Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Subculture

Furries vs. Evil: Habits in geek social spaces

by Patch O'Furr

This was written as introduction for a planned series. I edited it to stand alone in response to recent events of bad things being exposed. Expect to see it reposted in the future to fit a series. It’s kind of a thinkpiece to provoke open ended conversation. Let’s start with a weird question… (- Patch)

Q: How are furries like Catholic Nuns? 

Aside from silly headgear or being anthropomorphic penguins… this isn’t about being moralistic, but it involves contrasting black-and-white appearances.

Do nuns make you think nice thoughts about The Sound of Music or Mother Teresa, with harmless ladies playing guitar and taking care of orphans?

For a huge contrast, now think of scandals with abusive priests, where churches shift them from diocese to diocese to cover it up. It’s easy to assume nuns don’t do abuse like that. Until news comes out that they do, but the church hasn’t been accountable. This news may be loaded with a certain counterintuitiveness that increases the WTF factor. But in both cases, it’s dishonest to blame individuals for an institutional problem.

Furry fandom is made of loose federations of groups. Almost all of them are super positive and friendly and it would be gross exaggeration to suggest an institutional problem like above. It’s not a church with a pope. At worst, dramatic stories like a ring of abuse in Pennsylvania was limited to personal friendships that didn’t go as far as alleged. (Lupinefox, who was accused of hosting it at his house, was found not guilty on all charges in court.)

Read the rest of this entry »

“Don’t dream it – be it!” Interview with Robert Hill about early fursuiting and fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

Art of Robert Hill

Continuing from: Meet Robert Hill: Artist, performer, and history’s first sexy fursuiter.

Furry fandom has many members who were born after Robert Hill’s ahead-of-its-time (but perhaps underrated) role in its late 1970’s-1980’s formation. My previous introduction promised an interview. That involved some convincing to start it (so maybe others wouldn’t have gotten it?) That makes me extra happy to share it now.

For a little more background, you could browse his (very fetishy and hot) Fur Affinity gallery, or his Wiki that mentions successes in getting media notice. Some was for costuming, and some for art (like in the badly intentioned, but well exposed) MTV Sex2K documentary “Plushies and Furries.

When I say “ahead of its time” and mention MTV, the 90’s were a different time than now. Drama raged between furry fans about whether sexy stuff was acceptable, especially in reaction to media exploitation that overemphasized the fringes. A lot of the bad attention came with a nasty streak of homophobia.  In 2018, I think we know who won. It’s not about furries being indecent, it’s about radical self-expression with all kinds of supportive benefits. I’d say change didn’t come from pleading with outsiders to be nicer, but from the power of building a great community within. And the media followed along with some change from exploitation to a gentler view of loveable eccentricity.

All along, there were members who dared to explore what they wanted to express without taming it for outside recognition, but who were fiercely talented enough to get some of that too.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hairy heist: Have you seen this fursuit? Truckload of Furry Burning Man gear stolen in Oakland

by Patch O'Furr

MISSING: Animosulo’s fursuit. Can you help? Ask these news sources for attention, and link this article on Twitter (or use their other contacts):

Nacho’s suit was mistakenly mentioned as stolen (relying on info referencing multiple suits.)

(You might add  @burningman, and do send suggestions.)

Last time this happened…

A few years ago, Zarafa Giraffe’s beloved purple giraffe suit was stolen. He became furry-internet-famous (and a San Francisco celebri-fur, even to average people on the street.) There were stories by SFist and Broke-Ass Stuart and a journalist flew in from New York. The theft was sad but the outcome was happy.

Zarafa had been at Frolic Party, a legendary monthly furry dance party at The Eagle in San Francisco (which helped spark a whole movement of them across North America.) His fursuit bin was a tempting target for car break-in thieves. Neonbunny, founder and organizer of Frolic, personally hit the pavement to post flyers, along with some help. Thanks to his tireless work not just to promote the party, but care for it’s goers, there was an answer and the giraffe rejoined Zarafa.

