I just wanted to ask about furry cons, even though covid-19 is currently happening right now, I'm still really curious about it and haven't gotten many answers. Like are most conventions only 18+ to go to? Are there furry events in shops around (like cafes stores etc.)? And also advice on what's best to do at cons, like best travel and hotels if covid ends. I wanna be prepared.
Cookie (age 13)
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Dear Cookie (love that name),
That's a great question, thanks for asking. When COVID-19 eases up (and it will; they already have two very promising vaccines in the test stage, as well as treatments being developed), furcons should make a comeback in 2021 and 2022. What a joyous occasion that will be! I'm registered to attend Biggest Little Furcon in Reno, and it's been delayed a couple times and is now hopefully going to occur in June, so here's hoping.
Most furcons with which I am familiar are kid-friendly. While, yes, there is adult art in the artists' den and in the marketplace, these things are restricted to those 18 and older, and you will not be allowed inside those areas, so you can enjoy the rest of the marketplace and art shows without worry. Everything else at furcons--events, parades, forums--are G-rated. Occasionally, there will be a forum that is for adults, but those will be clearly marked on a program and, of course, someone your age would not be allowed inside the lecture room in those cases.
Some cons also have tracks specifically designed for youth (e.g. Furry Migration), and all furcons have rules laid out on their websites about minors. These usually involve the fact that you need permission from a parent or legal guardian to attend, pay for the registration, and pay for the room.
Most furcons are held at hotels and convention centers, but some have different settings, such as campgrounds. If you are looking for small events (you mention meeting at a coffee shop) then what you want is called a "furmeet." These are small parties or activities organized by a local furry group. They plan things like house parties, bowling events, going to movies or parks, and so on. You might try Meetup to see if there is a regular furmeet near you, or search on social sites to find local furry groups.
Because cons are held in cities all over the world, I can't really advise you on what travel and hotel options are best without knowing where you intend to go. I would advise that you check out the website of the con you wish to attend, see if they have a youth track, and contact the person in charge of events to ask about best things to do there. I would, if I were your age, attend forums to learn more about the fandom, visit the marketplace, visit the artists' den, show your parents around so they can see that furry is a lot of fun. And try to meet people and make furiends.
If you have more specific questions, feel free to write again.
Welcome to the fandom!
I have a hard time having sympathy for furries. I feel less and less care when met with news of a furry experiencing financial problems, or worse. This is not without reason, however. I have suffered sexual abuse, less than a year ago. It has opened my eyes to how disgusting the fandom is, and how rare it is to find a furry that isn't a horrible, nearly irredeemable person.
I feel that most furries feed into the culture that caused my naivety back then, and helped a predator blend in within the fandom. The cuddliness of the fandom, I loathe it. Everyone gets in their beds with mere friends and rub on each other like partners. I feel that people like that, even those who do it in roleplay, assist predators. Their actions I feel contribute to creating naivety in minors by making relationship-tier affection something just "friendly". Don't even get me started on lewd interaction.
I have been attacked for bringing this up. Everyone is so okay with the fandom normalizing predatory behavior. Maybe I am wrong? I don't want to be okay with hearing that a furry is in pain because they are likely the type of furry I was referring to. Everyone is so okay with this. My question is, am I wrong for thinking this way? Am I a bad person? I recognize your lack of qualification for help with mental illnesses, and I am not coming here with them being fixed in mind, but having another opinion would be helpful.
Anonymous (age 15)
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The prevalence of sex in the fandom through art and social interactions is definitely a thing, and I understand your concerns. I am very sorry to hear that you were a victim of sexual abuse. There is never an excuse for that.
I would not condemn the fandom as a whole because of your bad experiences, however. I myself have had very positive experiences and have made many friends in the fandom. In my humble opinion, the fandom is what you make of it (which is true of anything). I am not blaming you for being a victim of sexual abuse (please don't think that), but I am saying that one must be careful about the company one keeps. If one marches into the fandom naively (as you might have) and unprepared for what one might find, then yes, you could find yourself among the wrong kind of furry. You are 15 years old and should not be seeking out X-rated stuff, whether that is furry or not. As you likely know, thousands of youngsters are victims of sexual abuse and predation OUTside the fandom. The internet can be a dangerous place, and one should be cautious at all times.
So, don't blame the fandom per se. You will find bad people everywhere, not just in the furry world. That said, you are certainly justified to be upset by what happened to you, and again, I am so sorry you went through that!
You don't mention your family, but I think this is something you should discuss with your parents. There are some sites online you can read up on internet safety, too, such as Internet Safety 101 at https://internetsafety101.org/internetpredators. And it's not just safety from sex predators, but also trolls and scammers who want to steal your money and your identity. So, watch out for people who beg for money (something you also indicated happened to you).
But getting back to the fandom. This is a topic I am discussing more fully in my book, but the reason the fandom can be a particularly tricky place is because it is a refuge for a lot of troubled people. Many young people struggling with sexual- and self-identity issues come to the fandom to seek some release and freedom and companionship. This can, at times, lead to misbehavior. Or, at least, what a lot of people would consider misbehavior. It is a highly complex issue because people are complex, and the fandom has grown to hundreds of thousands of furries all over the world. Learning to navigate such a huge social maze can be tricky. You need to become adept at reading clues that can signal if someone is lying to you. Here's a little tip sheet on that: https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/how-to-tell-if-someone-is-lying-to-you-online-or-in-a-text/news-story/f76033116da0964f2565d5a0d0180812.
All that being said, I will conclude here that if you, personally, do not feel safe interacting with members of the fandom, then by all means don't. The furry fandom is supposed to be a place of fun and fantasy, not terror and mistrust. Most people have a great time doing furry stuff, but if you have come to hate it, then there is certainly no law that says you have to be a furry. Your safety and happiness are more important than that. But, after reading what I have said, you want to try again, then feel free to do so carefully, and write me at any time.
Finally, if you haven't already sought help for sexual abuse, please consider talking to someone. There is a sexual abuse hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673).
Where can you find a website for young furs? I try to go to furry websites but they always say you have to be 18 or older. I need a break from that. I wish I had furry friends to make online, and I just want young furs like me to have fun online too. I look at every furry website, but no young furs are allowed, so please make a website.
Peanut Butter (age 8)
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Dear Peanut Butter,
You are 8 years old, so I am guessing you are not aware of furry history. You see, the furry fandom began back in the 1970s, when a number of sci-fi and comic book fans decided to start making art and writing stories featuring "funny animals" but with adult themes (mostly violence and mature situations, but sometimes involving sex). "Funny animals" are what people used to call talking animals in cartoons such as Bugs Bunny and Mighty Mouse. Anyway, the whole point of furry was to have talking animal characters featured in more mature stories. Now, this doesn't mean X-rated stories, necessarily. There was a lot of sci-fi stuff such as in the now-classic Albedo series. But there was also stuff with more sexual situations, such as the Omaha: The Cat Dancer comic books. As the fandom matured, more and more X-rated stuff has entered websites and publications and, no, it is not suitable for kids under 18.
The demographics (who is in the fandom in terms of age, gender, race, etc. etc.) have been evolving a lot over the last couple of decades. While the majority of furries are still people in their late-teens and twenties (mostly male and white, but there are more women getting involved, as well as non-Caucasian furries), more and more furries are older and more and more are quite young. Furries such as you probably enjoy anthro characters in Disney and Pixar cartoons and films, of course, and then you find out about furries by stumbling upon them online or perhaps hearing about furries from a friend. Anyway, you are not looking for X-rated art. You just want to have fun adopting a fursona and perhaps having some online RPG adventures.
Unfortunately, at this time, there are no social networking sites like FurAffinity or SoFurry that are specifically for cubfurs, especially as young as you. I would LOVE to design and run such a site (and thank you for asking and thinking I could) but I have neither the time nor technical know-how to do so. I do keep my eyes out for such things on the Web, though, and you can be sure I will write about it if I hear anything.
In the meantime, there are still fun things you can do to meet furries in the virtual world. If your parents are okay with it, you can play online RP and other games such as Furcadia (just stay away from the Furrabian Nights adult section, but almost everything else is kid-friendly). You can roleplay while also meeting other furries. Here are some other games you might find enjoyable, many of which offer ways to chat with furries playing the game with you online (some are better for older kids, and some for younger kids):
Many furries meet other furries by playing such games, no matter what their age. In fact, it was in the early days of FurryMuck that contributed greatly to the growth of the fandom back in the 1980s. So, I would recommend you not worry about such places as FurAffinity and instead start playing some furry games.
THEN! Get an account on Discord.com, which is a place where you can hang out and chat with people about your favorite games.
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.
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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!
Hey Papa Bear,
I would like to hear your opinion on what you think about furry porn. …But that question alone is only worth maybe a “it’s good” or “it’s bad” answer, so… The true question is, what do you think of the whole scope about furry porn, and how it affects artists, members of the fandom, etc etc.
