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Tag: research

NEWSDUMP – Fandom News – catchup list part 2 (7-22-16)

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

There hasn’t been a Newsdump in a long time, so have three updates packed with two months of stuff: 

1. Furries in the Media. 2. Fandom News. 3. Fur-friendly Culture.

Furscience.com releases ebook of furry research.

Furscience-FurbookThe International Anthropomorphic Research Project has a shiny new website since earlier this year.  Here’s a good reason to check it out – a 174-page ebook full of 5 years of data about furry fandom, for the low price of free.  Download it here.

Fred Patten interviewed by Yiffytimes.com.

“My interview with Fred Patten” by Ahmar Wolf and Greyflank. With Fred’s history as a founder of Furry (and anime) fandom, it’s really interesting to hear this:

“Q: Where do you see the Furry Fandom headed?

A: Furry fandom is already a lot different than it was in the 1980s. There is much more emphasis on wearing fursuits, adopting fursonas, and embracing and publicly exhibiting a furry identity. There is also a furry literary community now, which is what I’m active in. A few furry fans who are publishers or fursuit makers or artists are able to make their living in furry fandom instead of it only being a hobby for them.”

Furries at San Francisco Pride.

New furry Whup stepped up in a big way to organize a booth.  (He’s yellow dog in the first pic).  Apart from a big “Bay Area Furries” banner, it was a very informal base for breaks from the sun.  There was a huge crowd to prowl around with on a hot day.  Street Fursuiting is my favorite thing, and street fairs are my favorite place for it, and Pride in SF is one of the most fun and accepting times. (It’s far from the only one – a furry in Edmonton talks about their float full of furries in “A big thanks to the furries out in pride festivals this month!“)

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Furries Among Us – two book reviews, from Vox Fox and Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Furries Among Us Book Review – By Vox Fox.

unnamedA disclaimer: I love this book. That said, I will try my best to give an unbiased review but the reader is hereby warned upfront of just where I’m coming from. Furries Among Us provides a very positive-minded, detailed and understanding look into what furry fandom is all about. It explains the deep meaningfulness and sense of camaraderie members typically derive from participating in this fascinating and unique community. The book is comprised of 16 separate essays, each detailing a different aspect of the furry world as experienced through each author’s eyes. Topics include: How furries socialize, furry publishing, fursuiting in the fandom, furry art and music, the ins and outs of fur cons and of course, dating and sexual aspects.

The book (from Thurston Howl Publications) delves deeply into the fundamental motivations that draw furries into the fandom and just why a fursuiter fursuits. Some may fursuit as an outlet for expressing certain (presumably fun-loving) personality traits they would be hesitant to attempt in human form (ah, the flirting you can get away with!). But I think one of the best reasons can be summed up nicely by one suiter’s explanation: “I suppose you could say that the reason I do it is to bask in the reflection of good feelings that I help create.” (Yep, close to the reason I give: to charm the socks off people.)

The last four chapters delve into the psychological and sociological aspects of the fandom, each one courtesy of four prominent members of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP), all holders of Ph.D.s. One consistent theme noted is that involvement in the fandom has the distinct tendency to contribute to a sense of well being, and that sense appears to intensify as the fan becomes even more engaged with fandom activities. Additionally, as mentioned above, the main incentive that seems to draw potential furries into the fold is the sense of community and belonging that the fandom provides. Finally another noteworthy passage discusses fursonas, and the role they play in creation of a more idealized self which is typically a “…more attractive, confident, friendly and playful” version of the self. (In another article I’ve read, the author of this chapter also suggested such role-playing can provide a means for ultimately incorporating these character enhancements into one’s own personality; see http://t.co/xcqSLIeL6u).

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SEX! Researchers, journalists, and furries debate The Topic They Love To Hate.

by Patch O'Furr

Just published in the media: SF IS A HOTBED OF ONE KINKY-CREEPY-CUTE SUBCULTURE. AndSAN FRANCISCO – A FURRY FETISH EPICENTER.  More on that shortly.  (I apologize if this post is jumbled to read all at once- a lot of related topics just happened.)

1) Researcher Debra Soh recently wrote about Furries in Harper’s Magazine.  I invited her to submit a piece here.  She sent:

“A Lesson Everyone Can Learn from Furries”

 

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Researchers from Northwestern University want Furries to answer their survey.

by Patch O'Furr

When pop culture notices furry fans, it loves leaping to conclusions.  The internet has porn, and the weird furry stuff can make people’s eyes bug out and stick in their minds.  So is that what being a furry is about? Some people have a kink for that – is it fair to stick all furry fans in that category?

The assumed link of furries and sex is often made thoughtlessly by outsiders. It’s the topic furries love to hate.  But despite the attention, I’m told that no serious research has been done on this.  Sure, there have been surveys that ask blanket questions about sex orientation, or a selection of certain kinks.  But there isn’t enough broad knowledge for anybody to be fully informed.  That’s bad for two reasons.

rsearch

First, common beliefs can’t be challenged or disproved without data. Second, if data does support some of these beliefs, then the topic deserves better understanding.  Objective answers reduce assumptions.  It can replace fear and rumor with real information.  Informed people make a more tolerant society.  There are more gay people in this subculture than general society – the reason isn’t clear, but their socializing has gained more tolerance with understanding.  Other questioned activities may be reconciled too.

Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois are spreading a survey about these sensitive and murky topics. They intend to research relations between furry fan sexuality, and their identities and personalities. Their survey is on lesser studied aspects of this.

Disclaimer:  to avoid making bias, I can’t guess or tell specific aims behind their work.  Building studies and their methodology is out of my area, anyways.  All I can do is pick apart interpretation of statistics afterwards.  I did spend time talking with the researchers and emphasizing respect.  I told them to hold their cards and not tell me what the survey is testing, to prevent bias in sharing.  That leaves it up to you to choose how to respond.

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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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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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