Read the rest of this entry »

Furry Socialism: You’re Soaking in It! – by Tempe O’Kun and Dralen Dragonfox

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks Tempe and Dralen for this guest post, a good followup to my “heart of the furry economy“. – Patch

The furry fandom is big and complex. We each have our own groups of friends, and our little sub-fandoms centered around specific shows and interests. It’s easy to not see the fursuit for the fluff.

Once it a while, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at it as a whole.

Furry is incredibly socialist.

This seems like a weird statement on its face. How can a community of people who like cartoon animal media be socialist? Well, we make, buy, and sell things.

“But wait!” you might say. “That’s using money! Furry must be capitalism!”

Socialism doesn’t mean abolishing money, like they do on Star Trek. It just means the economy has to benefit regular people, instead of companies and a handful of the ultra-rich. In fact, since the Furry fandom literally invents itself without some overarching canon coming from any one movie, TV, animation, or comics studio, no one person can ever control who gets paid for their unique creations. This power resides in the creators themselves and the furries who support them. Furry is open source.

Read the rest of this entry »

ArtworkTee issues and the heart of the furry economy

by Patch O'Furr

There was a lot of recent drama about Artworktee, an indie operation catering to furries. This video covers how it started, but there’s a lot more to say.

I had mixed feelings on watching it unfold on social media. “But Patch, isn’t reporting not supposed to have feelings?” I’m a fan like any other, and “objective fan” is an oxymoron.  I couldn’t pretend not to be one, or miss the point of having an independent subculture by fans, for fans that’s best written about from inside. For this story, I dug deeper into some of the issues involved:

  • Complaints about underpaid artists.
  • Questionable practices for the business of art.
  • The mission and allegiance involved in profiting from fandom.
  • The stakes of overlooking problems and calling it “just business”, vs. how formal business can solve problems too.

Let me try to bring understanding from several perspectives, including the travails of small-business, and the devotion of grassroots fans. This is a great case for that stuff, because it’s not every day that a business comes from this niche fandom that kind of resembles mainstream startup companies. Until now, the most successful commercial enterprise like that is probably Bad Dragon.

Pro-fans and profiteering

Read the rest of this entry »

Meet Robert Hill: Artist, performer, and history’s first sexy fursuiter.

by Patch O'Furr

Come my pelted pals, gather around… and look back to the distant, dusty past Before Furry Cons.  A time when seeing a sexy “fursuit crush” in public was as unimaginable as looking at them on a phone in your pocket. (A phone with the brightness dialed all the way down, of course.)

It was the 1980’s, when apparently everything was written by eye-blasting lasers with no dial-down button, so wear your raddest shades:

Let’s meet a pioneer. It’s not a label anyone chooses, but what else do you call the first fursuiter at the first furry convention? (ConFurence 0… actually a test before the first one). And they weren’t just a generic cute thing you could see at Disneyland, but a *look away kids!* pleather-clad dominatrix deer. Schwing!

Astonishing vintage VHS footage of this Bigfoot-like creature was unearthed by Changa Lion, archivist for the Prancing Skiltaire (the furry house run by the founders of ConFurence in Southern California.) When Changa posted Hilda’s 1989 con video to Youtube, it went viral outside of fandom (with over 75,000 views to date). Then he found an even earlier one that few have seen until now.

In a way, these are like the Declaration of Sex-Positive Furry Independence. (Obligatory disclaimer for subscribers to the squeaky-clean side of fandom: that’s just one kind of furry, not all of them.)

