strife in the fandom is arising because of a simple problem: nobody can agree upon a single definition for what the Furry fandom is about. It's as if most of the problems are popping up because of a debate on semantics that is on par with the entire arguement with regards to the English language about whether "input" is still only a noun or if it's now a verb (or both).

Maybe we just need to issue an RFC on Furry Fandom and settle this squabble once and for all.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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Well, "my" definition is consistent with the information found in The alt.fan.furry FAQ, which seems to be a pretty widely-accepted and comprehensive document, and AFAIK has been around the fandom even longer than I have.Interestingly enough, I've never had a problem agreeing with this definition and getting on with my life. Yet over the years I've received plenty of unwarranted flak from folks who claim---against all evidence and reason---that I'm advocating something other than the standard definition. The irony here is loudest complaining came from the same people who should have been agreeing with me in the first place.So in a way, you're right, folks don't want to agree on a definition: First they said how furry fandom was about anthropomorphic animals, and now they're saying it isn't. Either way, I'm going to continue saying furry fandom is about anthropomorphic animals. That's the whole reason I got involved to begin with.

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The point isn't that someone is or isn't a furry, Xydexx. It's that while they admit to themselves that they're not, someone else is saying that they are. Yes, furry fandom is about anthropomorphic animals. No argument there. But realise, there is no 'standard' definition. There are many definitions which have many attributes, some of which are predominant, with very small differences. Everyone has their own idea of what is a furry and what isn't, and some of these ideas are similar enough to be grouped into a 'standard' definition. Is this standard definition (think about the meaning of the word 'standard', as in 'the standards we have to live up to') being viewed as the ideal definition of furry? Are all other definitions wrong, especially those of the people who don't consider themselves furry? How does this embody the tolerance that was mentionned in the original post? It's hypocritical of me to think that you're wrong, Xydexx, but I don't think you're concentrating on what needs to be addressed, or rather, barking up the wrong tree. If I understand your arguments, the people who don't consider themselves furry but have interests within the fandom should be considered furry depsite their own opinions on the matter. I don't agree with this, and I hope I haven't been to ranty trying to say that (though I know I have. I shudder to re-read this, so I'm just going to click the OK button now)

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Are all other definitions wrong, especially those of the people who don't consider themselves furry? How does this embody the tolerance that was mentionned in the original post?

Sorry, but I don't see how misdefining words has ever been a requirement of tolerance. I'm not suggesting kicking people out of the fandom just because folks have other interests outside the fandom (breaking Melville's Law), and in fact I've specifically argued against it. I don't really see how that makes me intolerant.
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The problem, I figure, is that people declare themselves "not furry" based on a "definition" of furry that isn't just slightly different from the standard, it's totally wrong and based on distorted stereotypes from the media and from insulting comments by net.bastards. "I'm not a furry," these people say, "because furries are fat smelly social retards who can't spell and have sex with sheep while wearing otter costumes."

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Well, quite frankly, after wading through all of these posts I guess I'll be the only person to say that a big part of the problem is that there ARE so many fat smelly social retards who can't spell have sex with... etc. that LOVE to talk to the media. That, and there are so few that aren't social retards talking to (or getting through) the media.

This causes Joe Six-pack in Hometown, USA to think that the next aspiring Walt Disney or Chuck Jones really only wants to put on a pink bunny suit with holes for convenient sex with strangers... if this is your thing, it's your thing, fine... but since this is the crowd that is now being "defined" as furry, WHY is it so controversial that someone who DOESN'T identify with this sort of thing want to keep it at arm's length. Sure, this isn't how YOU define the fandom but, let's face it, this is how it is defined by the rest of the world because certain individuals were only too happy to reveal their most outlandish behavior for all of TV land to witness in an attempt for "understanding"... or to simply have the thrill of being on TV. Pardon me if I'm unsurprised and unimpressed by how it turned out.

It goes right back to the original proposal: Don't squick the mundanes, or as I would say, have some semblance of social skills. While I have some great friends that proudly identify themselves with the fandom, the vast majority of folks I encounter have little to no clue as to how to interact with the dreaded "RL" and, sadly, if I would be embarrassed sharing a meal in a restaurant with 90% of "the Fandom" then I'll probably not identify myself as a part of the group. Feel free to ogle my artwork, though.

I think that my general attitude is what the author of this article is diplomatically trying to lessen in some way. I applaud the effort. Sadly, I think there are as many folks that aren't even aware of how socially inept they are as ones who enjoy being assholes by making others uncomfortable.

