I go to school at Bastrop but they don't allow me to wear a tail is there a law that could help me be allowed to wear a tail at school?
Twilight Wolf (age 15, Texas)
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Dear Twilight Wolf,
Schools are allowed to establish and enforce dress codes—up to a point. Under U.S. law, they cannot have dress codes that discriminate against people’s religion, race, sex, or gender. For example, a school cannot ban someone from wearing a yarmulke (kippah) or a hijab (niqab or burka). If you are transgender and wish to wear a dress, they cannot forbid that. If you are a Rastafarian, they cannot prohibit your hair being in dreadlocks because that is part of your faith. If you are a liberal in a conservative county, they can’t tell you that you can’t wear a pro-Democrat shirt.
They can require clothing that promotes modesty and cleanliness. For example, they can prohibit short shorts and immodest skirts; they can prohibit the wearing of dirty and torn clothing; they can prohibit T-shirts with rude, hateful, racist, and disgusting words and images. Some schools go a little too far in the dress codes. For example, some schools in Texas forbid you to wear clothing that has the logo of a rival sports team. Such rules may exist simply because they have not yet been challenged, and if a student and their family did challenge them, they could very well win in court, but such challenges cost money. I noticed that, in Texas, some schools are okay with your coloring your hair an unconventional color, while others forbid it (one school district amusingly is okay with blue or green, but NO neon! LOL).
Let’s talk about wearing tails and ears and such. These are not protected by laws regarding religion, race, politics, gender, etc. Some schools prohibit clothing that can serve as a distraction to other students, and furry stuff could definitely qualify in that category even if ears and tails are not explicitly forbidden in the dress code.
Some school districts are more lenient than others. You’re in Texas, which is a notoriously conservative state. California—on the other end of the spectrum—is more lenient. There was a Fox News story a little while ago in which they were all upset that California schools allow ripped jeans, pajamas, and tube tops. I’m not sure how schools in this state feel about furry attire, but I bet they would be a bit more permissive. Even so, the stigma still exists even among California student bodies that furries are perverted and weird, and you will still get teased.
Unfortunately, Twilight, the wearing of ears and tails at your school is not a right and not protected under the law, so you will have to leave your fun accessories at home. This is a lesson for you that schools in America are not about expressing your individuality; they are about conforming. If you think about it, being a nonconformist is one reason there are furries today :-3
I have an interest in furry bellies and growling stomachs, whether they be male or female. I think this started when I was young, when I watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. When Pooh’s tummy rumbled, I was allured by how round and fluffy it was and the sound it made. I was also enamored by the likes of Baloo and Little John. Now, this interest has evolved into a fetish. I still watch cartoons, and I find it satisfying whenever a character’s stomach growled. I used to look at furry belly art and fat furry art on DeviantArt, Twitter, and FurAffinity. I was even interested in drawing my own chubby characters. I even participated in a couple of furry belly role plays. Then one day, my parents caught me in the middle of an RP on an Amino devoted to furry bellies. They were disturbed by the content of that Amino. I argued that it wasn’t anything like boobies or genitalia, but they weren’t having any of it. In an effort to persuade them, I eventually showed them some of what I’ve been looking at. I have been looking at fat furries along the lines of the following pictures (Prepare for a long list):
By the way, I am not gay. I am a straight Christian. My parents already told me about masterbation. I know that there is such a thing as too fat. I try to avoid fat furry pictures with explicit content. Anyway, in my personal opinion, I see nothing wrong with the above pictures (although the nose bleed in the 5th picture might show otherwise). However, my parents still weren’t happy about me looking at furry bellies even after I showed them some pictures!
I think that furry belly and fat furry art falls into a grey area between the light side of the furry fandom and the dark side. I still want to draw/look at those chubby characters, but I’m worried that I might wander into the dark side, and therefore make my parents mad. My question for you has many forms, but I can choose only one. Are furry bellies SFW?
Anonymous (Age 17)
P.S.: I also have Asperger's.
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If by NSFW you mean Not Safe for Work, I would say that browsing any furry art while at work is not really acceptable to your boss(es). People have frequently asked me about whether looking at furry stuff at work is okay, and my answer is this: If you are at work, you should be working and not surfing the Web for personal reasons. Simple, yes?
As for your belly interests, there is nothing wrong with liking big bellies. As you likely know, there are all kinds of sexual preferences in the world. People often label them as "fetishes" because humans like to use disparaging terms for anything they don't consider "normal." This then makes the person who has a "fetish" feel bad about themselves, which then leads to neuroses, guilt, self-hatred, and even psychosis.
