Revisiting Rainfurrest: what can we learn about limits of a growing fandom?
by Patch O'Furr
Everything was happy and peaceful with the furries, until… Overflowing hot tubs damaged the Rainfurrest hotel. The con’s current status is still seeking a new venue. There’s been much public discussion about bad behavior leading to this.
Separate from that drama, there was an issue about organizing their dealer’s room in 2015. High demand vs. limited capacity made pressure to compete for tables. Rainfurrest decided to manage it with a new Jury Selection process that left many feeling shut out. The same issue has happened across many cons.
For dealers, the pool is feeling crowded. For everyone else, more crowds makes more strangers with weaker links to keep peace. It’s a village vs. city situation.
Yesterday, Fred Patten’s history post profiled Rainfurrest. It summed up both issues:
RainFurrest 2015: The Dealers’ Room was booked to capacity early. Instead of putting later applicants on a waiting list as usual, the committee held a juried judging of all applicants. This resulted in some long-time dealers being rejected and some first-time dealers being accepted, which resulted in some loud complaints. There were two 2015 charity anthologies; A Menagerie of Heroes for PG-13 stories, 322 pages/fourteen donated stories, and Naughty Sexy Furry Writing: Enter at Your Own Risk for NC-17 stories, 124 pages/six donated stories. Jan did both the conbook cover and the T-shirt.
There was much unfavorable publicity from the perception that the RF committee discriminated against veteran fans in favor of promoting a “youth” atmosphere. Whether true or not, there were multiple examples of flamboyant drunken and other inappropriate public behavior from new teenage attendees, including severe hotel vandalism; enough to result in the RainFurrest’s hotel since 2011 cancelling their contract and forcing RainFurrest to find a new venue for 2016.
Fred followed up about dealer selection:
Roz Gibson posted on her LiveJournal that since several furry conventions have switched to juried acceptances of dealer’s table or artist’s alley applications, she has been rejected by all of those conventions that she has applied to. She has named RainFurrest and Biggest Little Fur Con; I don’t know which other conventions this may apply to.
I remember Roz as having a table at every convention that I went to in the past. She has done the covers for two of my books that I’m very happy with. She is also well-known for her Jack Salem character in furry comic books, so I can’t imagine the quality of her art as being a reason for her rejections. Apparently none of the conventions with juried acceptances or rejections of applicants give a reason for their approval or rejection, so Roz is wondering in print whether all of the accepted applicants today are better than her, or whether she’s been secretly blacklisted by the juried conventions for some unknown reason, or if all of these conventions have decided that she is now “too old” and doesn’t fit a “young” fannish image they are promoting.
It does raise the question of whether any other “old fan” applicants are being rejected.
Instead of the usual first-come-first-served method, we got this instead: Dealers will be selected by a committee of several senior members of the RainFurrest staff, each with years of experience in Dealers Den operations, and will make every effort toward fair and unbiased decisions to provide the best possible experience for both dealers and attendees.
Which apparently means: Our friends get first dibs, and everyone else is SOL.
Later, she followed up:
Every convention I could afford to get to switched to a ‘juried’ system and I was denied a table. So I will be at no conventions for at least a year, maybe never again, since apparently the only way to get a table is to be friends with the people running the cons, and my ability to successfully brown-nose is nonexistent.
These complaints fit with a perception of Furry Fandom being invaded by an influx of younger, party-minded youth, superficially into costume and dance and forgetful of fan history. It’s crudely expressed as fursuiters vs. writers. With less conflict, it’s in Fred’s post – A complaint: Furry fan publishing is overlooked.
But is this fair criticism? Or should we leave the kids alone?
About dealer room organizing: Racing for first-come spots that instantly fill up a year ahead is awful. From what I’ve heard, this may have no “right” answer, apart from “spend more money and make room for everyone.” But there isn’t more money and room because it’s done at low costs by volunteers. So they have to filter applicants into limited space somehow. Someone will get upset or someone will get favored. But when volunteers do the job, I don’t sense a “consumer issue”. If it feels like some kind of club, it IS.
Picking for relative popularity is arguably serving fans over dealers. A random lottery could serve dealers over fans. It’s relative. On the dealer side – it may be a case of just playing that game to increase demand. On the organizer side, have integrity about selective choices. On the fan side – be aware and respectful of both the organizer’s work, and the legacy of older members.
