The Subculture that is the “Furry Fandom”

What is a furry? The first of several meanings is as basic a description as can be discerned. An interesting and, strangely, distinct subculture, the group referred to as “furries” or the “furry fandom” are a study in entertainment fanaticism. What began in the 1980’s science fiction fan demographic, developed into a booming social construct, of which, tens of thousands of people around the globe now relate.

The “furry” movement began as a fan base for anthropomorphic fictional characters. These often resemble animals with human-like characteristics, such as walking bipedal and possessing the ability to talk, think and act as a typical human being would, under normal circumstances. These characters are predominantly found in cartoons and anime. Such examples would be Walt Disney’s animated “Robin Hood,” which portrayed the iconic hero as a fox. Several sites, including also insist that the term includes “the exploration, interpretation and examination of humanity and human values through anthropomorphic expression.”

The “furry” movement experienced further growth as the advent of conventions took hold of the fan base. These gatherings have been known to drawn numbers of fans that rival the largest comic book or science fiction gatherings across the globe. Some of which, including the famed Anthrocon, gross an average of $400,000 during their yearly followings.

These large, group-based functions have also given rise to the growth of online and true-life role-playing. With the creation of MUD gaming, chat and instant messaging, the “furries” further enhance their lifestyle and fandom with real-time interaction. They may playfully lick, scratch and pet each other, in the public setting, while encompassing the full “animal experience” in complete costume. Many of the “furry” culture have exhausted their finances on elaborate costumes, similar to college or professional sports mascots.

What is a furry? Definition number two is all but as charming. Despite the fun-loving attitudes that the majority of “furries” exhibit, there is a deviation that exists, mush as with any other subculture or genre of fandom. A “furry” is someone with the obsession of a sexual fetish, which involves having (or even requiring, depending on their level of carnal craving) intimate and sexual relations with individuals dressed up like furry animals. Though well outside of the norm, according to many “furry” websites, this form of sexual deviancy is a growing, niche segment of the fandom. However, many are quick to point out that this segment often subscribes to ideals outside of the traditional realm of “furry” culture and has been given the recent moniker of “plushies,” to differentiate the two classes from one another.flurry

This issue is further heightened by television references and a large array of adult video exhibitions frequenting the internet. For example, a quick browser search will divulge a plethora of photos and videos showing men and women in full animal garb, romping and performing their sexual fantasies en mass.

What is a furry? If you don’t further understand the mindset and complicated nature of the genre, you never will. It is an undeniably-crazy subculture that, for many, is hard to imagine or fathom. It is not, however, for the traditionalist or self-righteous.