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
* * *
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.
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.