Thank you for reading this letter. I am a male furry. I discovered the furry fandom a few years ago, and I dream of having a fursuit. I currently have two fursonas, and that is precisely where my problem resides.
My main fursona is a male, but my secondary fursona is a female. I know that this is something that most furries dislike, some even going to the point of calling people who dress in a fursuit of the opposite gender "trolls." I also live with a family with a very conservative lifestyle, which is completely against gay, bisexual and transgender people.
However, I am not transgender, nor gay, nor bisexual. I am happy with my male body, and I am more than certainly attracted to members of the opposite sex. But sometimes I feel like there are certain things I can't express as a male. That is one of the reasons why I created a female character. But I am afraid of the impression that others furries might get. I am also afraid of going to a convention and being mocked because of my fursuit. Due to my family, the simple act of being here, considering the mere idea of using a female fursuit makes me feel like a criminal.
So, my question is the following: Should I commission the creation of my female fursuit despite what other furries might think?
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Thanks so much for your letter, and what a great question! To start, let me state that anyone calling you a “troll” for dressing as a female furry doesn’t understand what a troll is, and, in fact, THEY are the ones acting like trolls! A “troll” is someone who deliberately attacks, flames, causes arguments, and otherwise upsets people for no good reason (some nasty people get their rocks off by hurting others; it helps them forget what miserable people they themselves are). This is usually applied to Internet behavior, but I think it could apply anywhere. You, my furiend, are not being a troll.
The reason why your letter is so great is it allows me to clear the air on the social standard inanities of American society. The more cobwebs and dust gather in my fur, the more I shake my shaggy ursine head at a society that insists on imposing standards of appearance and sexual behavior on its members to the detriment of their pursuit of happiness. I begin with an exasperated “Puh-HUH!” at people who criticize what you wear in a fandom known for dressing up as animals in public. I believe that’s called “irony.” But, you see, what happens is that every clique within society sets up its own standards that, while unacceptable to those outside the clique, must be adhered to by those within (at least, it does for those with limited mental capacities). So, you find yourself in a furry fandom clique that says it’s okay to dress up as, say, a male husky, as long as you are male, but it is not okay to dress as a female with long eyelashes and perhaps some lipstick if you are male underneath the fursuit.
The hypocrisy of this attitude is epic.
Such judgmental people should be made to understand that they are treating you the same way that “mundanes” treat them, and that their criticism of you is just as heinous and mean-spirited as when a non-furry calls a furry a “freak” or “furvert” (and I’ve heard that many times). That makes these judgmental furs just as bad as the people they themselves criticize for not accepting them.
For Papabear, one of the central points of enjoyment of being a furry is being allowed to explore other aspects of yourself. In our case, that is primarily our animal and animal-spirit side, but it also allows us to explore our sexual side, including gender roles, in fun and creative ways. Perhaps that is a reason so many LGBT people are drawn to the fandom. The standards we hold in society for how men should dress and how women should dress are artificial, made to reinforce society’s expectations of us. Like donning a military uniform as a way to psychologically condition us into conformity, men dress in masculine attire because society says that should be our role, and women the opposite. When someone breaks out of that standard, such as an effeminate gay man or a cross dresser, he is criticized and rejected because he is challenging society and must be beaten down into submission. As with the cross dresser, however, an outfit does not a gay man make.
In fact, your letter reminds me of one I responded to back in March: http://www.askpapabear.com/1/post/2013/03/how-to-explain-youre-a-woman-with-a-male-fursona.html. In that case, it was a woman who, although she was happy being a woman, her fursona was male. She was exploring that side of her personality. If we were to be honest with ourselves and could block out all the voices in our heads that come from parents, other elders, church leaders, etc., and allowed ourselves to be who we really are, we would see that we all have things we enjoy, preferences in life, that can be considered both “masculine” and “feminine.” For instance, just because you are a man who likes watching football, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fragrant bubble bath by candlelight. Or, on the other paw, you might be a woman who loves pretty pink dresses and floral bed sheets, but you also like to go mountain biking and are a helicopter mechanic in the National Guard.
People need to get over stereotypes. And that includes furries.
I love how you said, “I feel like there are certain things I can't express as a male.” That is so spot on, and I’m glad you realize it. It means that you have wisely recognized that society is trying to define and limit who you are, but you have discovered that exploring things considered “feminine” is a way to more fully express yourself. Bravo!
Now, as for this fear of what others will say. Two words: screw them. Ninety percent of the misery in our lives is born by the fear of what others will say about us. That is because we are social animals and crave the approval of others, a phenomenon that begins in infancy when we want our parents’ approval and continues on throughout our lives. That is what you are clearly feeling with your family, but ideally it should not be a factor within the fandom, an “outsider” society that should be inclusionary and not exclusionary. It disappoints Papabear that you have come across this attitude among furries and makes my bruin side want to kick some furry butt.
Please pardon Papabear for the long-winded answer. In short, to respond to your question, please DO commission a female fursuit. Why? Because that is what you want and it will make you happy. You are not hurting anyone by doing it, and you should not respect the opinions of people who reject you because they are sheep who only understand what is dictated to them when it comes to how people dress and behave.
There are two types of people in the world, C-Ratchet: those who are asleep and those who are awake. Those who are asleep go about their lives, doing what is expected of them, doing what their peers say they should do, being part of the crowd. I am beginning to wonder, in fact, if the furry fandom has become too successful, too large, and is becoming the very thing it rejected about society at large.
Be one of the people who is awake. Be self-aware. Recognize that most of what society tells you is right and wrong is utter bullshit. Reconstruct your worldview. There are only three things you need to remember to be happy in life:
You only have one life. It’s very short. Live it as you see fit.
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.