About vandalism: I have heard many complaints of a “culture problem” with furries. I strongly favor the side that says bad behavior by a few individuals doesn’t represent the group. I would listen to reports of organizers covering it up, but haven’t heard of any such encouragement. Otherwise, it’s very easy for one person to do hit and run vandalism, without others knowing, while they unfairly take blame.
It should be clear that damage is a separate issue from rude displays of adult gear. Many selective reports conflate the two things. Rudeness exists, but it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the venue’s economic damage complaints.
According to gossip, the venue hunting hasn’t gone as hoped in Seattle, but there are options for a smaller con in Spokane. With a previously strong fan base, it leaves the option to put on a smaller but more focused con in Spokane. Success there for more than one year can revive a welcome in Seattle.
Basically, my conclusion is “things change”. Fandom grows up and has to deal with it, and that’s a good problem to have. I see plenty of good and hopeful changes too. What do you think?
UPDATE – To be accurate, there was no hot tub overflow, it was other plumbing damage. This wasn’t meant to be a “call out” or investigation focusing on any specific group. It’s just relaying passionate discussions that came in as tips. Nepotism/discrimination would be a big concern to con organizers, so please treat all comments as subjective opinion. There’s no data that correlates young age with misbehavior, and it’s better to avoid checking incident records out of respect for data privacy. Old guard/new guard discussion is as old as fandom. I’m happy to see that this one has gotten a lot of mature and positive feedback. – Patch
Rainfurrest 2015 hopefully will become a wake-up call for other events under similar circumstances. It’s tough running a convention with an all-volunteer staff or even a mixed staff, but in hindsight there are quite a number of factors that lead to this point. Behavior is certainly one, but I also find that lax enforcement didn’t help that case.
I count myself fortunate to have not directly encountered any of the issues experienced at Rainfurrest, in part due to my position on staff: theater.
Thanks Eaite! Good to hear from a staffer. Hope things go well with a challenge to relocate.
“These complaints fit with a perception of Furry Fandom being invaded by an influx of younger, party-minded youth, superficially into costume and dance and forgetful of fan history. It’s crudely expressed as fursuiters vs. writers.”
That is the most truthful and smart thing that I read here in two years of reading the articles. Bravo. You got it.
Ahh, thanks! Super sweet of you. Honestly I enjoy things furries do, pretty evenly across the spectrum. Used to be a major bookworm but a lot of my fun reading time is taken up by a blog instead. And I love fursuiting.
Another “furry personality” had some private chat with me about this. I had these comments- “popularity of costumes and social activity might be overtaking literary interest, but that could be part of it happening everywhere. Books and book stores are now a very niche special interest and everything is saturated with options of movies, social media and so forth. I just see a lot of options for stuff to do. It is great to see amazing quality of the costuming and success of dance events compared to much smaller options in years past.”
Perhaps this is about growing resources. Costuming is a skilled craft and very niche, and much more dependent on equipment and supplies, and it’s about social display. While writing can be done with just paper or a computer and put out in less intensive ways. If it’s just options, neither has to be judged against the other and there’s still a lot of value for writing.
So, I’ve been dwelling on this post all day. To be honest, for the last several years. It’s sort of culminated in living 15 minutes from FC, and having decided not to go. Nor am I scheduled to go to any other furry cons at this point.
I’ve been reworking and reworking what I wanted to say, and I hope this doesn’t come off as being on a “high horse”, or having any sort of “high ground”. I have no high ground (I gave that up years ago with a series of stupid actions of my own), and am desperately attempting to stay off of my high horse.
I got into furry, like many people, when I was in college. Roughly the mid-90’s.
At the time, the university I went to had a reputation as a “party school”. I selected it as they offered a quality education and was directed there during a college fair. I was unaware of the reputation until after I’d gotten onto campus. I was not interested in partying before going to college. After watching my roommate come back on Friday and Saturday night and hearing his stories, I was disgusted by the concept.
The only place on campus that felt safe on Friday and Saturday nights was my dorm room, with the door locked. If I didn’t have the door locked, drunk people would come into my room, and begin rummaging through my things as if they were theirs. This happened on more than one occasion.
