Praise for creative expression, and a debate with bomb threats – NEWSDUMP (8/24/15)
by Patch O'Furr
Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag. Guest posts welcome. Tips: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Anthrocon Convention steps out in full fursuits.”
The New Pittsburgh Courier revisits the con with a few nice photos.
Furry creative expression gets praise from an environmental, travel and style writer.
Why Do We Like To Dress Up Like Animals? This introduces furries with much more insight than the usual coughed-up hairball of stuff we’ve seen a million times. It’s better because author Starre Vartan puts her voice in it as a “furry sympathiser”. She gives more than boring “whats” and gets into interesting “whys”. Previously, she wrote about the fabulous trend of Merman Hair – “more proof that guys like flair too.” A+ for this writer’s sense of culture.
A cure for misunderstanding about Furries, gender and kink.
More great insight from the writer at “Deep Fried Pancakes”. Applause for her open-minded observation. It refutes agenda-driven baloney about gender:
In my opinion, it’s very telling that most furries are men… In general, men are discouraged from self-expression. They are coached to hide their emotions… stuff like this attracts a disproportionate number of men because it provides something they have a much harder time getting than women: self-expression. They are encouraged to show everyone their true selves.
There’s an insanely long list of reasons for why this group is highly populated by guys (but her simple look gets right to the heart of it, in a much smoother way). It vindicates every guy with a positive interest who’s been slandered for sharing it with other guys. There are fundamentalists who insist that Furry fandom is “sexist” because it’s “male-dominated” (no, it’s male-populated.) It’s a demographic fallacy to ignore intentions for why people gather, out of obsession with mindless proportionality of numbers. More men than women doesn’t imply that bad behavior drove women out – any more than a pair of male friends is evil because a corresponding pair of females isn’t there to chaperone them.
Some positive interest groups are just differently balanced, while also less exclusive and more friendly than general society. When the power is in the individual to join, simply by saying it’s your interest – if you want the number to change, the real solution is to invite your friends to make it how you want it to be.
Society of Professional Journalists hosts GamerGate debate, mentions furries, gets interrupted by bomb threats.
Speaking of loaded gender topics:
The Broward Palm Beach New Times says: it’s the “first live and in-person debate” for the “civil war between videogame fans and gaming journalists who review those games… GamerGate exists solely online as a “leaderless” movement. The first such movement to gain public attention was Occupy Wall Street, and the latest is Black Lives Matter.”
Via Calbeck on FurAffinity –
Here’s a funny aside from the actual talk, though: the issue of media coverage of FURRIES was brought up by the SPJ moderator. It was discussed as an aside, meant to demonstrate how difficult it is to interview members of “leaderless online movements”. The complete panel and surrounding events are here… about 7hrs in total including post-bomb-threat talk. The “furry coverage” aside comes in around 3:50:00.
Ranking NFL Mascots By Creepiness.
At Uproxx. I could hang out with Sir Purr and make him chase a laser all day long.
Shakira to play a sexy pop star gazelle in ‘Zootopia.’
Read the real story at Flayrah. (I’m lazy. There’s only one picture anyways.)
Looks like it. 🙂 #Zootopia #Shakira artwork by: @ByronHowardZOOT @FandomPreview pic.twitter.com/t57hAp263P
— Zootopia (@Disney_Zootopia) August 16, 2015
A very naughty game, that’s much more funny than challenging to some of our friends.
When people claim that demographics alone prove that furry fandom is sexist, I think the best response is to point out that there is a much smaller proportion of straight people in the fandom than there is in the overall population, and then ask whether that proves that furry fandom systemically oppresses straight people (despite the fact that there is in no way, shape, or form a lack of sympathetic straight characters in furry art and literature….)
That’s not to say, of course, that there are no furries who are ever sexist, or that it’s not worth the effort to try to get them to think about how others feel before they act, or, in extreme cases like if someone went to furmeets and persisted in groping women who’d made it clear they wanted nothing to do with them, to shun them completely. But I think that, when a narrative is created that a group like furries is inherently sexist, or is an agent of some cosmic patriarchal conspiracy that secretly controls everything, that does something much worse than maligning furries. It creates a cover story that allows actual sexists to tell themselves they’re not responsible for, as a wise man once said, doing their little evil deeds they don’t want to do.
