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.
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.
The survey is only linked, with no endorsement. The content and wording doesn’t in any way represent anyone at this Furry news blog. Other than this post, it has zero input from here. The researchers promised that they don’t intend to use the results to stigmatize or sensationalize. They say they aim to be objective, respectful, and non-judgmental. They want to contribute to greater, more balanced, and scientific understanding. While I don’t know their goals, I think greater involvement in research could mitigate the dishonest kind of media attention people don’t like.
With high sensitivity, and bad-intentioned people in the world, let’s strongly oppose misuse of data. This is for research and journalism (don’t shoot the messenger!) It’s not for anyone to use for entertainment, clickbait, attack on reputation or ammunition in any sort of dispute. I don’t consent to being part of any such activity, and will go way out of my way to protect people from it.
The survey content may be uncomfortable for some people. The researchers don’t want takers who are under 18. There are questions about unusual sexual interests. If it causes discomfort or distress, or makes you unwilling to answer openly, it’s not for you. However, the survey is hosted anonymously and doesn’t collect IP or any other I.D. It will take 30-45 minutes. You don’t have to answer every question, and can withdraw at any time without consequence.
Again, the survey is intended only for research and not for any other activity. If you have comments, let me have it below. If you want to participate and help out, please go here for more information: