So, I'm an aspiring furry and I want to make a head for my fursuit! But, my mom thinks that the furry fandom is sexual and keeps telling me to stop being one because its "GROSS!" and "bad." I keep trying to explain to her that the fandom isn't sexual and that we are actually donating to charities and stuff but she won't listen. What should I do?
Grazer (age 11)
* * *
Both you and your mother are correct. The fandom can be a lot of good, clean fun, and yes, a lot of charity work has been done by furries. But your mother is also correct in that there is a lot of adult art in the fandom, and you need to be careful you don't associate with the wrong crowd. There are a lot of good furries, but there are also some very bad ones. You, being 11, can be an easy target for bad furries. Your mother is trying to protect you, which is not only her right but also her duty as a parent.
That said, your mother needs to not go the easy route of just saying, "No, you can't be a furry." This is what I call "lazy parenting." Also, it is ineffective. When a parent tells a kid, "You can't do that because I said so," the kid just wants to do the forbidden activity all the more and thinks the parent is not listening to them or sympathizing with them. This can create resentment, secretive behavior, and misbehavior on the part of the child.
What Mom needs to do is become more involved in your life. The two of you should explore furry together. First, understand that the furry fandom was created for adults, not children. The entire establishment of the furry fandom was meant to create anthro characters in adult situations (not just sex, but everything from scenes about violence to other mature situations and themes). But since it began, the fandom has evolved, too. It used to be mostly for people in their teens and twenties (and still largely is), but now more and more you see furries who are a lot older (I'm 55, for example) as well as kids as young as 10. The fandom needs to accommodate this changing membership, and in a lot of ways it does. For example, if you go to a furry convention, there will often be an art gallery. Most of the art is clean, but there is some mature art, which is kept in a separate section and only adults are allowed in. Also, minors such as yourself must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at any furcon, and panels and workshops that address adult topics are restricted to mature members.
You should not argue with Mom. Instead, explain why you are interested in furries. Have a discussion with her. Also, tell her you understand her concerns and tell her that she is right to be worried, and also you should thank her for caring! Then, invite her to explore furry with you. Tell her that she can freely monitor what you view on the computer and on your phone to make sure you don't see anything bad. Ask her for her help in navigating the online world. Ask her to watch the movies and TV shows you enjoy with you. Maybe, with enough communication, you can even ask her to take you to a furcon someday.
In short, don't argue with Mom. Communicate with her. Listen to her concerns and ask her to listen to your feelings as well.
So, I showed my grandma a fursuit that I liked online, and said that it was cute, and I'd like to make one someday if I had the money to, because I love to build fursuits. She looked at me really concerned, and said, "Other than being a furry, what do you like to do? Are there any careers you'd like in the future?" I know it sounds harmless, but her tone and concern showed that she didn't like me being a furry at all. She's VERY religious and isn't very open-minded on most subjects. I love her, but I need some help. Do you have any advice?
Checkmate (age 11)
* * *
Yes. Be happy that your nana isn't being crass about your furriness, but respect that she is not entirely comfortable with it. You are more than just a furry, so talk to her about all the other stuff in your life. She is concerned about your future, so talk to her about what you would like to do in your future and what you see yourself doing. Furry isn't everything. You can still share a lot with her about you and your family. Also, ask her about and talk about HER life. Show interest in her. She has been around a lot, so take advantage of her experiences and wisdom. Also, if you can, do things together and make new memories. Your gramma won't be around forever. Enjoy her presence in your life now.
Dear Papa Bear,
How can I convince my mom to let me make a mini partial fursuit? I told my mom I was a furry through text (I have social anxiety so it was too hard to say it aloud) and I told her I really wanted to make a “furry costume”. She wouldn’t let me do it and she said I shouldn’t be looking up furry stuff. I know there is inappropriate stuff but I don’t look at it. She always complains that I’m lazy so she should be happy I want to put effort into something. I wanna explain to her that it’s not inappropriate but I don’t have enough confidence bc of social anxiety. Being able to make my own fursuit would make me the happiest.