To give you more to work with, ever since I was a wee little chap watching TV with my lower lip quivering, and my eyes gleamed when I saw Flamedramon for the first time, I knew what I was in for. That said… The porn is good and all, but I’m always very sad to see how it affects the fandom. This mix of popularity and sexuality seem to entice many people, artists and commissioners alike, into very deplorable habits of flaunting for instant gratification, of filling their galleries to the brim with art of very varied levels of quality involving their sonas into every possible existing sexual scenario on this planet, just for the sake of… Attention, right? Well, money too, in case of the artists. Is that really worth it in the long-term?
It always bums me out that this sexy animal guy I’m jerking off to is almost surely a total douchebag if I met him in person, which… From my own experience, is very often true (But I admit that that’s on ME because I’m a very judgmental idiot and I also have impossibly high standards for everything. I’m sure someone out there could get to know one of those people and find their life-long partner, and that’s perfectly okay.) Still, there are also exceptions. I’ve seen some artists who draw porn but they don’t let their egos get mixed up in it (as much), and I respect those way more because they’re just more human to me. And I’m glad because otherwise that would’ve probably made me a total hypocrite, grabbing my dick with one hand and pointing and judging people with the other…
... Anyway, now that I made my point of view awfully, almost tangibly clear, I would like to hear yours. Hopefully it’s different from mine because I’d like to learn something new from this.
I await curiously for your reply.
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Dear Uncle Tuper,
Sex and the fandom is a huge topic, and it is one I discuss in my book. It is difficult in a column to cover all the bases, but here's the gist of my take on furporn: Mundanes focus on this aspect on the fandom because they themselves do not have healthy attitudes about sex or they are incredibly inhibited about it (religious and other societal pressures cause this). They are uncomfortable with the idea of a fantasy-related fandom, and so, in seeking a way to reject it because it is "not normal," they zero in on what they feel is its unsavory aspect (furporn), and stereotype furries as sex addicts and zoophiles in order to reject and shame them.
Why, then, do furries get into the porn aspect? There are a lot of reasons, and none of them have to do with zoophilia. Furporn is just one form of many types of sexual fantasies that people have. You can go on the Internet and find all kinds of fantasy porn out there, some of it is much more strange than anthro sex. Okay, so, why specifically fantasies about anthros? Gosh, there is a laundry list. For one thing, various anatomical features of animals could turn people on, such as the soft fur of a feline or the genital girth of a horse or the fact that an elephant can play with you with its trunk. There are also fantasies such as vore, which has to do with the submission fantasy or even the fantasy of the return to the womb (very Freudian). There is, too, the animalistic nature of it all--wild and passionate sex without inhibition. Also, assuming a fursona in sexual roleplay is a form of self-defense against sexual shame ("It isn't ME doing this, it's my fursona.") Why so much furporn out there? Why do so many people commission artists to draw porn? Well, one reason might be that the fandom demographics skew toward the young range, and, let's face it, young people have "raging hormones" and tend to be horny. Hence, porn. If it weren't furporn, it would be something else X-rated (Star Wars porn, cartoon porn, whatev).
I have no problem with furporn (in fact, I'm a fan LOL). It is not inherently "bad" or "good." Sexual fantasies are only "bad" if they become addictions (i.e., you become so obsessed with porn that it interferes with your daily functions in the world) or if they become violent or hurtful to others in any way (i.e., acting out fantasies for any kind of non-consensual sex). Outside of these two conditions, furporn and sexual fantasies about furries can actually be a healthy and normal thing. Sexual fantasies can assist people in exploring their sexual identities, likes and dislikes, and add a bit of zing to a relationship you might already be in.
What mundanes need to get over is focusing on this one aspect of the fandom. The furry fandom offers a lot more than just some X-rated art. If you focus only on porn, you are missing out on a lot.
So, when it comes to you, personally, I would suggest you explore a bit further what exactly you like about Flamedramon, and this can teach you a bit about yourself. As for online relationships, you should always be cautious about these and make sure you don't let in a predator or other jerk. Such people eventually make themselves known, so you will figure out whether "sexy animal guy" is a jerk or not. If he is, dump him and move on. There are lots of furries out there who are very cool people.
Don't beat yourself up for having sexual feelings or that these feelings range into the world of fantasy. There is nothing wrong with you. Just remember to be kind to other people and avoid trolls along the way.
Hope that eases your mind.
