Firstly, I'd like to say thank you for taking the time to respond to my letter. It is fantastic to have some where to go to ask questions or even just talk about things related to the fandom.
Secondly, I've had some thoughts on my mind related to the type of image our fandom presents to the public. I would like to know if you might be able to provide some words of wisdom for myself and others to avoid potentially damaging publicity while in the presence of those who aren't associated with the fandom.
Specifically, I've noticed that often times we can be our own worst enemy and there doesn't seem to be much in the way of policing each other when some of our (usually well meaning) folks decide to be lewd or inappropriate. This usually tends to be at conventions where the hotel is being shared with people who have no idea what a furry even is. It can be as simple as a poorly timed
naughty joke (pun not intended) or sometimes as serious as inappropriate PDA.
Now with that in mind, I love that we have come as far as we have with replacing negative stereotypes through acts of kindness and good folks but I fear the damage that can be done by being complacent around this behavior could undo all of that. Ultimately, we are all ambassadors for this fandom and people are watching to see what we're about.
It really worries me how quickly someone’s curiosity can go to disgust just because of a joke. We are certainly familiar with our own brand of comedy among other things but to someone experiencing it for the first time it may be disturbing.
On a couple of occasions I've tried to politely address the issue with some furs but, unfortunately, they didn't seem to be worried about it.
I've thought about going to the convention staff but there is not really anything they can do about it unless they catch someone in the act. Most of the time it’s just a few people out of the hundreds or thousands that are attending.
So, Papa Bear, do you have any advice for handling these situations? In addition to that would it be best for me to just let it go?
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When it comes to conventions, each organization that runs a furcon has security people staffing the place. They also have codes of behavior, such as are listed on this page on the Anthrocon website. Con attendees are expected to adhere to these guidelines, and, if they cause considerable trouble, they will be evicted from the event. Usually, such great lengths are reserved for heinous behaviors, such as hard drug use, damaging hotel property, assault and battery, etc. etc.
Minor things such as displays of public affection (PDAs) or an off-color joke are not serious enough for such action (unless the PDA involves nudity or something like dry-humping someone, I would assume). Conventions can be problematic because you can get attendees who are young, undisciplined, and, when away from parental supervision, act like felines high on catnip. Naturally, if they are acting like derps and someone who has no authority (such as you) tells them to knock it off, they are going to cop an attitude about it and either ignore you or tell you to take a hike (probably using more colorful words than that).
Usually, minor, slightly offensive behavior is not a problem because you are surrounded by other furries, but yes, many times there can be other guests at a hotel that is hosting a furcon. In my experience, such guests usually look at you with a befuddled stare and think you're nuts, while others smile and think it is amusing, no harm done. As long as you are leaving the other guests alone, it should not be a problem.
So, I'm guessing what you might be talking about is some naughty verbal interactions between furries that are observed by mundane guests and how this might make all furries look bad. But if you see such behavior and admonish the culprits, by then it is too late; the mundane guests have viewed or heard the bad behavior and their impressions have been influenced accordingly.
Papabear's view is this: if you see a violation of furcon policy you should report it to security or to the people staffing Operations. Anything else, don't worry about it. You cannot control the behavior of all the immature derps out there; just not gonna work out and is more likely to give you acid indigestion than actually improve the situation. Let it be and focus on having a good time and behaving like a good furry. Give the mundane guests an example of what it is to be a good furry.
We individual furries are not in charge of the reputation of the furry fandom, just our own behavior within it. Control what you can control and let the rest go. Yes, we are all "ambassadors" of the fandom, but that just goes as far as your own behavior. Trying to control everyone else's will just drive you crazy.
The first thing I wanna say is, English is not my first language, so I'm sorry if my grammar is uh, bad.
I'm a furry, we all are. and we've been making wonderful creativity things. I'm glad I found this fandom, and I wish I found it sooner, as well as my problem here.
Around 3-4 months ago, I found that r-21 things, such as gore, is appealing. not like I am into killing and be a murder. I love biochemistry, so that explains why I like to see dead bodies and every part of them. but I did not stop right there, I dug myself further into other fetishes. they are all extreme rated fetishes. and yet amputee is my favorite one, and still is. I’ve shown my friends those pics I found interesting; of course, they said I’m sick and judge me. That's okay I didn't care about it, we're still friend. but after that I questioned myself, why am I into it, but they don't. I did some personal research about why people have different ones. I asked many people, and I got myself the answer. which just makes me started liking some fetishes I totally wouldn't dare to try even once. if you wondered how, people explained why they love it in a logical way.
Once, a friend of mine asked, why would I love amputee that much. I just simply told him how I felt about them: the feeling when you hug a much smaller guy, how they have to rely on me, making me feel great to have the honor to take care of them. I can carry him around and travel together, and when it comes to sexual fun, like it or not, he just has to deal with everything I do.
The idea of that obsessed me. I’m still in control of it, but I know some day I would not anymore. Yes, by that I mean a psycho sadist who chops off people's arms and legs and make them my love forcefully. don't worry I am and will not do anything like that. but in case there is a micro percent that I would, that's why I’m here.