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The divisions in the fandom are something I'll never understand, same thing with the people who seem to be furries but who refuse to be called furries.

I can't draw any analogies from other fandoms. I've never met someone who seems to be a trekkie who denies being a trekkie; or someone who seems to be in the comic fandom who denies it.

I personally realize that 'furry' is a new term, while I think it is simply another name for anthropomorphics. I do not see the difference.

I do however realize that any group's fringe elements WILL get noticed by the press, and that often times can drive people away from said group, even if they seem to be part of that group. I think something that is key to this problem is improving the fandom's image.

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I think we've all failed to address the real problem, myself included. The real problem is this:
The media is garbage. They print/show garbage, and the people buy garbage.
I know this goes against the tolerance thing, but as you said, tolerance is a double edged sword. Maybe they should try it out for once.
(I know someone who reads this will probably be part of the media, and I want to make it clear that I don't think all of the media is garbage, just the most profitable parts.)

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The media may be garbage, yes. And now that we've addressed that problem, what can we do to change it?

Unfortunately, not much. The whole entertainment industry in the modern age is based on sensationalism. The tabloid, Jerry Springesque MTV shock value of most of what goes on in the papers and on the boob tube aren't going to change anytime soon, so it's useless to fight against it.

We have to realise that what they portray in those articles is true to a certain degree. Yes, there are people in the fandom who have deviant beliefs. Yes, this is a subject which the media loves to cover. It would be silly to think that this isn't the case. However, we have to watch where we lie our blame, if we lie it anywhere. Does it in fact lie in the hands of an entertainment agency? Is it the fault of the people who watch TV or read tabloids? Is it the fault of the fringes of the fandom who are what they are, or is it because they like to stand out so much? Do they like to stand out so much because they feel alienated by the people who don't believe they represent the fandom?

The media may be garbage in certain cases, and I do believe that it represents a hurdle. Though I wouldn't focus directly on the media as a 'problem' that needs elimination per-se (which is one of those weird thought patterns that arose from the interpretation of this reply, not from the reply itself, so forgive me if I draw the wrong conclusions from it), it's still a good idea to address this point. The media does portray the fandom badly. My point is instead of laying blame and pointing fingers, we should ask why this situation is here in the first place. I know I can't answer this, but maybe others can help.

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The answer to 'why does the media portray the fandom badly?' is quite simple: the part(s) of the fandom that are the most embarrasing to the general members are also the part(s) that have been proven to be the most entertaining to the TV-watching public at large.

Now, one key question that I haven't heard anyone asking: Why should the media portray 'furry fandom' another way? Or at least, this hasn't been asked in a serious, thoughtful, considering all sides of the equation manner. Face it, the media is not an advertising tool of the fandom, and never will be.

One other question I'd like to throw out to you all: WHY is it so important to have people call themselves 'furry', anyway? Ponder that one.

Anja, The Amazing Arabian!

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I'll give you one DAMN GOOD REASON! It could cost you your job!

I have a security clearance and work for the Government, a Schizophrenic and knee-jerk branch of it too.

Since 9/11 it takes very little to lose your clearance and your job with it.

It is also currently nearly impossible to get your clearance back!

Last month we had someone lose a government ID, lost his clearance and job because of it.

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Last month we had someone lose a government ID, lost his clearance and job because of it.

Because he called himself furry? Pardon me while I sit here not believing you.

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Partly, because the more people go around saying "I'm not a furry" (usually expressed in strong terms like "No way in hell am I a 'furry'"), the more other people get the idea that furry is something bad.

Other than that, it does get a bit silly when you see someone saying "I've got artwork up on Yerf, VCL, Furnation and Orlando, I'm on the staff of a major furry con, I chat regularly on FurryMUCK and Tapestries, and I've got my own fursuit...
...but I'm not a 'furry'."

'Sa bit like saying "I believe women are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as men... but I'm not a 'feminist'."

Same deal there. Feminism does not mean militant loudmouthed women who insist on making life hard for all men... but some people think it does. And that attitude is harmful to the cause.

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(replying to both of the above messages at once)
No, we can't do anything to change the media. It sucks, but it seems like one of our biggest problems is one we have no ability to fix.
I also realize that most of what they say is true of some furs. I just don't have a problem with "deviance." If someone is attracted to furry porn (myself for example) then who cares? It doesn't hurt anyone.
Wasn't really thinking about eliminating the media (well, yeah I was, but only a little).
---
I actually agree with most of the second message. As for calling themselves "furry," it really isn't important. But to the some of us it can feel like we're being abandoned. It bothers me a little, but not too much.