* * *
The internet can be a wonderful thing, but when it comes to the fandom, it can prejudice parents against letting their kids explore the fandom. This is a shame, because not only is the fandom fun, it can have many benefits as well. Helping people like you who suffer from social anxiety is one of these benefits. If instead of going on the internet to look for furporn your mother searched on "social anxiety and furry fandom" she would find articles and videos about how many young people have treated their anxiety by being furry and enjoying its community. It also helps people suffering from various degrees of autism spectrum disorder.
Here are just a couple articles and videos you can show your mother:
I would also suggest your mother visit the Moms of Furries website at https://mofurries.com/. These two mothers were, like yours, nervous about their kids participating in the fandom, but they gave it a try and found it had a lot of benefits for helping them get out of their shells and socialize in healthy ways.
Being a furry has lots of benefits. Point these out to your mom and tell her she should avoid jumping to conclusions because of furporn. Porn is all over the web, not just furry sites, but that is not what you--indeed, most furries--are about.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
I'm a 16 year old male that lives in Kwa-ZuluNatal, South African, and I found you on FurAffinity. I need your advice on how I can find my fursona. And if you don't mind. How do I tell my family about this?
All the best,
* * *
Since you don't offer much in the way in details in your letter, it is hard to give you specific advice. Each person is different, and that affects everything from fursonas to how you explain this to your parents. So, please take advantage of the categories on my website, browse the letters, and hopefully you will find something helpful. If not, write again and give me some details on your particular situation.
For advice on fursona design, go here: http://www.askpapabear.com/letters/category/fursonas
For advice on "coming out" furry, go here: http://www.askpapabear.com/letters/category/coming%20out%20furry
* * *
Sorry I wasn't clear in my last letter I'll try to do better in this one.
I'm not myself right now and I think the furry community can help me find myself again.I try talking to my mom about this and she is a bit scared because she has never heard about the furry community and I don't blame her.Its just me my mom and sister,I don't have someone to talk to about this. I'm just so confused right now and would like advise on how to go forward from this point.
* * *
Pardon me for responding in generalities, since I don't know all the details about who you are, but I do like the way you phrase the question: How can the furry community help you find yourself again?
The first question coming to my mind, then, is: Did you once know who you were in the past? How did you lose yourself?
It sounds as though you are seeking identity by finding a community to which you can belong; a group of people that accept you as you were apparently once accepted but no longer feel accepted. Reading between the lines makes me wonder whether this is because you have discovered something about yourself that is not socially acceptable, such as something to do with your sexual identity. I only say this because that is a very common problem among people who feel rejected by society, especially when it comes to your teen years when you are discovering your sexual orientation.
But in order to find acceptance anywhere, my furiend, you must first accept yourself. Do you accept yourself and who you are? Probably not, since you say that you have lost yourself. How does one accept oneself?
Once you have achieved self-acceptance and actualization, that is the time to seek out community. Many furries make the mistake of doing the opposite: seeking a community that validates who they are rather than validating themselves first. The problem with doing it that way is that the furry community--like any other community--has some bad people in it who will troll you and attack you and say things like "you're not a real furry," and too many furries take this to heart. They then complain that the furry community has rejected them (it has not, only a few bad eggs have) and the next thing you know they start posting online about how furry drama is rampant and it is all the fault of the furry community.
But the self-actualized furry (or whatever you consider yourself to be) will have the confidence and self-respect to find good people, as I have done, and form their community around them. In other words, you become a seed for a cloud of like-minded, like-spirited people who will then become your personal community.
Another wonderful effect of being self-actualized is that you will no longer have to seek your fursona. IT will find YOU. For example, once I figured out and accepted I was a gay bear, well then! Grubbs Grizzly walked right into my life and wrapped me in his furry body.
