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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The fur’s on you

    You won’t get a definitive answer if you ask the average UA student about furries.

    “”I would never be for that,”” said Sharice Frank, a veterinary science freshman.

    Civil engineering freshman Eric Sipe was more enthusiastic.

    “”I would be pretty pumped, I’m not gonna lie, if I ever met one,”” Sipe said.

    And insect science graduate student Bodil Cass said it seemed like a weird American phenomenon.

    “”I don’t think that would happen in Australia,”” the international student said.

    Dr. Samuel Conway is happy to enlighten.

    “”I have had people look at me and they say ‘well, you’re a successful scientist, a published author, how can you be a furry?’ And my answer to that is why wouldn’t I be?””

    Conway is the CEO of Anthrocon, the biggest furry convention in the U.S. With about 3,500 attendees, furry culture has a lot of followers. But it’s a community with an image problem.

    Furries are often portrayed by media coverage as interested purely in the sex – sex in animal suits.

    Conway knows why that is. The first furry convention, Confurrance, which was in California in 1989, was advertised so that furries got a hyper-sexualized reputation they haven’t been able to shake.

    “”For reasons I do not know and I will not speculate, (the organizers) made the decision that in order to promote their event and to increase membership and or revenue, the way to promote the event was as a giant wild, orgasmic sexual fetish party . . . they actually encouraged outlandish behavior, they advertised the convention very, very vigorously amongst the senior fetish communities of the other side of the tracks in the city, and of course as that element came in, that was the face Furrydom got,”” Conway said. “”And first impressions tend to stick.””

    In reality, most furries are folk with an affinity for animals who adopt alternate personalities, or “”fursonas”” – animals that portray their personalities closely. Some furries even adhere to Therianthropy.

    “”It’s kind of shamanistic belief that the person was born into the wrong body,”” said Blake Loder of Alberta, Canada, who administrates the Anthrocon group on Facebook. “”Like say a person being born with the soul of a wolf instead of the soul of a human.””

    A simple animal costume will do, but furries with deep pockets spend thousands on animal suits similar to mascot suits.

    “”To take you now 10 years into the future, Confurrance died, it shriveled up and faded away years ago, and Anthrocon has almost 3,500 attendees now,”” Conway said. “”So that was what furry fans wanted, what they wanted to go to, damn it! We just want a furry convention, we don’t want to go to a big sex party.””

    Many furries would try their hands at convincing you that furries have been around for some time. What about the Egyptians? Anthropomorphizing animals with human features has followed the human race through history. And dog strollers? People who own dog strollers are unwitting participants in furson culture.

    Whether you’re for or against furries, you can at least appreciate the outlook some UA students have on the culture. Take economics senior Scott Fry, for example.

    “”Do you think there is anyone who dresses up as a duck-billed platypus and can’t determine if they’re actually furries or not?”” Fry said. “”Because they are not really mammals . . . that would be one for the anthropologists.””

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