[Note: Papabear apologizes for not posting more frequently this month. It has been a busy work month for him as he edits books for the fall season and prepares for the Good Furry Award presentation on June 3 at BLFC.]
How does one make arms/hands for a skull furry? I have been struggling for some time now to finish making my characters head and tail, but now I’m stuck on how to cover the arms and hands without making puffy paws since the character is… well, a dead thing. I’m very new to the furry scene and this is my first ever character. I want it to look kind of mystical and creepy, not as cartoonish as I’ve seen with others. Do you have any tips that could help me?
* * *
Usually, when I see skulldogs, they either have no paws on or they have floofy paws. But sometimes one sees variants like the attached image. You can make paws however you like. Another alternative is to buy some skeleton gloves, which you can do at places like Amazon.
As with most things furry, there really aren't any rules. For skulldogs and related critters, you can go as ghastly or foofy as you want. A lot of people just have a skull head and the rest of the fursuit is pretty normal, or you can go with part furry, part skull, and maybe wear some wizard or Goth clothing to add to the image.
Since it sounds like you are making the fursuit yourself, you can buy or make some form-fitting gloves and paint on or sew on carpals and metacarpals to your heart's content.
Basically, what you need to do is break out of the mindset that furries need to be, well, furry. They don't. Dump your preconceptions and let your imagination run wild.
And, as always, have FUN with it!
I wanted to ask you if there is a way to handle feelings of emptiness.
Since the last months of 2021, I ended up hitting my lowest point because things haven't gone the way I planned. I came back to Vancouver to finish a diploma and settled there to start a life, but unfortunately, being unable to find a job in a whole new country has led to feeling empty and without a purpose. I'm starting to think it is no use trying anymore now that my current situation has led to personal issues with my family.
It seems like I'm getting embittered each day. And I'm afraid of shutting myself to people I love, along with any possibility of enjoying the good things that life might bring.
* * *
Where are you from originally? Did you get your diploma? Why haven't you been able to find a job? What have you done to obtain a job?
There are always options. Don't give up. Just because you haven't found work yet doesn't mean you won't.
Please send me more info on what type of job you are seeking and what you have done so far to find work.
* * *
I'm surprised you wanted to get in touch with me directly and even ask questions about myself.
I'll proceed to answer your questions.
I'm from a little state in Mexico and I managed to get my degree as a Digital Artist in 2017 after struggling with college in many aspects, then I came to Vancouver in 2018 to improve my skills/demo reel to enter an animation studio there. The first diploma/course worked out for me, but it didn't help me out to get a permit, so I had to take another course in that area to get a PGWP and I succeeded in doing so last year.
After finishing the second course I tried to apply as a Teaching Assistant at the 3D Arts school where I got the diploma that qualified for a PGWP (Post Graduate Working Permit), or a part-time job while the permit was in process. I focused on refining the animation pieces of the demo reel, while getting any documentation for the paperwork process back then, but I couldn't nail anything on animation areas since the requirements for entry levels are asking for a year of experience in similar roles.
Right now, the landlady's relative helped me out to find a temporary job and I'm waiting for receiving a call to let me know when I do start capacitation.
I'm trying to find a job as a 3D Animator and so far I'm simply working on other 3D animation exercises to improve the reel, while trying to send a general application for different studios. But the demand for higher level roles has led me to get discouraged from working on my reel further and now I'm trying to get over that feeling.
This temporary job could help me out for a bit, since it would be the very first time I get in the working force and to build experience. But I would prefer if it was related to my area to keep honing my skills, now that I have a work permit.
That's pretty much what I have been doing so far.
Last thing to bring is that I even ended up befriending people from the Vancoufur community and volunteered to help the VR Chat artists to see if I can make contacts that lead me closer to my goal. There's a reason why I'm doing this, but I'll bring this out in a follow up message.
Thanks so much for coming around.
* * *
It sounds to me as if you are doing all the right things. You are working to improve your skills, searching for work in your field, and, in the meantime, finding employment elsewhere to get some income while you pursue your dream.
