I've recently come out in my real-life as a trans man, and while not facing complete acceptance, it's going well enough that I am being accepted as a man by at the very least my friends. That's not why I'm here.
Now that I am being viewed as a man in the furry fandom as well, I've come to notice the treatment I got as a woman, which I originally assumed to just be infuriating quirks of less-than-stellar people in this fandom, were examples of misogyny--I don't have these problems if perceived to be a man. As someone long active in feminist circles, I recognize that I am now inheriting Male Privilege--and it's a daunting prospect. How can I continue my transition without grabbing handfuls of this privilege and, by extension, pissing on the women of the furry fandom?
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Wow, what an awesome opportunity this is to get a rare and insightful look at the division of the sexes within the fandom. You are not the first furry to point out to me that females are sometimes treated differently than males within the fandom. It is a fact that there are fewer women in the fandom than men, and that most of these men are in their teens and twenties. A lot of them are gay, too, but that really shouldn’t matter when it comes to treating women with respect.
There are some female furry groups out there, like https://www.facebook.com/FemaleFurries on FB and http://furry4life.org/group/femalefurs on F4L, but both of those groups have fewer than 200 members apiece.
I really think it’s time this topic got more discussion. Perhaps have regular panels at conventions about female furries and the issues they might face in the fandom. Maybe some of my femmefur readers can chime in here on the topic, and I brought it up, too, to my friends at FurMedia and they said they would do a show on the subject.
To address your question more directly, I would first of all say that I think “misogyny” is a bit too harsh of a term. I don’t think male furries hate females, I think it is more a case of many of them being awkward and shy around females (the younger ones, mostly, but some older ones too, I hear). Now, you may have garnered some “male privilege” since your change, but you don’t have to use that in a negative sense. You have a remarkable opportunity here to be a liaison between the sexes in the fandom because you understand what it is like to straddle the gender gap. If you take on a role of advocate of female furries, you certainly won’t piss them off; I would think they’d appreciate it.
Try joining some women’s groups, like maybe the ones mentioned above, or maybe even create your own, and start a dialogue with the ladies of the fandom. I think that would be terrific, and it sounds like it is needed.
1/13/2013 03:49:06 am
Now that is very sound advice.
1/13/2013 05:22:59 pm
Perhaps I'm just misunderstanding, or perhaps I truly have had a different experience in this regard. As a female hanging around people in the fandom, I've noticed myself and other females being treated as if we're just there to be hit on and respond in kind. I see more and more profile pages of women being edited to include big bold warnings about not flirting with them, or using their characters in sexual art, or other similar things, because it's become such an affliction. The few "shy" males are the easiest to befriend, since they seem to understand this request and don't bother us ladies that way; they just become friends and that's all that some of us want. It's the other males, the more social and forward ones, who flirt and get all grabby, even with perfect strangers, and then get REALLY irritated, and even hostile when the female doesn't appreciate or reciprocate his advances. It's just so strange to me.
1/14/2013 12:28:31 am
Very good advice! I must note that in the last few years I have seen the amount of women in the fandom 10 fold. At cons the general consensus is that most fursuiters/furries are male, but I am seeing a lot more female fursuiters and furries in general at cons. At fur meets I see an equal number of females to males. I also do not see the problems that many claim to have about males 'assuming the women are there to be hit on.'
6/21/2013 01:45:21 am
That's great news, Snow! Over the last 10-15 years the fandom has changed by leaps and bounds. I am hopeful you are correct and we are seeing an evening out of the gender distribution. The more diverse we are the better! Hugs!
Well I think people are also just assuming all fursuiters are males. Have they actually approached a fursuiter to ask if they were male or female? There are a LOT of female fursuiters who have male characters. Kwik, Step (suited by Rei Meerkat) are a few I can think of. Just because the fursuit is a male character does not always mean it is a male inside the suit. You also cannot assume all characters are male. My fursona is a white wolf, and is more of a realistic suit. Most call me a "he" unless they were to speak to me directly: "oh look how cute he is!" "Want a photo with him?" Granted I am only 5'6 but in suit the feminine body parts do not show, per se. My character IS female (she's a female wolf) but she does not have "feminine body parts" on her suit. But just because my suit 'doesn't have boobs' does not mean my character/suit is male, and even if it was, it does not mean I myself am male. Some people have fun with fursuiting and acting as a character of a different sex. I know plenty that also have multiple fursonas, or may have both a male and female version of their character.
6/21/2013 09:41:37 am
No arguments from me on anything you have said here. I also do agree that the majority of really good fursuit makers are women. That is kind of the result of gender roles in our society in which young girls are more likely to be taught by their moms how to sew rather than young boys. The farthest I got was latchhooking LOL.
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