Furry Pride

by Simo

Greetings, Fellow Freak!

So you want to be a Furry? The first thing you need to do is get used to the idea that you are now officially a weirdo. This is how the mundanes (i.e. the public-at-large) will see you. This has not thing one to do with bogus "documentaries", one or another dumbassed TV shows, or some bullshit that appeared in one obscure scandal rag or another. It has nothing to do with the fact that some of your fellow Furries have some peculiar sexual hobbies. It has everything to do with the fact that you are still showing an active interest in what others have been conditioned to see as "kids' stuff". For the past 45 years, or so, cartoons featuring cute, talking, "funny animals" is something that you should have out-grown by age twelve, at the latest. No amount of ranting, or scholarly dissertations on the adult nature of cartoons and comic books prior to 1960 will change that.

Bitch all you want about how unfair that is, well, cry me a river! I took a look at my birth certificate and it's the damnedest thing: try as I might, I could not locate that guarantee that life would be "fair". Complain all you want about "society" and its fucked-up values, its unfair standards, and intrusive, often hypocritical, "morality", but also never forget to be grateful that you live in a "society" where the gov't, for the most part, leaves you alone. Even if you could get rid of all those "deviants", it would change precious little. After all, the character, Walter "Radar" O'Reilly (MASH) is seen to be comedic because he sleeps with a teddy bear. He may be an unsung hero to Furries, but "they" will still find the incongruity a source of amusement. Here is a transcript of Rush Limbaugh on Furry-dom:

Guess what, folks? This weekend, 1700 people, all of them animal lovers, are expected to gather at the Furry convention San Jose, California.

The Furries, for those who don't know -- and I sincerely hope that that's most of you -- are people who love animals so much that they take on their identities and sometimes dress up like their animals. You heard right. These humans take on the identities of the animals they love, and sometimes dress up like them. It allows adults, grown-up human beings, this is a quote: 'a place to act out their inter-species fantasies.'

Lee Strom is one of the Furry Convention's founding fathers. He says just because it's weird, it's still perfectly normal to the people involved in it. He's 36. He wants to be a raccoon! (Laughing) The convention will have workshops for the Furries: puppetry, costume-making, writing about mythical creatures and here's one I think oughta be videotaped -- a workshop on Furry anatomy. (Whispering) Can you find it? Can you find it?

Apparently some Furries, uh, aren't waiting until the convention starts this weekend to act out their "inter-species fantasies." A reporter caught up with Katie Matthew, 20, prancing through the lobby of a hotel dressed as a fox. She was prancing with other adults dressed as goats, tigers and other creatures. Katie likes the fun of dressing up and escaping into her made-up animal character, which she calls "Shadow".

Okay, folks. I have only one question. With a war going on and the tragedy of the tsunami, isn't this Furry convention too festive and too costly? That's a real fur-ball for you liberals, eh? Ha! Ha! Shut 'em down! Shut 'em down! It's perverted!

Rush has a regular radio rant-fest, but no one is going to confuse him with "2: The Ranting Gryphon". So, of course, Limbaugh's reaction is just about what you'd expect. Dress up your seven year old in a doggie fursuit, and that's precious. Dress up in one yourself (unless you are a professional or amateur team mascot or an amusement park greeter) and that's just plain damn weird. "Lee Strom [...] He's 36. He wants to be a raccoon!" Of course, Limbaugh laughs at this. Strom is thirty years beyond the age where his raccoon fantasy would be seen as "normal". Anyone who would do that must be a little "tetched", right? Was it nice of Mr. Limbaugh to do that? Not really, but they don't pay him some $5 million a year to be "nice". Furthermore, there was nothing at all unusual about his reaction.

Enter the "Burned Furs," a splinter Furry group made up of people who have an obsession with fuzzy tiger head people but who are tired of being thought of as abnormal. Their stance is that it's perfectly okay to spend eight weeks and five hundred dollars on a homemade badger suit so that you can wear it in public, but if you have sex in it you're just weird. It's like a Trek fan saying "Well, sure, I'm fluent in Klingon, but that guy used it for his wedding ceremony! Let's all mock him!"