It can be easy to get discouraged when things don't go your way as soon as you would like, but that is how the world can be. Let me tell you a story from my life. When I wrote my novel, The Steel of Enadia, I mailed it out to one hundred publishers before I got an acceptance letter (that's 99 rejections, 1 acceptance). And even that publisher didn't work out, so I ended up going with a small press in Canada that was running a competition judged by author Piers Anthony. I won, and got my book published. As happy as that sounds, the book sold poorly, which was also discouraging to me. What happened next was I started writing nonfiction books and found I had a real gift for that, which is what I am now doing in my life: writing nonfiction.
There are two lessons here: 1) Never give up trying, and 2) Be flexible and keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities. In the business world, no one is going to give you a free ride and hand you your dream job. You have to work and sweat for it. Before I got my first job as an editor, I worked in a burger joint, as a cashier, and in a factory. Sometimes you have to sweat over a fat fryer before an opportunity strikes. Don't let yourself get down and don't give in to pessimism.
Optimism is key. The person who succeeds in life is the one who is optimistic about the future. Optimism inspires you to work hard and to keep going no matter what. How do you become more optimistic? Here are a few tips:
Hope this helps.
[Ed note: Pedophilia is a highly sensitive topic. Papabear acknowledges this and wishes to emphasize that he in no way, shape, or form advocates child abuse of any kind, nor does he defend or excuse child abusers in any way.]
It's not so much a question but a hope that you may be able to help change some very wrong opinions about a certain topic. Society as a whole and furries especially hear this condition and immediately fly into a rage storm. I live with this psychological condition and wish people would take the time to try and understand it more. I have discussed my tools for managing this condition with psychological professionals and they see no harm in it so long as it remains strictly fictional and between consenting adults in roleplay settings. Anyway, due to a childhood trauma, I suffer from pedophilia and have never harmed a child in my life; in fact, I am asexual.
* * *
To say you are asexual and a pedophile is to be self-contradictory. An asexual person has absolutely no interest in sex and, therefore, cannot have a sexual attraction for children. What you mean to say is that you are a pedophile who does not act out sexually with children. This is an important distinction. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, pedophilia means you have "recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children." Therefore, one can still be a pedophile even though one never acts on those desires.
It is entirely possible not to act on our sexual proclivities. It is wrong when people think that all pedophiles abuse children. In fact, the large majority never act out on their desires. It is also possible for people who are not pedophiles to sexually abuse children, using them as a surrogate for the true object of their desires.
Research is showing that pedophiles who grew up in abusive households are more likely to act out on their attraction for children. Childhood traumas of various sorts can make this more likely. Therapy with a trained mental health professional is the best way to treat pedophilia.
There is also growing evidence that pedophilia tendencies are genetic, just as homosexual ones are. So, it may be that people are born to be pedophiles. Now, there is a movement to destigmatize pedophilia by calling pedophiles "minor-attracted people." This should not, however, be seen as saying it's okay to molest children sexually. This is never okay because children are minors, are not sexually mature, and do not have the social position to say "No." It is always wrong to force oneself on a child who is powerless to prevent such assaults. This is what makes pedophilia different from homosexuality: the latter involves consenting adults while the former does not. Also, pedophilia is classified as a psychological disorder, but homosexuality is not (yes, it was once, but is no longer). Here is a good article all about pedophilia.
Thank you for bringing up an important topic. Hopefully, this will clear up some misunderstandings about pedophilia.
I’m new to the furry fandom. I joined when Covid started to get my mind off the pandemic. So I did not know how to get a fursuit, so I bought one from eBay. I was just starting. I did not know what to do. Is that bad? What are the best places to find a real fursuit maker? It is 2 years since I joined the fandom and I love it. I found you out by Cassidy Civet. I’m going to my very 1st fur con soon, and I will be wearing my fursuit I got, but I will be getting a real one soon. I hope, from Thunderhowl Studios. Is that a good place to start?
