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Better Know a Fandom: Furries

Updated on December 14, 2018

Introduction: Who/What Are Furries?

Simply, a furry is a term for anyone who is a fan of anthropomorphic cartoon characters. While these characters have been around as long as the birth of animated film itself, the term "furry" has not been used since before the 1970's.

Although some human-animal hybridized art has been around since very ancient times, the earliest sources of inspiration for furry fandom were animated characters specifically, such as Kimba the White Lion and Disney's Robin Hood. Furry stories and artworks can be original or derived from an existing cartoon, anime, or video game franchise.

These can range into almost every genre of art and literature, similarly to the signature anime style of art. Furries are usually active members of online furry fandom communities. They can be artists, video game creators, online chat role-players, story writers, or simply people who appreciate the creative work of other furries. There is a lot of overlap between furries and members of other fandoms, such as anime fans/otakus, gamers, and My Little Pony fans, or "bronies".

Origin and History of the Fandom

While the earliest furry convention I could find mentioned on Wikipedia was called ConFurence and started in 1990, fur-suits (the costumes which resemble the anthropomorphic characters) were seen at science-fiction conventions as early as around the 70's and 80's. Thus, furry fandom essentially is something that grew out of sci-fi fandom. While some fur-suits and fur-sonas (when a furry makes up their own character that becomes their anthropomorphic animal cartoon persona) simply imitate existing characters, and so it probably has origins in the idea of cosplay (dressing up as a fictional character in general), nowadays most furry characters are the unique creation of either the furry themselves or of an artist commissioned by a furry to bring that person's vision to life.

Misconceptions about Furries: What the Fandom Isn't

  • Not all of them make or wear fur suits, even though fur suits are the most striking aspect of the fur fandom that most people will comment on.
  • It's not a sex thing. Although there are some furries out there who like to have sex while wearing their fur suits, for the vast majority it is not a sexual fetish or related to zoophilia/bestiality.
  • It's not related to being "otherkin" or thinking oneself to actually be an animal. Mostly, they know they're human.

All in all, the furry fandom is positive, inclusive, and a breeding ground for creative and interesting works of literature and artwork.

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