I had a thought – as I do sometimes – on the Furry Fandom; and for the uninitiated, the Furry Fandom, or The Fandom henceforth, at is very core consists of those who take a liking to human like animals often referred to as “anthros”. Now, what did I have a thought about? Simply put it's if The Fandom's reputation and peoples' perspectives of it are true. Anyone who's been a Furry (member of The Fandom) for long enough knows or has encountered various reactions to it: people thinking it's weird, odd, a fetish, overly sexualized, and so on. There's also various misconceptions one might have, as a relative of mine originally thought Furries were only those who partook in fursuiting – basically cosplaying but with a full suit for your anthro character (and there's those that for some reason think this is extremely odd, even if they're okay with other forms of cosplaying). Some members of The Fandom are understandably bothered by this, as they don't like people poking fun at them or making it seem like it's a social gathering for deviants and this whole odd “lifestyle” (even though other furs have made it sound like there's a “furry lifestyle”). I myself have had to deal with people whose mind's go straight to the gutter once I mention I'm a furry – and after my thoughts today, I can't really blame them. The thing is... I feel the Furry Fandom deserves its reputation.
“But Niko!” you might say, “You're a furry too! Shouldn't you be defending it? And didn't you just say you're bothered by those who say it's a fetish?” Well, yes I might be part of The Fandom, but just because one is part of a group does not mean that they can never level criticisms against their own group – something that's hardly ever seen this day and age (though evaluating on that is another post in of itself). Before anyone decides to yell and scream at me I want an honest answer: if you have a Fur Affinity, Ink Bunny, or Weasyl account and you follow mainly furry artists, how much smut/pornography (or as The Fandom calls it, “yiff art”) do you see on there, if you browse with the adult filter off? Me personally, I usually see a lot of it. Usually FA's “Recently Uploaded” section for art on their main page contains several sexual pieces of art. It's a very rare thing that all fourteen images shown in this section are clear of any yiff; sometimes over half of this section will be all overtly sexual images. And then there's the artists' individual galleries. Any given gallery can contain a number of sexual pieces in it, and some galleries are nothing but sexual images, either drawn by the person themselves or commissioned from other artists. This is so common with various accounts that sometimes it's actually surprising (and a nice change of pace) when they don't draw something pornographic. Now I know, “Sex Sells” and “Each Fandom has its 'dark corners'”, but let's just imagine something for a real quick second: imagine if the porn movie industry just suddenly blew up, and now such movies would be everywhere, the hot seller, the most popular type of movie there is, and if your movie doesn't sell its soul to the devil of overt sexualization, you can forget about views, reviews, and popularity.
That's kinda what it's like to be in The Fandom and be someone who creates something (even stories aren't safe from this). Yiffy artwork is pretty much the most popular genre of art and fiction that's produced, and anyfur who denies this needs to know that denial is not just a river in Egypt. Members in The Fandom even joke that the only way to get popular as an artist is to sell out to the overt sexualization, because they know how true this is. Others actually do complain about this, such as a friend of mine who attempts to sell artwork but constantly finds that she'll only sell something or get bids if she makes it overtly sexual. It can't even be something that's cute or sexy looking – such as a topless tiger mermaid. Now if the topless tiger mermaid were doing something sexual with themselves then maybe the bids would come in. But just a normal topless tiger? Ha-ha, yeah right. Now if you need even more proof of this, consider the site popfur.com, which ranks all accounts on FA by how many watchers they have. Coming in at number one is an artist with fourty eight thousand, two hundred and seventy-two watchers. And what's nearly 100% of his gallery? If you marked the bubble next to “sexual artwork” you can add five points to your score.
So, now we've discussed the furry artwork. Well, if you expected this explicitly sexual nature to carry on outside these sites, you're pretty much right. No one is seemingly safe from the hypersexualization of the furry fandom. On Facebook you can find numerous “roleplaying accounts” (despite the fact that such things are against FB's rules) dedicated to roleplays...which usually turns sexual. But then again, with names that include words like “Yiff Master” and “Yiffypaws”, can you really be surprised? Then there's people who have to deal with seeing stuff like this, or checking their newsfeed to find some of their friends shared or posted yiffy stuff (which is also against FB's rules), which does nothing to help The Fandom's reputation. Neither does going into IRC rooms and maknig a fuss because a roleplay site like Imperia – gasp – has rules. Neither is posting about sextoys, but hey what do I know? It's almost like these people are using The Fandom as a way of getting out their sexual kicks, and then using any and all excuses they can find to justify their behaviour, which contributes to their bad imagery. But it seems like people are more concerned with indulging in their fantasies to be concerned with what people might think of them – even as other members in the fandom complain about how people treat them. This reputation seems to have gotten to the point where people feel like they have to “come out” as a furry (Yes, as in “come out of the closet”); which begs the question of why it's such a big deal that people like anthro characters, but then again, this is The Fandom we're talking about here.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you can't ever draw sexual artwork, like sexual artwork, or write, like, and read sexual stories. This is not the Burned Fur Movement – which was an older movement in the Furry Fandom that sought to do something about the overt sexuality. It didn't go over so well. But it's just that there's so much of it that people get the impression that their art will never be popular if it never gives anyone a boner. Which I say to hell with that, I'm gonna write and draw what I like, not what I think will get me page views. I guess Neil Peart was right, glittering prizes do shatter the illusion of integrity. And while this goes on good, talented art and stories are falling on the wayside because – gasp – no one's doing anything involving naughty parts! I just feel like anthro characters and The Fandom can be so much more, and get more respect, but eh, what do I know?