The one and only thing the assholes of Burned Fur™ accomplished with the Great Internet Furry Flame War they started was to convince the PaL that all Furries are utterly out of their minds! The Burned Furs™ found their web site the feature of one of the first of the Fur-bash sites, right alongside of a plush-o-phile web site. Both were held up for ridicule. Karmic justice is, indeed, sweet: knowing that, for all the trouble they caused the fandom, the Burned Furs™ found themselves right back where they started: still firmly welded together, in the public mind, with all those Furry "deviants". Indeed, their quixotic attempts to marginalize those "deviants" into a state of irrelevance to the fandom brought them into a far greater public prominence than had they left well enough alone.

Burned Furs would be defined as furs who aren't insane.

Simple enough. It you've ever lusted after a German Shepherd, own a harem of Care Bears, or consider yourself a reincarnated unicorn, you don't qualify. Burned Furs are furries who are tired of being associated with lunatics, and should make sure they're heard.

Being a Burned Fur would be easy, I imagine; simply replace any mention of "furry" in your vocabulary with "Burned furry." If people ask what the hell you're talking about, explain.

"Hi, I'm Squee Rat! I'm a burned furry, and I run the Circus Sideshow."

See? Doesn't hurt. And if this concept works, everyone immediately identifies you with the saner faction of furrydom. "BFs" could say as much on their web pages, MUCK descriptions, convention badges... Hell, it could be a sub-subculture. :) Nifty, huh? BurnCon might be a year or two away. Ya never know.

A Modest Proposal

By the time their web site hit the Portal of Evil, Burned Furs looked like the least sane faction of Furry-dom. There is a lesson in there, if you care to learn it. You will never "buy off" the PaL, win acceptance that what you do is "normal" by sacrificing your fellow Furries, regardless of how much you don't approve of what they do. What Squee Rat proposed here is impossible. The PaL doesn't draw such fine distinctions between "sane" Furries and "freaky" Furries, between sexual Furries and non-sexual Furries. To the mundanes all Furries are "not quite right in the head" -- and that includes you Ms. Ima Sanefurry. Your out of the mainstream interests guarantee this. Throwing idiosyncratic spiritual beliefs, or any/all of the odd little sexual hobbies, kinks, and fetishes into the mix matters hardly at all. Even if you could somehow manage to eject all the "deviants" from the fandom, you still would not win any gold stars. To the PaL, Furry, per se, is deviant. After all, Furry is all about teenagers and adults who still show an interest in "funny animals", cartoons, children's literature, dolls for children, playing "dress-up" and "make believe" -- every activity which should have been out-grown by the age of twelve, at the very latest.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Gen 1:28

And let us not forget the greatest deviation of all. Western culture has held that man represents a totally different and higher level of being than "animals". This belief betrays itself in some of our more common insults: "son of a bitch", "feather-headed", "bird-brained", "hare-brained". All of which imply that the insultee is more animal than human. Don't forget that particularly despicable samples of humanity are actually called "animals". Even among the hard core atheists, if God didn't put man in the cat bird seat, then, Darwin did. What, to the PaL, is a great insult, Furries treat as a compliment. Also, Mr. Ted Nugent, as part of his worn-out old schtick of presenting himself as a real "he-man", is quite the advocate of taking a very callous view towards animals. This goes beyond the fact that he hunts. There are a great many hunters who still exhibit a great respect for animals. Nugent, in his attitude, is what these folks call a "slob hunter". Even today, despite clear scientific evidence, there is a great resistance to the idea that little boys and little girls are born knowing that they are boys or girls, that the behaviour exhibited by even very young children is in-born, not a manifestation of social conditioning. The idea that there is some innate differences comes too close to animal instinct for all too many people, to the detriment of millions.

Furry-dom represents the rejection of this long-held Western tradition of anthropocentrism.