Read the rest of this entry »

The Complexities of Problematic Kinks – guest post by Maybelle Redmond

by Patch O'Furr

This extra long article is published whole instead of by parts to preserve context. Quoted people were anonymized to protect sensitive personal info. Their ID was provided privately so I could verify it. Thanks to Maybelle for submitting this. – Patch

Maybelle Redmond’s content warning and disclaimer about The Complexities of Problematic Kinks

Before we even begin to touch on these things, we must first and foremost consider the victims, and ardent defenders of the victims, who have been susceptible to abuse that problematic kinks tend to surround or be on the border of. If you are a victim of, are close to a victim of, or feel passionately for victims of abuse, you are the people being considered up front. While we will discuss some details of some problematic kinks, you are being warned in advance with the opportunity to skip or avoid the provided details, and you are perfectly justified to close this article and not consume what you may feel is a potential excuse for abuse. It’s valid to ignore details of why others consume and perform problematic kinks, for the sake of your psychological safety or if you feel that it could legitimize them. Don’t engage in something you feel uncomfortable with. It’s not fair that it can be difficult to avoid abusive triggers within a community you enjoy. Your needs need to come first in this discussion. One of these needs may be to shield yourself. If you wish to do that, please close the article now.

Introduction

While attempting to Google exactly what is considered a problematic kink, a lot of its definition appears to be based in open-ended discourse.[1] Nonetheless, a very common theme arises: a “problematic kink” can be defined as “a kink derived from some kind of abuse or potential abuse situation.” While feminist-detractors may tell you that the concept of problematic kinks simply means “every kink is problematic,”[2] that’s absolutely not how it’s being used in common discourse. Multiple discussions regarding problematic kinks revolve around abuse and potential abuse situations, particularly these specific themes:

  • Bestiality
  • Incest
  • Pedophilia
  • Rape

There are many more potentially abusive and problematic kink scenarios, such as authoritarian coercion and human trafficking, but this brief list tends to be the hot button issues when it comes to problematic kinks. For good reason– these tend to be the abuse issues that enter people’s lives most frequently.

Furries can have a tendency to come from some kind of coercive environment. Some were bullied at school. Some had paternal abuse, neglect, or zero paternal support in our lives. Some were just so socially awkward they had no choice but to evolve online due to rejection felt by society. Nonetheless, regardless of why we came here, we have the freedom to explore our fantasies and minds in amazingly constructive ways that most other humans never get to experience. But of course, because these problematic fantasies aren’t always just fantasies, and ambiguity can only be clearly seen in hindsight as crossing a line — we do need a means of protecting the victims of said abusive scenarios, for the sake of maintaining a sense of protection often sought as part of this fandom.

That’s because abusers exist here too. And abusers consume problematic kinks as well. We’ve seen high profile abusers over and over again, from the graymuzzle memory of William Shaw (aka “DiveFox”) being publicly condemned for his child chasing and grooming patterns on Judge Mathis[3], to Frank Gembeck‘s arrest and conviction over extreme child pornography[4] and as recent as the revelations that Adam Wan (aka “Zaush”) is willing to accept the razor-thin legality of using legally-evasive photography of sexualized children as reference material.[5] This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of abusers in this community. In fact, these are merely the abusers that have been proven to demonstrate some sort of abusive behavior. More lurk in the community because they are extremely effective at silencing their victims– one of which we’ll be naming later on. To reassure the reader, their abuse will neither be excused nor glorified in this article.

Thus, we will first discuss the positives of problematic kinks; from how they relate to healing abuse victims, to how they relate to sexuality with abuse aspects abstracted, outright removed or controlled. To separate the positive aspects from potentially abusive or murky situations which could also be positive, there will also be a discussion of gray areas in problematic kinks; discussing how they can sometimes both be a therapeutic tool, a justification of one’s abusive tendencies, or a means of reinforcing one’s victimization.

Then finally, we will also discuss the negatives of problematic kinks, from how they enable abusers to justify their behavior, to how they use the content produced for their kink as a means of potentially grooming new victims. We will also discuss what can be done to protect victims, safe play of these problematic kinks and consumption of the content, while simultaneously attempting to discourage the real-world abuse situations these problematic kinks revolve around.

First, though, we need some primer before we begin: a clarification of terminology.

Read the rest of this entry »

FurAffinity updates Code of Conduct, backlash by hate groups promoted by 2 Gryphon

by Patch O'Furr

IN THIS ARTICLE: FurAffinity bans hate groups – click through the Twitter threads to see many screenshots of what they were promoting. 