The truth is that Mother Nature likes variety, and that is why not everyone likes straight sex with stereotypically attractive people doing things only in the missionary position for the purpose of procreation. According the online magazine Healthline,
“Sexual fantasy is highly varied across the spectrum, so fetishes might simply be one element of our diversity in terms of sexual interest and arousal,” Jessica O'Reilly, Ph.D., a sexuality counselor since 2001, told Healthline. “That means we'll have different tastes just like we do in food.”
My advice: do not feel guilty about liking bellies. As long as you are not hurting anyone, enjoy whatever you like. If your parents don't approve, that's their problem. I know, I know, we all want our parents' approval, but it is exactly that need for their approval that drives many people crazy in life. Respect your parents; they have experience and knowledge you don't have yet, but don't be afraid to form your own opinions and beliefs.
Hello Papa Bear,
I had written you a while back, I was the gay pup in a relationship with a woman. I have an update, after revealing to her things that I had been keeping pent up, we are split up. She unleashed hell on me and I know I fully deserve it for wasting the past 6 years. I can't help but feel utterly heartbroken at this, because I do love her as a friend, but I can't even be that any more.
I am awaiting her decision on if she's going to throw me to the streets or let me get my affairs in order and try to find a place to live.
My question is, is there hope for me? She blamed my mental illnesses for my lies and deceptions. I mean it's true I have a few that make relationships a bit extra work. I'm rather unsure what to do or where to go from here. Like I said I lost a good friend.
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I'm sorry for your upset, but you did what had to be done, so I am proud of you for that. I wouldn't place blame on any "mental illnesses," whatever that may be, but rather on the facts that you told me previously, which were that you really liked this woman and didn't want to hurt her, which is why you delayed telling her. That would make anyone hesitate. I went through the exact same thing in spades. I married a wonderful woman in 1988 (at the time, I thought I was straight). I had been married to her going on 20 years when I figured out I was actually gay (long story for another letter). I held on to that secret for over three years because I didn't want to hurt her and because I cared about her. Finally, in a burst of emotion, I couldn't hold it in anymore and confessed to her. Long story short, we got divorced.
Here's the thing, though.
At one point, she asked aloud if all those years had been a waste of time. No, I answered (and she later agreed). We had some wonderful times together and wonderful memories, and we both grew as people with one another's help. Therefore, they most definitely were not a waste of time, and I am forever grateful for the time we had together. We're friends now; last time I was in her area, we went out to dinner, we visited her mother, and as we parted, she said, "I really did enjoy being married to you." I teared up, I must confess. I enjoyed it, too.
I used to think that people never change, but they do. With luck, it is for the better. After the initial pain of this separation you are both undergoing, try, if you can, to not let it be the end of a friendship. Try to not lay blame on one another. That will only cause hurt; it's not helpful nor is it constructive. Instead, merely acknowledge that things didn't work out but that you are grateful for the time and love that was shared. You may not necessarily have "lost a good friend." Don't give up on her just yet. And don't blame yourself for any mistakes--real or perceived--you may have done. No one is perfect.
Love can take many forms. The love in this case might not be the type for a marital relationship, but it could be one for a beautiful friendship.
Here is a sort of quickie: Is it weird for a 25-year-old to discover that he likes some little kids' animated series featuring anthropomorphic animals (e.g. Llama Llama, The Backyardigans)? Okay, it is weird (possibly not too healthy), but is it a sign of evil, mental illness or something terrible? I sometimes want warm, comfy and cute stories instead of dark ones from entertainment. Feminized infantilism is part of who I am. I'll copy-paste some contents from a private message I posted on the old AnthroCon website for more context:
Life takes funny turns. I desperately wanted to grow up when I was in elementary school, seeing the adult world as worthier, more intriguing back then, but now it's the inverse in a 25-year-old body, I like daydreaming about the feelings or play of little kids. This isn't the norm, quite possibly the result of an upbringing that lacked something, maybe more emotional contact with other people, but I have to admit that this is part of my personality. I am burly on the outside, but childlike on the inside. I borrowed as discretely as possible illustrated story books featuring funny animals from the school library, or snuck peeks at them in down time between classes or after tests or important assignments, to admire the adorable artwork, when I was in senior high. Despite their artistic flaws, I flock to The Lion King, the first two Kung Fu Panda titles, and Zootopia the way Rocky Horror Picture Show fans do. This VCL commission melts my heart: http://en.wikifur.com/w/images/a/af/Rieva-little.JPG.
I will earn a degree, work and pay taxes, perform social service, help my family and undertake all the other responsibilities of adult life, but deep down, I wanna be that widdle skunkette training in Pull-Ups, ride swings, pway bawl, and be sang lullabies to at night.