Now zoophilia is repugnant to me. So are Brussel sprouts and Olde English 800 Malt Liquor -- neither of which are fit for human consumption AFAIC. So I don't eat Brussel sprouts and wash them down with Olde English 800, and I don't yiff my dog. Problem solved. The other thing I will not do is criticize and flame any zoos I come across on Furry forums, as there's nothing I can do to change these folks. Zoos have been with us for thousands of years, in every culture that has ever existed, regardless of how tolerate or intolerant they have been and they aren't going away any time soon. If the subject comes up on a Furry forum, I can always PM or E-Mail Mr. Zoo and politely remind him that this has nothing to do with Furry, and that associating it with Furry does everyfur a disservice and a disservice to the fandom. You can ask the more extreme elements to tone the shit down a bit privately and with courtesy. You can do little else anyway, and if they don't, sometimes it's necessary to walk away from a situation. "Naming, shaming and flaming" will accomplish nothing other than to draw even more attention to the misbehaviour. Those named, shamed, and flamed may very well retaliate by intensifying the behaviour in question, making it all the more likely that mundanes will take notice. You can't control the actions of others, but you sure as hell can choose the company you keep.

Furry Haters and What to Do About Them

* ) Contrarians:
These are the folks who put "Darwin" fishes or "Nuke the Whales" stickers on their bumpers. They oppose for no other reason than to be contrary. They don't actually believe that Charles Darwin is a god, and they aren't really advocating the extermination of whales. Neither do they hate Furries, and/or wish us any harm. Since Furry has come into public awareness, it is inevitable that Furry would become another object of this desire to be "cool" by being "anti-cool". These are the folks who mainly hang out at "Crush, Yiff, Destroy". They are harmless contrarians and CYD is to Furry as a "Nuke the Whales!" bumper sticker is to Greenpeace. The best way to handle them is to laugh along with them. No one is perfect, and Furries do have our foibles. Sometimes these can be quite amusing. By no means should you ever engage in a flame war with Contrarians. This is the thing they live for, and the more you complain, the more they flame. They aren't being malicious, it's just that they don't take you seriously, and they will want to see how far you'll take it. Either ignore them completely, or take the good-natured joke gracefully. Either way, they will quickly go in search of more promising prey.

* ) Frustrated Elitists:
Here, you will find the Burned Fur™. Furry fandom started out as a "good ol' boys club" of anthropomorphic artists. Unfortunately for them, the fandom came into wider awareness, and new people joined up, bringing in new ideas. Furthermore, Furry-dom became very much a DIY fandom. Instead of worshipping the <low_reverential_tone>SERIOUS ARTISTES</low_reverential_tone> from afar, Furries began to create their own art. This assortment of marginally talented shit-eaters, and frustrated arbiters of Furry fashion have never forgiven Furry fans for that. Blame the Internet: instant world-wide audience for anyone with a modem and an ISP connection. These folks have an inordinate need to be taken seriously, to be looked up to for guidance. Unforch, they'll give you guidance whether you want it or not. For your own good, and that of the fandom, of course. You can recognize this type by their need to "help" and their pompous psychologizing. They know all about what's "wrong" with Furry-dom (and Furries) but never seem to be able to produce the credentials that would demonstrate their competence to do so. Deny to them that which they crave the most: to be taken seriously. Either ignore them completely, or ridicule them mercilessly. Either one will get them out of a Furry forum very quickly. In this case, don't feed the trolls. The Great Internet Furry Flame War would have ended a lot sooner had the Burned Furs™ met either deafening silence or gales of laughter.

* ) Rival Fandoms:
The major offenders here are the Anime fans. Don't blame us: we didn't put the damn cat-girls in the genre. The major problem here is that Furry isn't a genre, such as Star Trek, B-5, etc. It's a meta-genre that has considerable overlap with other genres: sci-fi and Anime. The story that features anthropomorphic characters can be nearly anything from sci-fi, to sword-'n'-sorcerer fantasy, fairy tale, anything except for non-fiction. This overlap of fandoms has been the cause of much misunderstanding and not an inconsiderable amount of flame wars.

I'm going to tackle this less controversial question first and get it out of the way. "Fandom" is a real English word, and not a neologism; I was surprised to learn this at first. According to Princeton University's WordNet, it means

fandom: n. the fans of a sport or famous person

It would be cheap, though, to say that since furry is neither a sport nor a famous person, furry is not a fandom. Let's turn to the second source that lists it as a word, the American Heritage Dictionary.

fandom: n. All the fans of a sport, an activity, or a famous person.

