Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Academic study

Breaking the furry law

by Patch O'Furr

I couldn't find Furries doing Judas Priest...

I couldn’t find Furries doing Judas Priest…

Are there laws about this hobby? There’s the cardinal rule of fursuiting: Don’t take the head off in public. “Don’t break the magic!”

The Magic makes eyes go wide- “AHH!! A 6-foot fox person!” (Or, as I answered a comment asking “Why go public suiting?” … There’s the AHH!! reaction on the street, vs. “There goes suiter #732,” at a con where furries just perform to each other. I kid- if you love it too, you know it’s fun.)

At a street fair, without a fursuit lounge, “The Magic” is made to be broken. Crowds swarm at you in killer heat with no privacy anywhere. So you duck into a corner, take off the head, and become the Invisible Man. When the head goes back on, it flips a switch like bringing Frankenstein’s monster to life.

I think I broke some magic this week by raising another scary boogeyman… the PORN topic. More about that in a minute… First, another thought about creating and breaking.

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Dr. Tibbals on Furries, sex and sociology

by Patch O'Furr

Interview series:  Artists, animation directors, DJ’s and event organizers, superfans, and more…

Recently, I posted about the first Journal of Porn Studies. The term Gonzo caught my eye in it’s article, Gonzo, trannys, and teens – current trends in US adult content production, distribution, and consumption. I thought it held “potential” to relate to furry art and it’s raw, minimally filtered expression. Article author, Chauntelle Anne Tibbals Ph.D., runs an adult media criticism blog. She was very welcoming for a nice conversation. (I was careful to say that Furry does NOT necessarily have anything to do with adult content.)

Chauntelle Anne Tibbals Ph.D. - Twitter - @drchauntelle chauntelletibbals.com

Chauntelle Anne Tibbals Ph.D. – Twitter – @drchauntelle
chauntelletibbals.com

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Patch:
I’m curious whether you have come in contact with “the furries” before. Have you, and what way?

CAT:
Haha, of course I have! My work (and life, really) is all about gender and sexualities and sexual expression within the context of wider society, and the furry community is a vibrant part of that entire conversation. I’d be pretty off-mark if I hadn’t…

Patch:
People in this niche hobby are very passionate about it. I call it a hobby, because it’s as likely about art or writing alone, that has nothing to do with kink. That said, having an alter-identity (a “fursona”) is a fun, imaginative fantasy thing. You hear many sensitive stories under “secret identities” – does it inspire any no-name stories you could share?

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Academic journal opens door on research for Furry porn

by Patch O'Furr

Gonzo-2011_1
Ahh! Close the door! Furries love to hate their porn. Sometimes furry art is purely G-rated… sometimes it’s XXX. It causes fear about image. But if it gets humanistic interest without judgement, I suspect it can reveal things about erotic imagination. Anthropomorphism has mixed with it since the dawn of history.

Here’s a question on the minds of art students who draw furries. (One asked me, and I answered “Yes and No”)…

“Does association with furry culture have negative impact on hiring? In one of my portfolio reviews, someone told me not to include my anthro art, and that was discouraging (even though it’s not sexualized or inappropriate).”

Now imagine seeking academic respect for porn of any kind. It’s easy to sense professional difficulty. But with the first Journal of Porn Studies (Spring 2014,) “finally scholars have a venue for considering the phenomenon seriously.”

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Talking animals topic betrays culture-blind critics

by Patch O'Furr

Realistic (left) and anthropomorphic (right) illustrations for research study

Frontiers in Psychology research study illustrates realistic and anthropomorphic animals

Last year, a Flayrah news article drew outsiders who had never encountered Furries.
One wrote: “You all need therapy!”
I answered: “This IS our therapy, silly!”

Friends at Flayrah just reminded me about it. Dronon posted:

Chair of the Canadian Education Committee thinks that talking animals in children’s books are detrimental to education. …Aw darnit, scratch that – It’s a fake, satirical article. Well done!

Fred answered:

Some believe that the report of the Chinese banning “Alice in Wonderland” in 1931 because “talking animals are false” is an urban legend. Nobody can find such a law as having been passed.

Rakuen Growlithe added:

Dronon, there’s actually a bit of truth underlying the satire.

The topic led me to find that, although it may be satirized… yes, it has some truth. Read the rest of this entry »

Furry fandom: all humans welcome

by Patch O'Furr

Edit: a followup story is here – Why are “nerdy” groups male-populated?  Revisiting a debate full of dogma

“Sexism by numbers” is a faulty premise- let’s respect voluntary association

beware_0

It’s not controversial to say that aliens aren’t among us. It takes bolder attitude to doubt some other faiths in public. But nobody should be afraid to say the emperor has no clothes. This is for furries- but also any nerd fandom, and anyone whose beliefs are developed enough to handle skeptical debates. Let’s start with a pervasive belief…
chase-sm2_0

In furry fandom, men exclude women because there are more of them. There’s more men because they exclude women.

That’s a tautology:  self-reinforcing logic that’s built so there’s no way to challenge it. Circular arguments and religious articles of faith work that way.  It’s a type of fundamentalism- like creationism.

That’s not a straw man. These fundamentalists see a group of largely male members, and make a push-button reaction: there must be something wrong.  Penis = BAD!  With scowls, pointy fingers, and dutiful outrage, they go hunting for evidence to prop up a pre-fab belief that bad behavior shapes the membership.  Counting up a raw demographic number is the basic evidence to accuse this community of “inherent sexism”.  The number is sandwiched with bias-confirming anecdotes, and righteous demands to correct it.  Why aren’t we more inclusive? We need less men!

It’s a faulty premise. A raw number doesn’t show one motivation to cause it, like mean exclusion. What about associations formed by friendly mutual interest? That includes hobbies and open-door clubs.

A gay bar is an open-door club.  You can expect the clientele not to have the same proportions as society at large.  It invites certain interest, but it’s self-selecting.  They don’t screen between gays and straights at the door. (Could that even be possible, unless they invent a literal Gaydar?) Actually, there’s a general sentiment that gay bars are more friendly than other clubs, and they welcome allies of all kinds. That’s what draws many straight people to my local gay bar for our monthly furry dance night. You CAN have a less balanced, more inclusive community.

Exclusion is human. It can happen anywhere.  But despite flaws that are a natural part of society, like crime or evil, it’s easy to contend that furries do it MUCH LESS than elsewhere.

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A famous experiment in anthropomorphism and psychology

by Patch O'Furr

HarlowMonkey

Flayrah News, 3/5/2013:

Anthropomorphism is often imagined from our human point of view (attaching human characteristics to something non-human). But the concept can exist apart from ourselves, when animals see themselves in objects. The way it works for them can reveal more about us.

Harry Harlow was a psychologist who experimented with monkeys. In the 1950’s and 60’s, he gave his subjects “surrogate” mothers built from different objects, to see how they would behave, and learn about care-giving and companionship in social and cognitive development. PBS says about his famous experiment:

He took infant monkeys away from their real mothers, giving them instead two artificial mothers, one model made of wire and the other made of cloth. The wire model was outfitted with a bottle to feed the baby monkey. But the babies rarely stayed with the wire model longer than it took to get the necessary food. They clearly preferred cuddling with the softer cloth model, especially if they were scared. (When the cloth model had the bottle, they didn’t go to the wire model at all.)

Here’s an image gallery that illustrates the concept of “anthropomorphism” in monkey terms. To understand the experiment as a powerful metaphor, this web art project/essay says a lot with few words: Chicken Wire Mother.

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