Have you ever wondered about how the future of this fandom and community will go? Naturally, I probably get mixed and very complicated feelings about it, especially when looking at it from a retrospective, a la historically & even demographically. Certainly, other parts of the world expand, and that can go for the same for furries, right? Whether it's obviously online, or actual evolution in the real world, much of it has been propelled with its arts.
Now, I'm a rising professional Illustrator, and I also have a very close knack with my painting skills (there is however a difference between an expert and a master though), but this certainly does hold well with furries also loving video games since it is a big form of art. Computers, science, and art go hand-in-hand these days so I can only wonder what kinds of new ideas would come about directly for the community.
If fursuits have established being able to wear an aesthetic, functional character to portray as, alongside furry cons, what if there were established living complexes, or perhaps stores, parks, & restaurants exclusive to that? Granted, it has been loosely looking like that especially with furries living with and amongst each other, but imagine how more concrete their roles would be in combination to their creative living.
Anyway, there's nothing too concerning from my side, but it does foster a grand set of foods for thought. Not like I'm trying to help making a furry nation come true, as way-out-there as that sounds, but I do think about these things from a more analytical & chronological point of view. Heck, here's an intriguing question for you: What was the fandom like in the '70s, '80s, & '90s?
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Yours is a question that has been of increasing concern in the furry community these days. There are two main reasons for this: 1) the Old Guard--the furries who started the modern fandom in the 1980s--are getting old and being replaced by younger furries with no connection to or understanding of the fandom's roots; and 2) the community has grown from a few dozen to tens of thousands all across the globe, making any kind of cohesion problematic.
I've heard people propose an idea such as yours before—forming furry communities. That's no more viable, though, than having a Trekkie or Whovian community. People don't form communities based on interests (hippie communes of the 1960s might have inspired this idea, but they don't last); they form based on shared religions, ethnicities, nationalities. Furries are far too diverse a group to live together in a cooperative. Even if they did, not really sure what the point would be, so let's just table that idea.
Instead, let's address where furries are going as a more intriguing mental exercise. There are some interesting trends I see in development right now, including:
So, the growth of the fandom means that it will be seen less and less as being an underground phenomenon and more as a mainstream one. That's both good and bad, really. Good in that it will become more accepted, but bad in that money tends to poison the free spirit of a fandom.
Growth poses another problem, however, one that raised its nasty head at a couple of conventions recently, including Rainfurest and Rocky Mountain Furcon: Because there are so many furries now, there is also an increase in the number of people who are furry for the wrong reason. Bad eggs. These are immature little twits who do things such as destroy hotel property because they do not behave well without parental supervision. This is an issue that is probably being discussed at Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable meetings. Let's hope they come up with some proposals and suggestions for furcon organizers to prevent problems caused by furries themselves. I'd still like to see some kind of formal, worldwide furry association form (I tried to do this a while ago, but simply didn't have the time it required to pull it off) that would help bring furries together.
Another area of influence is technology. If you think the Internet and social media are an influence now, just wait for the next 10-15 years. Virtual reality will begin projecting itself into reality, which is going to offer an alternative to fursuiting in the form of retinal projections. Think of it as an advance in Pokemon Go. Furries will wear transponders that can send information to other people wearing them as well. Each person programs an avatar into their transponder so that people looking at them and wearing a special headset will see the furry as they wish to be seen. That is, the avatar image is projected into the other person's eyes and overlays the first person's body. Voilá! Virtual fursuiting.
Will this make fursuits obsolete? Not at all. As with any other new technology, it will add another option for people. Fursuits themselves may improve with the development of new, cooler fibers, new building materials, cheaper and easier to assemble electronics and pneumatic controls. Meanwhile, virtual reality at home on the computer will improve, making online roleplay and gaming more realistic, especially with the future addition of adding tactile stimulation.
As such technologies develop, they might afford furries employment opportunities beyond gaming and the arts, though mostly in the field of technology.
In short, the furry fandom is experiencing growing pains, and with growing pains come both challenges and opportunities. How those are met will depend entirely on the members of the community.
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