In recent years, the subculture known as the Furry Fandom has been the subject of episodes of Entourage and CSI, and profiled in Vanity Fair. In each portrayal, furries were shown as sex-crazed oddballs in animal-mascot outfits. However, the members of this community insist they have been misrepresented. There is far more to their world than “Johnny Drama” spanking Shanna Moakler in a bunny suit.
The furry fandom consists of people who appreciate humanoid animal characters in art and media. Many older furries, or “graymuzzles,” credit classic animation like Kimba, The White Lion and Watership Down for inspiring animal fascination. Furry characters also include fantastical creatures such as unicorns, werewolves and satyrs.
The website for the furry convention Anthrocon defines the community with the following statement: “We are bound together across the most daunting barriers by our mutual admiration for these beasts of myth and legend who, by simple reflection, give us a better window into ourselves.”
Just like the diversity found in most large groups, there are vast differences between furries. Many are artists or art enthusiasts. A subgroup claims to have spiritual connections with animals and practice a sort of Native American totemism. Some assume an animal alter-ego, known as a fursona, totem or avatar. And of course, some are interested in costuming and role play. They allow themselves to continue the childhood make-believe that other adults have curtailed.
Furry fandom developed in the early 1980s at science fiction and comic book conventions. The furry crowd followed a subsection of fantasy and science fiction stories that featured animal protagonists, such as Omaha the Cat Dancer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They hosted anthropomorphic animal-themed parties in their hotel rooms, called “furry parties.” Pre-internet, the fandom grew through word-of-mouth invitations, fliers and occasional ads in comics. Over time, the popularity of these parties grew, establishing a critical mass large enough for its own convention….
“But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.”—Robert F. Kennedy in his Mindless Menace of Violence Speech