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The essence of being a furry

ZeeDog

Member
I am expanding and old essay I did, and want to discuss it to get more ideas, so feel free to argue any point(without angst or attitudes). It is a work in progress, so please bare with me

I find the best way to explain what is furry is based on Ayn Rand's view of romanticism, since it's a sort of romantic view of things, not realistic, but based on ideals you get from reality, in other words, an idea based view of people, where the animal sums up the fundamentals behind that person and represents his or her nature(in other words, "fits" the person). Thus, a dog fursona would fit someone with a nature similar to a dog(playful, loyal, etc), and for that reason, he would view himself as a dog. A fursona is the external imaginary manifestation of his identity, a view into his fundamental nature, an idealized version of himself, since it would be ideally fitting for you to be part dog. Thus, since you see yourself as a dog in spirit, you pick up other things generally associated with animals and pets(cuddles, snuggling, pouncing, nomming, wagging, cuteness, playfulness, yiffyness, etc), which also become part of the ideal you. This can lead to the mistake of feeling that you ARE an animal, when you just share it's spirit(the ideas the it brings). And thus, being a furry can make you a very positive person, since you basically engage in ideal worship.

It is at this point where I consider someone to be a fur, when they express their anthromorphication. I am not sure when furry meant to just like furry art, but it is not the way I ever saw it used, and in my opinion, it is the not the most practical. Nobody wants a bunch of snobby artist or cynics, who are too smug to wag a tail, start denouncing furs for what they fundamentally are, without being it themselves(and then label it "self criticism"). Neither is "whatever you want furry to be" any good, since it would just dilute furryness and lead to the previous, not to mention have an intellectual base that is total mush.

It is also wise to keep in mind that because some furries do negative things does not mean that it is a fundamental flaw in the idea of furry. For example, because many furries are subjectivist does not mean that furdom is necessarily subjectivist, since it does not directly come from the idea of furry. What is fundamentally furry is: the ideas your fursona brings you, general animal traits and general themes, sweetness or willingness to cuddle(unless contradicted by your fursona), and yiffyness(unless contradicted by your fursona), since all of these are directly derived from the idea of your character and general animal traits, so to criticize this would be to criticize what is fundamentally furry, which would mean you would be fundamentally against furry, and it would be illogical to be one if you were, if you were a consistent person.

Furry art can be explained similarly, where species gives you a fundamental idea(dogness), which gives personality to a simple character, which makes it more likeable. Thus an anthro cat could make you think of cuteness, a dragon of fearsomeness, etc. It's sort of like giving an animal flavor to a fundamentally human character, making it very aesthetically pleasing. This also means the porn is more romanticized and aesthetically pleasing, which is why we love yiff. Thus, furry is a a romantic art form, one of ideals, and thus, ideas, making it much more human.

I'll keep writing when I get more internets in Yurop D=
 

Draco_2k

Rawr.
That's actually pretty good.

The only thing left to crack is whether this whole association thing comes from stereotyping or plain intuition.
 
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Nargle

HOOT
I agree that people that only participate in the art aspect shouldn't consider themselves furries. It's like calling yourself a football player because you've watched some of the games. Hell, there are thousands of kids that LOVE mickey mouse and such, but that doesn't make them furries. I draw and like the art, sometimes wear a tail in private, and occasionally act like an animal, yet I still don't consider myself fully furry. It doesn't influence my life enough. For instance, I don't go around wearing T-shirst or jewelery with my spirit animal on it, and most of my friends aren't even aware of my interest in furries. It's like I'm a hobby furry, and I only participate in my free time =3
 

ToeClaws

PEBKAC exterminator
That's actually pretty good.

The only thing left to crack is whether this whole association thing comes from stereotyping or plain intuition.

I blame Godzilla putting his sexy self before me on TV at a very young and impressionable age. :p

Very logically stated. I think the term "furry" is also a very, very broad one too that can be applied to a vast crowd with equally vast extremes to which they consider themselves furs (or as to what they consider furs).
 

slashersivi

Member
I agree that people that only participate in the art aspect shouldn't consider themselves furries. It's like calling yourself a football player because you've watched some of the games. Hell, there are thousands of kids that LOVE mickey mouse and such, but that doesn't make them furries. I draw and like the art, sometimes wear a tail in private, and occasionally act like an animal, yet I still don't consider myself fully furry. It doesn't influence my life enough. For instance, I don't go around wearing T-shirst or jewelery with my spirit animal on it, and most of my friends aren't even aware of my interest in furries. It's like I'm a hobby furry, and I only participate in my free time =3

