Dogpatch Press

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Category: Current events

The Complexities of Problematic Kinks – guest post by Maybelle Redmond

by Patch O'Furr

This extra long article is published whole instead of by parts to preserve context. Quoted people were anonymized to protect sensitive personal info. Their ID was provided privately so I could verify it. Thanks to Maybelle for submitting this. – Patch

Maybelle Redmond’s content warning and disclaimer about The Complexities of Problematic Kinks

Before we even begin to touch on these things, we must first and foremost consider the victims, and ardent defenders of the victims, who have been susceptible to abuse that problematic kinks tend to surround or be on the border of. If you are a victim of, are close to a victim of, or feel passionately for victims of abuse, you are the people being considered up front. While we will discuss some details of some problematic kinks, you are being warned in advance with the opportunity to skip or avoid the provided details, and you are perfectly justified to close this article and not consume what you may feel is a potential excuse for abuse. It’s valid to ignore details of why others consume and perform problematic kinks, for the sake of your psychological safety or if you feel that it could legitimize them. Don’t engage in something you feel uncomfortable with. It’s not fair that it can be difficult to avoid abusive triggers within a community you enjoy. Your needs need to come first in this discussion. One of these needs may be to shield yourself. If you wish to do that, please close the article now.

Introduction

While attempting to Google exactly what is considered a problematic kink, a lot of its definition appears to be based in open-ended discourse.[1] Nonetheless, a very common theme arises: a “problematic kink” can be defined as “a kink derived from some kind of abuse or potential abuse situation.” While feminist-detractors may tell you that the concept of problematic kinks simply means “every kink is problematic,”[2] that’s absolutely not how it’s being used in common discourse. Multiple discussions regarding problematic kinks revolve around abuse and potential abuse situations, particularly these specific themes:

  • Bestiality
  • Incest
  • Pedophilia
  • Rape

There are many more potentially abusive and problematic kink scenarios, such as authoritarian coercion and human trafficking, but this brief list tends to be the hot button issues when it comes to problematic kinks. For good reason– these tend to be the abuse issues that enter people’s lives most frequently.

Furries can have a tendency to come from some kind of coercive environment. Some were bullied at school. Some had paternal abuse, neglect, or zero paternal support in our lives. Some were just so socially awkward they had no choice but to evolve online due to rejection felt by society. Nonetheless, regardless of why we came here, we have the freedom to explore our fantasies and minds in amazingly constructive ways that most other humans never get to experience. But of course, because these problematic fantasies aren’t always just fantasies, and ambiguity can only be clearly seen in hindsight as crossing a line — we do need a means of protecting the victims of said abusive scenarios, for the sake of maintaining a sense of protection often sought as part of this fandom.

That’s because abusers exist here too. And abusers consume problematic kinks as well. We’ve seen high profile abusers over and over again, from the graymuzzle memory of William Shaw (aka “DiveFox”) being publicly condemned for his child chasing and grooming patterns on Judge Mathis[3], to Frank Gembeck‘s arrest and conviction over extreme child pornography[4] and as recent as the revelations that Adam Wan (aka “Zaush”) is willing to accept the razor-thin legality of using legally-evasive photography of sexualized children as reference material.[5] This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of abusers in this community. In fact, these are merely the abusers that have been proven to demonstrate some sort of abusive behavior. More lurk in the community because they are extremely effective at silencing their victims– one of which we’ll be naming later on. To reassure the reader, their abuse will neither be excused nor glorified in this article.

Thus, we will first discuss the positives of problematic kinks; from how they relate to healing abuse victims, to how they relate to sexuality with abuse aspects abstracted, outright removed or controlled. To separate the positive aspects from potentially abusive or murky situations which could also be positive, there will also be a discussion of gray areas in problematic kinks; discussing how they can sometimes both be a therapeutic tool, a justification of one’s abusive tendencies, or a means of reinforcing one’s victimization.

Then finally, we will also discuss the negatives of problematic kinks, from how they enable abusers to justify their behavior, to how they use the content produced for their kink as a means of potentially grooming new victims. We will also discuss what can be done to protect victims, safe play of these problematic kinks and consumption of the content, while simultaneously attempting to discourage the real-world abuse situations these problematic kinks revolve around.

First, though, we need some primer before we begin: a clarification of terminology.

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FurAffinity updates Code of Conduct, backlash by hate groups promoted by 2 Gryphon

by Patch O'Furr

IN THIS ARTICLE: FurAffinity bans hate groups – click through the Twitter threads to see many screenshots of what they were promoting. 

The true story of FurAffinity account bans

Furry art is full of cute, cuddly cartoons. Many FurAffinity users wanted to know – why was the site being used for hate imagery? If the art has to be edgy, couldn’t they just stick to good old-fashioned Hyper Diaper Pokemon Porn or whatever? At least sex is positive and life-affirming.