Having nothing to do, I started hitting Usenet. Yes, I’m that old. It was a long chain of events from finding things about FurryMUCK in people’s sigs, to finding a mate, to getting to my first con and meeting him in person. One thing that struck me about furry cons, was that people in general had found ways to have fun that didn’t involve destroying brain cells. I remember talking with con staff in 96 or so and being told “We’re going to have to move hotels. The hotel says not enough people are drinking in the hotel bar.”
This was the con drama. Not people getting drunk and destroying the hotel, but that not ENOUGH drinking was going on, and they got thrown out for economic reasons. Am I glad about that specifically, no, of course not. But it shows that it was a different world.
And it was a world where I felt like I fit in. I’m not a teetotaler, but I’ll almost guarantee you that I’ve had fewer drinks in my life than I am years old.
The modern con feels… fratty, is a word I’ve heard used. After 9pm, the cons I’ve been to recently turn into a really weird version of Animal House. It’s not fun and games until someone’s vomited in the elevator. I’ve had to step over vomit, stand in my fursuit paws in an elevator that was STICKY with a drink someone had dropped and just left the cup, you name it.
I spent 7 years at college doing everything I could to not spend my parents money on getting involved in that, I’m certainly not going to spend my own money on it.
Now, we could go with “some people do, some people don’t”. That’s fine, except it’s so pervasive, I feel like I’m back in college, and in the evenings I just want to go hide in my room with the door locked. Yeah, I can do that at home. Don’t need to go to a hotel to do that. Also, the events are now going into the day. I just saw a tweet from FC selling tickets to a charity event that included two drinks. I have never had two drinks on the same day in my life, but yet… this is how I’m being encouraged to support the charity… by having two drinks in the middle of the day? It’s just… not for me.
That concludes my thoughts on the alcohol situation.
There’s in general the dances. I’m not BIG on dancing, but I’ve been caught doing it if I’m on a sufficient fursuit high. Every year the volume gets turned up one notch, and every year my ears can take a little less of it. It’s also EDM, which isn’t my taste. Dancing is a social event, and I’d find every year that a couple more people who I might have gone to a dance with aren’t going because it’s gotten too loud, or they’re tired of EDM.
Turn the dances over to country line dancing at a reasonable volume, and I’d totally go. Ok, I’d be one of five furries there, and I accept that it doesn’t work at any scale. Also, the lack of a dance isn’t a make or break thing, but I’ve seen the music evolve from something I went to, to something I avoid.
Costuming… I find that now that anyone with a couple thousand dollars in the same place at once can have a suit, there’s no respect for what it really means. This past year banners went up “Costumes are not consent.” This is apparently because some people think they can wear the uniform without being willing to do the job. Part of being a mascot is giving hugs and posing for photos. As a suiter, I know my obligations out on the floor in suit are not to myself, but to my audience. It doesn’t really matter if someone’s disgusting, or weird, or creepy… they get the same performance as anyone else does. There’s obviously a line somewhere, and I’ve had people cross it with me, but if you’re not willing to do a basic mascotting gig, drop your suit back in it’s box and lock it in the attic.
Try going to Disney and asking for a job as Mickey Mouse and saying, “Now, if any kids want a hug, or their picture taken with Mickey… I’m gonna call security and have them thrown out of the park.” I don’t think you’re going to get very far through that job interview. Or stop by a fire department and say, “I don’t want to put out any fires, I just want to wear the uniform.” Again, unlikely.
I’ve gone on long enough, so I’ll stop here.
I thought the “Costumes are not consent” signs were for those furries who would approach fursuiters from a blind spot and hug them off-guard, potentially causing a fright, a fall, or injury. Or, if they touch a fursuiter in areas where unwanted touching is unwelcome on a person not in costume. And yes, I have had someone grab an area I did not want touched, without ever making any sort of contact or requesting consent–which they would not have received. And this happened on more than one occasion, wearing different costumes…or even just normal clothes.
I will agree about the “fratty” atmosphere of conventions. I’ve only been attending furry conventions for the past 7 years or so, and though I do enjoy attending room parties, I have noticed that, nowadays, describing furry cons to non-furries tends to liken them to weekend-long raves. Some furries enjoy a rave; I don’t know that I could stand to run and dance around my entire stay.