Personally I think oppositely from what you do... I don't see why one has to be completely "immersed" to be furry. I don't think I'm an animal nor do I think I have some sort of connection to the animals that make up my fursona (just that I have things in common, sharing traits which I have explained in other threads); I only wear my furry attire at conventions, with the exception of my hoof-slippers because, well they're slippers. x) But I like anthromorphic characters, both drawing and in other media forms (ie Disney and books), and I like animals in general so I call myself a furry. It seems I am less "furry" than you are and yet I still consider myself one (and my WoW guildmates relentlessly call me one as well because they think it's funny o_o). I just don't understand how you can compare a furry artist to a sports spectator. Furry artists are furries. "Furry" isn't some exclusive club just for RLYSRS or fanatical people.
 
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Draco_2k

Rawr.
I blame Godzilla putting his sexy self before me on TV at a very young and impressionable age. :p

Very logically stated. I think the term "furry" is also a very, very broad one too that can be applied to a vast crowd with equally vast extremes to which they consider themselves furs (or as to what they consider furs).
It is a broad term. Not by it's definition, but because it's that thing along the lines of "someone who likes ice-cream" - who doesn't?

I agree that people that only participate in the art aspect shouldn't consider themselves furries. It's like calling yourself a football player because you've watched some of the games.
I'm sure it's up to people to decide what to consider themselves.

Thing is though - while watching football doesn't make you a football player, it does make you a football fan. And we just happen to be furry fans. :D
 

slashersivi

Member
Slasher- What Draco said =3 If you don't want to BE a furry, and you just like them, then you are simply a FAN of furries.

Well I like costuming and if there was a way to become my fursona without some sort of consequence (which includes being ostracized from society :p) then I supposed I would. Nonetheless I still think of "furries" as any member of the FURRY FANDOM.
 

xiath

Rocket to your face.
that sounds good. Being called a furry is a very subjective thing IMO. I personally believe that people who have a love for furry art (not just a neutral liking for it) could be called a furry, a minor one at that.

I also believe, that there are different levels of 'furryness', loving the art as the low point and acting like an animal all of the time and wearing fur suits a lot as the high point.

Personally, i fall in the point to where i do wish i was an anthro and do show some traits of dogness in my personality (ie, i growl when not pleased, i also tend to raise my upper lip when made so it looks like i have a snaral (sp???), etc... all without realy trying to do so.). I don't personally own a fursuit, but that is only because i don't have the money for one. so i guess i could be called a furry
 

Draco_2k

Rawr.
Exactly =D

Slasher- What Draco said =3 If you don't want to BE a furry, and you just like them, then you are simply a FAN of furries.
Wait, what?

"Furry" is a short for "Furry fan", always has been. Neither implies roleplaying or whatever else just because said stuff happens to be relatively popular among other fans - it's just about liking anthros.
 

Nargle

HOOT
Draco- Furries ARE the anthro people, and the desire to be one. A furry isn't someone who just enjoys looking at them. If that was true, every flippin kid would be a furry. But they're not. Plus, there's a reason it's called the furry fandom. The people are fans of anthropomorphic animals, thus they like drawing them or looking like them, but some feel the desire to identify themselves as a furry, becoming more then just a fan. I'm not trying to exclude furry fans from the fandom or anything, because they do in fact make up a lot of it.


Slasher- I'm not saying you're not a furry, you actually sound very furry to me. All I'm saying is the mere liking of the art isn't enough to call yourself a furry. Hell, maybe you don't dress up or believe you're an animal, but if you have some sort of fursona or interest in being a furry, then you're more then just a fan. It's a very broad term, but merely liking the art isn't enough. Like I said, watching football or mickey mouse doesn't make you a football player or mickey mouse himself. But if you have the desire to become a football player you can, and if you want to dress up as a mouse (Or even just fantasize about being one) you can "become" one, but either way, you'll be more then just a fan.
 

TheGreatCrusader

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs!
Not necessarily. I am a furry because I like anthropomorphic animals. I always have, and I always will. I was drawn to things like Robin Hood and Crash Bandicoot because I thought anthros were cool, but I have no desire to be one, and that is where you are wrong. By your definition, I'm not a furry.

I don't draw, I don't wish to be one, I don't fursuit, I don't even have a fursona. Am I a furry by your definition? No, I'm not. Am I a furry under mine? Yes, I am.
 

slashersivi

Member
Nargle, it's fine for you to have that opinion but it irks me that you keep stating it like it's a fact. Who are you to tell people whether they can consider themselves a furry? I think the above poster is a good example.

