Furry fandom and 'fursuiting' is commonly thought to be a sexual fetish in mainstream culture, but there is a lot more to this subculture than sex
23 Marzo 2018 10:24
Furries - people with an interest in anthropomorphised animals, like Sonic the Hedgehog or Pokémon - have been the source of ridicule in popular culture for years. This little-understood subculture is often portrayed as a bizarre sexual fetish in mainstream society. Furry communities are perceived to be adults who enjoy dressing up in fur and fucking like, well, animals. But this isn’t the whole story. Actually, it’s only a fraction of the tale (tail?).
Within furry fandom, there are numerous interpretations of living out your ‘fursona’ (more about that later). For example, ‘fursuiting’ refers to the members who dress in fur costumes and act as their anthropomorphised alter-egos, however, the majority of furries do not dress up. Artwork is a huge part of the furry identity and the internet provides a breeding ground for members to share imagery and get to know their fellow paw-pals. Conferences around the world bring together these adults who just love a bit of cuddling fun (and, at times, more).
Here, we speak to Jesper Thomsen, aka Bluesugar, a furry and fursuiter from Denmark, who explains everything you’ve ever wanted to know about being a furry.
What does it mean to be a furry and fursuiter? What is the difference between the two?
To be a furry means that you have an interest in anthropomorphic animals, which are animals with human-like abilities (such as talking, walking on two legs, and wearing clothes). But not everyone is a fursuiter. A fursuiter is a furry who owns a so-called ‘fursuit’, which is basically a costume, typically representing your character.
Why did you take an interest in the lifestyle and how did you enter the community?
I started looking on YouTube to see what this was, and the first thing I found was videos of furries dancing in their fursuits. I loved it instantly, and quickly grew addicted to this universe. What I love about being part of this community is that it is so easy to interact with others and gain new friendships. I was often lonely in my childhood and very introvert, but when I first joined this community, I just felt at home. Today, I can’t imagine a world where I wouldn’t be part of this!
What is a ‘fursona’? And what is yours?
A fursona is the furry fandom word for ‘persona’. It means a character that you identify yourself with, as an animal. Most furries have their own fursona, and this is the most common way we recognise each other. My fursona is a blue husky and fox hybrid - a fusky. I chose this species because I am playful, loyal, and cuddly like a husky, but also careful and sneaky like a fox!
What are some misconceptions about the community you would like to question?
There are many misconceptions about our community. One of the most known about is that people think it is a sexual fetish. It is not! The furry life is to most people a mere interest - or lifestyle. There are, of course, some people who enjoy the more sexual content. I will not deny that intimate content exists and is taking up a part of the fandom. But it is not the main reason why most people join the community. Another misconception is that many think you need a fursona and a fursuit to identify yourself as a furry, which also isn’t true. The fursuits and the fursonas are the visual part of the fandom, but there is so much more to it than that.
What do you do as fursuiter?
If your character is cute, you can act cute. If it’s shy, act shy. There are no rules as to how one should act, and the most important thing is to have fun. People like to hug and interact with the fursuiter. Personally, I love giving out hugs, and I know that the feeling of hugging a big, fluffy animal is one of the best feelings out there.
How does it make you feel?
I am a very shy guy, so when I put on my fursuit, I get a boost of confidence that helps me fight this shyness.
Is it expensive being a fursuiter?
Fursuits are very expensive, and cost typically between $1,000 and $4,000, where $1,000 is actually cheap for a fursuit. I paid about $3,150 for my fursuit. My fursuit is a ‘fullsuit’, which includes a head, paws, sleeves, and a tail.
Do people in mainstream society treat you differently or as an outsider?
In my day-to-day life, people usually can’t see that I am a furry so they don’t treat me differently. However, when I start telling people about it, many don’t understand and find it a little weird. I also know some of my friends (also furries) hide the fact that they are a furry because they know they will be treated differently.
Do you identify as an animal?
No, I don’t. I am a human being living a regular life, and that will never change.
What do you do in your day-to-day life?
I rarely dress up as my fursona, and in my day-to-day life I live a regular life. I go to college where I study biotechnology, and I also have a job at a grocery store.