Honesty time: I only partially believe what I put in the first post. It was just a thought that entered my head and I was interested to see how others would react to the idea. I can't say I was that surprised.

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Face it, the media is not an advertising tool of the fandom, and never will be.

If you think you can or can't get good publicity for the fandom---either way you'll be right.Never say never. We've gotten good publicity before, and that means we can do it again.
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A lot of good points that I forgot to bring up in my reply...

Why should the media portray 'furry fandom' another way?
The only reason it should portray 'furry fandom' in another way is to make it look better, but that's a selfish request... And besides, by making the good parts look better, you're making the bad parts look better too. In my opinion, this is worse than the opposite effect, though I'll leave that to you to decide for yourself.

My favorite point, though, has to be this one:
WHY is it so important to have people call themselves 'furry', anyway?

A lot of people seem to be offended when someone who does furry art, say, and plays a character which could be described as fitting into the 'furry' category in a roleplay environment, or even someone who just uses one as an avatar or an internet identity, refused to acknowledge the fact that they are 'furry'. First of all, nobody is a furry. I hate to break it to you people, but you're all human beings. I may be missing the definition completely (it could be even more all-encompassing and broader than I thought) but as far as I know, a furry is an anthropomorphised animal or beast. I know, at least, that I'm not an anthropomorphised animal or beast. So I'm not a furry.

Sorry for the digression. I continue.

I enjoy drawing what could be considered 'furries'. I have a character on Furry MUCK, and I enjoy stories that include them. This, however, doesn't mean that I'm a furry fan, and I don't ever want to say that I am. People tend to assume Furry is all or nothing, in two ways. Either you're in or you're out, and either you're a militant or you're not. I hate it when people insist that I say I'm 'furry'. It's the name that's the problem... When you name something, it's usually because something has common attributes. But the concept of Furry is so vague that the term only has one attribute: someone who has any sort of interest in anthropomorphic animals. Even the one attribute is vague. What's the 'sort of interest'? It could be artistic, inspirational, sexual, escapist... whatever.

It's vague, so people start lumping on their own thoughts of what a 'furry' is, by definition. These items could include owning a plushie collection, being a fursuiter, roleplaying as a furry, being a zoophile or any other set of characteristics. They create a sort of cartesian origin, or an 'aryan' furry, upon which they categorise others, on a scale which I will call 'furriness'. In this case, you have your aryan furry which is the point of origin. The further you are from this ideal, the less furry you are.

At a certain point, you have a delimiter, and being on the other side of it means that you aren't furry at all. Depending on where this origin lies, you have different limits. And depending on the person, this origin lies in many manner of places. To one person, they aren't furry, but to another, they are. Because the definition is subjective, there's no truth over what's furry and what's not. So please, don't argue over whether someone is furry or not. It's counterproductive and misses the point entirely.

You'll have to forgive the ranty nature of this reply, I'm feeling kinda bitter right now. For those who disagree with me, it's entirely in your right. Just remember, though, that this is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it. Don't try to change it. You won't get very far. Now everyone, let's keep fighting for the middle ground!

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[First of all, nobody is a furry. I hate to break it to you people, but you're all human beings.]

What?? Damn, I thought I was a turtle! :}
It's pretty well accepted that 'furry' can refer both to the animal characters and to the people who like them; in the second usage, it functions as a shortening of the term 'furry fan'. And no, this doesn't cause confusion, because it's usually obvious from context which sense is meant.

And if I read your last few paragraphs right, your complaint about calling yourself a furry is that the label isn't adequate to give a complete picture of what you're like. Well, heck, what label is? I'm an American. You can't tell from that statement whether I like sports, what my favorite foods are, whether I watch TV, what I do for a living, etc. You can't make generalizations about me from that and expect to be accurate.

Same thing with 'furry'. Yes, it is a somewhat vague term, but there's nothing wrong with that.

The real problem, I believe, is not the various distinctions between various furries, but with the insultingly distorted view the rest of the internet has of us. Thing is, if you like anthro animals, but insist you're not a furry, all you're doing is perpetuating that distortion. You're accepting the wrong definition of the word, and it's one that I think mostly the entire fandom can agree is wrong.

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No, that's not what he said at all.

If you go back and reread you'll see the person in question lost his job because he had the simple misfortune of misplacing his ID. I think the point that the poster was going for in relating this is "furry could cost you your job! The government is in such a state of twitchiness that they're canning people who even blink wrong!" Since I don't work for the Feds so I can't say from personal experience if this statement has the ring of truth or paranoia. In today's world neither would surprise me.