Dictionaries are not the definitive source for words such as "fandom" where the accepted meaning might be changing on the Internet. But you can see from these two definitions that fandoms revolve around things that are continually happening. If you are a member of the Quentin Tarantino fandom, then you are looking forward to the movies he will release in the future. If you are in the anime fandom, you enjoy discussing and watching the newest anime.

Anime Fan Completely Missing the Point

He simply does not understand the DIY nature of Furry-dom. It is true, the average Quentin Tarantino fan has as much chance of actually playing in a movie along with him, even if only as an "extra", as I do of winning next week's lottery. Nor are Anime fans involved in the creative process of that which drives their fandom. Furry-dom is unique in this regard. Being that he does not understand, it comes as no surprise that this article is mostly bullshit. "People are either going to laugh at you or be disgusted with you if you bring up furry in a regular conversation. This isn't just common sense, it's personal experience. I laughed; other people slammed the furry into the ground and forced him to shut up." By "people", he means other Anime fans. OK, so we've established that you and your Anime pals are assholes. Is this really something to be proud of? Do not doubt that they will "slam the furry into the ground" -- sometimes literally.

One Furry I know attended an Anime convention recently. He showed up, wearing ears and a tail, and was simply minding his own business, dancing with some Japanese girls in the hall of the hotel. That's when a group of half-drunk Anime fans decided to "get" the "skunk-fucker". Six against one is not good odds, and so he decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and so ran off. More and more fans joined the chase, and this guy was running for his life. Now the initial group had an excuse: they drank too much, and as they say: "Instant asshole: just add alcohol". What excuse did those other convention guests have? (Where do all these dipshits come from anyway? Is the Milky Way Galaxy, in the course of its rotation, sweeping planet Earth through a vast region of stupid, to which only a few of us are immune? Sometimes I really wonder.)

Yeah, it does have the potential to turn violent! Of course, the main question becomes what reasons those Anime fans think they have to feel so damn superior. The mundanes will laugh at them just as readily as they'll laugh at us. After all, they're still fascinated by kids' cartoons, are they not? He denies this, of course, but that's how the PaL sees Anime: kids' cartoons. Fact is: join a fandom -- any fandom -- and you are out of the mainstream. Express interest in "uncommon" things, and you become "weird".

* ) The Real Furry Hater:
This is a most pathetic loser indeed. These folks are incapable of feeling good about themselves unless they have some sort of identifiable group of "others" whom they can demonize as "inferiors". Sixty years ago, you could find them wrapped in bedsheets, standing at the foot of a flaming cross. These days, hatreds based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, are not so socially acceptable. Using the 'N' word to refer to Blacks will, in all likelihood, get you fired from your job, and could even cost you your career. Social disapproval can silence the hateful words, but can't do anything about the hateful feelings. Since Furry is not a race, religion, ethnicity, or nationality, but simply a fan-dom, it becomes a "safe" target for demonization. You can easily recognize these types by their sweeping generalizations about what "all Furries" are like (of course, it's never anything good or desirable). You may also find a rather patronizing attitude, such that they are doing you a favor by allowing you to be a Furry. Their assertions do, indeed, bear a striking resemblance to those of hard-core racists.

What to do about this? Point out the hatred for what it is. If you wouldn't tolerate anyone's using words like "nigger", "spic", "kike", etc. don't tolerate this either. It is not acceptable, regardless of who's on the receiving end.

Bad Publicity and Other Shit

OK, if you've gotten this far, it's time I let you in on a little secret: all of the above doesn't count for shit in the real world. There is a reason for that: the mundanes couldn't care less even if you paid them. It's like those Trekkie arguments over who would make the better captain: Kirk, Picard, or Janeway. THEY DON'T CARE! Now, when THAT CSI episode first came out, the entire fandom just went nutz: "OMFG: they're saying we're all perverts! They're saying we all dress up like animals and do fur-piles! ARRRRGGGGG! IT'S THE END OF THE FANDOM!". I didn't believe it then, I said so, I got flamed to hell and back for that. In the end, I WUZ RIGHT! I submit that THE CSI episode, if it was anything at all, was...

a good thing.

