11 Eye-Opening Misconceptions About The Furry Fandom

This weekend I attended Califur, the annual Southern California Furry Convention, and talked to an attendee about misconceptions of the community.

I was expecting sexual stuffed animals come to life, but ended up experiencing something completely different.

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I sat down with Allison Barrios, attendee and self-proclaimed furry, to discuss the stereotypes surrounding the furry fandom.

Allison Barrios
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We discussed the major misconceptions the public has about the fascinating subculture.

This infamous CSI episode being a prime example.

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Flickr: foxgrrl / Creative Commons

“Like almost any outsider you are fed the propaganda, the negative of it,” Allison said. Although there are late night adults-only workshops at the convention, none included blatant sex acts.

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Flickr: faelourn / Creative Commons

“It’s really just a bunch of people that love anthropomorphic art,” Allison explained. “The thing that got me into it was the art.” There were even specific drawing rooms you could sit in to share and create sketches and art pieces. The “Dealers Den” was the main expo dedicated to art and design.

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Flickr: foxgrrl / Creative Commons

Media access at the convention was tightly controlled and restricted. I soon realized a fear of the media has developed over time in the community due to dramatized and jarring ways the community has been represented. “Unfortunately people will always be looked down upon about it, but almost anyone will be looked down upon that isn’t the current flow of whatever’s popular,” Allison mentioned.

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Flickr: skyfox1 / Creative Commons

“Some people, especially those that believe that they are the top…will mess with you, and there are some cases where furries have been hassled. Some really bad cases.” Allison remarked. “It’s important to have people you trust that you know will not just chicken [out] and leave you, but that can protect you.”

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Flickr: foxgrrl / Creative Commons

“I mean, imagine the fur itself is expensive and you do not want to ruin it,” Barrios said, “because that’s just like $3,000 down the drain right there.” While attending a costuming workshop, I realized fursuits are mostly handmade. Everyone spends weeks if not months bringing their work to life. Just the fur can cost upwards of $2,000.

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Flickr: 30399149@N07 / Creative Commons

Even walking around the convention, I constantly was being asked about the experience and was welcomed with open arms. Everyone had their own unique story and was excited to share it with those around them.

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Flickr: southkitsune / Creative Commons

“If anything, everyone is just happy and friendly and just really, ‘hey come join us,’ you know,” Allison remarked. There were numerous special interest groups including Off-Road Furries dedicated to off-roading sports and Fur Fans in the Military.

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Flickr: dmuth / Creative Commons

The attendees were welcoming and not afraid to just sit and talk with strangers. Many of the activities, whether it be watching animated movies or playing video games, were meant to bring furries together.

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Flickr: skyfox1 / Creative Commons

In many of the discussions I had, attendees had faced some sort of bullying in school, and have found acceptance and comfort within the community.

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Flickr: skyfox1 / Creative Commons

There are numerous species that you can belong to including horses, cats, and even mice. However, unlike Otherkin (who believe they are the spirit of a creature), it’s more of a connection you have to this species that fits you as a person.

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Flickr: foxgrrl / Creative Commons

I was surprised to see the vast majority of attendees in everyday clothes, with just a tail sticking out or ears on. Some attendees weren’t wearing any type of animal paraphernalia. “If you had a fursuit and you put it on, it sort of just elevates the level of that species that your acting in,” Allison remarked.

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21. To some, the furry fandom is a confusing and possibly deviant subculture, but to furries, it is a loving and accepting part of their life they couldn’t live without.

Flickr: foxgrrl / Creative Commons
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