The solution to that issue is pretty simple. My advice is that basic professionalism should eliminate any possibility of "being a furry" from playing a factor in keeping a job or not. Draw a clear line: when you're at work, you're a professional cashier, or a computer programmer, or a soccer player, or whatever you do for a living. When you're at home you can be a furry, or an opera singer, or a rodeo clown or whatever. Just practice a little common sense in not taking it to work if you think it could represent any "threat" at all to your employment. If what you do in your off time stays in the offtime then it probably won't be a problem. Saying otherwise is in my opinion rumor mongering on the order of "Drawing anthro art means you'll never get a job with Disney!!!!!!" It's just silly.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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Which still doesn't mean that 'the media' as a group will lean towards favorable articles anytime soon. Simple fact is, they write stories that make people want to read their publication, not stories that pump up a certain group (absent application of heavy bags of cash money, of course).

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Feren is correct.

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Which still doesn't mean that 'the media' as a group will lean towards favorable articles anytime soon.

No, but it gets more favorable articles than avoiding the media does. It's not a magic solution, and like anything worth doing, it takes time. The bottom line is it has worked in the past, and there's no reason for folks to pretend it won't work in the future.
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Note to all people posting that it is The Media's Fault(TM).

Did you not read my previous article? The way the fandom treats its own is not the medias fault, and in no way can it be.

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I have people say I am a furry. I don't think that suits me.

Why am I reading this? Lamar is a friend. That I met on Furrymuck.

Bear with me here:

I used to hang out on a sci-fi muck. Friends were looking for other places to hang out, we tried Redwall, some Dragon themed MUCK, Furry Faire, and eventually FurryMUCK. FM was the most social so I wound up there.

I am a hedgehog on FM because it is furry themed, and although there are humans there, it made more sense. I am also a marshmellow peep in one morph. If I were back on a sci fi one, I would be an alien, and if I were on a vampire one, I would be a vampire. And so on.

I don't particularly care for anthromorphic art. There are a few artists I respect as artists, not because of the subject matter, but their style. My art is photography, and I haven't done any animals. I think there were ducks in a landscape I did -- I take that back.

I went to AC for an afternoon, a few hours, because friends from all over the place were going to be there. Saw them, and left. Wandered around a bit to see what it was all about. May do that again if enough people I know are going.

If all the people I talked to were in a completely different place, I would be there too. I am in this for the social aspects.

I don't much care for animals at all. I have a cat because my building has mice and it seems to keep them out of the apartment. I don't go to the zoo unless the kids ask. I don't like plushies. My art tastes don't lean towards anthromorphic. I barely read any fiction, and I don't think I've ever read any furry fiction unless a friend wrote something and asked me to look at it. Same with this website, I orginally heard of it because I knew Aureth a bit and thought I would poke around. Then Lamar told me he wrote, so I came to look at this. Any mailing lists and other boards are for social reasons too.

So what do you say? Am I furry by association? I get told that a lot. What do you think?

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Well, no, you're not.

Because you are not a fan of anthropomorphic animals, then by the most popular definition, you are not a furry.

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Too bad that you're basing off a wrong assumption, i.e. that "furry" and "furry fandom" are the same thing. Ever thought that all this might be happening because *they are not* the same. "Furry" is a concept, a "fandom" is a mechanic of society, a mere commercial phenomenon.

[...The heart of the fandom has slowly been alienated from the rest. Not only is the fandom slowly loosing those who are the 'Fans' but they are also alienating the Producers. ...]

Obvious. What is produced to keep up a commercial phenomenon is simply not enough to cover all aspects of the concept of furry - freedom of expression, tolerance and appeal to sensuality in the first place. You stated it yourself that those are common traits in furries. So a "fandom" which leaves them out is refusing basic traits of the furry frame of mind; why you think it should struggle for tagging itself "furry" when it isn't?
Same goes for Producers (which aim to create and keep up a "fandom"). Why should they pretend that what they do defines and overlaps exactly everything that is worth being called "furry", since it doesn't? There ought to be a reason if other Producers accept the tag instead.
People who refuse to call themselves "furry" though they like the idea are doing exactly the same mistake of those who call themselves "furries" rather than using the correct word (plushophiles, fursuiters, zoos, whatever). The fact they do it in the opposite direction doesn't make it less of a mistake.
What you shun (with reason) is Fallen Geek behaviour which anybody can dissociate from, if her or she knows his or her stuff. Adapt yourself to the need to simply be clear about your ideas being a furry, rather than wishing for furry to adapt to you.

