by Patch O'Furr
Furries Among Us Book Review – By Vox Fox.
A 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).