Two very close friends of mine who have been part of this community fro a good while have recommended me to ask you regarding some pointers for starting out in the furry community, as for myself, I am rather new to the world of anthropomorphic animals and the cool, creative ideas that this will conjure up! As for what I decided to do with this field, my fursona is a friendly and wholesome Sun Bear who likes to fish for salmon in the woods and enjoys honey like most bears tend to do, details aside, my question is this: How do I best present myself appropriately in this community so that I may enjoy myself, let people enjoy me as a person and the character I portray, and to better avoid the more unfriendly and toxic side of this community (because as sad as it is, there are people in this world who tend to be unwelcoming and a bad influence to others.) Not to mention, it's very nice to hear some wisdom from a veteran who would know more about this then I would, who just so happens to be a bear as well!
Many thanks in advance,
* * *
Dear Bro Bruin,
There is no one way to become an active part of the furry family. Back during its early years, when it was a few anthro fans meeting at sci-fi conventions and sharing APAs, it definitely WAS an isolated community that only a few people could participate in (e.g., you couldn't get a copy of an APA magazine unless you also contributed to it). Today, anyone can join and participate, whether that is in one of the numerous online outlets (Facebook, FurAffinity, Furry Aminos, Discord, Telegram, etc. etc. etc. etc.) or in person at a furmeet or furcon, there is no end to the many opportunities.
As you become more active, make sure your motivations for getting attention are healthy ones. Many times, furries write to me asking me how they can be popular and get attention in the fandom. In other words, they envy popufurs and want to be like them and to have their existence validated. This is incorrect motivation. Don't fall into that trap, for its jaws will consume you.
Addressing your question, "How do I best present myself appropriately in this community so that I may enjoy myself, let people enjoy me as a person and the character I portray, and to better avoid the more unfriendly and toxic side of this community...," the best way to present yourself is to simply be a good furry. Don't be a douchebag and you will inevitably make friends. Look for communities within the fandom that share your interests (e.g., being a bear, you might like to join my Bear Furries group on Facebook).
As for avoiding the "toxic side" of the family, that is all about the company you keep, and that means being a good judge of character, which is how you avoid toxic people in ANY community, not just the fandom. Obviously, stay away from people like the Nazi furs or others who try to make the fandom something political or exclusionary. Avoid people who try to define what furry is (in their favor) and who try to exclude others because "they aren't real furries." Also, avoid furries who only wish to have a hookup with you. These are the ones who will cause you grief.
Fortunately, most furries are kind, friendly, fun, and welcoming. This should be about fun and frolic, not about creating drama. Don't create drama, don't participate in drama (often manufactured by trolls desiring attention), and DO hang with people who simply like movies, TV shows, drawing, playing games, and having a good time. Do this and you, too, will have a good time.
Don't worry about your rep. Don't worry who likes you and who doesn't. Furry is all about being your true self. Be yourself and you will find others who want to be with you to share mutual loves and interests.
Welcome to the fandom!
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,
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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
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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.
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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.
Hi there. I’m really lost on this one.
My boyfriend and I are both in the furry fandom. He’s much more charismatic and nice than I am (though I may be biased). He has social media where he gets art pieces done, and I really want to join the fun.
I have really bad anxiety, to the point where even putting change into my wallet in the line for checkout in a shop can give me a panic attack.
I’m just scared. I know it’s a fandom where some less than stellar people, art thieves and bullies are very prominent, as I’ve been driven away from the fandom before. But I would love nothing more than to get art with my man! Any tips to overcome this and enjoy the fandom with him?
Thank you very much in advance.
- A Very Anxious Dragon
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My goodness, you do have very severe anxiety, don't you? A lot of people don't understand such anxiety, but over the last couple of years, I have had direct experience with my husband, who has PTSD and anxiety from the war (he was on the front lines). Such anxiety can be the result of many things, such as past trauma or a difficult childhood; it can also arise from certain genetic and biological factors. These are things for a doctor to diagnose and treat. Have you consulted with a doctor about your anxiety? If not, you really should. There are a number of medications that can help ease your anxiety, if not dispel it entirely, that will make it easier for you to live your life.
There are also several non-pharmacological treatments that can help. This is always where I go to Eastern advice on treatments, such as meditation and yoga or qigong and practicing mindfulness (learn the ways of the Buddha). Also, simple exercise and improvements in diet can help a lot--you would be surprised. Try to get outside and do something physical (walks help me a lot); do not eat processed foods and foods with lots of additives; try to eat fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats whenever possible. Drink herbal teas, especially tea with ginger, chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, passionflower, or a simple green tea. Caffeine can exacerbate anxiety, so try to avoid coffee and soda.
