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The furry subculture is subject to intense stereotyping, as many subcultures are. Stereotypes can arise from virtually any facet of a group or demographic, depend partly on trends within the demographic, and are usually formed from the experiences and biases of the viewer or their friends.
Furry fandom member demographics have traditionally mixed with the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, anime, computing, and video gaming. The stereotype of the furry fan or furry artist often bears a close resemblance to the stereotype of the nerd and/or geek: a hairy, overweight (usually) male, often unwashed, and living in his parents' basement while surfing for pornography on the Internet.
The particulars of furry fandom and culture involve fewer common interests, and what outsiders frequently consider strange, unusual, or bizarre takes on the wider fantasy and funny animal genre. This has led to the furry stereotype being presented as much more extreme than typical geeks. For example, one list of some extra stereotypical points that have often been attached to furry fandom would paint most furries as:
- Is not an established culture like Anime or Science Fiction.
- Is not, nor ever will be, a mainstream culture.
- Is at best a subculture.
- It is a sick fetish in general and/or a pathway to anthropomorphic paraphilias.
Appearance or orientation
- Dangerously underweight.
- Extremely old .
- Usually homely or ugly.
- Gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.
- Mental disorders.
- Down Syndrome
- AIDS (all LBGT furries).
- Uneducated, still holding a low prestige job as they get older.
- Educated, still holding a low prestige job as they get older.
- Majority on disability or other types of welfare assistance (US).
- There is no furry on furry normal relationships (just for love).
- There are no straight relationships in the fandom.
- There are no married couples in the fandom.
- Married furry couples are all childless due to problems/genetics.
- Married furry couple's kids are all brats.
- No females in the fandom.
- No females artists in the fandom.
- All females are fat and ugly.
- All females are flat as a board and waifs.
- All females are lesbians.
- All females are really men pretending to be females (online).
- Unable to produce media to at the same skill level as non-furry artists.
- All drawn artwork (traditional/digital) is traced.
- All art media is of a pornographic nature only.
- Cub media as a gateway media to child porn.
- No professional (non-furry) artists in the fandom.
- All fursuiters are males, no females.
- All fursuits are equipped with SPHs or SPAs.
- All fursuits are bodily fluid encrusted.
- Fursuiters use the ample space in their suit to grope little kids at lower heights.
- Fursuiters use their fursuit to molest children.
- All furry artists take forever to finish commissions.
- Artists will give any excuse for the holdup, including self-hospitalization and/or family death.
- Furry artists will take as many commissions as possible:
- All furry commissioners demand that artists create free art for them.
- ...Or ask for incredible complex media for a ridiculous commission fee.
- Furry commissioners will received the art, then have the payment rescinded via the e-payment service (e.g. Paypal), under different pretenses (fraud, job not delivered, job no as advertised).
- Furry commissioners will take as many commissions as possible:
- Then leave the fandom after receiving the art, without paying...
- ...And then come back as a new furry fan under a new pseudonym, and they then repeat the process.
- Then leave the fandom after receiving the art, without paying...
- Furry commissioners will often ask for donations for such ailments as self-hospitalization and/or family death, then use the donations to buy extra furry art.
Site or locales
- There has never been a well planned/fun one.
- They just cater to Babyfurs, Zoophiles, Lifestylers, Plushophiles, and Pedophiles.
- Participants just go for the gay sex/art/marital aids.
- Participants just go for the underage gay sex.
- Participants just go for the drugs/alcohol.
- They spooge all over the place, specially elevators.
- The staff are/were: All retarded, power hungry, clueless, other.
- All cons have the worst customer service.
Furry convention events
- Slave auctions (Confurence era).
- Fans/artists were put up for bidding for sex only (normally gay).
Reasons for the stereotyping
These common portrayals of the fandom are based on several factors, such as the apparent larger than average percentage of individuals in it who are gay, bi, lesbian, or transsexual — a point which itself is debated within the fandom. Of course, the image of a social furry fan who has mostly mainstream, unremarkable interests and hobbies is not as titillating to sensationalism seekers in the general public, or groups such as Something Awful.
Even when people who are furries happen to pursue erotic art, engage in activities like sexual plushophilia, or are lifestylers, many are really much more responsible for themselves and the impression they give of the fandom than those who dig for examples to support stereotypes might admit.
No matter how many fans there are who would fit the image of an unremarkable and less controversial Furry fan, there remain those who take part in less common activities, exhibit outrageous or unwise behavior, or provide a relatively rare fit with the most extreme stereotypes. These have, more often than not, been singled out and held up as symbolic of furry fandom.
Fans who are frustrated by stereotyping often believe that this is all it takes to prove the stereotype to "outsiders". Other furries have asserted that this fear is responsible for "witch hunts" within the Furry community, including attempts to repress or drive away people perceived as undesirable before they become noticed.
Another view put forth by other Furry fans and some persons outside the fandom is that the enterprise of collecting, advertising, or reinforcing stereotypes is often carried out by individuals who would also fit a number of parallel stereotypes about genre fans, Internet users, and geek culturists. This view has led some to dismiss the entire topic, especially when it relates to online activities, as geeks battling geeks in a war to one-up each other with negative propaganda.
Stereotypes within the fandom, by the fandom
There are also stereotypes within the furry fandom itself. Some of these are external stereotypes, circulated by furry fans who wish to distance themselves from the unpopular image of furries or hold them up for criticism (see Skunk, Horrifying Look at the Furries, and the Burned Furs).
Other stereotypes are specific to the internal culture of the fandom. Since the Furry genre places emphasis on animal characteristics, certain popular stereotypes are based on the favored species association of a given individual, especially among fans who have a personal furry or role-play frequently. The stereotypical attributes that a certain creature bestows on a person may or may not be based on the accurate behavior of the real animal; metaphorical and mythological traits are fair game.
In the instance of creatures which are mythological to begin with, their attributed behavior might be inspired more by fandom conventions than traditional mythologies and stories.
It should be noted that many fans circulate and use species stereotypes as humorous cliches which are not intended to cause offense. It is common for Furry fans to examine themselves to see where they fit within the list of supposed behaviors.
Some examples of species-related stereotypes include, but are not limited to:
- Dragons are pretentious, attempt to appear wise and cultured, and often follow a strange form of mysticism. More recently, they've been perceived as being "derpy" If female, they are fangirls of Anne McCaffrey's Pern.
- Unicorns are aristocratic, and prideful about their appearance.
- Equines are "size queens", into bondage and pony play.
- Male foxes are frequently gay or bi, overly sexualized and submissive, and are an overexposed choice of character.
- Female foxes and vixens are usually male players, even more overly sexualized, and not bright.
- Gryphons are obsessed fans of Mercedes Lackey fiction and can be capricious.
- Rabbit (species)s are neurotic and paranoid, or are sexually promiscuous, and often enjoy being edible.
- Wolves behave like alpha males, arrogant and expecting to be treated as leaders. Alternately, they are sometimes purported to act like big foxes.
- Huskies are the new foxes, but more submissive.
- Raccoons are seen as antisocial and bi-sexual. Some see raccoons as sneaky thieves who steal at every chance they get.
- Cats are seen as clean and sometimes prissy, bordering on the noble class.
- Squirrels are jittery and hyperactive.
- Hyenas are seen as insane, loud, aggressive, overtly sexual.
- Kangaroos are always foot fetishists who have pouches on both genders.