There is one and only one form of bad publicity, and that is no publicity. John Lennon understood this: in 1966, as a member of a washed-up, has-been, rock group that was clearly yesterday's news, he proclaimed: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first -- rock and roll or Christianity. " (John Lennon Quotes) Did he really believe that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus? Of course he didn't, he wasn't a 'tard. He knew where the Beatles stood: yesterday's news, yesterday's "big thing", and that they were going quickly into that good night of utter obscurity that is the fate of all popular culture trends. The Beatles made a less than triumphant return engagement to Shea Stadium, the site of what was then the biggest, most raucous, rock concert ever. Just a year later, they failed to sell out the concert. However, that statement got plenty of publicity as the Born-Again Christians™ predictably threw a monstrous hissy by holding record burning rallies (which, of course meant increased record sales as they replaced the records they'd burned in front of the cameras) and picket lines. For the first time in two years, the Beatles were back on the front page. Of course, 1966 is also the year that the album, Revolver was released. No connection there, right? People: there is no way in hell that the Beatles could have bought that much publicity, and it was handed to them gratis! Furry-dom could never have afforded the advertising and publicity that CBS handed us.

In the first place, I guarantee you that 99.99% of the mundanes thought that CSI's "PAFCON" was pure fiction. Furthermore, the whole damn thing was probably forgotten by the time the final commercial break was over and the credits for the next dumbassed TV show were rolling. Why wouldn't they? If they never heard of anything like that, what basis would they have to assume that it wasn't made up out of a whole cloth? Even aside from all the Fur stuff, that was one dumbassed episode, even by CSI standards. (One gets the impression that the whole point of this particular episode was so that one of the characters -- I forget his name, as they are all so forgettable -- could utter that line destined for immortality: "Fur and loathing in Las Vegas". Is that clever or what? Yuppers, Will "The Bard" Shakespeare better look out. "To be or not to be..." just can't compare to that!) As for the fur inclined viewer, this was the occasion for some Googling, and the discovery of Furry-dom for the first time. They would have quickly seen what our little piece of the 'Net is really like. Indeed, some did affiliate with Furry-dom, due to that "bad publicity".

"We Has Met the Enemy and He Is Us"

Now, it would be nice if there were fewer occasions for bad publicity in the first place: if the zoophiles among us would keep their views on all that hot doggie yiffage to themselves, and would leave their damn "zeta" pins home when attending cons. It would be better if the plushie yiffers kept it in their bedrooms. NO ONE either inside the fandom or outside of it has any need to know what you did last night in the privacy of your bedroom. I don't care; I'm not interested; and I would just as soon not hear all about it, thank you so very much.

I came across this site run by a Fur who specializes in some unique computer case mods. He's really quite talented, and one of his mods was, well, really unique. This particular mod involved lots of grey faux fur, a couple of ball bearings, and a dildo. Use your imagination. You will find this on the welcome page:

If you are some potential employer, please remember that this has absolutely nothing to do with how I work and shouldn't in any way reflect on my professional outlook. This is just something I've done for fun, and to let others know my personal interests, which I would obviously try to keep out of the office.

Excuse me! Look, dipshit, if you don't want potential employers to know about these things, then keep them off the damn Internet! What does it mean that you will "try" to keep it out of the office? "Try" implies the possibility of failure. Yeah, as your potential employer, that will reassure the hell out of me. It gets worse, lots worse:

AnthroCon yyyy came shortly after the Conference and I took time off from work, obviously without pay. **** and I had reserved a room for 4 days, just to give us a little breathing room before and after the Con. **** needed a place to stay the first night because he only reserved a room for three days, but the furs he was going to have rooming with him were arriving a day earlier. Plus, it's cheaper for him since I wasn't going to charge him for part of the room the first night, provided he could bring along some nice cute naked furs for show and tell. *laughs* Okay, that was only a suggestion and I wasn't going to hold him to it, but being the yiff-magnet that he is (probably due to his being online in chat rooms a minimum of 8 hours a day), we were very well entertained by a recently-turned-18-yr-old twink named **** with a nice butt and beautiful 8-inch cock, and his boyfriend too...

Note: Names and dates removed to protect these morons.

