Monday, November 24, 2014

The Furry Fandom, and some comments.

Furry is a subculture--a wide group of people who utilize a world of anthropomorphic animals to create different types of artwork. The artwork varies between drawn or painted works, written stories, or even crafts like making mascot suits by oneself, but that’s more of a rarity, despite the publicity that the mascot suits, or “Fursuits” get. “Furries” as they are called, generally hang out in Internet Relay Chatrooms (IRC) or on forums, at which they exchange their works that they’ve created. Some like to roleplay within their respected IRCs or forums as a means to play out their own furry characters that they’ve created, also known as “fursonas”. If Furries get the chance, they love to meet up and hang out together. This is generally because the subculture isn’t all of a big thing, and it’s exciting for them to meet with another Furry, or “Fur” for short, due to how rare it is to see one.
Some Furries are really big cartoon buffs, and gear their artwork more towards a cartoonish style. Others are intrigued by realism in the Furry universe, and incorporate that into their works.

Here are examples of some of the artwork:

I may or may not have given it away with the above links, but Furry art generally utilizes anthropomorphic canines and felines. You normally won’t see a “Furry” turtle or something like that… unless you watched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when you were little. Those count.

Here are a couple examples of the fursuits:

Fursuits take a LONG time to make, months even, and are VERY pricey (800+ to 2000$+). Others don't have the funds to express their “Furriness” with suits, so they just make tails or ears, or wear collars (so, it’s not always the Goth kids!). The suits are generally worn at conventions, where a large number of Furries can congregate and show off their work to each other. Never been to one myself, but they generally have lots of fun from what I’ve been told.

What else are furries into?  If you look at the Chronicles of Narnia, Ms. Brisby and the Rats of NIMH, or Redwall, those would be considered pieces of Furry literature (albeit in varying degrees) by the subculture. Most old Disney movies or Don Bluth films (All Dogs Go to Heaven, anyone?) had a whole host of talking cartoon animals.Video games? How about some Star Fox, Banjo-Kazooie, or Dillon's Rolling Western?

Now, there are a very large range of misconceptions about Furries; I’ll rattle off a few.

1.) Furries seriously think that they’re animals. Why else would they wear the suits?

No. People, in general, who believe that they’re animals, or believe that they possess the soul of an animal are known as Therianthropes. Some Therians happen to be Furries, but those are a minority (Wikipedia Therianthropy for more info). 

Furries wear Fursuits for a couple of reasons. For fun, at parties, meetups, or even to entertain their community. Here's an awesome example of of that from TychoAussie:

Now come on, you have to admit that's awesome. This is pretty cool too!

2.) Furries have absolutely no life and just waste away online.

Again, no. Some furries do, but I’ve also met my fair share of very successful, and good Christian Furries. One Christian Furry I used to know works with NASA!

3.) Furries are sick, disgusting perverts who condone and perform zoophilia, or beastiality.

ICK! Sad to say, but there are furries that do this. HOWEVER, they are a minority and are known as “Furverts” within the subculture.

4.) Furries are sexually confused.

No. There are members of the LGBT community who happen to be Furry, but that’s not what Furry is all about.

Now, all that being said, there is a darker side to this that needs to be talked about. The online furry community is not one to be traversed alone--heck, sad to say but I wouldn't even Google furry. For the good, clean fun and art there is to be found, there is also a good chunk of perverse, nasty stuff too--most commonly yiff art (yiff is the furry term for sex). But in defense of the fandom itself (not the sin to be found in it), its community and the things residing in it are a product of its mother culture. We live in a sin-stained world.

It's sad to say that the darker side of the fandom gets the most publicity--and why not? We love to bring the dark and twisted to the forefront of our attention. Due to this though, there are many people who have an innocent interest in furry art and culture that feel as though they have to hide from everyone--families and friends alike. This secrecy in some cases in itself leads people down dark roads into deep patterns of habitual sin as they traverse the furry fandom alone, and any innocent interest they had goes out the window.

People, regardless of their age or background, should not have to hide. The world needs to see brighter examples of purity as a whole, especially in places like the furry fandom--and I'm crazy enough to believe that it would make a difference. Parents should be coming alongside their children and helping them cultivate their love for furry in a pure way instead of forcing them to shun it due to all of the darkness that they could get into. Older people should share their interest with their friends and family and be a force for good--like our buddy TychoAussie up there. I don't encourage that people presently in bondage to sin that's directly tied to furry to maintain a presence in the fandom, but I beg and pray for people that would help protect the innocence of people who presently have a healthy interest in it.

For those of you who read this that are struggling with sin in the fandom, I encourage you to take a step back. There may be things about the fandom that are good and you may love those good things with all your heart, but if sin is tugging at your heartstrings (like it's been at mine), for the sake of what good is left, step back. Seek God with all you have, repent of the sin that's been tugging at you, and hear out others around you for good, godly counsel--and for goodness sakes, get some accountability going. Don't try to do it alone.

If you're looking for a resource to help you break free from sexual sin, take a look at Fight The New Drug. I would also recommend talking to a pastor or ministry leader, or a strong Christian that you trust.

If you're looking for a safe community where faith and furriness collide, check out Christian Furs.

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