I appreciate your time to read my question here.
I'm a rather young furry at the age of 10 years old, I've been in the fandom since I was about 6, most of the years having not heard of the fandom itself.
Looking back, I have seemed to have a second self / fursona for a while, developing as I go. I'm into fursuits and the good side of the furry life, and hope to own a fursuit myself sometime.
Onto my problem here, I'm having a hard time explaining to anyone I'm a part of this fandom. They always say things along the lines of, “You don't draw anything but dogs!” or “It's in the name, Dog Collar.” I've had a habit of wearing an old dog collar, and feature it on my sona. It means a lot, but I haven't really told anyone. My sister, at 14 years, knows I'm into the fandom, but doesn't get the subject itself.
I'm worried if I tell my Mom / relatives, she will get the wrong idea, thinking I'm into some adult subjects at a young age. She's seen me browse through fursuit images and all, but I only got “Ah, you’re a funny child,” in the nicest way, of course.
I don't have much self-confidence, so if I were to become a fursuiter, an entertainer like I've hoped to become, I think it'd raise my esteem and social ability.
The one thing I need help with is how exactly do I explain the whole fandom to my family, and the idea of having a fursona and fursuit? Any help is highly appreciated.
Thank you. c:
* * *
Papabear gets questions like yours all the time, and lately I have been referring writers who ask about “coming out furry” to read through past articles I have written here. But occasionally I like to re-address the subject as I come up with new ways to talk about it. Before I do, a couple notes about your letter....
It’s always nice to hear from very young cubs like you, and I hope that when you “grow up” you stay furry always; not everyfur does. I also hope that you get a fursuit some day. Now Papabear, being an American Grizzly, isn’t too familiar with furry life across the Pond, so I’m a little puzzled about the apparent complaints that you draw only dogs. Canines are the most popular furry species here in the Colonies, but perhaps not in the U.K.? It’s a silly criticism. Draw what you like and don’t worry if it doesn’t please others. You draw to please yourself. And if you like to wear a dog collar because it has special meaning to you, then by all means do so. That’s a great reason to wear one.
Now, about telling your mom about this: first off, she sounds like a kind and loving woman, so that’s great news. She already knows you dabble in this stuff and, though she finds it a bit quirky, perhaps, she seems indulgent in your uniqueness.
Since you have a rather sympathetic parent, it shouldn’t be too hard to talk about this, but you need to do so in terms she’ll understand. When it comes to fursuiting, compare it to how kids dress up for Halloween. It’s fun to pretend to be someone or something else and just exercise your imagination. You can also note that people dress up as animals to be sport mascots, or dress up as characters from Dr. Who or Star Trek or Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter to go to conventions. You can also talk about beloved children’s books involving talking animals, such as Paddington Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, Stuart Little, and all the wonderful characters in books like Charlotte’s Web and The Wind in the Willows. People have long loved stories with animal characters in them, and being a furry is like bringing these characters to life, and more! You’re not just imitating a character some other author created, you are imagining your own fursona!
Then tell her how you’ve discovered there are a lot of people like you who enjoy imagining themselves as animal characters and that it’s fun to join in the furry fandom and talk with them.
I like how you note you were a furry before knowing about the fandom. I was the same way. But the “fandom” is not a real entity that people “join.” It is just a word that is used to describe all the people out there who share an interest in anthropomorphic animals. It’s not a cult, it’s not a club, it’s not an association, it’s not a religion, and it’s not any type of formal society. You don’t get recruited, you don’t convert to being furry, and you don’t pay membership dues. Therefore, it is not something that someone—even a parent—can “forbid” you to do because it is a part of you. So, be heartened that you will always be a furry, even if your mom or someone says you can’t be.
If for some reason, Mom goes on the Internet and finds you-know-what online, just explain to her that, like anything else, there is adult stuff and then there is G stuff. For example, if you look you can find Disney movie pornography; would she therefore forbid you to watch Frozen? (Rule 34: if it exists, there is porn made about it). You’re a kid and have absolutely no interest in the naughty bits. If your mom is nervous about that, invite her willingly to observe everything you do with the fandom and show you have nothing to hide. The best way to ease a parent’s anxiety is to be completely open and honest about your life. It sounds like you and Mom have a good relationship, so this should not pose any difficulty for you.
I hope that helps, Rajiko.
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.