As for telling Mom about your interest in furry, the best way to approach mundanes with it is to compare it to other fandoms, such as superhero fandoms or fans of Star Trek or Star Wars. It's not a perfect comparison because you and I know that the furry fandom is unique, but most non-furries won't get that. Therefore, just tell Mom, in terms she can understand, that it is simply imaginative fun similar to dressing up as a superhero or pretending you're Spock on Star Trek, only it is about anthro animals like the ones in Zootopia (use popular movies and don't talk about underground furry art and such; relate to things with which they are familiar).
I hope these tips help you. Thanks for writing.
You may remember me asking about me being limited by my parents. its gotten worse my moms bipolar got a lot worse recently. So I've been wanting to go to a furry con in Birmingham, Alabama: Fangcon. I really want to go to it, but I'm scared to tell my mom or both of my parents. since my mom is bipolar and always thinks of the worse scenarios. So, Papabear, what should I do? I only have 21 days left.
Thanks for listening,
GlaDOS (age 11; almost 12)
* * *
You know, hon, sometimes we don't always get what we want. It sounds to me that your mother is struggling, which also means your father is likely having a hard time dealing with your mom.
Instead of worrying about doing something for yourself and adding potential conflict with your parents, maybe you should try to be there more for them. You're 11 years old now, which makes you old enough to start helping your mom with things around the house. What do you currently do to help out at the house? In addition, you should be doing fun things with your mom and dad when you can (life is not all work, no play). Do you? Doing fun things with your parents is a great way to bond, and as you bond, you can reveal more of yourself to them, including your interest in being a furry.
The issue about your furriness is a matter of communication with your parents, and communication is best done between people who are familiar with and close to each other. Before spazzing out and pushing your parents to go to a furcon (take a pass on this Fangcon) right away, get to know your parents and let them get to know you better, too.
My wife found out about my interests in the furry lifestyle. She doesn't believe that it is normal or okay. I am struggling to live my life genuinely but I do not want to lose my family. I cannot bear the judgement Margie unleashes upon me. How do I balance being a Furry Loving Family man? I am afraid my children Gilbert and Marge will abandon my heart the way their mother has if they find out. Also I have alopecia. And the furry community is the only thing that has made me feel loved and normal. More than my own family has. How do I live freely when my heart is chained between my work suit and my fursuit?
FoxyGrandpaMalcom (age 43, French Polynesia)
* * *
Dear Foxy Grandpa Malcolm,
I am unfamiliar with life in French Polynesia, but I'm going to guess it is rather a conservative place? Also, I imagine it can be quite isolating, being a conglomeration of over 100 islands. Is there even much of a furry community anywhere around there? Much of your furry activity is likely limited to online activity, n'est-ce pas? Nevertheless, you have connected with the fandom community, and I'm glad to hear you have found acceptance with us.
How this affects your family depends considerably on whether you are a deep-seated lifestyler, a casual hobbyist, or somewhere in between. Obviously, if you insist on wearing your fursuit around the home and assume your fursona personality a lot, it is going to impact what your family sees and what they think about you. On the other side of the coin, if you just casually surf the Internet, play some games and chat with furries, and keep fursuiting activities (if any) limited to furmeets or furcons (if you attend such), it really shouldn't impact them at all.
Based on your extremely short missive, it sounds like you lean toward the lifestyler side, however. As a family man in his 40s, yeah, that's going to affect things. You do not with to deny who you are, but you surely don't want to lose your family. First of all, if your family somehow abandons you just because you're a furry, then, well, they aren't much of a family, sorry to say. But let's try to be a bit more sympathetic to them and view things through the eyes of mundanes who struggle to understand why someone would want to be a furry.
My main advice to you is to be considerate of your family's emotions. Don't spring everything on them at once, but slowly ease them into the idea so that they have time to become comfortable with it. Do things little by little. If you like to fursuit, start by doing it rarely and maybe (if you have them) with furiends of yours at a meet or something. Don't fill the house with furry art and plushies and such. Just add things in tiny drops, little by little. When you feel they are comfortable with one thing, then add another. You see?