* * *
Sorry for the delay in my reply, and thank you for your excellent question. You are correct that there are good sources and bad to contact when it comes to commissioning a new (or purchasing a used or premade) fursuit. You need to be careful on sites such as eBay because there are a lot of disreputable companies out there. There are a few--especially coming out of Asia--that show photos of beautiful fursuits, but when you order it and receive it, it's actually a piece of garbage you wouldn't wear at a cheesy Halloween party. You can learn about all the fursuit scams out there by going to YouTube and typing "fursuit scammers." You will see various vlogs there from good furries like Ash Coyote, who, by the way, made a vlog, especially about eBay scams. You should also be wary of other online merchant sites such as Etsy.
If you want a new fursuit, the best thing to do is research research research. Find a legit maker with a track record whose style you like and contact them to see if they are open for commissions. You can also ask any fursuiting friends you have about who made their fursuits and if they had a good experience with the maker. I hired Beastcub to make Grubbs because I had seen a lot of her work, so I contacted her directly.
Sounds like you have already picked Thunderhowl Studios. Yes, that's a good maker from what I've heard. I'm going to add some more information below for the benefit of my other readers.
If you don't know where to begin, there are a couple of database sites you might find useful. The Fursuit Database is great because you can search on species and types of fursuits, see real-life examples, and contact the maker of the suit. (Here's the listing for Grubbs, for example). There is also the Fursuit Makers Database, which lists the works of nearly 500 makers.
Commissioning a full fursuit new is a long, arduous, and expensive process. Don't be surprised if it takes up to 2 years to complete the purchase. Top-notch designers are in high demand and will cost you a mint ($3,000 and up, easily). The easiest way to cut expenses is to get a partial suit. These are also good because you can wear regular clothes and stay a lot cooler than a full suit. You can also look for makers who start their work using head bases (pre-molded heads of various species that you can customize). And, of course, the best way to save money is to make a fursuit yourself, but that takes a lot of skill and dedication on your part. Finally, you can buy a used fursuit. The best place to find those is The Dealer's Den. There used to be other sites such as FurBuy, but they appear to have closed their doors.
I feel very conflicted on my sexual orientation at the moment. All my life, I thought that I was hetero and attracted to females. I went to a Furry convention nearby and found that I resonated with the sentiments that the others had felt. I, however, felt that I was being ostracized by society, even my own parents. I was kicked out the house, and my parents threatened to disown me, because I wasn't normal. I want to feel normal again and embrace my personality. I want people to refer to me as Kanba Kanna Jothibass and not as the "monster." How do I overcome societal pressure and expectations?
Kanba (age 32)
* * *
While I'm sorry to hear your parents are not accepting you for you, at 32 years of age it is a good thing you are moving out of your parents' home. As with your process of discovering your gender identity, you need to discover who you are as a person, and the best way to grow and do that is to live on your own and on your own terms, so I wish you luck with that.
It should come as no surprise, sadly, that society (including your parents) does not, for the most part, accept people in the LGBTQI+ community. Society is all about conformity, and those who do not conform to society's artificial standards are typically rejected by the population. Your parents have proven themselves to be just as shallow and judgmental as society, putting conditions on their love for you, with that condition being you must be "normal." Sorry, but you have bad parents when it comes to this important topic of identity. Good parents love their children unconditionally for who they are.
You want to feel normal? I wouldn't go there if I were you. "Normal" people are boring conformists. The people who truly move the world are the nonconformists, the iconoclasts, and the heretics. These are the artists, inventors, and dreamers who improve our society. They are the scientists, revolutionaries, and innovators who take us to new heights.
Don't be normal, Kanba. Be special. Be unique. Fuck "normal." When you say you want to feel "normal," you mean you want to regain acceptance from your parents and others. All humans want to feel accepted because we are social animals, and we crave acceptance from our parents because they are the ones who nurtured us as children. But when parents and society reject us for being special and different, they show themselves to be just one of the crowd.
"How do I overcome societal pressures and expectations?" is your question. You do so by first recognizing that those pressures and expectations are not necessarily right just because a lot of people agree to them. You are not placed on Earth to please others and do their bidding. Each of us is placed on Earth to discover who we are and what is truly important in life. We are here to experience life. To interact with others. Doing so will help you learn the things that are correct and the things that are incorrect. How do you know which is which? Well, it might sound like a pat answer, but your conscience will tell you.
