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Decolonizing the anthro-animal: Furry fandom, speculative fiction, and the need for newer directions

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The taxidermy of Walter Potter (1835-1918).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.

Mike Rugnetta talks fan communities at XOXO Festival

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (7 votes)

At the 2013 XOXO Festival, Mike Rugnetta of the YouTube/PBS Idea Channel delivered a really interesting talk about the Internet, specifically how it's helped us develop new ways of constructing our self-identities, due to the discovery of new ideas and interacting socially online, amongst other things. He hops from topic to topic very rapidly, and doesn't really get started until about two minutes into the video.

Interestingly - if you jump to the 10:15 mark - he discusses fandoms. Good fandoms have lots of opportunities for interaction, sharing creativity, and finding ways for the fans to relate to one another. In fact, the fans may relate to each other more than they might relate to the original theme that caused them to gather in the first place! What matters is the energy within the fan community, the bonds between fans. (This reminded me of Anthrocon 2007's guest of honor Mark Evanier, who noted that furries seemed to be "fans of each other".)

Mike asks his audience if there's a fandom without canonical media for fans to gather around? A fandom which would instead subsist mainly by the interaction of the fans, without devotion to a specific TV show, movie, or comic book series? Yup! Furry!

What name do you go by on your Facebook account?

My furry name
13% (7 votes)
My real name, which is not the same as my furry name
40% (21 votes)
My real name, since I don't go by a different furry name
9% (5 votes)
I have separate accounts for each
6% (3 votes)
Some other name
2% (1 vote)
I don't have a Facebook account
30% (16 votes)
0% (0 votes)
Votes: 53

Video: Fjordwolf's 'Furrytale'

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German fursuit builder, author and Zeta-Pride organizer Fjordwolf tells us of the solitary life of one fur and his dog in A Furrytale. [Diadexxus/furrymedia]

Also recorded by Oddisee is The Naked Bunch, following a group of naked hikers in the Alps.

Fjordwolf's book, Mein Fruend Nobody ("My Friend Nobody"), is currently sold out; however, a sample story is available. He has also produced several music videos involving fursuiters.

Boomer The Dog seeks legal name change

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (10 votes)
Boomer The Dog

Boomer The Dog is attempting to change his legal name, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

I want to have my own identity. Everyone should have their own, and if it means having another name than what they were given, then they should go for it.

At the courthouse, Judge Ron Folino warned that he might veto the change if it "causes confusion in the community" or would be "seen as bizarre."

Update: Boomer's petition was denied; Judge Folino ruled the change to "The Dog" could risk public welfare. His closing statement: "Although Petitioner apparently wishes it were otherwise, the simple fact remains that Petitioner is not a dog."

How many furry characters have you had?

45% (35 votes)
18% (14 votes)
15% (12 votes)
5% (4 votes)
4% (3 votes)
9% (7 votes)
4% (3 votes)
Votes: 78

What brings you to the fandom?

I'm a fox trapped in a man's body
8% (12 votes)
I'm a vixen trapped in a man's body
4% (6 votes)
I *am* a wolf - I just pretend to be a hyooman when others are around
8% (13 votes)
I like anime cat girls! That's what this is like … right?
1% (2 votes)
Life is a carnival of pain … they understand that
4% (6 votes)
I liek 2 talk wif ppl on teh net!!!!!1111
2% (3 votes)
Someday science will make me more like an animal
5% (8 votes)
I'm a pervert and I needed somewhere to go!
4% (6 votes)
I've seen Robin Hood like a gajillion times!
3% (4 votes)
I wanna get laid! Gender and species are unimportant!!
3% (4 votes)
I have this constant need to argue with others!
6% (9 votes)
Wearing this suit puts me in touch with my deepest feelings and desires
4% (6 votes)
I'm here for the art
22% (34 votes)
I'm here for the *porn*!
18% (28 votes)
I'm here to sell those guys porn
8% (12 votes)
Votes: 153

I think, therefore I am (a furry)

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Picture by Turbine Divinity.

Something struck me recently. Not literally of course. I am not dedicating two month’s worth of furry internet journalism to illness (despite a recent cold). What I want to discuss this week is what makes the average furry tick - why do we choose the fursona we come up with, how we express ourselves, and so on.

This thought occurred to me when I was watching a documentary series broadcast on the British TV network ITV1 recently. Called Martin Clunes: A Man and His Dogs, it was a programme which looked at the relationship between people and their pet dogs. In the first episode, presenter Clunes looked at the history of dogs and how they evolved from wolves and dingoes. The thing that got my attention at first was when it was mentioned that dogs are around 99.8%. Then I started to think, “Why then do I associated more with wolves, when the difference between them and dogs is so slight?”

Finding fursonas

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One of my favourite topics to discuss amongst other furries is that of fursonas. I find that for most furries, the choice is immediate when they enter the fandom - an instinctual choice that is put in place at the beginning and rarely undergoes change. It seems to me that it's my fellow furry artists that have the harder time. With pressures to stand out, be original and make a name for ones self often results in constant redesigns, multiple fursonas, frustration and accusations of copy-cat 'sonas.

My personal fursona has had many an incarnation; certain elements remaining static, while others pull complete 180's. One may ask why I am a good candidate to discuss fursonas then, and my answer is simple. Although my fursona's changed a lot since it's beginning, right now I believe I've come to achieve a something that so many strive for - a fursona that's one of a kind, visually interesting and an accurate depiction of my personality.

Life on the furry front line

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A boy is considered strange, atypical, and is thus distanced from humanity. This boy finds himself up against a wall at knife point of a disgruntled peer. This young peer brandishes his blade and thrusts it wildly in intimidation. The boy responds to this intimidation and willingly withdraws from the junior society. This secluded safety allows him to uncover places and things unknown to him. The boy is amazed and the sky opens up. The world is his and his is shared.

Years later this boy, now a man, comes across the same peer, now a man as well. The peer from so long ago now brandishes an even bigger knife and is just as disgruntled. The peer once again starts to back the man against the wall and thrust his blade, but the man is unharmed. The man is happy and proud in his life and lifestyle! He walks right past the dagger and it's keeper smiling! The peer now has to go find another person to corner, and that new person may have a knife as well.

Hemms is a proud furry from America who's rather fond of freedom of expression and the Furry Guru series.