The true story of FurAffinity account bans

Furry art is full of cute, cuddly cartoons. Many FurAffinity users wanted to know – why was the site being used for hate imagery? If the art has to be edgy, couldn’t they just stick to good old-fashioned Hyper Diaper Pokemon Porn or whatever? At least sex is positive and life-affirming.

On the site and on Twitter, protest rose against activity that seemed to violate the Code of Conduct, while complaints were being dismissed by site staff. The CoC looked toothless because promotion of hate groups was excused with an exception for “fictional” activity.

What furry stuff ISN’T fictional? And depicting hate imagery in a positive light IS promotion. That’s part of the history of propaganda. And making excuses that it’s just historical interest reminds me of when I used to sell rare books at an antique mall; let’s be honest here, that chicken-necked skinhead with a swastika on his elbow wasn’t visiting that creepy dealer down the lane just for memorabilia. (His money was no good to me.)

During the protesting, FurAffinity users openly claiming to be alt-right trolls were gloating about driving traffic from the site and taunting those who left. That’s like getting acquitted for a hate crime and then mooning the judge. Sometimes nazis dress to impress, but nobody ever accuses them of being smart.

The dumpster fire kept burning until the complaints started tagging FurAffinity’s corporate owner IMVU. Perhaps they got worried about their anime-eyed avatars being the lesser evil on the site.

Soon the Code of Conduct was updated, and dozens of accounts went dark. It seemed to follow a precedent set a few months earlier when Discord Inc. flushed many of the same assholes and their alt-right servers down the drain.

Read the rest of this entry »

Furry Dance Parties in Europe – A look by Soffy

by Patch O'Furr

Independent dance parties by furries, for furries: the concept has been growing around the world since the late 2000’s. It can spin off from cons, but doesn’t depend on them. It’s more ambitious than informal meets and events that happen once. Those can stay inner-focused, but dances bring new partnership and support from overlapping communities and new kinds of venues. It crosses a line to public space, so a stranger can walk in and discover their new favorite thing. It encourages new blood and crossover. It makes subculture thrive. It’s a movement!

Parties that give a Q&A get a featured article. See The Furclub survey for questions and party list.

The big list recently got enough entries that it needed to be split between continents. It brought a tip about a bunch of Euro and German parties that hadn’t caught notice, too many for an article for each. There are already well established ones on the main list, so this is just the extras. Most seem to be once-a-year, which makes it great to find so many.  Soffy, a journalist and furry in the UK, stepped up to collect them. (Thanks Soffy!)

Read the rest of this entry »

Meet Emma the Tiger – A Showcase of Fandom Love from BLFC 2018

by Pup Matthias

Thanks to Matthias and Rune of Rune’s Furry Blog. Her guest article about the story was submitted at the same time, so some of her info is included too. – Patch

This was the sixth year for Biggest Little Fur Con (BLFC), one of the biggest and fastest growing furry conventions in the fandom. Last year it had over 3,500 attendees and raised $36,000 for charity. This con has been The Con on many Furries lips… (or is that maws?) Many furs will travel far and wide to attend for a weekend of anthropomorphic fun. It’s attended by many fandom favorite suiters and seems to have good control of its public image.

However, with cons as big as BLFC, news and drama from within can spread like wildfire on social media, for better or worse, becoming the “face” of the convention for that year. Things were going smoothly at first, but during the con it was reported that a 10 year old girl was a target of verbal bullying.

The story of Emma the Tiger and how she almost left the fandom emerged on Twitter.  A user posted a screen grab from Instagram by Krysta Kennedy (xrainbowdawnx) explaining what happened. Emma was there for the fursuit photo shoot that takes place at every con’s massive fursuit gathering. She was approached by two mice who started to mock her fursuit. Emma was so embarrassed that she ran out without her father, saying that she hated being a furry and didn’t want to be in the fandom anymore.

Read the rest of this entry »