Okay, that all said, let's get back to furry interaction. I have an idea: since you are fortunate to have a furry mate with lots of experience doing stuff in the fandom, how about you work together as a team? I know a couple of furries who have Facebook and other social media pages jointly. You can have the "Dragon and Wolf" or "Dragowolf" (I'm just guessing he's a wolf, but whatever fursona he has, combine them) and start soliciting artwork together. That way, you can lean on him some to navigate through the fandom. He can still, of course, have his own pages, and when you are ready, you can go solo, too, but I think it would be really helpful to you to do this jointly until you can get into a comfort zone where you are confident enough to do stuff on your own (what a blessing to you to have a furry bf!)
And this can work in any social context because you will find "less than stellar" people everywhere, not just the furry fandom. Form some mutual friendships with you, your boyfriend, and his friends. Go out and socialize together.
Also! Lean on your fursona, your alter ego. You're a dragon, and I bet there is a very good reason you are one: you admire the strength and beauty of the fire lizard, don't you! Fursonas often represent what we wish to be. I know this is true for me and my alter ego, Grubbs Grizzly. Grubbs is much more outgoing, laid back, and chill that Kevin Hile. He is the kind of person I wish to be. So, when you are a dragon, BE a dragon. Adopt your fursona's abilities, strengths, and personality traits. Become the dragon. This can do a lot to help you with anxiety! When you go to buy art or interact with furries, do so as the dragon. Don't be "Very Anxious Dragon." Be "Bold! Powerful! Dragon"
So, that's my advice: work on managing your anxiety, partner up with your boyfriend as you venture back into the fandom, and be the dragon.
Hope that helps!
So I'm dealing with a issue lately. My parents keep on wanting me to not show my furry side of me. Its a long story but i will make it quick. My friend and I got in a huge fight over me just being a furry and my parents told me, "You can pretend to be a animal but dressing up as one has to stop." My heart just stopped for 1 sec. I just sat in my room and started to get mad because we are not animals and it's a insult. I know he did not mean to do it, but it still hurts. I really want to show him a Moms of Furries video. But I highly doubt he would watch all of it. So the only way I can seriously be a furry in any way is Zootopia. But that is what I thought...
He got on me for THAT too! Now I can't be a furry and that's not fair. Now I just want to send cool art of anthro animals to my friends but no... I CAN'T (ugh).
Hope you can help,
GlaDOS the wolf age:11
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I've been receiving more and more letters from furries like you who are under 15 years of age. Unlike older furries, who are often out on their own, have transportation, and can socialize and be independent, being a very young furry can be difficult because you are under a lot of restrictions: you don't have much, or any, money, you can't hop in a car and go to a furmeet, and your parents control what you do while you are at home (an out in the world, too). That can be very frustrating.
It is important to note, before I proceed, that most parents put various rules and restrictions on their children in an effort to protect them from harm. Some parents of furries forbid them from being furry because they have seen furry porn on the web and feel that it is a bizarre sex thing. Even if that is not the case, many parents forbid furriness because they just think "it's weird" and they are afraid of their children being bullied in school for being weird. They, like most people, are conformists--that is, they want to be "like everyone else" so that they are not rejected by society, and so they want the same for their children. "Normal" society is not imaginative, creative, or playful. "Normal" society is all about getting a college degree, getting a steady job, paying taxes, starting a family, and buying a house.
In other words, boring.
What many modern-day parents do not seem to understand is that imagination is important--especially in childhood, but also into adulthood. Imagination in childhood is exercised through play. Not the highly-organized, regimented play of, say, sports (sports are important for physical health and to learn teamwork, but not for imagination), which is so emphasized by our society, but the unstructured, creative play that is done naturally by most children until it is squashed out of their lives by parents, teachers, and peers. Pretending to be something else, role-playing, and costuming are all valid forms of play, and being furry is certainly one way of expressing this.
Furry roleplay and costuming are beneficial for a number of reasons:
Parents who forbid their kids from doing things without explaining why usually find that this has the opposite effect on their children: the child wants to do that activity more than ever before. Bad parenting is the "Do it (or don't do it) because I said so." Ask your parents to give you a reason why you can't do fursuiting. Then give them the above reasons why it is actually a good and healthy thing to do. If they are afraid of your being teased by kids, well, if you are prepared for teasing then that is not an issue. (You can also explain furry benefits to your friend with the same list above).