Look, Kanba, there are only two rules you need to know: 1) The Golden Rule, 2) The Wiccan Rede. The former says to treat others as you would have them treat you, and the latter says that as long as you aren't hurting anyone (this includes yourself, so don't take drugs, etc.), do whatever you feel like doing. Or, as Patrick Swayze said in Roadhouse, "Be nice."
All the other "rules" that society piles up on you are mostly B.S. Now, obviously, there are laws out there that are for the good of everyone, and the best laws are the ones that are related to the Golden Rule and the Wiccan Rede, such as killing, stealing, raping, and pillaging are all bad. But rules like "You have to get a college degree to succeed in life," and "You have to make huge profits in business and take advantage of others in this dog-eat-dog world," or "You have to marry a proper woman (or man) and have children to maintain the family name" are all designed not for your benefit but for others.
Stop worrying what others, including your parents, think of you. Your life is for you. That's not being selfish. Discover yourself and discover your purpose in it. This is the only way to lead a fulfilling life.
Oh, and if people are seriously calling you a "monster," avoid such people at all cost. That's just ridiculous; such opinions are not worth your time to address. You are not a monster.
PapabearOh, and if people are seriously calling you a "monster," avoid such people at all cost. That's just ridiculous, and such opinions are not even worth your time to address. You are not a monster.
Hi. I'm gonna try and keep this short, but I've been under some distress about a silly thing, but it still lingers in my thoughts all the time. It'ss about my fursona or lack thereof. I've been having trouble figuring one out, but I'm sometimes drifting into just having a nonfurry persona to use in the furry fandom. But I don't know if using such a character would be seen as weird in the fandom, or if people would say I'm not a furry.
Anonymous (age 25)
* * *
Many people struggle to find their fursonas, but you should not worry too much. Like a fursuit, a fursona is not a requirement to have fun in the furry fandom. That said, to answer one of your questions, yes, it is a little odd to have an avatar or OC that is simply a human interacting with furries in game play or other social interactions. After all, the whole point is to be a furry socializing and playing with furries. I suppose it's not completely unheard of. I see, for example, drawings of humans on FurAffinity sometimes. I never really felt it was appropriate, but it is there.
I suggest you just create a quickie fursona for the time being and don't worry about it being an exact fit for you. Rather like whipping up a quick character for a newbie or non-serious player in a D&D or WoW game, this is just a temporary solution so you can do some interactions while you consider what you might do later for an OC. Pretty much any critter will do. In fact, this could be a useful exercise in picking a fursona. If I said, "Quick! Pick a favorite furry species!" what would you pick? That could indicate a good starting point for your fursona.
Keep in mind that it is also totally fine to have multiple fursonas, hybrids, mythological species, prehistoric species, and species that you have totally made up on your own. Free your mind to imagine whatever you like! That's the fun!
If you're still having a hard time, you can always go with the catgirl look: basically a human but with ears and a tail. This also works well when you're attending cons and furmeets. Just wear some ears and attach a tail and off you go!
I don't know how long you have been active in the fandom, but don't put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to your fursona, or anything else for that matter. When the time is right, it will all come to you, and you'll be fine. The fandom should be something you enjoy and not something that stresses you out.
Hope that's helpful.
I'm curious to know if there are any furry publications that have multiple stories/art shown on a regular basis. I have a story I want to include for them but my research has been frustrating.
* * *
Back in the 1980s, '90s, and into the 2000s, there used to be a lot more options for furry writers to submit their stories in publications. There were several APAs, followed by BBS's and online archives where furry authors regularly submitted their stories. Today, many of those (FurRag, AnthroArchives, YiffStar, VCL, the Raccoon's Bookshelf, and most APAs with the noted exception of the quarterly Rowrbrazzle) are either gone or nearly inactive. The last death blow for the ones that were still limping around in recent years was probably COVID-19 (Raccoon's Bookshelf, for example, died somewhere around 2019 or 2020).
Furry writers these days seem to post stories on FurAffinity and SoFurry. These sites, of course, don't pay for your stories, but if you just wish to share your fiction, that's the way to go.
