Fursuit

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Markus offering a hug.
Autumn Vixen poses in fursuit.

Fursuits, originally known as zoots,[1][2] are animal based costumes associated with the furry fandom. The term, coined in 1993 by Robert King,[3] can also refer to animal mascot costumes in general,[citation needed] as opposed to human or anthropomorphized object mascots.[clarify]

Owners are known as fursuiters, furzooters, or suiter/zooters, while the act of wearing a fursuit is usually referred to as fursuiting (originally as zooting, named after the Chicano zoot suiters of the Los Angeles area of the 1940s).[2]

History[edit]

Fursuiting as a permanent feature and practice within the fandom likely dates to the pre-convention era (1984-1989),[citation needed] when the first furry parties were being organized at both sci-fi conventions and home parties. By Confurence 0 in 1989 (the first hotel-based furry convention), a programming track called "Furry Costuming" was held at the hotel at which it took place.[citation needed]

Many have commented on the change which occurred in the growing fandom when graphic artists, many of whom were native to the funny animal fandom era,[clarify] shared more attention with costumers,[clarify] resulting in the artists' booths being overshadowed by the presence of costumers at conventions and furry parties[4]

This trend continues today, with the number of fursuiters growing exponentially every year at several furry conventions, even breaking established Guinness World Records.[5]</ref> Some conventions have included since the early 2000s the position of Fursuiter Guest of Honor.[6]

Types[edit]

Fursuits are not always furry

Fursuits range from simple tails and ears to full costumes with mechanical/electronic components. Similar to mascot suits, they allow the wearer to adopt another animal look and/or personality while in costume. Owners can spend less than one-hundred to many thousands of dollars on one fursuit,[citation needed] depending on the complexity of the design and on the materials used. These items are frequently sold at conventions, or online by either commission or auction. Furries may make their own using online tutorials and/or advice, or have hobbyist or professional fursuit makers or companies fabricate them.

The standard fursuit is a full body costume that consists of a head, forepaws (hands), hind paws (feet) and a body with an attached tail; in some cases, the tail is connected via a belt to the wearer and hangs out through a hole in the back of the body. Many suits include special padding or under suits to give the character its desired shape.

A partial suit or half-suit contains the above, only without the body. This allows the wearer to don ordinary clothing (or a different costume) overtop of the paws, head and tail. In partial suits, the tail is usually attached to a belt, and the arms and legs have sleeves that can go up as far as the shoulders and pelvis, respectively.

A third type known as the three-quarter suit has been developed, which consists of a head, arms and pants made to look like the legs, tail and feet of the animal in question, which works well for characters who only wear shirts.

Styles[edit]

Just like artwork, fursuits can vary in style, from the ultra-cartoony to the hyper-realistic look. Fursuiting is popular in Japan,[citation needed] with a very anime-style look.[citation needed]

Reasons for fursuiting[edit]

Wgg the Gnoll, an example of a suit that uses a mask.

A person who wears a fursuit generally falls into one or more of six categories for wearing them:

Job[edit]

Many people wear fursuits as a real life job. This can include mascots, though not all mascots are fursuits, nor are all mascot performers furries. Many fursuiters are hired through an agency to represent a character, while others bring their own constructions to an event instead. There are also several volunteer fursuiting groups across North America that either ask or are asked to entertain at various social functions. Some groups even set up their own charitable events or perform on the streets to passersby.

Charity[edit]

Some fursuiters don their suits for non-paid charity work, such as events for social causes (animal rights) or visits to children hospitals or wards for entertainment.<re>Hospital/medical sites page on the Fursuit.org website. Retrieved June 17, 2014.</ref>

Event entertainment[edit]

Fursuit dancers at Anthrocon 2006 — video by BBF: 1 2 3

Other furries enjoy wearing their suits for parades, exhibitions, or conventions for simple personal fun or crowd entertainment. These fursuiters may also wear their suits to small, informal meetings among furry fans in their area.

Some may get permission to perform in or outside of a shop or event, while others may simply wear a suit in a major area, such as a mall. However, some cities have no-mask laws, so individuals seeking to wear their fursuit in large, public places should check first if it's allowed before performing at that location.

Role-playing[edit]

Some Role-playerers create highly elaborate costumes (including fursuits) for their characters. Half-suits are usually created for role-playing games, though some role-players use full-body suits. These suits wear elaborate clothes and costumes of their own, depending on the theme of the game.

Spirituality[edit]

Some people (usually otherkin,therianthropes or furry lifestylers) also fursuit for reasons of expressing what they feel is their inner animal self.[citation needed] Most of them try to make their suits as realistic and lifelike as possible.

Sexuality[edit]

A small portion of the furry fandom considers a fursuit a sexual item. Some suits may contain elaborately designed/recreated sexual features (sexual organs), while some wearers have simple cut accesses on the suit. It is a perceived stereotype in and out the fandom that fursuit sex is practiced by all fursuiters.[7][8][9]

Construction and maintenance[edit]

Main article: Construction of fursuits

Performance[edit]

A key part of playing a character in suit is an engaging performance. The most expensive fursuit in the world will not help someone who does not know how to use it. Looking good is important, but not as important as acting.

How the performer acts in costume reflects on how others relate to them. If the desired character is bouncy and bubbly, then acting that way is required to communicate it to spectators.

The design of the suit plays a part in some of the moves that can be done. For example, some fursuiters with floppy muzzles nod their heads up and down rapidly to simulate laughter or enjoyment. This cannot be done with suits with a rigid muzzle, or no muzzle at all.

Body language[edit]

Fursuiters typically do not speak in costume. This may be for a variety of reasons:

  • To preserve the anonymity or conceal the gender of the performer
  • The design of most suits muffles the voice of the performer
  • Most animals don't talk

Because of this, acting in suit is mostly about body language.

When a fursuiter does speak in costume, it is often just to their handler and/or close friends. Alternately, fursuiters may only speak in some limited fashion, either with a limited vocabulary, or simply using as few words as necessary.

Increasingly, more elaborate fursuits are being built with some form of talk-jaw, either physically (the fursuit's lower jaw being attached to the fursuiter's chin or pressed physically against by the fursuiter's lower jaw in some other holding fashion) or by the use of mechanical/electronic devices, which enables the fursuiter to "talk".

Media coverage[edit]

Fursuiters are often included in media coverage of the fandom, such as the CSI episode Fur and Loathing. They may also mentioned incidentally - for example, one of the female characters on the 2009 non-furry novel The Year of the Flood, a 2009 novel by Margaret Atwood, gets a job as a "Furzooter", being constantly sexually harassed.[10]

References[edit]

  1. [FUR]A survey about "ZOOs" post on fur.artwork.erotica. Dated July 13, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lifestylers and costuming/"zooting" on the An Informal History of Furry Fandom essay by Simo. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  3. Critter Costuming, p13 - Robert King mentions inventing the term fursuit back in 1993 for the title of an amateur costumers' mailing list about the then-unnamed hobby while on the way back from a conference, in part as a pun on the word pursuit[citation needed]
  4. When did Fursuiters take over furry fandom? post by Joe Strike to alt.fan.furry, Nov 30 2008. Retrieved ?.
  5. [1]. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  6. Rainfurrest Guest of Honor page on the Rainfurrest official site]]. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  7. Fursuitsex on the Urban Dictionary. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  8. Fursuits and yiffing. Fact or fiction? article on Yahoo! Answers. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  9. The unexpected depths of headspace: A rodents tale. article on [2]. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  10. The Year of the Flood by Atwood, Margaret. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 2009. p. 31.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Tutorials[edit]

Databases[edit]

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Fursuiting topics
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