We are ALL furry fans. "Real" furries, aka anthromorphic animals, are not real. So it doesn't matter if someone thinks they are one, they are still a fan, not an actual furry. Furry as we use it is merely a term for a member of the furry fandom, which consists of a wide spectrum of people ranging from people who just appreciate anthromorphics in various medias to people who think they're werewolves.
 

Nargle

HOOT
Great Crusader- Yes, there will always be people making their own definitions, especially within this fandom. I'm merely basing it off of the actions of the majority of other people.

For instance, I know tons of people that are drawn to anthros like yourself, but would never consider themselves a furry. Furries don't even have to exist for people to like animal people.

There are also people that act more "furry" then you, like myself, that don't consider themselves furries. I wear a tail, dress up as an animal for every halloween, sometimes act like an animal in private, and I've rped as a furry (Don't have a fursona, though), yet I still don't call myself a furry.

I'm just a regular human that's interested in them. You can call yourself whatever you want, but I still have a problem with calling everyone who plays Sonic the Hedgehog or watches Robin Hood a furry.


Slasher- I'm not saying people can't call themselves furries, I just won't consider them to be such. But what about people like myself, that don't consider themselves furries, while you sit there and call me one? Aren't you doing the exact same thing? You're stating it like a fact that anyone who likes animal people is automatically a furry.

(And I'm not saying you CAN'T do it, just quit getting irked when I do the same thing you're doing.)
 
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Furthlingam

Master of Exegesis
One of my fave quotes (that never seems to amuse anyone else) is Victor Hugo (you know, the guy who wrote the book Les Miserables-- yes it was a book before it was a musical!):

VictorHugo said:
It is our belief that if the soul were visible to the eye, every member of the human species would be seen to correspond to some species of the animal world, and a truth scarcely perceived by thinkers would be readily confirmed, namely, that from the oyster to the eagle, from the swine to the tiger, all animals are to be found in men and each of them exists in some man, sometimes several at a time.

Animals are nothing but the portrayal of our virtues and vices made manifest to our eyes, the visible reflections of our souls. God displays them to us to give us food for thought.

Personally, what I think lies at the root of the fandom is a fascination. And at the root of that fascination are two instincts (fairly well documented by evolutionary psych guys) we evolved to have:

One is a fascination with living things, their forms, habits, and essential "character" or "essence" or "spirit." Thus, catness, dogness, horseness, etc, especially if you've ever been aroud cats, dogs, horses, respectively.
The other instinct is a fascination with/awareness of other intelligent beings-- and the reflexive attempt to try and understand or "model" what's going on in their minds.

When you put the two together, you inevitably have an inborn human fascination with the idea of animals with a human point of view (and by extension, intelligence, language, even hands and the rest.)

From there, I think it's fairly normal to try and elaborate this sense of fascination and awe, into a distinguishing part of one's identity. Like you said, people notice that a person has certain "catlike" features, ergo, they identify with a cat.

Through history, human spiritual practices have always found some set of inspirational ideas to latch onto. In some eras, it's the cycle of the seasons and vegetation growth, harvest, death, rebirth-- and the slain-and-ressurected king that goes along with all that. In others, it's the complex but regular patterns of the stars and planets. In others, the perfection and nobility of human form and reason. In many of the first, as with our ancestors over the millenia of the great hunt across the plains of Eurasia-- and I would argue, strongly emergent in the furry fandom-- the fascination is with animal forms and powers.

I agree that it's flimsy to go with some definition of "furry" most of us know misses the mark, like "anthing goes!!!"

On the other hand, I disagree that an especially intense identification with an animal is the most basic thing. The most basic thing is the fascination itself.

I think another thing that comes from identifying with an animal or species, is the whole make-believe game of "what would it be like to be such an animal," and the biggest deal for whitebread joe like me, at least, when it comes to that, is that animals obviously live largely free of the ordinary social baggage and jarringly artificial circumstances we humans find ourselves trapped in.

One of the words I hear furries use to describe this imagined state of mind is "innocence." However you describe it, this similar-but-different, social-but-not-trapped, uncomplicated, baggage- and disgust- and superstition-free attitude toward life that we can imagine having as animals-with-a-point-of-view, is the other part of what I've always seen as essentially furry, and I think you may have been getting at it too, in a way.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Inborn fascination with the idea of thinking animals plus the daydream of naturalness/innocence. That's furry.
 