Lucia, or Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy
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I believe you have struck at the heart as to why many of us are furries. Many of us are like you. For example, I am a 53-year-old man with a job, pay taxes, have responsibilities, etc. etc. My favorite show is the short-lived cartoon series TaleSpin, which, as many likely know, features the bear Baloo as a c. 1930s airplane pilot. I adore animated movies. As I write this, I am rewatching "Sing." Like many furries, I adore movies like Zootopia, Kung Fu Panda, and Robin Hood.
There are many furries—and probably many non-furries who are unaware of our community—who are adults and enjoy "children's" programs, therefore. Some get their enjoyment simply out of watching TV shows and movies and reading comic books, etc.; others act out their desires more, such as those who are sometimes called babyfurs, as well as those in who are into My Little Pony (i.e., Bronies and Pegasisters).
Why is this happening, though? Wouldn't you know it? I have a theory! It has to do with what Professor Joshua Meyrowitz, who teaches communication at the University of New Hampshire at Durham, wrote about in 1984 ("The Adultlike Child and the Childlike Adult: Socialization in an Electronic Age," Daedalus, Summer 1984, pp. 19-48). Prof. Meyrowitz notes here how in the first half of the twentieth century, children led very different lives than they do now in America. They were allowed to enjoy an age of innocence, free from the troubles of the adult world. Indeed, adults didn't talk to them about serious topics such as war, death, taxes, sex, and so on. Such subjects were considered inappropriate for young minds. Children also dressed as children, were allowed to frolic, play, and do "childish" things, and they spoke as children, too. In school, they were taught to read and do math and so on, but they weren't given courses in sex education as they are today. Furthermore, their lives were not as structured. These days, a child's day is often planned to the minute by obsessive parents who are worried about their kids getting into college and making lots of money.
By the time Meyrowitz published his article, childhood as a state of innocence had largely disappeared. Children increasingly dress like adults and act like adults. The result is "an overall merging of childhood and adulthood." Meyrowitz blames this phenomenon largely on the advent of television, as well as other factors. He also talks about the history of the concept of childhood, noting that the idea of the "innocent child" began roughly around the 16th century, whereas before that time children often lived lives similar to adults, even going to war with them and sleeping with them (this at a time when lifespans were frequently short in a harsh and brutal world).
But I digress. While back in 1984, Meyrowitz was saying that television was stealing childhood innocence, I feel that today it is recreating a longing for that innocence, especially with TV programs like My Little Pony, Muppet Babies, Tiny Toons and so on. Such influences combine with the fact that we are living in an increasingly complex and, let's face it, sometimes very scary world filled with the threats of terrorists and nuclear war and environmental destruction. In addition, families have become less stable. Divorce is common, and families move from house to house more often, making it hard for children—who crave a sense of stability—to find a calming environment to grow up in. In times past, children often lived in homes with two, three, even four generations in them, and they typically stayed in those houses or apartments until they were ready to start their own families. This is certainly not the case today.
Modern children are no longer allowed to be children. They are constantly pressured to train to be "productive citizens" (i.e., well-oiled cogs in society's grinding wheels of industry) who get good jobs, get married, raise children, buy a car, buy a house, pay taxes and insurance, work until you are old, and die quietly without complaint.
I don't think this is what a lot of us furries want out of life. I think we'd rather frolic in the woods, swing on swings, play games, etc. etc. That is a huge reason we are frowned upon by mundanes. We aren't playing by their rules.
What I believe you are experiencing, then, Miss Fuzzy Wuzzy, is a desire to recapture the innocence of childhood. One reason could be that you need some stress relief. Nothing wrong with that. Another reason could be you feel you never really got a chance to have a fun childhood and so you are trying to create one now (e.g., i.e., the Michael Jackson Syndrome). These are both understandable things and they don't make you evil or mental or anything like that. Indeed, such rebellion from societal norms is refreshing. It shows you have a bit of a free spirit and are willing to step outside the box that has been pre-constructed for you.
It sounds to me as though you are a responsible individual who recognizes the need to fulfill certain responsibilities to family and society, but that doesn't mean there is no room to relax with some childlike fun (note, there is a difference between childish and childlike). Go ahead and detox your mind and spirit with a little furry fun. It's fine.
I have a very weird question that I believe you haven't been asked before, but...
Would it actually be comfortable and practical having fur all over your body, like a dog or a cat? Wouldn't that make wearing clothes unbearable? Personally, I wouldn't like spending 3 hours every morning to take care of my fur with a comb or whatnot. What about the hair that falls off? I'd say that happens more often if you're an anthro. Again, maintaining your appearance might be hellish, considering how much time we spent taking care of our hair and skin (as an anthro, that time will no doubt triple).