Am I okay, Papa? Is this a serious mental problem or anything, or just some extreme fetishes that other furs are into it too? I’d love to hear your word soon.
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Having an amputee fetish is technically known as K. Parker Syndrome or acrotomophilia. The opposite of acrotomophilia (just FYI) is apotemnophilia, or the desire to be the amputee in a sexual relationship (acrotomophilia and apotemnophilia can also involve other disabilities, but usually it involves leg and sometimes arm amputation; interestingly, it is more common in males than in females).
You have already surmised the reason for this particular fetish: the desire to have complete control over one’s sexual partner. This can be, as in your case, coupled with a desire to be the loving caretaker of one’s partner.
Having this syndrome in no way indicates that you’re going to be inclined to wander the streets looking for victims to forcefully amputate. Based on what you’ve written, I see no reason for you to think you would do that sort of thing. Further, it is entirely possible that your interest in “gore” is completely clinical, as you stated. Perhaps, even, you might consider a career as a surgeon or other type of doctor. I’ve known some doctors and nurses who have told me things I would find creepy but, in their cases, it is an advantage. For instance, a nurse acquaintance spoke to me once about being completely fascinated by pus and other, well, gross wound leakages. Hey, I found it disgusting, but in her profession, it was great she wasn’t squeamish.
Having sexual fantasies does not mean we will necessarily indulge in them. In fact, that is one reason why furporn is popular and can, indeed, be a healthy form of sexual expression. One example is the vore fetish. People who find this interesting are not actually going to swallow someone whole, but looking at depictions of vore provides a form of safe sexual release.
Likewise, you can indulge, if you like, in amputee fantasies involving willing participants (those with apotemnophilia) who pretend to have been amputated (perhaps by binding legs or walking on their knees, for example). This is called being a “disability pretender.”
All that said, it is important to note that acrotomophilia can be a problem if it becomes obsessive and interferes with the rest of your life. This includes relationships. If you get into a personal relationship only because the other person satisfies your sexual needs, that is a problem. But, truthfully, there are many amputee admirers out there who lead normal lives; indeed, many have college degrees and important jobs. When the syndrome becomes detrimental to your ability to function in society, that is when you need to seek help in the form of psychotherapy.
The short answer for you, Rexz, is yes, you’re okay as long as you don’t allow your fetish to take control of your life.
Hello, Papa Bear!
I am a new follower of your website and of course I had to follow because you seem so lovely and kind while being a bear I could just for sure hug on! But anyway, I have a concern.
A few months ago I decided to quit the fandom because I was both spending too much money on art for my old character and I just felt like I was too attached to it. My parents were very proud and so was my mate.
I lasted for a while, too. Only checking in to talk to the person who is buying my sona and the art. However, I felt kinda lonely without it. Most of my friends stayed, but I felt like it was hard to relate to them anymore. And not to mention I missed playing as a sweet cute little character who just wants to bring sunshine and happiness to the world.
So now I have a new sona. I've gotten art of her but not on the addiction level like I once was. I'm worried about my folks finding out and being disappointed, but my mate understands and is back in with me too. I'm quite happy again because lots of people wish to talk to me so I'm not as lonely as before.
But did I do the right thing? Am I just going to fall back into my problems again even though I'm aware and in a better place now? Should I have stayed away? Or was it the right idea to begin again with a more original looking fursona and have a fresh start since I'm happy?
Thank you for your time,
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Thank you for reading my column, dear. I’m happy to help.
Okay, so, sounds like you might have gotten a little carried away at first with the fandom. I guess we all do when we discover that there are others out there who like the same things we do. I went quite gah-gay over the fandom in my early days, including spending entire nights on SecondLife hanging with furries.
After a while, I calmed down a bit. I still love the fandom and am still a furry, but it doesn’t consume my life.
You’re doing the same thing. You got a bit too spendy, realized it, and backed off. Good for you! I know furries who can’t pay their bills because they spend all their cash on art and going to cons. You got smart and stopped yourself from doing that. Bravo.
But being in the fandom clearly makes you happy. So, why stop? I think you have your spending control, so there is no reason why you cannot enjoy your new sona and the camaraderie of your furiends.
I think you did the right thing, and I think you’re grown up enough to correct past mistakes and continue in the community.
I wasn’t really expecting to have to ask for help with this, but as it turns out, my emotions have surprised me, and I find myself in need of some help.
As you may or may not know, I’ve recently become a property owner for the first time, aged 23, with a little 1-bedroom house that’s big enough just for a single rodent. And, despite being a bit frightened of total independence to begin with, I’ve actually grown quite excited about having my own place. I’ve already been envisioning ideas of how to redecorate it to be something all my own (well, as much as it can be, given it’s Grade II listed), and also being able to plan life to my own needs.
Despite this, part of the reason I’ve had to get a place of my own is because my mum has been trying to sell the family home so she can downsize to something cheaper. The reasons for this are complicated and would need a letter all their own if I even attempted to explain it, so let’s just say this decision is for the greater good. And, less than a week ago, we’ve managed to find someone who’s made an offer for the house. That doesn’t mean its outright sold, but the chances of us officially selling are highly likely.