In summary, it is important to be yourself, but in order to integrate that into your family life you need to be considerate and sympathetic of their feelings as well.
Hey Papa Bear!
So lately, I’ve been feeling pretty down. I do not know how to tell my friends I am a furry.
I want them to know, especially because I really really like one of them. I think about them every night. Like kind of sexually, but I am unsure. I want her so bad. But she may think it is weird I’m a furry.
I can’t get her out of my head. I want her to love me back. I want to take our relationship to the next level, but I want it to happen in my furry suit. I don’t think they will like that. Please help.
Sky the Emo Wolf
* * *
Telling someone you're a furry is truly an excellent way to find out if they are really a friend and/or potential mate material. I understand your nervousness, but usually, there is no reason to fear! I remember years ago being nervous to tell my late husband, Jim, that I was a furry. Our relationship had progressed to the point (still just BFs at the time) that I wanted to tell him. Guess what? He thought it was cool and fun, and after that he went to several furcons with me and had a great time. Then there was a time my ex found out online I was Papabear and had the column. She was totally cool with it and thought the column was well done.
So, after those experiences, I was a lot less shy about telling people I'm a furry. So far, no one has judged me badly about it, but I can see where some might. If anyone doesn't want to be my friend just because I occasionally don a bear fursuit (and if educating them a bit about the fandom doesn't change their mind) then I don't think I really want to be friends with them anyway.
The same goes for you. If you tell this girl you're a furry and she hates you for it, or makes fun of you, or just doesn't want to be your friend, then you're better off without her in your life, to be perfectly frank. You don't want a person like that as a girlfriend. If you are at a point in a relationship when you feel you can open up to a friend (or potential girlfriend) about your furry side, then just do it. Be honest, be open, be willing to answer any and all questions. After that is done, you will find out if they are true friends who care about you and like who you are.
In a nutshell, is my brother right about me liking something wrong?
From 2012 to 2014, I dabbled in the Brony scene after being influenced to see the first few seasons of "Friendship is Magic". Since then, I've regretted it a little based on the fact that it's still at its core a toy franchise for little girls, and forming a fandom really still isn't socially acceptable for a mix of both valid concerns and unfounded fears. When I spent the holidays with my younger brother, and I just happened to joke ironically, in a clearly unfavorable light, about the fandom, he upstaged me with the question "Why do you talk about it so much?" Then he went on with "I don't know why anyone older than 12 would like that show. I think it's a case of psychological infantilism," and "Twenty years from now, they'll wonder what they were doing with their lives". I almost had a heart attack because I could have been among the objects of his scorn. If I watched MLP: FiM again and reentered the fandom, the fujoshis (look it up), Rule 34 artists, bad costuming, those Bronies who use feminism/civil rights/the LGBT cause as analogies to their fandom, and the obsessive crossing over of things that have nothing to do with Hasbro's property, WOULD NOT help my case. And my uncles and grandmother would have a field day putting down someone interested in something simultaneously child-oriented and effeminate. Worse, I still feel a soft spot for, plus attraction to, the main characters whenever I find images of them. My best defense argument for my personal enjoyment of it would be “I also like my share of mindless fun, just like millions of other people.”
Addendum: It's just stupid entertainment, but I’d have to pursue it secretively to save my hide socially.
Joaquin the Boar (age 25)
* * *
When it comes to questions such as yours, I always fall back on the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do what ye will.” (If you aren’t hurting anyone, do whatever you like.) There is nothing inherently wrong in your liking My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Lots of young men do. Who are you harming by doing so? The only people who are doing any harming around you are your brother and, possibly, other family members by making you feel bad about liking something that is just a television show.
Why do people do such things? Because they allow themselves to be told what to do and what to believe by society. Thus, they are told that MLP is not “manly” and, therefore, you, as a male, shouldn’t like it. When you do like such things, it threatens their comfortable worldview of how people should behave, which then inspires fear and anxiety, which then leads to anger and hate. That is, sadly, how most human minds work.
