I’m not ashamed to call myself a furry. I’m not ashamed to be a part of the furry fandom. And I won’t hide that I’m a part of it.
I hold a good deal of negative opinions about the furry fandom. Many of which will eventually be ranted about here in future posts. But my negativity should not detract from the fact that I hold this fandom very dear and I’m very happy to have found it.
To anyone outside the fandom, they’ll see a bunch of strange people who seem to have a fascination with dressing up in animal costumes, wearing ears and tails, and have some weird adoration of anthropomorphic animals. For anyone who’s idiotic enough to believe everything they see in the media, they might find furries to be socially awkward or at worst, amazingly perverted. For people with those opinions, your opinion of myself or anyone else in the fandom won’t change because you seem to be set in your ways. My hope is you don’t use such blanketed generalizations for all groups of people. But for the majority of people, they have no idea what the furry fandom is. Or if they do know, they might’ve only heard about it in passing. Or are intelligent enough to not take CSI for absolute truth. Those people could actually get a little something out of this and see from a furry’s perspective why they love the fandom.
I’m relatively new to the fandom. I’m 22 now and found out about it when I was 18. A member on Deviantart (DA for short) linked to her new account on a website called “FurAffinity” (FA for short). Clicking on the link, I found a site completely geared towards anthropomorphic and animal art. It was the perfect outlet for my work. I did draw animals mostly after all. There was a market for it on DA, but DA’s target audience tends to be wolf and anime artists. Unless you’re particularly amazing at what you do or cater to what happens to be popular at the moment (or cater to nostalgia), chances of your work being spotted are low. Thinking I’d have a better shot on FA, I joined under the name “Ookami-girl”. And thus was my first venture into the furry fandom. I still didn’t really have an idea of what a furry was. Not a single furry can even explain what a furry is. So for the longest time I denied that I was a furry. I didn’t want to use a label on myself that I didn’t have a definition for.
Unlike the majority of furs though, I won’t deny the adult side to the fandom. It exists. And we all know that it does. It is the thing that people think of when they hear “furry” and it’s the thing that frightens people about the furry fandom. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that being an artist that caters to the adult side of the fandom will bring in more pageviews and favorites. In other words…it makes you popular. And as a bit of a sucker to be popular, I did cater to that side of the fandom for a while. So I’ve been on that side a bit. Many furs wish to downplay this side and pretend like it doesn’t exists. When a show about sex talks about the furry fandom, any furs that take part in these interviews tend to become outcasts in the community. And the fight to claim that sexuality is only a small portion of the fandom grows stronger and louder. For some furs, this might be true. For others, the sexuality might be the only thing that ties them to the fandom. This is lesson one about furries…every furry is a furry for different reasons.
But because adult art isn’t what I like to draw nor want to be known by I switched accounts (mainly to match my DA name, SombraStudio). Non-anthropomorphic art and digital painting is my forte. But after I aired out the fandom’s dirty laundry, how could I possibly say that I love it? Well it’s quite simple really. Because unlike many non-furs who look at the fandom from the outside, I see the other aspects the fandom has.
What does the typical furry hating online commenter have to say when they see a picture of a fursuit? They see an object that will potentially be used for sexual roleplay and treat it as such. Spewing comments like “Yiff in hell, furfag!” or other such variations. On rare occasion they may praise the craftsmanship, but have to add in something along the lines of “It’s a shame what it’s going to be used for…”, hinting at the possibility that the person wearing the costume will in fact use it for adult roleplay purposes. But I see a work of art that a person had to have worked at for years to create the quality of work that they made. The skill they must have had to create a mask with good visibility and ventilation while still looking like the creature it’s supposed to look like. Or the ability to create the illusion of being a four legged creature by making quadruped suits.
And what does the typical furry hating online commenter have to say about anthropomorphic art? A great generalization about how all furs are zoophiles. Even on the tamest of pictures. And usually they don’t understand why people would choose to represent themselves with animal characters rather than human ones. Art is all about expression and fantasy though. The artist is free to express themselves in whatever manner they wish to. As for fantasy, what do you expect with anthropomorphic animals? The Redwall series by Brian Jaques is a perfect example of fantastic anthropomorphic animals. And for examples in everyday children’s media, there’s Looney Tunes and Disney to look to.
Why do I love the furry fandom. I think 2 the Ranting Gryphon put it best in one of his comedy shows. It’s such a diverse and creative fandom. It’s a fandom that celebrates artists of all genres and skill levels…not just the ones who’ve “made it” (in a professional arena). Illustrators, animators, painters, sculptors, muscians, writers, comedians, singers, costume makers, etc…they all have a fair and equal voice in the fandom and all are equally celebrated for their originality, characters, character as a person, humor, or whatever else they might bring to the table. The anime fandom exists to celebrate the characters and series that already exists. The same goes for comic and sci-fi fans. But furries celebrate the characters, skills, and talents that each person uses and contributes to the fandom. And it’s a tight community of people who support each other when the going gets tough. That closeness is something that I’ve yet to witness from any other fandom that I’m a part of.
It is for that sole reason that I love the furry fandom and wouldn’t leave it for anything.