I've been feeling a little disenfranchised with the Furry Community of late.
I have long defended it, stating that the stereotypes aren't the majority. But recently I summoned up some guts to go to a local furmeet and each of the individuals there were so bizarre, so maladjusted, so stereotype-encompassing that I haven't gone back since.
But not because they freaked me out, mind you...
When I told the story of how I became a furry, it revolved around meeting my spirit animal in person on the bank of a river in Yosemite. Instead of accepting me, they seemed weirded out, saying that they got into it from watching cartoons or comics.
I don't make a habit of passing judgment, but they seemed in a hurry to pass it on me.
Any advice would be welcome...
Zucca (age 28)
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What a pretty part of the state you live in. Do you ever visit Morro Bay? But on to your question....
While I, like you, don’t like stereotypes, it is fair to say that the vast majority of furries are younger people—teens and twenties—who got into it through their love of cartoon characters. It might surprise some readers that Papabear does not watch cartoons, unless I catch an old (not new!) Bugs Bunny short, and I love feature films, and I also do not care for anime (I have blasphemed!) That doesn’t make me any less of a furry, however.
The modern fandom was actually started by a small group of science fiction fans, not cartoon addicts. The Skiltaire of Prancing Skiltaire fame that was created by Mark Merlino, one of the founders of the modern fandom, is a character who was featured in a series of science fiction stories.
Since the emergence of the modern fandom (and I call it that because furry anthro beings date back to ancient times) the definition of furries has been complicated by rampant growth and diversification. This, I only just discovered in the last couple of years, has made it pretty nigh impossible to place furries under one umbrella, as I tried unsuccessfully to do under the failed American Furry Association.
The other problem—as I see it—with the current fandom is that it has become very cliquish. I have run into the same thing you have in my attempts to socialize at the Prancing Skiltaire and Lake Murray Furry Anthro Outings. People tend to form their own little social groups and it is pretty impossible to join one that has already formed. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with the cliques. It’s actually a good thing that these young furries, who have typically been ostracized by other parts of society—school, family—have found a home of like-minded people in the fandom. They form smaller, tight-knit groups because that falls into their comfort zones, and many of them create strong friendships. Super!
But I don’t go to PS parties any more for the same reason that younger furs do go, and I only go to LMFAO (great acronym) when I have the time and know some of my San Diego friends are attending.
At 28, you are already nearing what many would call the “greymuzzle” stage (or, as those who are insulted by the insinuation of old age, elderfur). You are becoming—or are already—mature, and you have also found deeper meaning about your animal connection than many younger furs, who often seem to see it as some kind of fashion statement or expression of rebellion.
For me, the solution has been to give up trying to “recapture my youth” by connecting to young furs and, instead, connecting to people more like myself and, also, connecting to people on an individual basis who share my interests. For instance, I formed the Greymuzzle group on Facebook, which has grown to 700 happy older furry members. I also have a growing group of bear furry friends, who also tend to be older furs.
You need to do the same. Seek out furries who, like you, are into the spiritual aspect of our complex fandom. Some places you can start include:
If you are interested in totems, I found this informative site http://discoveryourenergy.blogspot.com/ where you can search for your particular animal.
Anyway, to sum up this long-winded reply to your letter (I tend to get verbose when I get an interesting question to answer), you can still hang out with furries in the fandom, but you need to seek out those who are more like yourself. I can save you a lot of time (I wasted years) trying to connect to younger furs into cartoons and videogames by telling you that you are, indeed, wasting your time. Let them have their own world, which is fine for them, and find people (like me) who are more connected to the spiritual aspect of the fandom.
Hope that helps!
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