Furthlingam

Master of Exegesis
Slasher- What Draco said =3 If you don't want to BE a furry, and you just like them, then you are simply a FAN of furries.

The thing though is that this's simply contrary to the way the term's being used. Most people take it to mean an actual person with an interest in anthropomorphic art, ideas, &c, who may have so much interest that they self-identify as an animal, anthropomorphic animal, etc. Or may not.

Ultimately, that identification at its healthiest is make-believe, and it's rather incompatible to insist on taking make-believe too literally or too strictly.

And there's the inevitable risk of sounding furrier-than-thou. ;)

Words have meaning according to the consensus among the people who use the word. With the great majority of words in english, that's the entire body of english speakers. With a word like "furry," though, it's a dispersed fandom. Either way, the most prominent seeming references on language that include the word tend to become authorotative. Which makes Wikifur probably the closest thing we have to an authorotative guide to the word:

http://furry.wikia.com/wiki/Furry

Wikifur said:
Someone who says they are furry is generally expressing an interest in anthropomorphic animals and/or creatures.
 
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SparkOfMortality

Just checkin' in
One of my fave quotes (that never seems to amuse anyone else) is Victor Hugo (you know, the guy who wrote the book Les Miserables-- yes it was a book before it was a musical!):



Personally, what I think lies at the root of the fandom is a fascination. And at the root of that fascination are two instincts (fairly well documented by evolutionary psych guys) we evolved to have:

One is a fascination with living things, their forms, habits, and essential "character" or "essence" or "spirit." Thus, catness, dogness, horseness, etc, especially if you've ever been aroud cats, dogs, horses, respectively.
The other instinct is a fascination with/awareness of other intelligent beings-- and the reflexive attempt to try and understand or "model" what's going on in their minds.

When you put the two together, you inevitably have an inborn human fascination with the idea of animals with a human point of view (and by extension, intelligence, language, even hands and the rest.)

From there, I think it's fairly normal to try and elaborate this sense of fascination and awe, into a distinguishing part of one's identity. Like you said, people notice that a person has certain "catlike" features, ergo, they identify with a cat.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Inborn fascination with the idea of thinking animals plus the daydream of naturalness/innocence. That's furry.

That is EXACTLY how "furry" I am. Like you just wrote out my beliefs right there. If THAT alone makes you a furry than I am completely and 100% furry.
 

E-mannor

Prisoner 655321
as far as saying you are actually a furry or not, i say it isnt like being a football player and watching football, its like being... gay, or strait (just an example, dont try to read into it) you simply are, and only you can know.

i say this because if someone goes to conventions in a fursuit just because one of his friends wants him to go with him, he could arguably not be furry, while someone could be an avid furry but be amish on some farm in the middle of nowhere and never even know there is a fandom.
 

Giorgio Gabriel

You Will Be Godlike.
WARNING: in this post, I take Furries seriously. You have been alerted.

Ah, yes. We return to the supposed innocence of furries, often cited by dyed-in-the-wool members of the fandom as being a healthy and positive aspect of letting one's Fursona shine through, like an expression of one's true spirit without the social restraints and closeminded values of mundane everyday humanity. It is said to be much more natural and liberating than one's normal human existence...

First off, I will agree that furries act innocently in some ways. But it is a destructive and somewhat frightening innocence in most ways - an innocence that really means a complete lack of empathy for one's neighbor.
Children are notoriously unable to feel empathy for things, which is why you will see them torturing animals or hurting them for no good reason, not because they want to. They are not aware that what they are doing is hurting the animal and causing it pain and suffering - instead, they just want to see what the fly will do once its wings have been pulled off. Young children are creatures of unbridled Id, and in that way one can say that furries are indeed as innocent-acting as children. Furs are made to think from the moment of entering the fandom that they must unleash the restrictions on their Id and act on it instead of on their ego or superego.

The Id was described by Sigmund Freud as being a seething cauldron of excitation. It is pure chaotic emotion and nothing else, free of logic or mores.
It is the darkness and mystery in all human minds, the thing that drives us to want what we want, when we want it. The Id fuels our desires and our wants, our basest wishes and our lusts. It is frightening and yet beautiful thing - and it runs rampant in the minds of all Furs. One can easily see this by turning their eyes to the most obvious thing in the entire fandom - the porn. Furry porn is notorious for its excesses, and as silly as it might seem it actually shows a very disturbing trend in the community - a need for constant feeding of the Id. Fetishes are rife in the fandom, and good luck finding a piece of furry porn that isn't gonzo-styled with oversized cocks and exaggeratedly large amounts of fluids. Chances are if you're a fur you've typefucked or jerked it/shlicked to the porn before at some point - feel free to deny this at leisure, there will be many who will say yes all the same to this.
You can see a basal need to have one's filthiest desires played out in the porn, an almost dizzying -need- to experience pleasure enough to sate one's Id - and sating the Id is like trying to put out a nuclear explosion with just your bare hands. It can never be sated fully and this is where most of them start to spiral down into the highly-defensive madness that we're all too familiar with.

