I told my mom I was a furry, she accepted it and she let me make paws. a while after I wanted to make feet paws and I showed them to her when I was done, I mentioned that I would want to get or make a head and she mentioned the fetishes, I knew about them but I was surprised she knew, she said in not getting a head because of that reason, how do I try to tell her that a lot of other kids are in the fandom too, and that bad part is a small part of the fandom?
~Pinktail the cat (age 11)
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Sorry for my late reply. Please share this email with your mother.
Dear Pinktail's Mom,
Hi. I write a column for the furry community. I often get letters from people like your daughter. If you don't mind, I would like to speak frankly to you about the furry fandom, okay?
A little about me. I am a professional author, editor, columnist. I am 51 and divorced. No, I am not a pedophile. Yes, I am a furry (not for prurient reasons). I write the column because many young people come to me for a sympathetic ear and some advice. The column is free to write to or to read online. I do not charge people for anything I do there.
First, let me say that I think you must be a good mom. Many parents don't pay attention to what their children are doing, but you must have gone online and looked at what furries are and are concerned about your 11-year-old girl. (Please note, there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet, too.)
You are quite correct to be concerned.
You see, the furry fandom was begun in the 1970s by some science fiction and comic book fans who decided to create anthropomorphic animal characters in publications for adults with mature themes. Sometimes this involved sex and sometimes just more violence and adult themes.
Anyway, from these roots sprang the furry fandom. I am currently writing a book on the subject, but it won't be out for some time. The fandom is definitely intended, though, for people who are 18 and older. That said, it is definitely NOT true that furries are just about sex and it is NOT a sexual fetish. That is actually just a very very small part of this whole phenomenon, and if you ever go to a furry convention or other furry gathering someday to see for yourself, you'll see it is really pretty G-rated fun like going to a Star Trek convention. It is mostly online that you will see the, well, more kid-unfriendly stuff.
Now, this being said, I can see why furries appeal to young people like your daughter. You see, kids love stuff like Bugs Bunny and Zootopia and Kung Fu Panda and those are all very furry things (fiction about anthropomorphic animals). And they get excited about it and want to perhaps draw furry characters or, like your daughter, make a fursuit. While I will say that you are correct that it is far too early for your daughter to become deeply involved with the fandom, I would like to ask you not to discourage her creative imagination. Just because she wants to make a fursuit head doesn't mean she is going to watch porn online (please do, as all parents should, monitor your daughter's online behavior). Making a costume can be lots of fun, just like making a Halloween costume or dressing up as a hobbit or a Doctor Who character.
Imagination and creativity are good things, I think you will agree. Instead of taking the easy way out and just forbidding your daughter to pursue an interest she has, get more involved with her interest (indeed, often, when parents forbid their kids from doing something it can cause them to be very resentful and hurt your relationship with them). Ask her why she wants to dress up as an animal. Help her to have fun with it. There are many ways to enjoy such things that have absolutely nothing to do with the adult aspects of the fandom. There are a lot of good books for young people (e.g., the Redwall series by Brian Jacques) and fun Disney and Pixar movies you can both enjoy sharing.
Your daughter's interests can also encourage her to develop some artistic and practical skills, such as drawing and sewing and maybe even animation and filmmaking (potentially lucrative careers in the real world). You know, there are even people involved in these things who are not furries. For example, the woman who sewed my bear costume is not a furry; she just likes making costumes. I'm about to wear it at a parade in Pasadena. It's fun!
So, just some friendly advice, and I hope you don't mind. I would not presume to tell you how to parent. I am just sharing my thoughts with you, and thank you for reading all of this.
Good luck to both you and your daughter.
Papabear (Kevin Hile)
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