Since furry periodicals are rather a dead end these days (although you might wish to approach the publishers at Rowrbrazzle and give them a shot), the best solution for short fiction authors is to submit your work for publication in an anthology. The number of publishers even here is shrinking lately (for example, Bad Dog Books was swallowed up by FurPlanet Productions ten years ago), but there are still some out there, including FurPlanet, Sofawolf Press, and Thurston Howl Publications.
One last option: self-publishing. This could involve just setting up a personal website and putting your stories on it, or you can create an ebook quite easily these days.
I'm not certain exactly why furry short fiction seems to be languishing a bit these days. I fear one cause might be that Fred Patten's death has extinguished a voice that was our best promoter of furry fiction. We could really use one or more furries to pick up that banner and start waving it again, not just for the sake of the authors but also for furry readers.
Good luck to you, Rif.
I’ve heard of this term "species dysphoria." Is this a valid term? I sometimes feel like I’m just going crazy, but I still just don’t know what I am. There are days I feel like I am a human being, but there are days where I just don’t. It stresses me. I hope my best friend doesn’t judge me for it. I have a very good feeling he wouldn’t; he’s always a very open-minded person and a huge sweetheart. But I’m scared about the chance of him rejecting my possible identities. However, I do remember we talked about how there are so many things in this world we probably don’t know the truth to and probably never will, and he explain that he does believe that maybe it can be possible for someone to be some kind of therian deep within their being. So, I do know he’s a very open-minded person.
I am in my 20s now. I turned 20 recently. I feel like my body has been going through so many strange feelings. I always try not to think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s hard.
I just worry I’m going crazy. I want to talk to my therapist about it, but I’m worried she’ll misconstrue [this].
* * *
There is, indeed, such a thing as species dysphoria (called Species Identity Disorder among mental health professionals), the feeling that you are inhabiting a body that is the wrong species. Are you familiar with otherkin? Otherkin are those who feel, for one reason or another, they are not human. This can mean they feel "other" in a spiritual/psychological sense or that they are actually, physically different but are concealing their true form under a human guise. I have met otherkin who believe they are from another world that faced some kind of cataclysm and they had to come here and take human shape in order to survive. Others believe they come from another dimension or that they are of an angelic or demonic origin. Some of these otherkin are in an animal form, some are more like a species of elf or other humanoid (but not human) race.
Species dysphoria is comparable in some ways to sex dysphoria (often incorrectly, in my opinion, called Gender Identity Disorder since "gender" just refers to social standards of what is "male" and "female" while "sex" is biological) in that both involve feeling that your physical form does not match who you truly are. It is interesting that psychologists are coming to accept sexual dysphoria as a real thing, but species dysphoria is regarded as a type of mental illness. But I have to ask, if one can feel that they are, say, a woman in a male body, why can't one feel as though they are, again as an example, a lion or a dragon in a human body? (Unfortunately, while surgery can replace male parts with something simulating female anatomy, the same is not true for turning someone into another animal--just don't watch the horror movie Tusk.)
In "Furries from A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism)" by Kathleen Gerbasi et al, published in the journal Society and Animals (August 2008), the authors surveyed over 200 furries at a convention and found that nearly half (46%) had, to a lesser or greater extent, some feeling that they were not entirely human. This coincides fairly well with my experience with furries in that about half of them feel they are furry while the other half are hobbyists and are just doing this for fun (in the same way as a Trekkie might dress up as a Vulcan at a Star Trek convention but never considers themselves to be an actual Vulcan).
So why do many furries feel this way? There are a couple of possibilities, and I will just touch on them here (this could be a book, seriously). One possibility is social. Many furries feel rejected by (or reject) humanity and their own humanness, which leaves them feeling disconnected to the extent that they literally do not wish to be human. When one feels this way intensely and long enough, it can become ingrained in your very being. Another possibility depends on whether or not you feel reincarnation is possible and, perhaps, furries with species dysphoria are recalling former lives as some type of animal (or even alien species). The third possibility has to do with empathy: a deep connection with another animal, one so intense that it begins to fill one's own being. This is kind of how I feel about bears. I feel very connected to these beautiful and majestic animals, almost feeling like they are a part of me.
Or, we could just be crazy.
