Furries and Freedom
This article is going to be a bit different from my usual fare. Or at least, what I assume is going to be my usual fare, at some point. A few months ago I’m pretty sure I didn’t burn all the alcohol out of some bananas foster I tried to make and I got tipsy and spit out this thread:
It started in a weird place but very quickly I just lost control of myself and started tweeting up a storm, faster than anyone could stop me. This is one of my favorite threads on my twitter, not only because it makes points I agree with, but because of the completely off-rails way I wrote it. I just aimlessly spat out whatever nonsense popped into my head, cloaking the entire affair in a veil of post-irony that allowed people to read it exactly as seriously as they wanted to. I tapped into a raw expression of my real self, it was great.
There’s a lot of things in that thread I think are really cool, too. Like I’ve had this bit going for months now where I say I’m not a furry and then draw a bunch of furry art and talk with my friends about wanting to be an axolotl or whatever. I don’t know why but it remains incredibly funny to me to just do extremely obviously furry stuff and then nonchalantly claim that I have no idea why any of my actions would imply I’m a furry. At one point it was an emotionally complicated comfort thing, but by now it’s just kind of a meme.
And I just like them, ok? I mean look at this lil guy:
These little salamander babies are The Best Ones. And just because I created an anthropomorphized version of one that has certain traits and transformations that I find appealing and which help me sort through a lot of complicated feelings about myself and my body and my emotions doesn’t mean I’m like, a furry or anything. I’m not even know what furry is!
Yo but I’m going to clarify the point of this article here. I’m trying to translate my thread into an article that focuses the energy a bit. Just a short lil thing. Nothing much to it. What if I had a fish tail though. And like, little gills, and those big stubby legs I drew on my fursona that I designed. I’m not a furry.
Ok but to be real what the fuck even is a furry bro. What is it? I don’t even know what the deal is like what’s going on with this idea. I made a fursona and everything but did that change anything about me, did I unleash something that was secretly part of my identity all along? I mean like it really seems more like I just made up a cool animal person.
And like, sure, I made porn of her, ok, sure. But like, who wouldn’t? You’re telling me that if you made a cool animal version of you that you wouldn’t use it as a vector to express your sexuality? And I mean it’s not exactly hard to see why there are so many queer furries, like what else are you going to do when your body and sexuality and self-concept feel at odds with society and you don’t have the terms for it?
Honestly, a lot of the stigmatization of furries just feels like some kind of weird abstracted version of queerphobia, this idea that you have to have a very specific version of sexuality and gender and existence in order to be real and not a degenerate or whatever. Outside of that, what’s so weird about furries? It’s not like they’re zoophiles, they’re just forming a specific expression of the relationship all humans have with animals.
Animals are all over the place y’all. They’re the only other thing on the planet that moves around and does stuff the way we do. They’re not us, but they’re like us in a way the plants and rocks and water could never be. Since the beginning of human history we’ve seen them going around, doing their thing. We assign connotations to them, use them to express concepts of humanity that are difficult for us to articulate. Our whole society is built around animals, we eat them, we make friends with them, we make characters out of them to put in cereal boxes and cartoons and advertisements. We never even properly barred them from playing basketball. We define ourselves relative to them, we always have, we always will.
What even makes furries so different from that? Like oh I think Isabelle from Animal Crossing is neat, what a deviant thing to do. Walt Disney made a whole god damn theme park dedicated to his collection of furry OC’s. Rulers throughout history put animals on their seals to represent things about them, the Egyptians worshiped gods with animal heads, the Greeks invented all sorts of wacky furry-adjacent hybrid characters, animals have always been this to us. We can’t come off the viral spread of that one song with the fox masks and pretend this is a weird thing. We can’t keep acting like The Shape of Water isn’t a piece of furry art. These are just the facts of humanity.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that this distinction is actually nonsense. For a long time, calling myself a furry was an uncomfortable idea because I’ve seen a lot of furry stuff that I really didn’t like. There’s a hyper-realistic artstyle some people use that I just don’t understand at all, and I’m not a fan at all of a lot of the overdone cartoonishness sometimes employed by certain artists. But that’s just my personal opinion. Like the thing we do with art. It’s all just art in the end, and it’s weird that it gets singled out as this especially unusual thing, right? It’s just a specific version of the interaction that every pet owner has with their animal friends.
Furries aren’t even real! You, right now, the person reading the article? What’s your favorite animal? You’re a furry now, that’s it, it’s done. In a world where Seth McFarlane can put his fursona in Family Guy and no one bats an eye, everyone’s a fucking furry. Ben Garrison has a fucking fursona by now, get with it y’all. It’s 2020 and none of us have more than 100 years left before rejoining our home with the rocks and the winds, so just get out there and do it. Make the fursona, transition, ask someone out, live your god damn life! Because if there’s one force that is a more malignant drain on society than anything else, it’s the compulsion to be normal at all costs.
You’re not normal. No one is normal. Not really. And you may be surprised at that, but admitting it is the first step. Now you need to find out who you actually are, beyond what everyone you grew up around told you to be! You’re the only you in the universe, and every harmless endeavor you avoid for the sake of some imagined sense of sanity is another lifetime you’ll never get to experience.
This is what real freedom is about. Not whether or not you get to choose which life draining job you slog through, not which brand of mac ‘n cheese you use that money to buy, but whether you have the tools to really find out who you are and fully put yourself into motion. Capitalism makes true self-actualization difficult, and I’m not saying you should quit your job or whatever. I just think we owe it to ourselves to stop giving the little cop in our brains so much power, and start living for our own sake instead of for some arbitrary notion of success.
And as part of that it might be real neat to imagine yourself, but with, like, little paws and a tail, or something. I wouldn’t know. I’m not a furry.