Speaking of “some furries,” no one puts Baby in the corner, and no one puts this bear in the box. I could restrict myself to “fursuit magic,” but I find myself having more fun if I don’t treat my time inside a giant animal costume as a “job.” I get positive responses from my “freesuiting,” as I like to call it. 😛 But I digress…
I only went to FC for 3 years, after which point I found myself dissatisfied with the general atmosphere of the event, as well as with much of the staff in charge of it. RainFurrest is the convention I’ve tended to have the most enjoyment from, year after year. Although, the sense that the shenanigans were beginning to take its toll was something I felt this year. The news about a possible move to Spokane has already caused my Canadian friend to skip out RF ’16 if it happens. I’m not one that can plan very far in advance of events, so all I can do now is sit and watch how things work out…if they work out.
One of the best comments I’ve ever read. I’d totally go to a country line dance party at a con any day!! I can’t stand edm either and generally avoid the dance and drinks. Maybe I’m not con material anymore. But I love fursuiting and being in suit interacting with others makes my day. Personally I think the handmade suits look better than anything professionally done. They have more heart and soul in them.
I wanted to go to Rainfurrest 2016 but now it in doubt.
As for the dealers den I know of another furry artist in my area who felt she was snubbed by Rainfurrest . After reading this I begin to wonder.
As for vandalism sadly I know of a wild party group in PDX area. The do have a tendency to cause grief with another group I am part of because they feel they should be the only fur group on the west-side. I have disagree because I am turn off by their antics. I had to put up with the party animal crap when I was in the Navy and do not feel like dealing with it now.
AS for ranfurrest executive staff I am not impressed in their handling of the affair. In taking with some close to the executive staff, I brought up ranfurrest situation and need for a new hotel. He kept on giving me the spin The real reason is Rainffurest left the Hilton because they out grew the Hilton. He kept repeating the spin even when I told him Hotels will do some background checks. Rainfurrest being turn down in Washington I-5 corridor testifies how successful that strategy
I attend Kumircon, a anime con who attendance is 6000+ , larger than Anthrocon , yet they seem to keep atop of potential problems. Furries need to lean form larger conventions how to mange attendees and weed out the trouble makers , a lax attitude is bad for longevity of a furcon.
Sorry for posting again…. Continuing things that were important that I just left off in the middle of.
Every year I see a few more people walking around con space with their heads off. This is about the number one rule in mascotting, and it’s really sad to see that no one cares. Usually someone will even call out “You’re ruining the magic!” and be very sarcastic about it.
No, it’s not like I don’t know that there is a person under the suit. No, it’s not like I don’t know who it is most of the time. But it’s about building a character, and entertaining people.
Yes, I understand that there are practical things that end up happening at a con. Eventually someone has to talk in suit out of character, or take their head off briefly, or got caught in suit for that one panel they came all the way to the con to see.
But it’s becoming a general thing, and every year I find that I fit in less and less with the suiter crowd, just as I fit in less and less with the increasingly drinking crowd.
Every year, cons seem to try and increase their curb appeal. In some cases, maybe even many cases, this is a good thing. Good curb appeal is good hotel appeal. Good hotel appeal is good for next year.
However, I am not a marketing pawn. It really, really sticks in my craw to have this thing that is so personal to me, turned into something that’s slapped up on a light pole, or on an advertisement at the airport.
Last year I was leaving a con hotel to go to dinner, and a family was leaving with their young daughter. She was maybe 5-6, and mom asks her, “Did you have fun at the furry con?” Really? Really? At 5 or 6 she knows if she’s got an animal identity that’s begging to be let out? When I was that age, I was happy if I knew how to SPELL “cat”. And yet, the cons sell my personal identity as something to get money from that family with, and others.
Of course, that leads into the other big issue with curb appeal. Furry erotica. Art, stories, and yes, murrsuits. I fully accept that there are times and places for things. But it’s becoming habit to deny that people exist that read these things, look at this art, and yes… wear ‘those’ sorts of suits. For curb appeal.