What is cool about Furries and Bronies is that they dare to enjoy something (gasp!) that isn’t a social norm. That is a very brave thing to do. But whenever people like you or me do that, the first thing that often (not always) happens is hate, and the second thing that happens is ostracism or dire predictions that the world will come to an end if we allow such things to continue. A great example of this is gay marriage in America. Conservatives and religious rightists issued Hellfire and brimstone warnings that if gay people were allowed to marry it would, literally, be the end of America and possibly the world. Well, we’re still waiting and nothing bad has happened.
Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by small minds. People like your brother are the ones that hold society back, keep it from progressing.
It’s a sorry state of affairs that you feel like you have to hide being a Brony, but I understand. You still have to function in society and within your family, so if you feel that is something you must do, then okay.
But do not feel like you are doing something wrong or immoral. You aren’t. It is the people who are criticizing you who are the damaged ones. You’re fine.
Well,I want too say that I have a problem with my fathers,I`m gay and My fathers are very strict and they are too awful with this things and I don`t know if I can say them that I`m gay or what
I want they too still love but I dont know what to do
AGH!! I really need your help,pretty please
I already have my beautiful boyfriend
please ,answer me the most fast you can
Kiss and hugs papa bear
Sater (age 17, Mexico)
* * *
Apologies for the slow reply. I am still behind on my letters.
Being gay in the USA is difficult, but I have heard it is even more challenging in Mexico because of the culture there. Anyway, my advice to you is that you need to find a circle of supporters. I would not advise you to try coming out to your father all on your own. You need help and resources.
You don't say where you live, specifically, but if you are near Mexico City that would be lucky because, in Mexico, that is where you will find the most community and government support. I recommend you do a little research and contact some people for advice in your native land. Here is a helpful link: https://www.angloinfo.com/how-to/mexico/mexico-city/family/lgbt/lgbttti-organizations that provides everything from legal help to community information.
Hope this helps!
I am a 14 year old member of the furry fandom, and would like to go to a furry convention. I've done some reading and found my situation is very unique from others. I live in a very right wing redneck Christian family, and adopted these traits for myself, as I am a religious christian, a conservative republican, and somewhat country. Luckily where I live, none of my friends know about the fandom, I'm one of the lucky kids that get a whopping 400 kb/s network connection. Anyway there's a possibility my father may know something about the fandom. My dad watches Tosh.0. Luckily one time I was up late watching Tosh.0, and found out about the "Furries Kid" episode while my parents were sleeping, it would be a disaster if they saw that episode. Anyway I try to keep that episode off the DVR because my dad records the series. So the issue is whether or not my dad saw this T.V episode. Anyway another issue that turned me off to telling my father about the fandom was I fell asleep on the couch one time, and slept in past everyone else. My dad came home from work at about 9 in the morning and told my family about this "really weird guy at work that liked to wear my little pony accessories, and attend Brony conventions" and told my sister to "Never be weird like that" So even though I'm not a Brony, I don't want my dad to look at furries the same way. Another experience I had that turned me off to telling people was when I was at diving practice,and I stayed after to visit a friend in a more advanced dive team who kind of like me. We started following eachother on Instagram, where I posted alot of my furry art. Well wouldn't you know it, she knows about furries. So I'm talking to her, and it turns out she's an artist as well, which I didn't know, and she was talking to me about drawing tablets. Then she says "What up with all the drawing of..." and a responded "Cats?" and she said "Furries... Are you a furry?" and I said "Yeah, sort of." And her response was "Oh my god raccoon! (She called me Raccoon which had nothing to do with the fandom, she started calling me that when I grew my hair out longer) Does that mean you're into beastiality?" and I of course am not so I said "Heavens, no!" and then she said "Good! Hey I have to go to practice, see you later!" So I texted her later that night asking her on a scale of 1-10 how weirded out she was, and she replied 2 and that it wasn't really that big of a deal and she said she was sorry for bringing up bestiality and that it was a weird thing to ask, but you're one of the last people I'd expect to be a furry. I had friends who've jokingly called me nerd jock because I'm very interested in computers, and cartooning, and because of my athletic ability. I earned that name right around when I got into the fandom as well as started benching 120 pounds at the age of 13 and then shortly later breaking our schools mile time record with 5:34. Anyway, I'm not really anti social, or an outcast. I've never wanted to risk this, so I've never really told anybody about the fandom, but then one day decided "I want to go to Anthrocon" So I started sharing my art on Instagram with my friends, and showed a little bit of my work to my parents as a first step, and am having difficulty climbing the next step to asking my parents to go to anthrocon. Really that's the best I can hope for, as much as I want to get a suit, there's no way I can justify spending $2,000 to dress up like a Wolf whether it's my own money, or a request for a gift, but any advice on any of this mess would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking your time to read my question.
