by Alphaville Herald on 18/10/04 at 11:25 am
By Miravoir Psaltry
Reprinted from Players Magazine, vol. 8
Crocodile Jack would be proud. After seeing many Lions, Tigers, and Bears, (Oh My), Mira put on her pith helmet and khaki shorts and braved the forest and jungles (and sl User groups) of the Furry kingdom and came back to tell you all about their wild and wonderful culture. I’ve found that the Furries I’ve talked to don’t all agree on what is and isn’t “Furry”. However, all Furries I’ve talked to were very shy of the media, because we have jumped to so many assumptions of whom and what they are. So, after a bit of coaxing, I managed to get a few of the shy denizens of this group to come forward and let me in on their world as they see it. Hopefully, you will find them as wonderful and fascinating as I do.
I met 4 gorgeous furries, Tomax Edison, Kotori Yossarian, Gani Sauvage, and Verbena Pennyfeather who lent me their thoughts on their culture. First of all, this lifestyle has been a long term thing for all of them, roughly four years. Most of them prefer being in animal form at all times, and when I questioned them about that, the common answer was uniqueness. Tomax put it eloquently by saying, “for a lot of people, just making another human character is boring and cookie-cutter. there isnt much uniqueness or self expression in it. Similarly, people might also think that the current mount of variety in normal humans is much lacking, so they make animals. and, no doubt, lots of people play as animals because that’s what they wish to be. because in a lot of ways, animals are far more beautiful than humans.” Gani also had a definite opinion on this, ” Some people say that there is not enough racial diversity. I say that there is not enough species diversity. I think that is part of the appeal of meeting an alien race, just to know that you are different, not so much of a cabon copy.” Verbena likes the uniqueness factor as well, and takes some amusement in the “mundanes” (non-furries) stereotypical responses when faced with a certain animal. Creative Expression is a key factor in the human existence, and it appears as though the furries have found the wellspring from which they can draw.
From what I’ve observed meeting the Furries in SL , they, like most people, want to be beautiful. Foxes, wolves, cats and tigers greatly outnumber weasels, sloths, and baboons. The people I spoke to tend toward wolves and cats as a rule. They want acceptance and love, and seem to find it in this group. I have inhabited their largest group here for some time, and everyone is always cheerfully greeting each other there, and generally are affable and affectionate with each other. Verbena put it astutely when she said, “Remember, we’re all human behind that screen, no matter what some insist.” But, they’ve established a wonderful sense of community, perhaps even tribalness that we as a modern society have lost.
Vanity fair and MTV really hurt the Furry subculture by depicting them as nothing up weirdos with hopped up sex drives. The assumption is that nothing but sex could make Furries as passionate as they are about their culture. All the participants agreed that there is a sexual aspect to being a Furry, but to hype them all as sexual superfreaks is a gross fabrication. Still, a search on Yahoo on the subject of Furries will brings both the informative, the cute and the bizarre. (Yet, so will doing a search on cooking (woah! what’s she doing with that canoli??) ) Gani says that Furries are just more open about themselves. They accept all lifestyles with open arms. There’s no need to hide who they are. Tomax said, ” That is just a stereotype. theres a lot of social interaction there besides sex. of course, many many other subcultures do involve sex, but i believe the furry subculture is singled out because both participants are animals of some form, and because of that, people automatically assume we like to have sex with actual animals. another thing is that this subculture is a lot more open with themselves, and because sex is such an integral part of the human brain, it logically follows that there would be a great deal of it occuring.”
So the result of my little safari? Furry is about mutual acceptance and common interests, rather like those that enjoy old movies, or collect stamps. And when a magazine touts that Furry is only about perversion, it misses the point, just like stories about other subcultures such as ravers often do. Furry is a chance to expand ones creative expression, and to participate in different personas. I have always enjoyed that sense of the dramatic, and so I too think that is a fun thing (although I really couldn’t see myself as a furry everyday). But, how much they all seem to love each other, how they are connected through their furriness, is a beautiful thing.
And having documented the wild and wonderful species of the Furry Kingdom, Crocodile Mira now traipses back to the city, for a bath and to get all the twigs out of my hair.