But I don't think it's that last one. The definition of "crazy" to me means that our perception does not match reality. But if the reality is that we are deeply connected to another species, are we truly crazy? No. No, I don't believe that. Also, if we are really crazy, it would make it impossible to function in this world.
This all keys into a core belief of mine: we are not our bodies. Even many "mainstream" humans believe this. They believe we are our "soul." But our soul or spirit or essence or ego is not the same thing as our flesh. Our flesh is just something we use to travel around in this reality. The spirit that is within us is connected to all spirit that inhabits this universe. Truly, we should not limit ourselves to thinking that we are just Homo sapiens. That is just a species. You know what I think? I think many furries (and others who don't know about furries or are connected in other ways) have freed themselves of the constraints of species and open themselves up to an interconnectedness with all creatures and spirits.
Don't let it "stress" you if sometimes you don't "feel human." That's just you reaching outside of your physical limitations. That's just you stretching your spirit and embracing the life that is all around you. Just like a man who refuses to let society say they can't wear a dress or makeup if they choose to, you are rejecting having others impose upon you their standards of what you should look and feel like.
Bottom line: you are not crazy. You're merely struggling with trying to live up to the limitations imposed upon you by our neurotic society that insists on making everyone look and act like we are all the same.
But we are not all the same, are we? Instead of fretting about it, embrace it, explore this otherness you are feeling. You can still do that and function within our lame society. You can attend class or go to work with your human persona firmly in place, but when you have a quiet moment to yourself, you can explore outside your physical self and the rigid standards of humanity. What's cool is that you have an entire furry community that you can talk to about it and who won't call you crazy because we sympathize and empathize with you.
Hope that makes you feel better.
My question is regarding creating furry content, primarily books. Over the course of four years, I have discovered that it is difficult to obtain any success as a self-publishing author. It feels even more difficult when your books contain furry related content.
I love writing in general, whether is furry related or not, but I really had high expectations for this particular story that I meticulously created since high school. Even with all of the doubts and hardships, I've managed to publish at least two of my stories. Sadly, I have no family members or friends who are supportive in buying my story or helping me to advertise it. I get that I can't force them to own one, but the lack of interest does create this cloud of self doubt. Maybe the world just isn't ready for mainstream furry content? IDK. When I see shows like Beaststars and similar ideas, I feel like that should be me also.
Is there some sort of secret marketing strategy that I am not aware of? Or is it just one of those deals where I'm going to have to pay to get noticed?
* * *
Dear Ebon Wolf,
Excellent questions, ones that I'm sure plague many writers of all sorts, not just those who pen furry fiction. Publishing is a very fickle thing. There are many excellent writers who struggle to get their works published and read, and there are many shoddy authors who make a very good living writing garbage that is popular with readers.
If your question is "What sells?" Well, you need to start off with a good story with sympathetic characters that readers can route for, of course. Big publishers like Random House or Simon & Schuster tend to be very conservative; they like to publish stuff that is similar to books that have sold before. Rarely do they take risks to publish something truly original. This is why you see a lot of stuff like "tell-all" celebrity autobiographies, thrillers and detective stories, and romance novels. When someone does have a breakthrough like J. K. Rowling, you can bet that their book will be followed by lots of copycats; this was also true after the Tolkien books became popular.
When it comes to furry fiction and learning what is popular, read what furries find exciting and take notes. For example, when one thinks of a best-selling furry writer, the name that pops to mind immediately is Kyell Gold. Read some of his stuff. But also read non-furry anthro fiction, such as Brian Jacques' Redwall series, Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, or Richard Adams' Watership Down. The more anthro fiction you read by other authors, the more you will experience an osmosis of technique that will begin to affect your own writing in a good way.
Because it can be extremely challenging to find a publisher to print your works, many authors are going the self-publishing route. For this, you need some money, sure. Or a lot of knowledge about how to typeset and print a book yourself. With paper costs soaring lately, printing has become quite expensive. Another route you can go is the ebook. The good news is that even if you don't know how to create your own ebooks or epubs, there are inexpensive services out there that can help you. Just google "ebook conversion services" and start shopping around for companies that can convert your text into an ebook that you can sell online.