If you would have people be less sexist (and why would any sane person not want that,) the worst thing you could possibly be doing is perpetuating a message that people’s actions are on anyone’s conscience but their own. If there’s anything to be learned from all the jihads and witch hunts over the past few years on social media, it’s that there is nothing more shamelessly, superciliously hateful than someone who believes they’re not really in control of anything they do because they’ll always be a victim of external forces, regardless of what they believe in and whether or not they have a legitimate claim to having been hard done by. Besides, when I was growing up, if you were to call yourself a feminist, you were expected to think that personal agency was kind of a big deal. For that matter, the same applied if you wanted to be thought of just as a person who wasn’t a complete sociopath.
As a real hero of mine recently said, it’s a sign of just how fanatically bigoted the internet has gotten today that, when Target is announcing that they aren’t going to be labeling certain toys as being only for certain genders anymore, we’re told, by people who actually seem to believe in what they’re saying, that’s Target ramming their extreme gender politics down our throats. But then, I suppose that in an Orwellian world, everything must become its opposite. Freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.
If people are trying to stop kids from playing with certain kinds of toys, or coerce them into playing with certain toys on the basis of their gender, then that’s a real problem and something that ought to be opposed. But what you have to realize is, if kids are given a choice of what to play with and how to express themselves, a necessary part of that is to respect the choice that they make. If everyone is given a free choice of what to play with, it might turn out that 95% of the kids playing with, say, G. I. Joe figures are boys and 5% of them are girls. But as long as that is truly what they want, and as long as there aren’t efforts being made to shame anyone into giving up on their interests, there can’t be any great injustice to fight. Ultimately, saying every group must be exactly 50% male and 50% female turns out just as disturbingly authoritarian and sexist as saying every group must be either 100% male or 100% female.
I don’t pretend to know why so many gay men get interested in furry fandom. I’ve heard a few hypotheses from various people, but I’ve never found any of them at all convincing. (Most of them seem to involve spinning elaborate conspiracy theories about Mark Merlino, and how he supposedly advertised Confurence in a local BDSM zine that was somehow so influential that it’s still the primary determinant of who attends furry cons over a decade after Confurence’s humiliating self-immolation, and also so obscure that nobody can actually produce a copy of it, or even tell me what its title was. But that is a rant for another time.) However, if we accept that gay culture exists (and anyone who thinks it doesn’t is simply delusional,) then by necessity, there must be certain media and activities with a disproportionate number of gay men in their audiences, whether that is because of the vicissitudes of fashion or something that resonates on a deeper level with the identities and experiences of gay men.
Someone a hell of a lot wiser than me once said that now is not a good time to promote theories that purport to explain the biological origin and purpose, if any, of homosexuality. Serious inquiry into the subject is such a new phenomenon, and so much of it is still highly speculative, that anyone who claims to have it all figured out is essentially guaranteed, at best, to make themselves look like a complete fool in the future. But it’s not inconceivable that there might actually be a biological basis for a disproportionate number of gay men being furry; that when you’re gay, there might be something in the way you think that makes you identify more easily with fantasy creatures, or become more inclined to express yourself in a tactile or metaphorical format. Of course, I’m not going to claim any certainty that this is true, since that would just be asking for trouble on a number of levels.
Wow great comment! I totally agree about putting all the toys in one place and letting kids choose. I think the best toys are play-do or legos. GI Joes were fun when I was a kid but I liked my sandbox better.
“I don’t pretend to know why so many gay men get interested in furry fandom…”
I dunno either but there’s also way more drag queens than drag kings. (I haven’t heard anyone claim that the unbalance indicates sexism.) Reminds me of a good conversation where furries and peacocks got mentioned. The other guy said yeah, but women are the ones forced to wear makeup in the culture… I said forced is an interesting word when you get to play with so many colors and admire yourself, and beauty has power. That’s acceptable for ladies by default, but for guys makeup is either for freaks or rock stars, and not much in between. (I enjoy mascara and goth outfits when I’m out of fursuit.)
“(Most of them seem to involve spinning elaborate conspiracy theories about Mark Merlino, and how he supposedly advertised Confurence in a local BDSM zine that was somehow so influential that it’s still the primary determinant of who attends furry cons ”
– There’s a treat for you next week! The actual zine, and a bunch of quotes showing some rumors that spread, and a little about zine culture. Probably to post monday or tuesday.