On the site and on Twitter, protest rose against activity that seemed to violate the Code of Conduct, while complaints were being dismissed by site staff. The CoC looked toothless because promotion of hate groups was excused with an exception for “fictional” activity.

What furry stuff ISN’T fictional? And depicting hate imagery in a positive light IS promotion. That’s part of the history of propaganda. And making excuses that it’s just historical interest reminds me of when I used to sell rare books at an antique mall; let’s be honest here, that chicken-necked skinhead with a swastika on his elbow wasn’t visiting that creepy dealer down the lane just for memorabilia. (His money was no good to me.)

During the protesting, FurAffinity users openly claiming to be alt-right trolls were gloating about driving traffic from the site and taunting those who left. That’s like getting acquitted for a hate crime and then mooning the judge. Sometimes nazis dress to impress, but nobody ever accuses them of being smart.

The dumpster fire kept burning until the complaints started tagging FurAffinity’s corporate owner IMVU. Perhaps they got worried about their anime-eyed avatars being the lesser evil on the site.

Soon the Code of Conduct was updated, and dozens of accounts went dark. It seemed to follow a precedent set a few months earlier when Discord Inc. flushed many of the same assholes and their alt-right servers down the drain.

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Meet Emma the Tiger – A Showcase of Fandom Love from BLFC 2018

by Pup Matthias

Thanks to Matthias and Rune of Rune’s Furry Blog. Her guest article about the story was submitted at the same time, so some of her info is included too. – Patch

This was the sixth year for Biggest Little Fur Con (BLFC), one of the biggest and fastest growing furry conventions in the fandom. Last year it had over 3,500 attendees and raised $36,000 for charity. This con has been The Con on many Furries lips… (or is that maws?) Many furs will travel far and wide to attend for a weekend of anthropomorphic fun. It’s attended by many fandom favorite suiters and seems to have good control of its public image.

However, with cons as big as BLFC, news and drama from within can spread like wildfire on social media, for better or worse, becoming the “face” of the convention for that year. Things were going smoothly at first, but during the con it was reported that a 10 year old girl was a target of verbal bullying.

The story of Emma the Tiger and how she almost left the fandom emerged on Twitter.  A user posted a screen grab from Instagram by Krysta Kennedy (xrainbowdawnx) explaining what happened. Emma was there for the fursuit photo shoot that takes place at every con’s massive fursuit gathering. She was approached by two mice who started to mock her fursuit. Emma was so embarrassed that she ran out without her father, saying that she hated being a furry and didn’t want to be in the fandom anymore.

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AZ Republican Leader Exploits Furries To Disguise Anti-LGBT Policy, “Concentration Camp”

by Patch O'Furr

By Tempe O’Kun and Patch, with thanks to Tonya Song for interview questions.

Recently, AZ Rep. Kelly Townsend (a politician in the Arizona House of Representatives since 2013) stumbled into the furry fandom.  She’d been threatening to sue teachers who were organizing for resources to fix a crisis in schools with leaky roofs, 25-year-old textbooks, rats in classrooms, and no budget to afford toilet paper. It all started when she responded to criticism by Pepper Coyote, a furry who happens to be a teacher in Arizona.

Furries, as we are naturally inclined to do, welcomed the curiosity with the usual range of mostly-SFW responses. This sort of interaction happens with some regularity. Some innocent outsider happens upon the fandom, and we get to watch him or her discover the wacky world of talking animals. Sometimes they even become a loved fixture of the community like Boozy Badger.

Except that’s not what’s happening here.

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SonicFox, world record Esports champion: fursuit “a peak thing in life for me”

by Patch O'Furr

It’s not every day that a POC furry pro gamer with 4 Guinness World Records wins a tournament in a fursuit. When I talked to a friend about interviewing SonicFox, I heard he was cool and didn’t have a big head about it. It was true, but the question lots of people are asking is how does he do it in a fursuit head? The best thing I do in mine is fit a beer through the muzzle. And SonicFox isn’t even quite drinking age while earning more than enough to pay for college.

Pro gaming is getting huge, and it has a juggernaut representing furries – but to SonicFox, it seems like the representing and hugeness is no big deal compared to the furry part. It’s like whether he was a rock star or just a guy next door with a cool hobby to share, he’d give it the same attitude. It’s about being friendly and as sincere as you can be in being who you want to be, especially if that’s a cute blue fox. He should win all the hugs.

Thanks to SonicFox for being so prompt and enthusiastic about an interview from a tiny furry blog – it was fast and good like his gaming. (And thanks for question suggestions from Chip, Summer, Matthias, Tempe, Codex and Tex.) Here’s some further reference, then the interview.

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“Naughty Bits” fursuit video shoot with Rachel Lark – sex-positive art in the age of Trump.

by Patch O'Furr

(Adult content)

Armed with a ukelele and raunchy/smart songs like “Fuck My Toe”, Rachel Lark is an Oakland, CA based singer-songwriter with a fierce and funny voice. She has a new song, “Naughty Bits”, that playfully protests against sex-negative politics. It’s a response to SESTA, a law against sex trafficking that throws free expression under the bus. Furry dating site Pounced closed in fear of overreach of the law.

