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Furry
Furry

Furry fandom (also known as furrydom, furridom, fur fandom or furdom) refers to the fandom for fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Examples of anthropomorphic attributes include exhibiting human intelligence and facial expressions, the ability to speak, walk on two legs, and wear clothes. Furry fandom is also used to refer to the community of artists, writers, role players and general fans of the furry art forms who gather on the net and at conventions.


Characters that morph between human and animal form are also considered by some to be part of the genre. Even certain superheroes with animal derived powers are considered of furry interest by some fans. The general idea being a combination of human and non-human animal attributes, for which there is no documented science regarding what degrees of mixture are required. Even characters like Josie and the Pussycats are considered of interest to furry fandom, though they only wear costumes with animal ears and tails.

According to fandom historian Fred Patten, the concept of furry originated at a science fiction convention in 1980, when a drawing of a character from Steve Gallacci’s Albedo Anthropomorphics initiated a discussion of anthropormorthiv characters in sciene fiction novels, which in turn initiated a discussion group that met at science fiction and comics conventions. Patten defined "Furry fandom" as "the organized appreciation and dissemination of art and prose regarding 'Furries', or fictional mammalian anthropormorthic characters."

The specific term "Furry fandom" was being used in fanzines as early as 1983, and had become the standard name for the genre by the mid-1990s. However, fans consider the origins of furry fandom to be much earlier, with fictional works such as Kimba, The White Lion released in 1965, Richard Adams' novel Watership Down, published in 1972 (and its 1978 film adaptation), as well as Disney's Robin Hood as oft-cited examples. To distinguish these personae from seriously depicted animal characters, such as Lassie or Old Yeller, cartoon animals are referred to as funny animals, a term that came into use in the 1910s.

During the 1980s, furrys began to publish fanzines, developing a diverse social group that eventually began to schedule social gatherings. By 1987, there was sufficient interest to stage the first furry convention. Throughout the next decade, the Internet became accessible to the general population and became the most popular means for furry fans to socialize. The newsgroup alt.fan.furry was created in November 1990, and virtual environments such as MUCKs also became popular places on the Internet for fans to meet and communicate.

Fans with craft skills create their own plush toys, sometimes referred to as
plushies, and also build elaborate costumes called fursuits, which are worn for fun or to participate in parades, convention masquerades, dances, or fund-raising charity events (as entertainers). Fursuits range from designs featuring simple construction and resembling sports mascots to those with more sophisticated features that include moving jaw mechanisms, animatronic parts, prosthetic makeup, and other features. Fursuits range in price from $500, for mascot-like designs, to an upwards of $8,000 for models incorporating animatronics. While about 80% of furries do not own a full fursuit, often citing their expensive cost as the decisive factor, a majority of them hold positive feelings towards fursuiters and conventions they participate in.Some fans may also wear "partial" suits consisting simply of ears and a tail.

Furry fans also pursue puppetry, recording videos and performing live shows such as Rapid T. Rabbit and Friends and the Funday PawPet Show, and create furry accessories, such as ears or tails.

 

Differing approaches to sexuality have been a source of controversy and conflict in furry fandom. Examples of sexual aspects within furry fandom include erotic art and furry-themed cybersex. The term "yiff" is most commonly used to indicate sexual activity or sexual material within the fandom—this applies to sexual activity and interaction within the subculture whether online (in the form of cybersex) or offline. Many members of the furry community feel that the overly sexual component gives the rest of them a bad name, and may use the derogatory term "furvert" to describe such people.

The majority of furries report a non-judgmental attitude towards certain aspects of sexuality and a high tolerance for variety in sexual orientation and activity. 19-25% of the fandom members report homosexuality, 37-48% bisexuality, and 3-8% other forms of alternative sexual relationships. About 2% state an interest in zoophilia, and less than 1% an interest in plushophilia. Initial figures were collected by David J. Rust in 1997, but further research has been conducted to update these findings. About half of furry fans are estimated to be in a relationship, with 76% of those having a relationship with another furry.

Furry characters are sometimes associated with paraphilias, with online communities dedicated to art and stories featuring macrophilia, vorarephilia, infantilism (babyfurs) and maiesiophilia, among others. Some fans argue that various paraphilias normally considered illegal in certain jurisdictions, such as paedophilia or extreme pornography, are legal when no humans are depicted. This is, however, the subject of debate. Softpaw Magazine, an erotic "cub" fan magazine, has been banned by furry conventions Eurofurence and Further Confusion due to fear of legal action.

 

Early portrayal of the furry fandom in articles such as Loaded, Vanity Fair,and the syndicated sex column "Savage Love" focused mainly on the sexual component of certain furries. Fictional portrayals of furry fandom have appeared on television shows such as ER, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The Drew Carey Show, Sex2K on MTV, and Entourage. Most furry fans claim that these media portrayals are misconceptions, while the recent coverage focuses on debunking myths and stereotypes that have come to be associated with the furry fandom. A reporter attending Anthrocon 2006 noted that "despite their wild image from Vanity Fair, MTV and CSI, furry conventions aren't about kinky sex between weirdos gussied up in foxy costumes", that conference attendees were "not having sex more than the rest of us", and that the furry convention was about "people talking and drawing animals and comic-book characters in sketchbooks." In October 2007, a Hartford Advocate reporter attended FurFright 2007 undercover because of media restrictions. She learned that the restrictions were intended to prevent misinformation, and reported that the scandalous behavior she had expected was not evident.

Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Jim Powell was sharing a hotel with Anthrocon 2007 attendees a day before the convention and reported a negative opinion of the furries. Residents of Pittsburgh have welcomed furries during the event, with local business owners creating special T-shirts and drawing paw prints in chalk outside their shops to attract attendees. Dr. Samuel Conway, CEO of Anthrocon, said that "For the most part, people give us curious stares, but they're good-natured curious stares. We're here to have fun, people have fun having us here, everybody wins".

According to Furry survey, about half of furries perceive public reaction to the fandom as negative; less than a fifth stated that the public responded to them more negatively than they did most furries.

Image from Deviantart, Info from wikipeda.

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