So now, pretty much being given the official word that I’m going to be moving out, a few fears have struck me by surprise.
For one thing, there’s the matter of adjusting to my new life in my new home. It might sound rather daft, but I think the thing I’m going to miss most about this house isn’t the memories of what I’ve done here or how big the rooms are, but it’s the layout of this place. I have my little routines attached here, like how when I come home from work, I instantly walk through the kitchen and utility room to my downstairs bedroom/office and check my updates on my tablet, which I usually leave by my bed. And, being autistic, any sort of change often becomes a stressful event, so repetition and sticking to routines is very much a comforter for me in a world where things can become so chaotic and disjointed. With my new home, it’s going to be a whole new routine of how I live my life, and I’m not sure how quickly I’ll be able to adjust to this place. When I went to the USA for my first ever FurCon, I gave myself over a year to book things and mentally prepare myself for the journey. All I’ve been given for adjusting to my new life is 12 weeks!
For another thing, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to support mum during the move. This was essentially her dream home, and she’s put her heart and soul into making this place both her home, and her business (we run it as a Bed & Breakfast). So, now that it’s going to be switching hands and that she’s going to have to remove all her belongings and will pretty much be barred from entering this house ever again, this is going to be a big emotional hit for her. She told me from the day she put this house on the market that she was going to cry when the time came that she’d move out, and I really don’t know how I’m going to be able to comfort her when that day comes. It always hurts me deep when I see her in pain, and again, 12 weeks isn’t long for me to prepare myself for this!
I should probably make it clear that this isn’t the first time either of us have moved. We moved to this place some 14 years ago, essentially moving countries in the process (England to Wales) to start anew. However, in those 14 years, in one way or another, we both have grown attached to this place. I have with my routines and habits, and mum has put her heart and soul into making it hers. And, now that those attachments we’ve grown are going to be broken, I’m not sure how either of us are going to be able to cope.
Sorry for making this somewhat two questions in one (I know you have your “One Question per Letter” rule), but I guess what I’m asking in general is how can I be able to cope with this move, both dealing with my own stress and my mother’s?
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, Papa Bear!
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Well, yes, in a sense this is more than one question, but they really are all related; they are all about the attachment to things. Buddhism teaches us that the attachment to things is the source of pain, and this is very true.
I’m familiar with what you and your mother are going through. I’ve moved several times after being attached to homes and it can be gut-wrenching. The move from my 1865 brick Michigan home to a kind of crappy apartment in Palm Springs was a huge hit on my heart. The Michigan home was a place I loved and the last place my wife and I lived together, as well as where my beloved dog Keisha spent her life and died. Moving to California was very much like moving to another country; it is culturally extremely different from the Midwest. I remember moving my stuff into the apartment. It was October, and a flight of Canada geese flew overhead, just like in Michigan, and I wept with homesickness.
But I got over it. And now I love my new home and have absolutely NO desire to return to Michigan, believe me.
Humans love the familiar because it is comforting. Familiar surroundings and routines give us a base of stability in a chaotic world. Big life changes like the one you are going through, too, are especially challenging when you are autistic.
Let’s address you first, and your new little house. The first thing I would suggest is to try and transfer as many familiar things to your new home as possible. Also, try and arrange it as close as possible to how you have it in your current home. The more familiar objects in your house the better. Right now, I bet, when you looked at the new house and decided to buy it, it didn’t look anything like your house now, and this might have made you a little anxious. Try to imagine it with your stuff in it. Picture this every day until you move there. Figuring out exactly where to put chairs, photographs, tchotchkes, and so on. You might try taking a paper and pencil, drawing out the floor plan, and writing in where you want things. A good mental exercise that could calm you. Keep in mind not only the objects, but also the paths they create when you walk between them. Try to make these paths similar to the current ones (although the multiple floor pathway is not an option). It won’t be exactly the same, of course. But you can make it similar. Paint the walls a similar color. Even put in light fixtures and light switch plates that match the current home.
As for your mother, I’m guessing she is doing this move for financial reasons? Or perhaps the current home is just getting too much to maintain. Remind her, please, that the house is a home not because of its walls and windows and doors but because of who lives there. I’m reading between the lines here, but is this may be more about your moving out and her being alone than the house itself?
I’m not sure where your and your mom’s new homes are, but hopefully they are not too far apart that you can’t visit her. I know you are concerned about your mom and being there for her, so try to be there for her. During the move and soon after, you should visit often, but over time it would be healthier to gradually make the visits a little less often. Let her transition into this new phase of life slowly as you transition into yours.
For both you and your mom, focus on the positive aspects of this new phase in your lives. For you, this will be more independence and more self-confidence; for her, it will hopefully be less stress and a more peaceful, simpler life. Also, keep in mind you still have each other in your lives; that won’t change.
Life is about change. Change can be scary and nerve-wracking, but eventually we adjust to the new circumstances, which will, hopefully, make us stronger.
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.