To a great extent, to me, wearing a murrsuit is not just a ‘kink’, but the chance to finally be who I am. If I were really a fox, then yes, being sexual would be part of my normal life. I’m not, so doing stuff in a fox costume is as close as I can get to that.. and when someone highly respected in the fandom says, “People don’t do that… we’re not like that…” it hurts the same as if they said, “There are no gay furries. We’re not like that.” I’m gay, I’m a murrsuiter, and neither one can be succesfully decoupled from my identity.
So, with the valuable part of my identity being marketed to non-furries to get their money, and the non-valuable part of my identity being hidden as far from sight as possible… there really is nothing left of me to bring to a con for me.
I have noticed less breaking the magic recently as the conventions I attend have provided better fursuit lounge facilities so I’m not dying in a corridor if I don’t break the magic to get water…
Also, there’s a difference between murrsuiting and gay furries. It’s closer to saying “There are gay furries, but don’t shove your dick in people’s faces”. Sorry but I believe in time and place for things like that.
Costumes do not equal consent is far more about people who think just because I’m in a fursuit it’s appropriate to grab my genitals or grope my backside or cause spinal injury to fursuiters… because those have all happened, and they get a shock to discover that “female” character has a biologically male suiter inside who’s willing to punch them in the face…
I guess the fact UK cons are all 18+ events also helps, but we keep the adult stuff in private, room parties or in clearly marked folders or separate sections of the art show. Like adults do. Weirdly this and good in fandom security and crew mean our cons have a very good relationship with our hotels.
I think that there probably *is* discrimination involved here, but probably not age-related, but *style* related.
Roz Gibson’s style hasn’t changed in over 20 years. What she produces today, is the same style it was two decades ago. It’s much cleaner, thanks to digital? And the color is nice? But still no different.
I *love* her work! Jack Salem is an icon in the Old Guard, and I love going back in my older issues of Furrlough and Genus to re-read her stuff.
But that’s just it: it’s Old Guard.
Same thing for Jace, Marci McAdams, Susan Deer, Dark Natasha and all the others that were around in the 90’s’s and earlier. It’s not that their work is bad, it’s just…dated. We’ve all seen it, and can spot it from across the room.
The only art that can survive being old is that which does not sit still. For example, Ursula Vernon, who *NEVER* sits still. She is as busy as a beaver-bee, writing, drawing, painting and cranking out books left and right. (Essentially, she’s *left* the furry fandom, and is on her own; which is as it should be.)
If the “jury” is deciding to give a spot in the dealer’s room to a new talent, then so be it. Let fresh blood flow into the veins of the fandom and make it stronger and more vibrant.
You can’t be a rock star forever.
I think this is really valuable feedback about the importance of artist marketing, and being aware of what people want. You can do whatever you like as an artist, but asking people to pay for it comes with some other concerns. I think they can bring improvement even if you don’t “pander” to them.
That would be more believable if Dark Natasha, Marci McAdam, Michele Light, Heather Bruton, Cooner and others from the same era were also being shut out of the dealer’s rooms, but they’re not, so tit’s hard not to think there’s something else going on here.
Thanks RG – if you hear any specific clues about something else going on, do bring it up. I’m happy to discuss anything privately or publish guest posts about your thoughts.
Lots of neat conversation threads floating around, and I want to meander through them a bit myself..
Disclosure: I am as of the writing of this a 41 year old bi-sexual male. I first discovered Furry while attending CSU Chico in the mid-nineties. I attended my first Furry convention in 1996 (Confurence 7), but I am one of those who feel like they had been a Furry since a very early age. I have attended a fair number of cons, along with my mate of over 18 years, and still go as regularly as I can afford to.
-Old School vs. New Blood? Times, they be a-changin’.
This should come as no surprise, but as Furry is a pretty new fandom, I think a lot of us aren’t used to or are prepared for this; but generational age differences can put a crimp in our feeling of universal acceptance. This is not something I would point a finger of blame to, but young and old often have trouble relating without common ground.
