Thanks to a donation from Tapewolf, I managed to scrape enough together for Anthrocon, and am there now. I brought one of the computers I have for sale with me, although given the crowd here, I dunno if it will move.
Anyways, I wanted to address one of the common reactions that people get when they hear the term furry. I call myself a furry because my avatar is a blue cat. In city of heroes almost all my characters are cats, and I come up with stuff like meowello and Welcome to a Mew level on a regular basis. I can't exactly say I'm not a furry.
However, one of the common reactions to the term furry is that the community consists largely of homosexuals, perverts, and all-around freaks. Such a perception is hard to argue, with sites like Fur Affinity pushing content ranging from benign Bugs Bunny tributes, to stuff that makes various triple-x sites seem tame. Then there is the perception handled by broadcast and newspaper media, with the freaks of the group singled out as representing the entire community.
Well, let me put this in perspective with three names. Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker : David Koresh
Jim and Tammy Faye were well known tele-evangelists who claimed to be Christians. However, they were little better than fraudsters. They certainly didn't act in private like Christians, and have effectively been cast out out most Christian communities.
David Koresh of course was the cult leader in Texas, who also claimed to be a Christian. The actions of David Koresh led to what can best be described as a Tragedy in Waco Texas.
Most people are intelligent enough to not base their perceptions of Christians, in general, on the behaviors and actions of people like the Bakkers or David Koresh. However, many opponents of Christian communities are dead set on placing all Christians in the same group with such... people.
In the same way, millions of furries are perfectly normal people. They are fans of Bugs Bunny, read Garfield daily, have a couple of pets, and so on and so forth. The broadcast and print media's fascination with only focusing on the negative side of news, however, makes it difficult for such normal people to put themselves in such a classification as furry.
The catch is... furry only has one requirement... that somebody like Anthropomorphic animals. Walt Kelly, famed syndicated newspaper comic artist, the genius being Pogo... was a furry. Jim Davis, another famed syndicated newspaper comic artist, is a furry because he draws Garfield.
Now... let me pose a simple question. Do you think that Walt Kelly, his daughter Carolyn Kelly whose taken on the continuation of Pogo, or Jim Davis are vile perverts? Of course not. Every day millions of people welcome Garfield productions into the homes in the forms of books, calenders, tv shows, videos, stuffed animals and so on.
Consider sports mascots. How many people see a mascot and send their kid scampering over for a quick photo-shoot? Did ever occur to anybody that many mascots are wearing fur-suits?
So, why did furry come to have such a bad connotation. Why does the immediate mention of the word furry cause such an immediate and complete revulsion?
Simply put, bad news travels fast. The worst aspects of any community are the ones that are shined upon and brought to the fore-front.
One of the advantages to the furry communities is that there is no political, religious, socio-economic movement. The furry communities, as a whole, accept anybody and everybody, without regard. The sad part is, such an advantage carries a relative disadvantage, as an attitude towards acceptance puts the furry communities in a relatively bad position. Various activist groups are able to hijack the neutral furry for their own purposes, by adding the furry label.
From my point of view, the homosexual activists are able to safely label themselves as furry, since they know that the furry community won't actually do anything to throw them out. To the furry community, such distinctions are a moot point, and not up for discussion. Such distinctions simply don't matter.
Considering that such activists are already known for pressing various agenda's forth in political and socio-economic environment's, it should come as little surprise that such activist elements are what people will see the most of.
The final question then... is there a fix, or a method of reclaiming furry as a neutral term, and removing overtones of activist groups? Yes. The answer is more people calling themselves furry, who are normal. Who are not in the homosexual movements, or into death metal, and so on. It will take people saying that being perverted is not a subset of furry. It will take creations of counter-parts to the likes of Fur Affinity that focus on providing a place for clean art.
It will also take more conventions like AnthroCon where elements like pornography are not allowed at all, in any context.
Otherwise, social hijackers will continue to make the claim that I am a furry... even harder to say.
Edit notes : apologies for the spelling condition of the first draft. Tigerden's computers provided at the convention were not spelling checking the document as I was writing. I'll go into TigerDen's systems in another post. Anyways, some notes on this as I was going over the editing with a friend.
First : why pick on homosexuals? The simple answer is I've gone over what I view as the homosexual agenda and motives before in this blog, stating that in my view the entire movement is about money. With such an existing background already established, the example should be easier to follow for regular readers of this blog.
Second : why pick on Fur affinity. There are multiple other sites out there that host similar content, such as Deviant Art, the various -Chans, sheezy art and so on. Well, Fur Affinity is just a furry site, and one of the most well known. For the purposes of the original arguments, it made more sense to look at than other examples.
yet another edit. Last year I wrote about the antics of a rather horrible comedian who seemed to be wanting to place himself in the company of Howard Stern. This year I went to Uncle Kage's story hour... and spent most of the time laughing my butt off repeatedly. During his time Uncle Kage made what seemed to be a good point about the Furry Communities. Most people within the furry communities tend to be what back in high school where seen as the social rejects. Exampling the likes of the chess club, av club, and glee club. Yes, that is a Weird Al reference. Anyways, there were certain types of people who didn't get along with the jocks or the cheerleaders. For many of the outcasts one of the things they had in common was the Saturday morning cartoon. The likes of Bugs Bunny didn't just welcome the social misfit, they got their kicks out of taking down the elite cliques for fun. Loony Toons were the great equalizers... as the high and mighty never won.
For many of those outcasts the cartoons that helped them deal with the world. For many, the friendly cartoon face is one that reminds them that they weren't the only ones like themselves. Jerry could beat Tom. The blowhard Foghorn types were wrong.
Yes, I am speaking in 3rd person, but it really should be in first person. Cartoons weren't always just a source of mindless entertainment. Seriously, go out and find copies of the 1940's and 1950's Bugs Bunnies. Cartoons were social commentary, an they became a bond that some psychologist studios suggest help people mentally. Children who go in for surgeries are comforted by the crazy antics of various cartoons, and most adults have no problems letting Bob the Builder or Paddington Bear keep their kids occupied for hours.
Furries... well. We are people whom when we grew up... we didn't forget who our friends were. For many, it helps us express ourselves, our feelings, our attitudes, and everything else, in ways that most languages... or most lifestyles... simply don't account for.