Being a Furry: Will It Ever be Normalized?
When people hear furry, the picture that jumps to the mind of most people are individuals who like performing sexual acts with anthropomorphic animals. It can be in the form of wearing an animal suit during sexual intercourse or using a sex doll that looks like a crossbreed of a human and an animal.
But that was the misconception about the community. In reality, furries who are into those kinds of things live in one of its small corners. Contrary to popular belief, furries could be the most wholesome people on the planet. They are all about embracing themselves and accepting others for who they are. Furries do not discriminate. Asian, Black, White, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, genderqueers, and the rest of the existing races and genders are welcome in the community. As long as they treat other people well and share a love for animals with human-like characteristics, they can fit in.
How to Identify If You Are A Furry
Now that you have learned that furries are not the sex-crazed people you thought they were, you might be wondering whether you are one of them or not. As stated above, the furry community is very accepting, and they promote inclusivity. So, you do not have to consider those things. Instead, it would be best if you focused on what you like.
Do you have an uncontrollable urge to say hi to every dog you meet on the streets? Petting and being pet, do you enjoy those more than you should? How do you like animals that behave like humans? The mascots of your favorite sports team, how much do you like them? Would you say yes if you were asked to wear their costume without a second thought? At times, do you feel like an animal is living inside you? If your answer is yes to or to almost all those questions, chances are, you are a furry.
Note that there are also two types of furries. There are lifestylists and fanboys/fangirls. The fanboys and fangirls can easily blend with the rest of society since they act like ordinary people. You could only identify them as furries when they start talking about animal-related stuff or when they meet with other furries, especially lifestylists, on the streets. Their eyes will sparkle, and you will be able to feel their passion and enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, lifestylists pop out easily. They are the furries who try to be one with the art that they adore. They are the ones who wear the fursuits during conventions. When outside of events, they find subtler ways to channel their inner animal spirits. They could be wearing headbands with dog or cat ears or attach a tail to their clothing. They also act like their furry persona, fursona for short. They could bark, meow, skip or scratch their ears like the animals they claim to be.
How Old is the Furry Subculture
The Furry Subculture has existed since ancient times. There were human-animal hybrids in mythologies like the Greek’s Minotaur. The Egyptian’s worshipped gods like Anubis, who was an upright half-human half-jackal hybrid. And then television shows introduced more anthropomorphic animal characters. Disney created Mickey Mouse, and Warner Brothers made Bugs Bunny.
We can see how massive the American animation industry has contributed to the development of the furry fandom. When you look at fursuits, the most noticeable feature is their cheerful look. This happy characteristic most likely stemmed from how comedic the characters are portrayed in the cartoons.
So, fans of anthropomorphic animal characters have been around ever since. However, according to fandom historian Fred Patten, the first “furries” appeared at a science-fiction convention in 1980. He claims that the fandom started maturing after fans talked about the inclusion of such characters in sci-fi movies.
The development continued and progressed so much that a convention was eventually held. Furries had seen an increase in their numbers from then on.
Midwest Furfest and Other Furry Conventions
Conventions are events where similar people meet. There are conventions for teachers, gamers, and sex doll owners. Fandoms are the most active in holding these events. The furry community, for example, has different events throughout the year and all across the globe.
The first held convention that is exclusive for furries was the ConFurence. It was held in Southern California from 1989. Furry conventions include fun activities such as informational panels, artwork showcase, forums, photoshoots, talent performances, and breakdancing competitions.
Now, the Midwest FurFest – held annually in Rosemont, Illinois, is regarded as the biggest furry convention in the world. During its first year, 2000, the event saw fewer than 500. But, as years passed and the furry subculture grew more popular, more and more people attended the event each year. The event reached the milestone of one thousand attendees in 2005 and ten thousand in 2018.
The increase in the number of attendees could be attributed to more children getting into the furry fandom. These younglings likely discovered the community through social media like Youtube and TikTok. It made them curious and interested. Of course, since they are still minors, their parents have to accompany them to the events. Then, the parents would see the charm of the community firsthand. As they fall in love with the subculture, they are likely to spread the word. Thus, more people gravitate towards the furry subculture.
What separates furries from other fandoms is that they are not a fan of something or someone specific. Furries create their own characters or fursonas. They love imagining themselves as human-like half-giraffe-half-alligator, a pink-and-purple Dragonoid, and others.
“Being a furry isn’t about being a fan of a person or a group of people. We are a fan of each other here,” said Berner, the media-relations lead for MFF.
That sums up the essence of being a furry. It is about inward discovery and accepting yourself. By doing so, you also learn to accept others for who they are.
The furry community is still waiting for the day when people will think of them as friendly and wholesome people instead of sex-crazed monoliths. Hopefully, that day comes soon.