[...And fandoms especially need creative people who care for the fandom that surrounds them. Without these people joining, the fandom stagnates....]

Furry stagnated for twenty years already, thanks to it pretending to be "just a normal fandom". Then guess what made it emerge from the shadows and began awakening some pride in being open-minded: media mocking. Since the times of Albedo and Omaha furry has never been so creative, active, spreading and struggling for innovation as it has been in the last year (though it hasn't climbed back to that level of courage still).

Yours furrily,
Scale

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I see the two terms - furry fan and anthro fan - as a direct parallel of the Trekkie/Trekker thing from a few years back. Some Star Trek fans decided that Trekkie was too derragatory, and decided to call themselves Trekkers instead, to distance themselves from the Klingon-dressing freaks known as Trekkies.

The thing is, John Q Public doesn't care what you call yourself. If you like Star Trek, you're a Trekkie. Simple as that.

You can call yourself an anthro fan, or you can call yourself a furry fan. Thing is, they're one and the same. ;)

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You can call yourself an anthro fan, or you can call yourself a furry fan. Thing is, they're one and the same.

Actually, if we wanna get technical, "anthro" also includes anthropomorphic objects as well as animals. Fans of Pumpy The Anthropomorphic Insulin Pump would qualify as "anthro" fans, for example. -:)
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Actually, from what I've seen, John Q Public has never even _heard_ of furry. They'd probably think you just liked wearing fur or something.

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That thing has a fan club?!?!?!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this, but still.

Xydexx, I'm naming my nightmares after you because of that link.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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Yup, John Q. Public has still largely not heard of furry. It's JohnQPub57@aol.com who has heard of furry, and the problem is that he heard of it from cyberd00dz0r on some mailing list who told him that we're all a bunch of thin-skinned preverts. Oh, and that it's loads of fun to tease us and watch us whine.

Most people out in the real world who've asked me about furry have thought it was "neat" or "cute" or other heartwarming adjectives. :}

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Perhaps people should realize that "Furry" really isn't a very good term anyway. If more people prefer to use the word "Anthro" then "Anthro" should be used. At this point in time, Furry really has taken on unsavory/bizarre connotations (sex, lifestylers, plushie/fursuit fetishes) so I can understand people not wanting to be associated with that negative baggage. And I think that many Anthro fans really resent the Furries constantly trying to claim that anyone who likes, say...Bugs Bunny cartoons, is a Furry.

Personally, I've always found the term "Furry" to be silly and childish, which is why I call myself an "Anthro" or "Anthropomorphics" fan.

-- Dave

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I happen to like the term 'furry', though. Any negative connotations the word may have come from a misunderstanding. I'm not going to drop a perfectly nice word over something like that.

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At this point in time, Furry really has taken on unsavory/bizarre connotations (sex, lifestylers, plushie/fursuit fetishes) so I can understand people not wanting to be associated with that negative baggage.

Speaking from personal experience, Furry only gets associated with negative baggage if you let it.My friends, family, and co-workers have always known I'm involved in furry fandom. In all the years I've been involved, I've never had trouble from anyone about it. Why? Because when they ask me about things like Sex2K or the ER episode, I tell them what furry fandom is really about. So I must be doing something right.If the folks who complain about the "baggage" spent half as much time correcting misinformation instead of running away and hiding, we wouldn't have this problem, would we?
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The current problems that "furries" and "furry fandom" is having is that there are 2 seperate factions that both claim to be furries.

Faction 1) Clean Furs: These are the ones that usually frequent Furrymuck to merely meet with friends, conduct some reasonably peaceful non-yiffy RPs, and may also include some variant "anthro fans". These people highly resent being grouped with the other faction AND being accused of being "gay" or "bisexual". This faction is most likely the ones that will drop out of the fandom to keep their character names "clean" from the dark reputation that "furry fandom" has wrongly obtained.

Faction 2) Porno Furs: These are the ones that usually frequent Tapestries Muck (or any of the other yiff-themed MUs).

Half of these people have the decency to stay within their bounds on those Mucks already designated as being yiff-oriented. They usually gather to chat with their close circle of friends, conduct sexual RPs, and to collect sexual furry art/stories.

Then you have the other half.

