Decolonizing the anthro-animal: Furry fandom, speculative fiction, and the need for newer directionsPosted by BrandyJLewis on Tue 10 Dec 2019 - 23:49
Anthropomorphic animals have been a means through which we can think about and examine queerness, abject bodies and forms. However, it can be argued that furry fandom has relied on animals under the meanings that western, white culture imagines them to have. This essay offers a critique on how furry fandom, at this current point in time, needs to look for newer directions, inclusive of rupturing the animal concept as we know and think of it right now. Some possible directions include ideas from Indigenous literature and post-colonial identities.
There is a quite widespread idea that the furry fandom is a uniquely creative group of people. We say it in our own documentaries, we say it in our own comment sections and the more senior members of the fandom such as Unci and Uncle Kage say it when they talk about the fandom. This majority opinion can be summarized in a single paragraph from the Furry Writer's Guild:
The furry fandom can be difficult to describe succinctly because, unlike media-based fandoms, furries aren’t fans of any one particular television show, film, or even genre. Many furries do find their way to the fandom through overlap with fandoms of mass media properties like The Lion King and My Little Pony, but for the most part, furries create their own original content to be fans of. It’s an incredibly creative community, and the boundaries between creator and fan are often slim to nonexistent.
But is it really true? Let's be clear, I am not saying that the furry fandom is not creative or original, but I do not think that we are uniquely so and, hopefully, by the end of this, I will have convinced you of that.
Written by DarkWingDude (aka Equestrian Horse Wrangler) and drawn by Brooke Scovil, At Arm's Length focuses primarily on three women who are emigrants from a hidden society of four-armed magical beings. Our heroines, Ally (rabbit; specializes in illusions) Sheila (kangaroo; the most direct, forthright member of the trio) and Reece (fox; psychic and generally peculiar) appreciate the mortal world to the point where they put the smackdown on magical threats that mundane authorities simply cannot handle.
Those who choose to support the strip via Patreon can gain access to web badges and wallpapers available nowhere else, and can even introduce new characters with speaking parts.
This article is a collaboration between Rakuen Growlithe and Christiaan Ferret.
When it comes to the furry fandom, we have many unique neologisms, including words such as fursona and the phrase pawing off, which have varying levels of acceptance in the fandom. Perhaps one of the most well-known is the term yiff, which is even understood by some non-furs. Generally accepted as a substitute for sexual activity, and able to be used as a verb, noun or adjective, it is now less accepted than in the past.
Commenting on the closure of ychan, Yiffy International and 420furs.org, Flayrah contributor Sonious remarked that yiff had not aged well. Shortly afterwards, Christiaan Ferret's defence of the word as a part of furry culture brought forth comments such as...
Though to me "yiff" will always just be a corny slang term that makes me cringe slightly everytime I hear it spoken aloud haha.
I find the word annoying and needlessly cutesy, and I don't have the respect for it to study its etymology. It's just a really dumb word to me, and I'm afraid I can't say anything more about it. =/
However, we believe yiff has significance to the furry fandom as part of our shared culture and history. While we understand that not everyone will care for it, we do think it important to at least understand where the term came from.
Canadian convention VancouFur has a theme for 2014: "Gateway to the Pacific", described by staff as a "celebration of Pacific Rim multiculturalism in Vancouver."
An announcement on VancouFur's official Twitter account stated: "We will be celebrating a country on the Pacific Rim and its cultural influence on our city each month leading up to #VF2014!" On March 7, when a member asked about wearing a kimono, VancouFur replied: "You most definitely can! :D Themed costumes are always such fun! :D"
On March 8, the VancouFur website was updated with a splash screen for 2014, shown as of March 10 with a "chop suey"-style font. (Wall Street Journal blogger Jeff Yang called a similar font "a cliche fake-brushstroke “oriental” typeface" when used in a grocer's flyer last year.)
By March 12, the VancouFur website had been quietly updated to use a different font.
It looks like we can add hyenas to the list of animals that can count. In fact, hyenas can count nearly as well as primates, a sure sign that these carnivorous predators are unusually intelligent. This is caused by their sophisticated, hierarchical societies in the wild.
Hyenas are among the few animal species to have unusually-complex social groupings, to the point where scientists consider them "societies" instead of packs.
Let's face it, hyena fans: hyenas usually get a bum rap, being called stupid, or "laughing idiots" from their laugh-like barks and calls (some of the blame on this may lie with Ed from The Lion King).
However, researchers have repeatedly demonstrated the cognitive abilities of hyenas rival those of monkeys. New research from Michigan State University suggests hyena intelligence evolved as a means for the spotted & striped predators to keep track of their social groups.
Researchers studying meerkats have found different groups follow different traditions that are passed on non-genetically. They noticed that different meerkat groups wake up at different times, and that immigrants adjust to the group's traditional waking hour.
Yiff!, the new British musical hoping to take London for a fuzzy whirlwind ride has updated it's cast and crew last January for it's latest showcase reading at the Kingshead Theatre. New characters include Samba - a lion cub, ishi_qweek - a dolphin, and Robodog who's... well, a robot dog. New songs range from the mundane to the rude ("The Ultimate Yiff" a good example.) Videos of both stage readings to date can be found on Tim Saward's YouTube channel. yiff.org.uk
Ursa Major Awards
The Ursa Major Awards - an annual award given for work in the anthropomorphic fandoms - has opened for final voting to decide the 2007 winners! Those up to grab the award include mass media and fandom regulars fighting side by side. Those to look out for include Ratatouille, Doctor Who, Blotch, Lackadaisy, Newshounds and Ozy & Millie.
Steven Ross Gerber, the legendary Marvel comic writer best known for creating Howard the Duck and more recently Stewart the Rat, has passed away in hospital while awaiting a transplant for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Sources say he continued to work until he died on February 10th, 2008 - aged 60.