Next problem is getting the word out. One of the best ways to do this is to send your manuscript to a book reviewer, and, when it comes to furry fiction, the place for you to go is The Furry Book Review (https://furrybookreview.com/) which I do believe is willing to review self-published books. You can also take excerpts of your book and post them on various furry social sites with links on how to purchase the full book. You can try to get on furry podcasts for interviews. Some other tips can be found here https://www.editage.com/info/book-editing-services/articles/11-Powerful-book-promotion-ideas-for-self-published-authors.html. However, I do not recommend going through Amazon because they will rape you of all your profit. It's not worth it. They take huge chunks of your money. Now, if you're not doing this for money, then go ahead with them, but I would suggest trying other ways first before you resort to Amazon.
Hope these tips help. Good Luck!
I've written to you before, but I used the name StormFolf! Well, when I wrote you, Storm was my first Fursona, and I hadn't fully gotten into the fandom yet. But now I've done my research and things are going great!
My new name is Harmony. I'm a Raptor! Anyway, I took your advice and told my family and friends about being a Furry, and they were entirely supportive. A few days after telling my brother, he bought me a raptor mask, and a few days after THAT, one of my friends that I told bought me some paws, and painted my mask! Its all thanks to you, and I thank you greatly.
I am doing great, except for one thing. I told one group of friends that I was a furry, but they have banded together and won't stop taunting me. They tell me that I'm a f*g, and tell me to stop watching animal porn, when I've made it clear I'm not into that. I've told many adults, but nothing helps. My mom says I may have to stick up for myself, but idk how.
Harmony (age 13)
* * *
Thank you for your letter and I'm very happy for you that your family has been supportive of your furriness :-3
Okay, about bullies: You may have read some of Papabear's earlier posts about bullies, and the same kind of logic goes with your situation. All bullies are alike, and sometimes they glom together in bully cliques to torment innocent kids like yourself. Bullies behave this way for a couple of reasons: 1) they are insecure about their status in their social group, so they tear down other people to lift themselves up; 2) they have no skills or redeeming qualities in themselves, so to feel better about who they are they pick on others to try to make them outcasts; 3) they are like wolves in a pack, and sensing weakness in others gives them a reason to go on the attack to assert their place in said pack; 4) they are emotionally troubled because they have a lousy home life, which causes anger to build in them and they release this anger on others because they need to vent their frustrations and sadness in some way (even if that is an inappropriate way [this is like the character Gideon Fox]); and 5) they are fearful of anyone who does not adhere to what are considered "social norms," and fear leads to hate, which leads to bullying.
Once you understand some of the psychology of the bully (or bully group), you will see that the flaws lie within THEM and not within YOU. You don't get bullied because there is something wrong with you; you get bullied because there is something wrong with them.
You describe these people as "a group of friends," but I assure you, they are not. Not if they treat you this way.
The way to defeat bullies is to take away their power. What is that power? The power is the ability to make you feel bad about yourself. This is reinforced by the strategy of trying to stick a label on you such as "f*g."
The most effective way of fighting back is to show them that what they say has absolutely no effect on you. Yes, at first, this will be difficult, but the more you practice it the more it will be true. When they say things like "You want to watch animal porn" or "you're a f*g," just say something like, "That would really hurt my feelings if I cared at all who you are or what you say. You're not my friend and I have no respect for your opinion." Don't say this with tears in your eyes or angrily. You must do it with great calm and indifference. The more indifferent you are, the more they will see they are not hurting you, and bullying you won't be fun for them anymore.
Other things you can say:
Remember, in NO WAY show to them that you are upset. This is actually where you can take some advice from Nick Fox in Zootopia: "Never let them see they got to you." Don't try to defend yourself with arguments or denials because this is engaging with them and that is exactly what they want. They are not interested in your arguments or in the truth. Their sole purpose is to upset you and pick on you. Don't let them. If you do a good job, they'll get tired of you and pick a new target. Then, you might share with that new person what you have read here.
Get the idea? You can come up with your own comebacks, too, as you feel appropriate. (Remember, if they turn violent, report it at once. I doubt they will because most bullies are cowards, but you never know).
I hope this helps.
Thanks for reading Ask Papabear.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.