These are the ones that give the "furry fandom" a bad name, although they'll claim they are NOT doing anything wrong. This half frequents IRC chatrooms, invade new MUs in an attempt to pollute the environment with sexual activities, are openly vulgar and rude to both other "furries" of both factions, are antagonists in mailing lists, and are generally annoying to all who have the misfortune to encounter them.

Artists and Writers of "Athro Stuff" seek to remain outside of the "fandom" for the obvious reason to remain non-associated with the "second half" of Faction 2 of "furrydom".

It is not hard to understand why the "anthro" lovers do not want to be called "furries". Need I bring up Vanity Fair and ER's "furry" inclusions?

Warheart

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You neglected to mention the half of the Clean Furs that also give the fandom a bad name. They're just as quick to claim they're not doing anything wrong, either. One only need look at the history of the now-defunct hate group Burned Fur to see that being vulgar, rude, or an antagonist on a mailing list has never been limited to "Porno Furs."People have been using the Clean vs. Spooge argument to scapegoat since at least 1995. It's an old, tired, and above all else invalid argument which hasn't done anything but leave bad feelings in its wake. People need to stop focusing on differences between "clean" and "porno" furs (ignoring middle-of-the-road folks like myself who fit into both categories) and instead start focusing on whether furry fans behave or not.

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There's all of one member of the press who has EVER held up the Burned Furs as being part of "what's wrong" with furry fandom. That man, who started out calling the BFs a "hate group", eventually recanted his claim. The single article in which he named the Burned Furs spent far more of its space talking about the various sexual dysfunctions on parade in the fandom.

Burned Fur is also, as you pointed out, defunct. LONG defunct. SEVERAL YEARS DEFUNCT. Furthermore, it was created as a response to Porn Furs --- it never would have existed except for the bad public behavior of people who acted on basis of "sexual liberation" rather than common sense and basic levels of civility. By contrast, Porn Furs were highly active before Burned Fur's existence, and they remain highly active long after the BFs went the way of the dodo.

Not to mention that Burned Fur, with fewer than 50 members over its lifetime, could hardly be said to represent "half of the Clean Furs". It's simply the ONLY group you can point to on the "Clean Fur" side of the equation which remotely approaches the vulgarity, rudeness and antagonism of the Porn Furs.

What's of markedly more interest is the number of non-furries I've run into over the years who read --- and agree with --- the Burned Fur Manifesto. Despite the vulgarity and viciousness of tone, the essential message is readily embraced by those who've seen the fandom's seamier side: namely, "keep your kinks to yourself, thanks".

All along, it has been Porno Furs who have obtained the fandom's current image as BEING pornographic in nature. The PFs are who the press chose to cover, and they chose to revel in the attention. The BFs were not even a blip on the radar of the press by comparison.

And Xydexx, don't even start on "scapegoating". From the beginning, the focus has ALWAYS been on whether furry fans misbehave or not.

You can count on the fingers of one paw the number of activists who wanted to purge the porn from the fandom, and likely have change left over. Meanwhile the rest of us maintained our concern with poor behavior. You, on the other hand, routinely jumped into such discussions with the demand that everyone shut up about it.

Various Porn Furs fought hard to derail any civilized discussion on the subject, apparently for fear that Billy Graham was waiting in the wings to convert the fandom to Southern Baptism if they budged an inch.

Don't even try to drag out the old "scapegoat" argument now. If there's any victim here, it's the fandom as a whole, and it's the camera-loving Porn Furs who're directly responsible for it.

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Tired minds tend to forget things when typing. But you are right, at least to a partial point. As an owner of a few mucks myself, I posted this from known experience. We are all welcome to our opinions.

Speaking of which: to which faction are you a member of? ;)

Warheart

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I am a Squeaky Fur.I enjoy the fandom because I get back what I put into it. I'm intelligent, well-behaved, and fun to be around. I stay positive, support the things I like, and try to set a good example for others. I hang around with cool and interesting people, and tend to avoid the angsty whiners. I think mean people suck.Click here to see what kind of furry you are.

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I call myself an 'anthropomorphic fan'. Why? Because its one less step I have to take to get the point across that I like 'funny animals like Bugs Bunny'. Most people understand that term. They don't understand 'furry', and I usually have to do more explaining as to why I used that term.

Subsets of fandom...further labels are not the way to go, because its often not the choice of the individual what other people think of and label him/her. I certainly didn't choose to be known as a 'spooge hater' because I don't do R rated art for other people.

--Zhora

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Why are most -what you called "fur" people all pedophiles? =/

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It's the American way.

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The best article I read here so far.

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Lamarread storiescontact (login required)

    from Oxfordshire, England