Why, hello, furry friend.
Furries have spent a lot time being the butt of jokes, considered by even 4chan as perverts and serious weirdos, a seedy underbelly of the internet. But does the most maligned group online deserve such a terrible reputation? After spending three days among furries at a convention this weekend, I can confirm they are indeed huge weirdos, but they also have an endearing wholesome earnestness. And more importantly they are really, really fun.
Anthrocon is the largest furry convention in the world, held in Pittsburgh since 2005. Approximately 5,000 people attended with 1,000 of those in full fursuits. The distinction between those in fursuits and those without isn’t an accurate meter for level of dedication. The suits start around $2,000, so many who would like to wear a suit simply can’t afford it, especially younger furries in high school or college. A group of recent college grads I spoke with all wished they had suits but it wasn’t in their budgets. Meanwhile, the convention admission is a reasonable $60 for 4 days.
The Pittsburgh convention center has a main large hall for vendors of furry accessories and an “artists alley” where you can commission artists to create artworks of your furry character. In smaller rooms, there are panel discussions, meet-and-greets for groups by species, and board game rooms. There was also a talent show, dance competition, and performances by a furry acrobat from Japan. At night, a ballroom turned into a booze-free dance party.
Anthrocon vendors in the main convention hall.
People who didn’t have full costumes typically wore just a fuzzy tail or a pair of ears, and were mostly in their early 20s. Though I couldn’t see the faces of the people with full costumes, known as “fursuiters”, several furries told me they estimated that the fursuiters were about 80% male, and averaged around 21-24 years old.
I met several couples, gay and straight, who attended together. One couple, “Aphox,” a female fox, and “Balto Woof,” a male wolf, met at a previous convention while working at the sales booths in street clothes, and later started attending together in costume. “Balto Woof” works for a custom fursuit company, and had lent “Aphox” the fox costume she wore.
Furry with a the tail and leather collar.
A furry named “Taiko” dressed as a german shepherd is a theatre major in college who focuses on lighting design. “I always hang around actors, but I wanted to do this because it helps me get over that stage fright stuff,” he explained. “They can’t see my face, so I feel more open.”
Taiko’s favorite part of the convention was getting such a positive reaction from Pittsburgh natives who are now familiar seeing the furries downtown each summer. Outside the hotel attached to the conference center, passing cars honked and families stopped on the sidewalk to take photos of the furries with their children.
During a panel talk about professional fursuiting (being a mascot or theme park actor), “Yippee Coyote” described his fursona: “It’s me, but more confident and outgoing. It’s me but better.” I can understand the appeal of wearing a costume for people who with social anxiety; it offers them a way of inventing a space where their comfortable acting out and showing a different side of themselves.
College student and german shepherd furry “Taiko” (in red bandana) and friends.
A cuddle puddle in the hotel lobby.
And yet the sexual deviancy hovered like a big furry elephant in the room. Though everyone I spoke to disavowed the sexual aspect, one only had to look at the artwork being produced in the artist alley to see that this it’s very real. Pornographic comic books and art prints were being sold next to scented candles and key chains. The event offers special badges for underage fans, with restrictions to entry to certain activities, like a room where people could play a card game similar to Magic the Gathering but with furry tentacle rape hentai cards.
I do believe them that the appeal is not all about the seedy underbelly of interspecies copulation. The event had a certain joyfulness and camaraderie that you don’t feel at similar “geeky” events like a comic convention or even a brony gathering. However, I’m still not convinced that it’s all as PG as some of the more upstanding members might have you believe. After all, it’s a culture that has invented the onomatopoeic term “yiff” just to describe their sexual encounters.
Artist Lapin Beau posing with the drawing I commissioned for $20 of myself as a “sexy raccoon”.
Furries taking a break from their very hot masks. Also, the guys were surprisingly hot. To keep their suits dry, they all wear Under Armor brand long johns to wick the sweat away.
Furry in training.
CD of furry rap, with a track called “Get Your Yiff On”.
Furries posing with Pittsburgh locals outside a bar.