Seeking validation from their peers and superiors, the now Id-driven fur is compelled to let everyone know. In his or her fragile state, they are unable to handle criticism, since their logic has been abandoned nearly entirely, and as such they easily dissolve once trolled by people on the internet and in reality. And despite their talk of liberal ways and acceptance there is actually a very solid structure of rules in the fandom. You can easily draw the ire of others if you go against these rules, and too much of this will result in you eventually being ostracized(this is where the Burned Furs come in, but that is a tale for another day).
There is a stifling amount of 'acceptance' in the fandom, one-sided acceptance that accepts freaks and sexfiends of all sorts and proudly welcomes them as being upstanding members of the society, but constructive criticism and people who wish to point out and correct the flaws in the fandom are ignored thoroughly.
Reality checks are right out. One can never remind a furry of reality - tell an ordinary person on the internet their Real Name and they won't care. They even sometimes use it as their username. Tell a Furry his Real Name and it's like speaking the name of a powerful spirit in its presence - they crumble right away in fear and retreat with their tail between their legs, begging you not to tell their friends that Perceival Yiffington the IVth is actually Edward Johnson who lives in his parent's basement. Reality is what many furs fear immensely, and it reflects in their tendency to fursuit.

So, in reality the fandom actually promotes some very unhealthy values, most of which lead to a slippery slope of insanity. I am not saying that becoming a furry will turn you into a gibbering, drooling maniac, but the values of the fandom coupled with self-imposed solitude from reality will no doubt result in someone's mental bearing being knocked off balance without the input of the mundane to keep them on the levels.

And that's my take on this all.
 

Nargle

HOOT
as far as saying you are actually a furry or not, i say it isnt like being a football player and watching football, its like being... gay, or strait (just an example, dont try to read into it) you simply are, and only you can know.

i say this because if someone goes to conventions in a fursuit just because one of his friends wants him to go with him, he could arguably not be furry, while someone could be an avid furry but be amish on some farm in the middle of nowhere and never even know there is a fandom.

That's true, but that isn't the context I was using the example in. I was using it as in people who observe furries and people who participate; I wasn't meaning to say that being a furry is a choice like joining the football team. You can't look too deeply into analogies, because there will ALWAYS be inconsistencies and things that don't match up. Simply because no two topics are COMPLETELY alike. Like, if I were to compare dogs and wolves saying they have similar pack mentalities, you could try to counter attack by saying dogs like people but wolves don't. True, but nonetheless, my original example that dogs and wolves have similar pack mentalities remain still.


Furthlingam- Yes, people are pretty much entitled to their opinions. Including me.


Georgio- That inference only applies to a limited amount of furries. There are plenty of people in the fandom that don't plunge into a world of fantasy like you've described.
 
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Furthlingam

Master of Exegesis
That is EXACTLY how "furry" I am. Like you just wrote out my beliefs right there. If THAT alone makes you a furry than I am completely and 100% furry.


^_____^ Thanks. I do a lot of thinking about this.
 

Furthlingam

Master of Exegesis
WARNING: in this post, I take Furries seriously. You have been alerted. [etc]

For the record, I don't at all think innocence is precise enough a word to be excused, really, nor would I hesitate to laugh if somebody said "Furries tend to be innocent." And that laughter would have its bitterness.

I've been a frequent, outspoken, even reviled critic of unethical and conscienceless behavior and ideas circulated in the fandom, too.

Finally, OTOH, everybody in this culture who's essentially a recovering Abramic theist of one sort or another is bound to have a lousy orientation to make-believe and daydreaming for their own sake. I'm not sure I blame furries especially on this count. Most people just suck at it. At least furries are trying w/o (generally) becoming fundies and zealots.

The 'crumple when you speak their real name' thing was tasty, though. ;)
 

SparkOfMortality

Just checkin' in
Good thing I'm strong willed enough (and not into this enough :cool:) to avoid me becoming like that.

But then again, isn't that what first time meth users say?
 
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