For those of you who don’t know what’s up with SESTA (and I’m not judging, there’s a lot going on these days) here’s what you should know….

1. It equates all sex work with sex trafficking (not the same thing)
2. It hurts sex workers AND victims of sex trafficking
3. It has serious and scary implications for free speech on the internet
4. It potentially criminalizes sex worker solidarity and advocacy

This law sucks, but when things suck, we make art, and that’s the only way out of the despair. Rachel Lark

Rachel wrote an in-depth article about this: SESTA, Sex Work, and Art in the Age of Trump.

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Remembering Kim Wall, a journalist who found the best side of furries.

by Patch O'Furr

Furries are on a list of news articles by Kim Wall:

  • How Cubans deliver culture without internet
  • Inside the Ugandan Mall at the Center of China’s East African Investments
  • Asian, queer and dancing defiance: ‘Everything we do now is resistance’
  • When China’s Feminists Came to Washington
  • Ghost Stories: Idi Amin’s torture chambers
  • The Magic Kingdom Meets the Middle Kingdom in Shanghai Disneyland
  • Tour Buses to Sri Lanka’s Battlefields
  • Can This Tiny Island Restore Haitian Tourism?
  • It’s not about sex, it’s about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures

Does it feel special to be on such an interesting list? It’s on a site for Kim Wall and her work. She was an independent journalist writing about identity, gender, pop-culture, social justice and foreign policy. Tributes from people who knew her paint a portrait of a talented person full of curiosity, who made a warm and lasting impression. Her stories spread that vibe on behalf of their subjects.

This headline understands- “It’s not about sex, it’s about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures”. The story mentions bad media attention and furries being targets of hate while they celebrate self-expression. In my opinion, we were lucky to get such a good story and it’s one of a handful of the best you can find. This is why to welcome media notice if this little subculture is going to get it.

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ORANGE IS THE NEW FLUFF: Furry Life in Prison – guest post by Farrah “Sisk” Barney

by Patch O'Furr

Before the web, zines were a gateway to subculture. In the 1990’s, one of my subscriptions was to Industrialnation, a zine for music where robots met punk. I never expected the prison-industrial complex to get involved. It offered a free ad for subscribers, so to be silly, I put something like “send pranks and hate mail”. The underground obliged. I got comics, tapes, and a cursed baby doll with monster fangs and one eye popped out (plus spiders, nails and burned nipples). It was gross-out hilarious. But the most unexpected thing was mail from lonely prisoners. A few of the letters needed to get picked up with tongs and thrown in a barbeque, but most were just forgotten people who’d write to anyone with an open mailbox. It was almost like bottling it and throwing it in the sea. They were in no position to hurt me, and just wanted a voice from outside. Now imagine having a family that didn’t communicate well, and a parent intercepting a letter and shitting squirrels about it. I felt misunderstood. That’s how giving an ear to society’s trash can become mind opening.

http://www.saveoursisk.org is the introduction you need for why Sisk is jailed for a sex offense. Please be familiar with “Sisk’s Story” to make informed comments about her guest post.

I don’t claim to know more facts, and I have questions, but here’s some context I found important. For sex charges against an LGBT person, with extradition from Utah to Arizona, one place is Mormon and the other has Joe Arpaio’s “concentration camps”.  It seems like being gay in Uganda and getting sent to Mordor. If this did involve misunderstanding/prejudice, expect railroading. Whatever the case may be, she’s getting what a court deemed to be fair punishment. Here’s what Sisk has to say about it. – Patch

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A pup’s response to the lobby incident at FWA – Guest post from Jones.

by Patch O'Furr

Following Part 1 and Part 2 here’s one more take. (Sorry if it’s beating a dead horse, or pup, but it has to post week-of). Thanks to Jones for submitting. Good boy!

Many puppy players ARE furries. @Pup_Leo: “mixing my pup gear with my fursona”

Hello. I’m Devin Jones, your friendly local furry hermit. I’ve been in the fandom for 16 years, both active and periphery, and I’ve been a pup for seven years. This recent incident at FWA has called me to bring my expertise in both spaces to bear on making a decision on how I, personally, should react and handle the overlap between the pup and furry communities.

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Puppy play incident at Furry Weekend Atlanta – is that OK in public? (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

Continuing from part 1: Controversy erupted about a video from FWA that appeared to show sex in public, but it didn’t. It was puppy players wrestling (moshing). Pup play is an offshoot of the leather scene that overlaps with furry, but isn’t always welcome. The behavior at FWA was one issue – and then a separate, bigger debate came up about welcoming that interest at furry cons. Here’s a point/counterpoint about it.

Click through above for more from Pup Matthias, a Dogpatch Press staffer who says “Pups are a spectrum of sexual and non sexual like furries, but they haven’t had people whitewash their history”. 

He gave further explanation:

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