Classism in the Furry Fandom: An Opinion by Nightf0x
by Patch O'Furr
Guest post by Nightf0x with a response by Patch.
Flying out to Pittsburgh this past June for Anthrocon was a fantastic experience. I got to spend time with my friends and see this convention for the first time. However there was something that felt a bit off to me.
It took a different experience at Anthro Weekend Utah to make me aware of what exactly I was feeling at Anthrocon. I had never noticed before, but there is a sense of classism in the furry community. (I didn’t experience any of this classism at Anthro Weekend Utah.)
A lot of people in this fandom are successful, and they should be proud of it! However, sometimes this financial success creates an aura of a “holier than thou” attitude that they may not be aware of. By spending copious amounts of money and keeping their social cliques to people in the same financial situation, it creates a feeling of the haves and have nots.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive to reach this kind of success. For the most part this fandom is full of people who are intelligent and apply themselves, and they should be happy that they are in their situation. All I’m asking is to just be aware that sometimes, all the extravagance and copious spending creates social rifts. It can be detrimental to a convention’s social experience. This fandom has definitely been through a lot of social change lately, and my hope is that the next change is to be aware that everybody is in a different socio-economic status, and to at least try to be inclusive in that regard. It’s great to see a fandom that is getting more and more inclusive. However I think as a community we could work better on inclusivity across socio-economic barriers.
I’m not saying you’re evil if you own a fursuit or have a lot of money. But I think everybody should be entitled to have a fun time without feeling the socio-economic barriers they may experience outside of the fandom. In the end, no matter your current socio-economic status, we are all fans of anthropomorphic animals and we all share this in common. Let’s go out there and have fun without class elitism!
A rather critical thread about the topic here:
(most) rich furries are classless as shit imo— dumbshit expert (@CrocutaMane) December 14, 2017
A perspective by Patch – expensive fursuits help showcase the whole fandom’s creativity.
Dogpatch welcomes guest posts as part of the mission of the site, and thanks Nightf0x for contributing. Open access is one small way to be more inclusive. Sometimes a critical opinion can lead to dissecting a problem for positive qualities. So let me offer thoughts about how fursuiting the fandom is known for can represent “conspicuous consumption” and how that isn’t always bad, especially if it’s more about creativity on display than just hoarding the wealth.
Previous stories that look at the fandom’s most expensive fursuits:
- $11,575 fursuit sale brings comments from Furbuy and seller PhoenixWolf.
- Thoughts from the winner of the record-setting $11,575 fursuit auction.
- Responses to fursuit auction story confirm $17,500 top price.
A $17,500 sale sure makes an eye-catching headline. Those articles get longer lasting views than many on the site, and I think it shows that the issue matters to many furries. Spending that way isn’t just anyone’s luxury – but like a museum with a valuable collection, it can be more than just personal indulgence.
How? Look at how unique the art of fursuiting can be. Other fandoms and subcultures have art, music, cosplay, and even their own movies. Furries enjoy that stuff, but original character fursuiting is something you only see from furries. Elsewhere you see it called a mascot or Halloween costume, but it’s more tradition or social performance than personal expression. So you can call fursuiting the most visible display of “furriness”, and that includes the way members spend.
Think of what the “furry dollar” buys across the furry economy. Con-going furs spend a lot on travel – the same as any non-fan who takes vacations – but the ones with suits are extra invested. Dropping several grand on a suit involves putting in all the effort to use it. That makes a special market by furs, for furs, that uniquely brings together fans and skilled makers with event organizers who help them have a “stage”.
In other words, those fans could be a weathervane for how the fandom grows. Furries don’t make movies (yet), they throw cons, and fursuit group photos are the money shots or the crown jewels. The biggest cons showcase over $3 million in furriness (close to 2,000 suiters) at once. Nothing else approaches such a display.
Why mention it if only more privileged furs can take part? Because they can be considered Patrons of the Arts, and fursuits are for wearing and performing, not being shut away. It enriches an experience for everyone. They’re pricey, but accessibility is relative too. Fursuit maker skill is an incredible bargain by comparison to other hand-made fashion. Many makers do it for love at near minimum wage for the labor it takes (if you got hand-made jeans, they’d cost hundreds of dollars.) And if you can’t afford a suit, you can make one yourself.
DIY Power is part of the beauty of what Furries do. There’s class in it, but it’s different than say, collecting rare cars or vicariously watching highly-paid athletes (stuff the mainstream takes for granted as hobbies and fandom.) For other ways to increase inclusion, remember that it’s made of real people who meet in real life. You can reach out to those who want to do meets and cons and welcome them in. Those depend on volunteerism, so someone who can’t afford it can still get in as a volunteer to make an event for everyone. Cons always need more volunteers for operations or to put on panels and make their content better. Even if you want nothing to do with fursuiting, there’s another niche waiting for you. You don’t have to wait for a con, either. Want a guest writer spot here? Make it yours.
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