What’s that? We already have common ground? Of course we do! We’re Furries, right? Sure, but as for many of this Furry includes a component of identity, some greater than others, this level of common ground ends up getting pushed into the background it seems. What remains are the more auxiliary interests, sometimes related to Furry or even aspects of Furry, but often distinctly separate things. What I mean is stuff like Fursuiting and writing, and art, all core activities of the fandom, feel distinct enough that a Furry into one of those aspects can feel a greater connection to someone else into the same aspect, but not so much into the general nature of being a Furry. Similarly, gaming, dancing and partying are all separate activities which although can be done in a ‘Furry manner’ are not intrinsically Furry, but nonetheless give a feeling of closer connection to one another than just being Furry.
Back in the day, when Furries weren’t common, and the world looked down on our ‘odd ways’, just being a Furry was enough of a common ground. Conversations could be had, discussing movies, books and art, as many of us had at least heard of the focus of the conversation. We also felt free to speak our passion without judgment being passed. Were there cliques? I’m sure there were. I think such things are almost part of human nature. But somehow it seemed less exclusive at the time. Now things are so much bigger than before, for good or ill, and one needs to adapt or accept.
I have a temperament which is based on a introverted personality. I feel literally exhausted after extended amounts of social contact with more than maybe a half a dozen people or pretty much anyone I don’t already know. A con atmosphere would seem to be something I would want to avoid. Although tiring, I love cons! I love knowing that although they might not act like it, everyone attending has a common ground, we are all furries. It’s worth the effort for me. I am ok with not being included all the time, which as an older gent, happens; but I like to observe and absorb. I also let my other interests bleed into Furry, as a gamer of all types, sci-fi and fantasy fan, and a lover of dancing for fun (well at least in my fursuit), this gives me the common ground to interact with others regardless of generational differences.
-Costuming? Are there rules? Who decides?
Although I am an Old School Furry, I am relatively new to Fursuiting. I may have had an interest for some time, but I have only had a suit for about 5 years if I recall correctly.
My very first con as a Fursuiter I went in with the whole idea of staying in costume every moment in public, and mostly in character the whole time. I have an articulated jaw, and can and do speak, but infrequently based on how I am. I had observed Fursuiters who didn’t follow the ‘no breaking the magic’ rule, de-heading in public. Not my style and seems a little tacky, but frankly I don’t know the person or the situation.
To me the most important rule, is stay safe. How do I know if a person is risking heat exhaustion or not? Sure they are standing around and holding their head and talking to friends. I would personally go to the headless lounge and drink water and stand by a fan. But, not everyone is the same. I can see a social Furry de-heading before their health was in danger so that they can continue to socialize. Why should anyone insist that they either stop socializing or move along to somewhere private?
Tough value judgment; somewhere between prudence and freedom, safety and tradition. Freedom impinging on others freedom is not just. However, is it an infringement to your personal freedom if someone spoils the ending of a movie, reveals how a magic trick is done, or tells you that Santa Claus is a myth? And how about if they do those things to someone else? If not, how can walking around in a Fursuit with the head removed really impinge on one’s freedom? Tacky perhaps, but I don’t think anyone has the right to insist then stop it. One the other hand, anyone has the right to express our displeasure and how it does make it difficult to uphold our own vision of presenting ourselves as our character while in fursuit, and ask politely if they wish to converse with their head off, they do so in a more private location.
And who is to say the right way to act as a Furry character? There is no rule, beyond those of ordinary society; not for amateur suiters who are not doing this as a job. Official mascots have rules, and behavior they need to follow, to protect the brand they represent, whether a business, or a sports team or a cartoon character. Image is very important. Without it, the mascot would not need to exist. A Fursuiter is promoting themselves, regardless of it being the most visible aspect of the fandom. As such they can act upon that as they see fit. It may seem disheartening with the growing complacency in protecting the feeling that a fursuit isn’t just a costume, but a living and breathing character, but it really needs to be accepted. At least look at it this way, the more in character you play yourself, the more enjoyment you will see on those who you interact with. You will personally get more out of the experience that way.
That being said, you don’t have to accept hugs, nor even act nicely. Heck, that might not be the character you are portraying. Maybe your character is a grump, or arrogant, who knows..
On the subject of Murrsuits, I want to briefly say, this: As long as you cover anything non-pg up, when in public, it’s all good in my book. If it’s covered, how can anyone even complain about it. But you don’t have to talk about it for it to be a thing, and for it to effect you positively psychologically. If it makes you feel closer to your character, to wear it, how does the lack of conversations about it make you feel less like you?
