[Papabear notes: This is the first time I have done this, but a recent comment on one of the letters in this column was so well-thought-out and well-written, and it touches on such an important subject for furries, that I am making it today's feature letter.]
I'm silently following your site since, I believe a couple years, and even considered writing to you once on my behalf and once on one of my friend's, thought, never got to it in the end. Although, I always find your stance and well thought answers to be heart warming and enlightening.
Today, I hope you won't be too bothered by the fact that I'm not entirely agreeing with your own point of view, even if the subject doesn't directly concern me, I did asked myself those questions before, and would like to share my own thoughts.
First, I want to point that I'm in fact not at all into babyfurs and that the arts falling in this category totally irks me.
I never really thought deeply about the right or wrong of this subject before a big pro-con babyfur/cubporn bloodwar exploded on one very well known site of our community. And as the great separation took place and raged everywhere around me, I actually took the time to read and think about a lot of arguments between the protagonists.
In the end, and to save time, I do believe our community is stigmatizing a minority within a minority. If you take a step back, Yes, child abuse IS extremely wrong. I'm all against child abuse, and I do believe it should be severely punished, but here, we're talking about either art depicting those, or people pretending it to happen during their sexual intercourses or role play, when it really involve two consenting adults. If we assume this shouldn't be depicted, written or talked about, then the same should go with rape, murder, gore and stuff like that.
As horrible as child abuse can be, I don't feel like being raped in a dark cave, then having one's throat slit open and left to die in a dark alley is excusable as well in real life. This is not a less horrible situation, and yet, it is one which our community seems to sit with much better.
None of those appeal to me, but to compare to a subject I know a bit better, I am myself turned on by hypnosis and mind control. Both the playful and more aggressive and dark one. Most people wouldn't blink an eye at my fantasies, but if we go back to real life, how twisted can it become, to have someone sensory deprived, conditioned and reinforced until he/she's just a mindless slave ? Suddenly, my fantasy isn't that fun anymore.
Now, I see in the end of your answer, and just like many others, you explain how child abuse is horrible in real life, and really, it is. But, unless mistaken, I believe we where talking about the imaginary part of this, be it playful, or indeed, quite naughty.
To me, in this debate, almost each time it appears anywhere, we're entirely missing the point, and are associating each person getting turned on by this with a real life pedophile. Which would make any people getting off on gore a real time murderer, every feral fan a real time zoophile, and so on. It would make me a real life criminal as well.
The way I see things, we don't chose what arouses us, and depending on too many factors for us to even keep track or realize, we end up with the qualities and quirks and well, kinks we have.
To me, the real question, the heart of the problem is how responsible we are. Keeping our fantasies separate from the real life, you can't punish someone for being aroused by animals, rape, murder, violence, blood, sickness or children, as disgusted as you can be at the idea. But we, humans or fur in heart are not creature entirely made of black or white. What matters for real is being able to keep ourselves in check. Judging or banning those only fantasizing about it, well, that will not prevent some of those having this interest to one day commit the irreparable, because yes, that will happen, just like some fantasizing about rape or murder will one day act on those. Or some having the same interest as me ending up using alcohol or drugs to rip a non existing consent to a weakened victim. And that's what matters in the end.
I actually believe being able to talk about it and share might even give some of the weaker ones the steam off needed to never fall that low. Some form of catharsis if you see what I mean.
Anyway, this was a terribly long response, and I apologize for taking the time to comment here only to state a different opinion, but this is a subject I got plenty of time and occasion to think about and I felt it was relevant to be shared. thanks for those managing to read all of this, and my sincere salutations to you, papa bear!
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My Dear Howard,
Thank you so much for your letter. First of all, it reinforces my policy that welcomes dissent on this website. People who write in countering something I’ve said provoke lively and thoughtful debate, which is useful for everyone concerned, including readers of this column and yours truly.
Let’s just start by saying that, even if you might not think so, I agree with everything you have said in your letter. I think you might have misunderstood me somewhat—or, perhaps, I didn’t make myself clear—thinking that I believe babyfurs are all mentally troubled somehow. I did note that, for the most part, babyfurs enjoy the innocence of depictions of very young furs in art, and I could also understand how some adults would find wearing diapers a kind of psychologically and emotionally comforting practice.
Then I also noted, however, that some people who are into this do have a serious problem that can only be called pedophilia and that pedophilia is wrong—to which you agreed.
In your argument, you say that there are furries (and people in general) who find depictions of young children having sex with each other or being sexually molested by adults to be cathartic, releasing their own desires so that they do not commit these acts in real life. I think the jury is still out on that one. In my opinion, that can go one of two ways: either the way you say, in which it calms the person with such desires; or, just the opposite, it feeds their lust and they begin to become dissatisfied with just watching these things online and want it in real life. We have to be very careful here, as the human mind is an unpredictable thing.
Furthermore, you note that if X-rated babyfur art should be considered bad, then so should depictions of rape, murder, etc. I agree, mostly. These are all the same kind of pornography. People find such images stimulating or cathartic for various psychological and emotional reasons too lengthy to go into great detail here because each case is different. Briefly, though, some people might get off on violent scenes because they have anger issues, but sometimes it might be for the same reason that people enjoy horror films—the adrenaline rush combined with the knowledge that one is safe and sound. As for fantasies of being raped or hypnotized or being made a slave, these fantasies have to do with control issues. Specifically, people who are stressed and burdened with the chores and responsibilities of everyday life fantasize about giving up all control, including body and mind, to someone else. This can, in fact, be quite therapeutic.
But what we are getting into here is a very core issue that is extremely relevant in our digital and virtual reality modern life: how do we separate fantasy from reality? Or, even, should we separate them?
One should avoid the potential trap here of the reductio ad absurdum that the oh-so-ridiculous Pat Robertson committed when he recently asserted that videogamers who shoot and kill characters in a game are literally guilty of murder (see http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/08/07/pat-robertson-murder-committed-in-video-games-is-no-different-than-real-life-murder/). That’s just imbecilic. Similarly, furries who fantasize about acts that would be considered sex crimes if they were committed in real life are not actually guilty of a crime. Papabear has participated in things in role play and such that I would never, ever do in real life. (And, as I noted in the original letter, the law says that artistic depictions of such acts—in other words, not showing real people—is not a crime).
It all comes down to who the person is tapping away at the keyboard and gripping the mouse. Are they emotionally and psychologically stable, or are they a bit off-kilter, vulnerable to the stimulations they see on the computer screen? As you said, “To me, the real question, the heart of the problem is how responsible we are.” Well put.
This is something we all need to be aware of. The people who should be responsible are not only the ones viewing the art but also the ones creating it. I’m not saying we should ban or censor babyfur art (I am completely against censoring the arts), but we should be cognizant of the potential effects of what we do, just as with everything else in life. We do not operate in isolation. Everything we do has the potential to affect other people in either positive or negative ways. We should all keep that in mind.
Perhaps that is the main lesson here for all my readers.
Thanks again, Howard!
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.