Remember, it is the creative people, the people who don't fit in a box, who are the most beautiful, shine the brightest, and live the loudest in this world.
Good Luck, Hon, and Bear Hugs,
I found your website by looking on google for someone to help me out with a problem that has been plaguing me for years.
For around 5 years, I have been involved in the furry community. I have a fursona, Alula, and I'm not really shy about it. No, I don't go around waving my tail in everyone's face, but I'm not ashamed of it. I treat it the same way I treat the fact that I'm Queer. If I want to talk about it, I will. If you ask me about it, I'll probably tell you unless your being a jerk.
Two weeks ago was the first day of school. As per usual, almost every teacher wanted to play some "Get-to-know-you-game." In theater, we were playing a game where you tear toilet paper and for each square you have to tell about yourself. Now, the teacher didn't tell us about the game at first, so I of course rolled out 20 or 30 squares. So I was at square 20 something and I didn't know what to say so I mentioned the fact that my fursuit is being made right now and should be sent to me soon. I told a few details about her and then I went to the next square.
Now I thought that would be the end of it. Great, a few people gave me looks of disgust. Who cares. I go to lunch two days later and see a bunch of eyes on me and hear laughing. Someone told the entire theater department that I sleep (to keep kind words) with dogs. Everyone is laughing at me and I don't know what to do. Please help.
Alula (age 16)
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First of all, congrats on your fursuit being made and I hope that you enjoy it for many years to come. Now, to the issue at hand....
Okay, so, you're in high school, which for nearly everyone is a quagmire of social drama difficult for anyone to navigate, and, to make matters worse, no one gives you an instruction manual on how to manage things such as bullying and gossip and the social strata and cliques that form. There is, as you know, the constant battle over who are the popular and cool kids and who are the losers and rejects.
But there is a big difference between a bunch of white teeth teens and those keeping it 100. You are being true to yourself, and the fact that you are descending into a world where you are getting bullied is indicative of the sus jerks who only seek membership within the schmid crowd. High school society is like a wolf pack--those who are seen as weak or different are bitten and harrassed by the dom wolves to create a hierarchy. When you are seen as different in any way, the alphas and betas leap and try to shove you into omega status. Seriously, high school is little better than a savage game of survival of the most "socially acceptable." This is a phenomenon that is learned in the schoolyards of America and then continues, sadly, into the adulting world.
So, was the above paragraph so extra coming from a 54-year-old bear? I was kind of making a point with the slang I was using. You're 16, so you likely know better than I do whether those terms were used right or not, but even if they are right, sounds lame coming from a greymuzzle, doesn't it? In the same way, you stand a risk of becoming lame if you don't stay true to yourself. Ask yourself this: Do you want to be special in this life or be just like all the other mundanes in the world--boring, nose-to-the-grindstone, paying your taxes, raising 2.3 children, and dying in an office cubicle? Or do you wish to be special, unique, and have fun in this life, which is the only life you're gonna get?
The reason why you are bothered by the cowardly whispers and giggles is that, currently, you want the approval of others; you want acceptance. That's perfectly understandable, but ask yourself whose approval do you seek? People you respect or people who just want to be part of the norm even if that means hurting others with rumors or worse? People who gossip and care about superficial things are not worthy of your concern.
The best way to deal with bullies is to take away their power by not giving a damn what they are saying because, when you consider the source, they aren't worth your time. Meanwhile, actively look for people who are good friend material. Perhaps even find some furries in school, if possible. Next, lead by example. That is, be a good person, do good deeds, show yourself to be really cool. The more awesome you are in real life, the more the whispers will fade away into inconsequential nothingness. An extreme example: imagine a rumor going about that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once had his fly open during a speech. Now compared to all the amazing things Dr. King did, who the fuck would care if he accidentally forgot to zip up one time? Similarly, if you go around doing volunteer work or doing other awesome stuff, then people who gossip about your being a furry will look foolish. Also, it will give furries a good name :-3
Make being furry cool. Then there's nothing to mock.
Remember, if bullying becomes serious, tell someone in charge at the school such as a school counselor. Tell your parents, as well, if you are bullied. It is important that you don't do this alone. But if you really need some comebacks (and ONLY do this if you are cornered and have to defend yourself) ... if you catch people gossiping about you, here are some things you can say:
Bullies and gossips are weak people. Standing up to them makes them whither away.
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.