* * *
Been a while since you wrote me, so I am sorry for the long wait. Thanks for your patience.
What you are dealing with is the Bane of the Stereotype. The stereotype about furries is that we are all jobless sex perverts who want to do it with animals. This, of course, is utter nonsense. You're a good example of someone who is into furry art, but, contrary to stereotypes, you are athletic, sociable, and not into porn.
Because you are not a stereotype but an individual, the key here is to have parents and friends recognize you as yourself and not "a furry." Once they tag a label on you, you are doomed. So, you have to avoid the label. It is in human nature to label and categorize things. You are even doing it to yourself when you reply, "Yeah, sort of" to the query, "Are you a furry?"
Let's begin by working on terminology.
First of all, nobody who is a human being is "a furry." A furry is an anthropomorphic animal character such as Bugs Bunny. There is no such thing in real life as a Bugs Bunny, so the people who like these characters are actually "fans of furries" or "furry fans." To be even more long-winded, it would be more precise to say "I am a fan of anthropomorphized animal characters in the media" because not all animals have fur.
But that is too much of a mouthful, which is why people shorten it to "I am a furry."
There is a disconnect between the perception of what a furry is and the stuff that furries like. What are some of the things furries like? Well, they like Warner Bros cartoon characters, they like Kimba the White Lion, they like Po in Kung Fu Panda, they like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they like Rocket Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, they like Judy and Nick in Zootopia, they like Simba in The Lion King. Know what all of these have in common? They are all HUGELY popular in "normal" human society. But say "furry" and "normal" people (at least those who have heard of the fandom at all) think sexual deviant.
It is the difference between being a fan of something and participating in a fandom culture. And it's not just true of furry fans. Say that you like Tolkien books and the Lord of the Rings movies, and people are generally cool with that. But dress up as Gandalf and role play in an event at Griffith Park, where people sometimes go to reenact scenes from the books, and you become a geek.
Being underage and living in a conservative home like you do can make things more difficult, to be sure. If you don't think your parents can handle the fandom aspect of this, you can still enjoy furry fiction and art by disassociating yourself from "the fandom" and just going ahead and drawing, watching movies, and so on. That way, just as you are a "jock who likes computers" you can also be a "jock who likes cartoons and animated movies."
Now, if you really really really feel a need to become closer and more sociable with others in the fandom, including going to furcons and furmeets, that will make things more complicated for you. However, what you can do to reassure your family that you aren't, let's say, "going to the Dark Side," is reinforce the other aspects of yourself that they find more acceptable: your Christianity, your "country" side, your being a Republican when it comes to politics. As long as your parents see that this part of you is not changing, that might reassure them. You might also be interested to know that there are many Christian and conservative furries out there (e.g. http://christianfurs.net/).
In many letters to Papabear from young 'uns who have Christian, conservative parents, the problem is that these parents fear "losing" their kids to some kind of perverted, animal-fetishist movement (ironically, it is usually the parents driving away their kids rather than the other way around). Assure your parents that you have not changed regarding religion, politics, etc. and you will hopefully be okay.
I hope that helps,
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.