I wanna ask how to deal with gatekeeping within the fandom and how to improve despite their differences?
For context, I have a friend who's in college and we started to chat and sharing everything since the pandemic. The problem my friend has is that he doesn't live in one of the biggest cities in Colombia but in a tourist one. That's why most of the fandom have (not everyone) start to mocking some regions, including my friend's city, with terrible jokes.
Despite I lived in the capital city (Bogotá) where concentrates the most part of the fandom, I can't believe the hipocrisy of some people, causing a lot of drama and splits to show which side of the furry fandom is the best; including the popfurs and meetups. And this bothers me when I read what happened in the past.
The funny part is I open the conversation in a group where I'm part of by typing "Hey, Divas! What's up?" to see what are the reactions.
At first, I thought that the Colombian furry fandom was open and welcomed, until I realized the live in their own bubbles. And maybe it can happen in other countries as well.
What do you think?
Gabbo the Fox (Colombia; age 30)
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Sorry for the late reply. What you're experiencing in Colombia is something that happens in fandom groups across the world. It is human nature, sadly, for hierarchies to form in social groups. While in the broad, big-picture view of the fandom, it is true that the furry fandom will accept anyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or nationality, but it is also true that this is often not the case in small meetup groups.
Why does this happen?
Simply put, it's because certain people are not happy unless they are dominating others. There are a number of reasons for this such as overcompensating for low self-esteem or because the only way they feel safe in a group is if they can control all the other members. And the best way to dominate others is to put those other people down. You can do this by mocking certain attributes (it doesn't matter what attribute so long as it can be labeled as "other" or "unacceptable.") or by gatekeeping in which the dominant person declares that certain people do not meet the requirements to be "true" to their type, whether that means you are a muggle or not a true furry.
While there is such a thing as a true leader, one who assumes the post because they are smarter or stronger or more experienced and wish to use these skills to lead their group to success and happiness, such people are typically found in times of crisis (for example, FDR during the Depression and World War II, or, closer to your home, Simón Bolívar). But when there is no crisis and the only purpose of a group is to socialize, then true leaders are not really required and what you get instead are popufurs and prima donnas. This is true whether you are in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Colombia.
You are 100% correct that these furry social groups "live in their own bubbles." This is the reason for the social dynamic you have witnessed and why the leaders of such groups are typically jackasses (often--not always, but often). I hear stories like yours all the time. It's very petty and small. And it can definitely turn one off being a furry.
Don't you let it. You're furry, I assume, because you love anthro animal characters in stories and art. Don't let others take that love away from you just because they're derps. Recognize that the ones treating you like this are most likely furries with very low confidence levels who are, basically, bullies trying to gain undeserved attention and admiration.
How do you deal with it? Once you recognize these people for what they are, I have found that their personal attacks bounce right off me like bullets off of Superman's chest. Personal attacks on your character don't sting at all if you do not respect the people who are dishing it out. (My usual response to people trying to hurt my feelings is, "Ooh, ouch! That would really hurt if I cared about your opinion.")
Once people realize you cannot be hurt by their attacks, they, like all bullies, usually get bored and stop attacking you.
In short, be cool. Be calm. Be Zen. Be Bear. Bears don't take no shit from nobody, and neither should you. And they look cute doing it, too.
Hope this helps.
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