I was browsing my Google news feed, as people who read non-fiction writing tend to, and low and behold, a news article from Rolling Stone came up entitled Will Furries Ever Go Mainstream? The reporter reviews his experiences while attending Midwest FurFest last December.
It’s a good piece that poses the question of whether our fan club, that has grown to the size it has in Rosemont, will garner mainstream attention - or acceptance. It's also long, and coming from me you know that’s saying something.
Like most coverage deemed “positive”, they do seem to marginalize the adult aspects of sexual expression in the fandom pretty quickly by saying that it was not the “main aspect of the fandom”. However, like most clever furs they snuck in a risqué quote about foxes:
dozens of six-foot alligators, snakes, lizards, and other assorted reptiles scramble to pose for a group photo.
On the floor, about three dozen foxes lie on top of each other in a “fur pile,” orange-and-white limbs and bellies knotted together on the ground.
I see what you did there Rolling Stone. You should be proudly ashamed.
But back to the concept of going mainstream. It isn’t a new question within the fandom which can bring excitement or concern depending on who you ask. We claimed it was happening when Disney used the word “anthropomorphic” to describe the world of Zootopia.
However, I would like to claim that, yes, we are entering the mainstream, whether we like it or not. I even have evidence that we may already be there.
Our fandom had been waiting for a Sunday night to watch CNN, a moment of truth.
A year earlier, Anthro Northwest sprung a surprise documentary film crew onto its attendees. It immediately caused an uproar online. There was much debate and drama around it, and then things were silent.
The film crew belonged to Lisa Ling and her new flagship show for CNN, This is Life with Lisa Ling. An episodic documentary program to highlight some of the oddities in our humble society. I, like many furs I'm sure, had never heard of the show nor seen it. It felt like we were in for another nasty media portrayal.
Closer to the airdate, we discovered that our subculture was going to be the show's season finale. Pressure's on, right?
Harbour City Furcon, based out of Sydney, Australia is a healthy yet small furry gathering of 300 people. However, despite the smaller size, over the weekend of its operation it created quite a media stir. One article by the Daily Mail’s Holly Hales shows a quite embarrassing blunder in its haste to attract an audience utilizing a hyper-sexualized headline. In the midst of orgy allegations, they destroyed any credibility of expertise on the matter being discussed by stating that the Sydney furry convention was the largest gathering of the fandom down under.
Innocent cosplayers who love dressing up as animals or deviant sex cult? 'Furries' in colourful costumes defend their pastime while gathering at Harbour City Fur Con
- Furry fanatics have descended on Sydney as part of the fan culture's largest annual gathering down under
- The Harbour City Fur Con convention sees people splash thousands on cartoon-inspired animal suits
- However, the fandom has often drawn criticism for its sexual component which includes allegations of orgies
As repeated media victims we furs are always on the lookout for furry references— good, bad or indifferent— on TV and elsewhere. There are two distinct styles in which our fandom is covered: bluntly by name, and more subtly. It’s easy to identify the former, but sometimes it’s more fun when they don’t use the 'F-word' to describe the group in which they are referencing in their content. In those instances, it seems more a stealthy shout-out for our animal-ears only, designed to fly over the head of anyone who doesn’t get it.
Today I wish to go over some of those moments in furry media that seem to hold general fandom idioms and how fun 'situational nuance' can be.
Should creators make up new terms in their work when there is already an existing real world equivalent?Posted by Rakuen Growlithe on Sun 29 Jul 2018 - 08:50
In my recent review of The Adventures of Peter Gray, I made a note that the book had furry characters which it termed furren. It is not something that I spent much time on but, in combination with some other reviews I've seen, it might be worth expanding a little.
During a review of Once Upon a Forest by The Nostalgia Critic, he noted that the children were called furlings. This lead him to ask, “Why is it fantasy films always have trouble just saying the word kids? It’s always furlings or younglings or Shia LaBeouf. Just call them what they are. Kids."
Similarly, in a review of Vampyr on Zero Puncuation, Yahtzee criticised using the terms ekons and skals for what were vampires and ghouls respectively.
Although to be fair to Vampyr, it does seem that ekon and skal are referring to specific subtypes of vampire. In such a case, it does make sense to use specific terms and it wouldn't be unlike the various vampire clans that feature in Vampire: The Masquerade.