Furry couple heading to the elevator.
“American Idol” style judging panel for the dance competition. Some guy was dressed as Redfoo from LMFAO for some reason.
Please validate your account to contribute content.
Preview Your Response
- katester97 Are Furries Really So Bad?
- Gussy Are Furries Really So Bad?
- jonathanw18 Are Furries Really So Bad?
- Kate Are Furries Really So Bad?
- adrianalanb thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Win
- galenw3 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is OMG
- chloer4 Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s Cute, Win & LOL
- beccas14 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Fail & WTF
- Stephanie Federico thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Win
- J A thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Fail, Geeky & WTF
- AbusementPark thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Win
- timothyb13 Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s Cute, Win & Geeky
- juliek3 Are Furries Really So Bad?
- Jessica thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is WTF & Geeky
- michaelorshangrayh Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s Win & Cute
- kumoriu Are Furries Really So Bad?
- squigglesmccopperpott thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Win, LOL & Cute
- Sarah K. Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s LOL & Cute
- youtube.com readers just made Are Furries Really So Bad? hotter
- bernadettec2 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is WTF
- edward gray thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Ew
- blairu Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s Cute & LOL
- star5girl thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Geeky
- uniquedaily.com readers just made Are Furries Really So Bad? hotter
- lightgirl thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Ew
- keenam thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is LOL
- analisee Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s Win
- donnam9 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Ew
- diannam2 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is WTF
- danielles28 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Win
- weiyic thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Cute
- edwardv3 Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s WTF
- Keres Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s Geeky & Win
- Patrick Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s Ew & WTF
- juliel13 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Cute
- joshr15 Are Furries Really So Bad?
- kylew7 Are Furries Really So Bad?
- Allison D thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Woof!!, SMH & Ew
- domito thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Cute
- chloes3 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Cute, WTF & LOL
- buzzrabbit thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Win & Cute
- Rick G. thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is WTF
- Madeline C. Are Furries Really So Bad? and thinks it’s Geeky, Win & Cute
- robmoose90 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Geeky & Cute
- dessertstressed thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Ew & Fail
- jacobgoirishandumdl thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is WTF, Fail & Geeky
- ninak7 thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Fail
- shym Are Furries Really So Bad?
- rebekahs thinks Are Furries Really So Bad? is Win
I used to think they’re all sexually desperate nerds. Then I met a few of em thru chatting about Neon Indian (who was ‘mad hype’ in 2009), David Foster Wallace, etc. and they were hilarious. Now I know maybe 50% are sadsacks, but most are nice as heck, and many are super smart interesting arty types too — I’m convinced furries host the biggest community of “queer geeky art-nerds” to be found anywhere, and that’s a beaut thing, to give home to the smart young queer geeks. Costume sex is pretty fringe is what I hear, but then again I don’t know those types.
I just don’t get it… And nobody seems to want to explain it to me. If they do “yiff”(?) do they stay in costume or like semi costumed (like with the head on)? And couldn’t that kind of be considered bestiality? And they talk… But I don’t know if they should. Like if they’re supposed to be animal-esque then maybe they shouldn’t talk but instead should make animal noises. I really want to understand this but I just don’t. Ever since that Furry storyline on that old MTV show Undressed… It’s just so odd.
Are Furries Really So Bad?
No, they’re not. The culture, ideas and tendencies aren’t, anyway.
Humans can be brutal, malicious, wastes of space.
If these people want to dress up in costumes and have fun, why shouldn’t they?
Would people prefer they be out fighting on street corners and / or mugging old ladies?
I don’t understand what drives / interests these people, but they seem kind enough.
They might not appear to be accomplishing much, but they are with people of like mind.
That’s more than can most often be said, for the majority of us!
Hate is misdirected energy.
Leave them alone… or suspend disbelief and say hello!
I really don’t get complaining about what people post in humor sites ON the actually site. It’s like visiting someone’s house and complaining about the furniture or their grilled asparagus. You could always, you know, just skip over the articles. Also: in my experience, furries are some of the most genuine, wholehearted people, out there to hurt no one.