Another thing that I don't understand is how a lot of furry artists seem to just brush these issues off by making this fur have properties as skin, where the art style suggests it's skin (due to how smooth it looks and I've even seen cases of characters sweating or the sun reflecting on certain parts of the anthro body which would be impossible if it were fur). Or when they make their characters wear really tight clothing such as lingerie as if they don't have any fur. They want to have their cake and eat it too. Not that it matters, really. It just seems unrealistic, and I know it's all fantasy and fiction but the way fur works isn't fantasy like magic. It exists in the real world. It's not something completely made up to be able to invent new rules for it like magic in fantasy literature, if you get where I'm aiming at. It's like trying to invent new rules for water or light.
So, to solve those issues for myself, in my fantasy worlds I have developed many types of anthropomorphic characters, to fit all tastes. Like, there are more human ones with literal skin that's coloured like fur (with patterns but not every single one) and all and with normal "flat" feet and on the far other side of the spectrum there's the more animal ones with animal-like feet, and thick fur, not to mention all the variations in between. I like diversity, and my worlds aren't restricted to one race only.
Maybe I wasn't so clear in what I was trying to say, sorry about that.
What are your thoughts, as a veteran furry :)? I personally prefer the ones with coloured skin instead of the ones with actual fur.
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Congratulations for asking Papabear a question he has not before received! Let’s talk first about real-life animals. One thing you need to understand is there is a difference between fur and hair. The fundamental difference is that hair grows continuously while fur stays the same length. This is why a bear or a lion doesn’t have to go to a barber shop. To argue with myself here, there are many who would say that hair and fur are the same, which is true. They are both made of the protein called keratin. But when I was a zoo docent they instructed us to explain the difference as growth vs. non-growth, otherwise why bother to distinguish the names? So, let’s go with that definition as fur being hair that stays the same length.
Not all animals have fur that is static. For example, my Shih Tzu, Ernie, is a breed of dog who has hair; it grows all the time and I have to have it cut by a groomer about once a month, so he doesn’t trip on his own shaggy locks. Shih Tzu fur is very soft and nice to touch, and this, combined with the growing factor, is why their hair has been used to make wigs for humans. Another animal with “hair” is the horse, whose tail and mane grow about 1.5 inches (about 4 centimeters) a month.
Fur and hair growth and texture differ from species to species. A tiger’s fur is coarse, while a snow leopard has soft fur. Some species have an undercoat (also called down fur or ground fur) that is soft and provides extra warmth ideal for animals in cold climates; guard hair is surface hair that tends to be a bit courser and frequently is colored to provide camouflage and/or vibrant coloration for species identification and mating rituals; and awn hair is a type of fur that is the transition between guard and down fur.
Fur is amazingly adaptable. Did you know that porcupine quills are adapted fur? Rhino horns are also made out of fur. Polar bear fur is actually clear and hollow, while their skin is black to help absorb the warmth of the sun.
Speaking of skin, when you shave an animal, sometimes the skin is all one color, but other animals’ skin reflects the coloration of the fur. The skin of a tiger or a leopard has melanin patterns that mirror that of their fur. But other patterned animals, such as zebras and giraffes, just have one color of skin (zebra skin is black and giraffe skin is tan).
Okay, now that we have some background, let’s move on to furries.
The most important thing to note about furries is they are fictional; therefore, you can throw your Zoology 101 book out the window because it applies only vaguely and only when convenient.
You ask several things about fur on furries, so let’s go one by one:
Given all of the above, your approach of having a diverse world of furries—some with more fur, some with less—is perfectly fine. Play around with it, have fun with it. Let your imagination run wild!
Thanks for your question!
What is the best cooling system brand to have for my costume?
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As you may know, there is a wide variety of them and they can range from $30 to $300. I have found that it is really not worth buying the more expensive products with motorized pumps etc. because, in the end, the cooling effect dissipates as the coolant in the vest warms up. Whether you buy a cheap or an expensive vest, this usually lasts about 2 hours, max. Try and find something lightweight that is easy to put on and take off for a moderate price, such as the FlexiFreeze Ice Vest, which is around $90.
Be careful when you shop about the design. For example, the TechNiche International Adult HyperKewl vest advertises that it can keep you cool for 5-10 hours. However, it is designed to be worn on the outside because it needs air flow to work. If you are wearing it underneath a fursuit, therefore, it doesn't work!
What I do with my cooling vest is I have two sets of ice inserts; I put on one and keep the other set in a cooler. Then, when the first pair melt, I switch them out and am good for another 2 hours.
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