The common issue that is brought up in all three reviews is the use of new word to describe something that already has a perfectly suitable word. Why is this done and is it a good thing to do?
Washington state has had a rough time with furry conventions in recent history. Rainfurrest had to shut down after they gained a sour reputation with hosting hotels due to reports of vandalism. So local furries were elated to hear of a new organization starting up by the name of Anthro Northwest. This convention, while a bit more stringent on their rules (particularly around adult material), was a welcome possible restart in relations with hotels in the region with furries.
But as activities started word leaked onto the internet of on camera release forms being deseminated for a show called "This is Life with Lisa Ling", a property of the channel CNN. Instantly locals had recollections of another incident that had occurred at another pilot convention one state south, Furlandia.
Update 11/15/17: Attendance has been announced and Anthro Northwest has been noted as being the largest attendance for a first year furry convention at 809, article updated to reflect this.
Do you think more furries in the mainstream will hurt or improve the image of the fandom to the public?Posted by CassidyTheCivet on Tue 26 Sep 2017 - 19:29
Philly Metro's "Inside Philly's first furries convention" offers a compelling summary of our fandom's latest (and quite successful) convention. But its title betrays a lack of research. While Drayne and his team are to be congratulated for bringing a new furry convention to the City of Brotherly Love, it is by no means the first… nor even the largest furry con held there.
The first honour belongs to Furtasticon, chaired in November 1994 by Trish Ny – which was also furry fandom's second convention, spun up in the space of a few months, allegedly after perceived
Furry photographer Exodus Arias was not impressed upon reading the pictured note:
[…] the worst attempt at hiring a Cameraman for a convention ever. Clearly they want some specific footage yet unclear as to what.
That's curious, there was a guy on the boat party and later the meet in London who was in a business suit, not interacting, just dropping of their business card (the photo attached) to random people...a tad weird.
Even more weird: said card, shown below, came with a teasing mention of hard cash.
Update (31 Jul): The person behind the offers has given a response, published below.
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.
When I was a kid, I had a magic card whose flavour text read, "She had expected death to roar, to thunder, to growl. She did not recognize it when it came hissing to her side." If Phil Elmore had designed that card, it would've probably read, "She had expected death to roar, to thunder, to growl. She did not recognize it when it came in a cute and fluffy guise." That's because Phil Elmore thinks that furry is the latest crack in the foundation of society that will lead to, in his own words, the "destruction of society." He is wrong. He is so, so very wrong.
Journalist Maria Margaronis interviewed furry fans at a Cambridge Furs meet last month for next week's episode of The Why Factor, a programme exploring "the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions" through the voices of those involved.
In stories, cartoons, advertisements and our everyday lives, we project human thoughts and emotions onto animals—and claim their strength and style for ourselves in the brand names of cars and cosmetics. Why do we do that, and what do we get out of it? Can we ever know what animals really feel? And are we as different from other species as we like to imagine? Maria Margaronis meets the furry fandom, who put on “fursonas” and cartoonlike animal costumes to meet and socialise. Neuroscientist Bella Williams upends some assumptions about animal brains and explains how to read a mouse’s facial expression; children’s author Michael Rosen sportcasts an insect race. Farmer Helen Reeve reflects on how she feels about eating her own cows. And historian Harriet Ritvo poses a thornier question: what makes our species think we are secure in our dominance over the natural world?
The 18-minute show "Animals Are Us?", which received input from furry artists, fursuiters, fursuit-builders and other fans, is to be broadcast on the BBC World Service on Friday 24 at 18:32 and 23:32 GMT (EDT+4, BST-1), with re-broadcasts on Sunday (21:32) and Monday (04:32, 12:32).
Update (23 April): A four-minute clip featuring several furs is available (transcript below).
Update 2 (24 April): The full episode has been published. There is no additional content featuring furries, but you may find the rest interesting, as it's all about anthropomorphism.
Are you interested in fictional animal characters with human personalities and proud of it? Do you like to dress up as your favorite animal character and go to Anthrocon, Further Confusion, or the ConFurence conventions? Do you have other friends in the furry world? Are there people in your life who don’t accept your furry side? Do you feel society should have a better understanding on what the furry world is all about? ONLY SUBMIT YOUR STORY IF YOU'RE WILLING TO APPEAR ON TV WITH DR. PHIL. Thanks for contacting the show!
My guess is that this will go the way of other such shows to feature furries.