J. Brad Hicks (bradhicks) wrote,
J. Brad Hicks

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Lay Off the Furries, OK?

OK, I'm used to there being a backlash in science fiction fandom when any one subculture starts to get really visible, but I'm getting really tired of furry-bashing. Can everybody just lay off of the furries, for a while? Even on the rare occasions that you come up with something fair, something cute, something that hasn't been said to death, you're still flicking a nerve. Because what you're doing is having another joke at the expense of a group of people who aren't hurting anyone, and who've been fed a non-stop stream of abuse. And no matter how clever your retort is, it's being heaped on top of an awful lot of less cute retorts. And no matter how clever you think your retort is, the odds that you've come up with a new one are pretty low. I should know. I'm not even a furry, I'm just a guy who wears horns. And in case you haven't done so yet and were just waiting for the opportunity, let me tell you right now that you aren't going to be the first person to tell me that I "look horny." Nor the hundredth. Nor the thousandth. Maybe the ten thousandth I suppose, but I assure you I lost track a long time ago. That joke was only barely slightly clever the first time I heard it. By the end of the first day of wearing horns as my schtick, the joke was already tired. Now it just ticks me off. And if that's how I feel as an Infernal-American, as an American of infernal descent, I can't even imagine how your average furry gets through the day.

Anthropomorphics artists and their fans aren't hurting anyone. Yes, it's a somewhat tired artistic genre now, something of a cliche. But you can say that about a lot of things. But no, what's got you creeped out (if you are) is that you think that when an artist draws a sexy looking woman (or man) with an emotionally expressive tail, animal ears, and a face that has a perceptible muzzle, you think that what the artist is fantasizing about is bestiality, and you couldn't be more wrong. When talking animals, or any animals with human-like characteristics, appear in literature, anybody with any sense knows that we're no longer talking about animals. We're talking about human beings, where the animal shape (however represented) is used as a symbolism, as what Reed Waller called a shorthand, for their personality. In a culture that portrays bulls as forceful and brutal, a man drawn as bull-like isn't an animal, he's just a bullish human being. It's just a convention of comics, it doesn't mean anything. Once in a rare while, some artist or other takes the metaphor one step further, and uses the animal shapes to talk about non-human aliens. But still, when those characters fall in love or have sex, it doesn't mean that the artist is fantasizing about animal sex; then it's another representation of sex among sentient aliens. As such, it joins the long list of conventions and tools and symbols that science fiction writers have always used to talk about human experience.

So if you look at Fritz the Cat, or Albedo Anthropomorphics, or Omaha the Cat Dancer, or even Kevin and Kell and what you see is bestiality, the sickness is in you, not the artist.

Fursuiters aren't hurting anyone. Fursuiters pick an animal whose symbolism they like, and costume as an alien being with those characteristics. They dress up in a science fictional costume, make up a science fictional name, and go through a science fiction convention (or other event) insisting that you treat them as if they were their character. They're role playing. I remember when more SF fans did this, and I miss it terribly. You know, maybe the fursuiters wouldn't be so remarkable if there were more space pirates, jedis, elves, ninjas, wizards, androids, zombies, Vulcans, barbarians, Klingons, starship pilots, and bounty hunters running around, like we used to have in the old days. When I first attended my first science fiction convention over 20 years ago, it was explained to us newcomers that we didn't have to create a fannish persona to attend. But we did have to do so if we were going to ever be accepted as one of the cool kids. Then fannish persona and consistent hall costuming declined precipitously, and now only the fursuiters and the anime cosplayers still do it. Well you know what? That doesn't mean that they're sick and weird. It means that the rest of us suck.

Even the furverts aren't hurting anyone. When a fursuiter has sex with another fursuiter, it doesn't mean that they're fantasizing about yiffing a non-sentient animal. What it means is that they're fantasizing about (and more than that, doing fun stuff with) another real person who's incorporated traits that we project onto animals into his or her acted-out personality. When an anthropomorphics fan fantasizes about catgirls, it doesn't mean that he wants to yiff the family cat. It means that he wishes he could have sex with a woman whose personality reflected some of the traits that we project onto cats. In either of these cases, if you see this and see bestiality, then again I say that the sickness is in you, not them, because that's not what they see.

Even the plushies aren't necessarily hurting anyone. What's a plush? It's a sex toy in the shape of a stuffed animal. That may or may not be creepy, depending on why they're doing it. But whether or not it is, it's masturbation in the privacy of their own home, which is 100% abso-yiffing-lutely none of your business.

So lay off of the furries. There's no reason to hate them. No matter what Drunk and Bitter Jesus says. (wry grin)
Tags: philosophy, science fiction, sex, web comics
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