Fred Patten and Furries in FLAUNT fashion magazine

by Patch O'Furr

Historian and “elder statesman” of Furry fandom, Fred Patten, was recently asked to contribute to a high-end magazine: FLAUNT.  They’re “an international award-winning arts and culture publication based in Los Angeles.”  The editor’s request was for “a feature on cat people/cat culture for our upcoming NINE LIVES Issue.”

Fred sent me the below piece, adding a personal note –

I had hoped that it would contain more material about furry fandom, considering all of the material that I sent them.  But considering that FLAUNT is primarily a fashion magazine, it’s probably lucky that we got as much attention as we did.

COVER-785x1024If you got it, FLAUNT it!

Shades of Vanity Fair! But hopefully, not as inaccurate, unfriendly, or scandalmongering.

Vanity Fair, in its March 2001 issue, published “Pleasures of the Fur”; an “exposé” article claiming to be a report of the November 2000 Midwest FurFest which reveals that furry conventions are all about fans in fursuits having nonstop sex together. It’s still online; see it for yourself.

This gave rise to more than a decade’s worth of newspaper, magazine, and television articles about how furry fandom is only about holding conventions that are three-day sex orgies in fursuits. Remember that CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV episode, “Fur and Loathing” (October 30, 2003), where fictional detectives Grissom and Willows go to a furry convention and find little besides fans in fursuits having sex in the hallways? And also to more than a few articles that can be summed up as, “I went to a furry convention to see all the sex, and there was no sex going on. Just weirdos in animal costumes. I was bored out of my mind!”

Now FLAUNT mentions furry fandom in its latest issue. If you haven’t heard of FLAUNT, it’s probably because most furry fans don’t read it. FLAUNT is a high-end glossy fashion/style/culture magazine, giant-sized (12¼” tall x 9¼” wide, 244 pages), priced at $15.95 an issue. Wikipedia says, “Flaunt is an independent magazine published 10 times a year and distributed in over 32 countries. The publication was recently named one of three finalists, chosen out of 2,800 entries, for a prestigious FOLIO: Eddie & Ozzie Awards in the categories of Best Full Issue of a General Interest Magazine and Best Single Article in a Consumer Entertainment Magazine. It also received three awards from PRINT for Excellence in Design, as well as a medal for editorial design from the Art Director’s Club.” FLAUNT may be most famous for its July 2013 issue that featured fashion model Beyoncé Knowles-Carter wearing only a coating of sparkle glitter.

FLAUNT has just published issue #138, November 2014; a special Nine Lives issue profiling cats and the Haute Monde, including trendy Cat Cafés around the world, and of course those currently-most-stylish furless sphinx cats. Issue #138 kicked off with a lavish launch party at Paris’ exclusive l’Arc de Triomphe restaurant on 26 October, covered by Britain’s Daily Mail with photos of the celebs dressed in their best. The Daily Mail, incidentally, is still describing furry fans as “Grown adults dressed as sexualised cuddly toys” as of its article on the 2014 EuroFurence in Berlin’s largest hotel.

And, amidst all the cats, mentions in tiny type on page 81 of Mary E. Lowd as a furry fiction writer specializing in “cats in space”; “furry fandom founder” Fred Patten about what furry fandom is really like – Anthrocon, and furry conventions and other meetings around the world like Zillercon, an annual winter furry skiing event at a lodge in the Austrian or Swiss Alps (Patten says that most furry fans prefer to identify with feral animals, but they have cats as pets); and a profile of Dennis Avner (“Stalking Cat”), who had himself transformed surgically into a big cat (tiger).

Get it while it’s on sale. If you don’t want to buy it at $16.00, at least look at it at the newsstand. The Barnes & Noble and 7-11 chains carry it. – Fred Patten


front cover (top)

Beyonce issue and interior covers (left)

FLAUNT #138 Paris launch party

Gallery of recent back-issue covers