There's lots more where that came from. Just in case we didn't get it, he includes hyperlinks to no less than ten photographs that leave nothing to the imagination. This comes under a heading: "There's this human and he likes to pretend that he's this anthropomorphic [fursona] see... I'm sure you probably don't want to read through a lot of dull info about myself before getting to the good stuff, so I've split my description and history into a few separate sections." Yeah, you got that right: I don't want to read the sort of shit you put up. Furthermore, I don't need to know, and it's none of Furry-dom's business. C'mon, Turing, you can figure this out. Say what you will about that endless parade of "trailer park trash" that Jerry Springer holds up to national ridicule on the Jerry Springer Show. At least the glassy-eyed, slack-jawed, mouth-breathers are making fools of themselves in front of just the United States. You did it in front of the entire world. So who's the real moron here?

This is not specifically a Furry-dom problem. It's a PaL problem. US culture has been so thoroughly Jerry Springer-ized and Oprah Winfrey'd and Jenny Jonesed that all sense of propriety and decorum was long ago found face-down in Rikki Lake. There are all too many who feel that they have to "let it all hang out" all the time. We Furries can do better. Keep private things private, and there won't be these problems. Nobody, but nobody, needs to know. If they ask, the appropriate response is: "That's none of your GD business". Because it isn't. So knock it off!

If you have the need to correct misconceptions, then do so respectfully. Recognize those Furry-haters for whom nothing will make a difference, and don't bother. For those who genuinely don't understand, then, don't flame them. Get words like "fursection" (unless it's in a light, joking manner) "Nazi", "Hitler", etc. out of your vocabulary.

Sure, they [Burned Furs™] have rights, but we can certainly give them a little shout back in mass numbers in an attempt to discredit them and impose a reverse social plague upon what they want you to think and believe. We're not here at the Freezing Furry movement to gain attention, but to disenvow these bastards who would take away our dreams like the Nazi's tried to over 50 years ago.
Freezing Furs Mission Statement

This is the kind of shit I'm talking about. The Nazis weren't involved in trying to take away "our dreams" (Furries). There were no Furries at that time. Comparing a bunch of dipshits and Internet flame warriors to Hitler's regime is just plain nuts. There is no comparison, and I guaran-damn-tee you that, had there been Furries around in Germany: 1939 -- 1945, they'd've had a helluvalot more to be concerned about than the state of Furry-dom. Persecution, real persecution, is what's happening to the Christians and Animists in southern Sudan. These people are being killed off by the hundreds of thousands, forced to flee as refugees, and those "lucky" enough to survive are being sold into slavery. That is persecution, not some asshole saying some things that you may not like on the 'Net.

If you need to, a letter to the editor of your local paper -- done in a calm, rational, respectful manner -- will work. Even if they do not actually publish your letter, they make an impact. The next time the subject comes up, the editor will decide in favor of greater fairness, and less sensationalism. After all, you are part of the paying public that keeps his paper going, and himself employed. However, it will only work if they don't believe you to be a nut-case.

If people are close enough to you that you can feel secure in revealing your Furriness, then it doesn't make any difference: they already know what you are like. If you are asked about some of the freakier aspects of Furry-dom, then explain that these things do happen, but that you, personally, don't go there. If they are any sort of friends at all, they will understand. If they don't, then were they really friends in the first place? Better to discover who the true assholes are sooner rather than later, I always say.

Here is another example of what you can do, and what will actually accomplish some good. We held a Furmeet in a public park. One of our guys showed up in his fursuit, as the shelter where we were meeting was off the "beaten path", and he was directing traffic. Nearby, there was a big family reunion in progress. Our fursuiter "crashed" that reunion, giving them an unexpected, impromptu performance. They loved his performance, and, of course asked what this other meeting was all about. So he told them about Furries. Now, what do you suppose is going to happen if/when they are exposed to some anti-Furry propaganda. They are going to remember the RL Furry they met, and will send all that propaganda straight to mental /dev/null.

Later that same day, we all spent the rest of the afternoon at a major mall, showing off our ears and tails. No negative reactions at all, no being called "skunk-fuckers", no overheard mutterings of "F'kin' Furries", not a bit. Just a bunch of fun-loving folks having a good time, and behaving in a socially responsible manner. Little things like this count for more than you can know.

You can not change the perception of Furry-dom all at once, so just FUGGEDABOUDIT! You can, however, change those perceptions one person at a time. That is a worth-while endeavor. Do it for yourself; do it for Furry-dom.

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