-Sellout or not?
So JackelFoxGuy posted an anecdote of the following:
“Last year I was leaving a con hotel to go to dinner, and a family was leaving with their young daughter. She was maybe 5-6, and mom asks her, “Did you have fun at the furry con?” Really? Really? At 5 or 6 she knows if she’s got an animal identity that’s begging to be let out? When I was that age, I was happy if I knew how to SPELL “cat”. And yet, the cons sell my personal identity as something to get money from that family with, and others. “
So I mean no disrespect in this, but I just don’t see this as a bad thing. Furry is more maintream. Some Furries have families, compleate with young ones on their own. The concepts of identity are slowly evolving. It may have been a trip to just see the fursuits, I mean, how can that not be fun for a young child. And why would enjoying fursuits not be something that one could say ‘I’m a Furry!’ about? There is no minimum age of a furry, as long as they can communicate the fact to someone. When I was about that age, I secretly obsessed with being changed into an animal. Was that part of my identity? I would like to think so. I really can’t fathom the idea that con’s are selling identity.. Identity is what we make for ourselves. I don’t think it can be sold; perhaps influenced, but not sold.
Now is Furry in general selling out? For family appeal? Well when I went to Confurence 7, that con had a bunch more sexual undertones than any modern con. I don’t mean sex was going on in the hallways or anything, but it seemed very out in the open. There were no very young children, and although there may have been under 18 teens attending, they were in a vast minority, and likely keeping a low profile.
As I said earlier times be a-changin’ and it seems that most of us always wanted acceptance. To get that, we have to be more mainstream; that’s just the way of things. I don’t see the ‘darker’ side of the fandom going away though, just going to 18+ discussion panels and artwork behind post-it notes, and adults only art shows. I like porn. That doesn’t mean I don’t like clean stuff. It doesn’t mean I don’t mostly consume clean stuff either.
In conclusion.. Holy crap do I just ramble, don’t I. Two and a half fricken pages.. It looks like all I was saying was really in response to JackelFoxGuy. I wasn’t picking on you or anything, just your comments made me think. We are all Furries in our own way, and conventions are just one way a person can experience furry. I like them, even now after things have changed a bit. You don’t like them so much. There is no requirement to attend a con to be a furry. Cons will have to run themselves in a way that allows them to continue operations, they must have enough broad appeal to attract enough attendees to pay the costs of running the con.
I’d have to disagree with you here:
“As I said earlier times be a-changin’ and it seems that most of us always wanted acceptance. To get that, we have to be more mainstream; that’s just the way of things.”
I have no desire to be part of something ‘mainstream’ or to get ‘acceptance’ for anyone else.
When I was in junior high, I was bullied a LOT. Primarily this was because I was interested in different things than other people. When the principal would try and work through these issues with me, he gave me one really good piece of advice for when people didn’t share my interests. “Screw ’em. Do your own thing, and leave them behind.”
Furry was wonderful, in part, because it was a niche interest. As interest in it grows stronger, my interest in it wanes.
This isn’t the only area. For instance, I’m a huge fan of early 80’s computers. Always have been. Why? Because in the 80’s, only a handful of people cared about computers. Now that computers themselves are definitely ‘mainstream’, nobody cares about those computers, and I’m still weird. One of the cons I still go to is a classic computer convention. I always buy my tickets the moment dates are announced.
I understand your feelings, believe it or not. I have this weird thing where if I learn of a thing that is wildly popular, I have an aversion to it, but if I find it before I know it’s popular (whether it is popular at the time or not), then I am likely to like it (assuming it’s something of interest). That’s kind of like your computer proclivities.
I never said everyone wants acceptance, but I do think a majority do desire that, and that is why things are moving in that general direction.
I can’t tell you how to act, what to do, or what to like. It sounds pretty clear that cons are no longer your thing. Perhaps one will be created with the ‘old school’ feeling eventually. Who knows? In the mean time, there are plenty of ways to still be a furry without having to attend a con. Do what you like, and enjoy your life.
I have no desire to be part of something ‘mainstream’ or to get ‘acceptance’ from anyone else.
Sorry, FROM, not FOR. That sounded bad.