The furry subculture receives significant stereotyping. Furries are often portrayed as overweight gay/bisexual zoophiles with an interest in plush toys, who wear fursuits to hide their ugliness and lack of social skils. Some of these stereotypes have more than a grain of truth to them; a larger than average proportion of furry fans are openly gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transsexual. Others fail to hold up under closer scrutiny - even at conventions, only 10-15% of fans are likely to have brought a fursuit, and the vast majority have no interest in their pets as sex objects.
Furry fandom member demographics have traditionally mixed with the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, computing, and video gaming. The stereotype of the furry fan bears a close resemblance to that of the nerd and/or geek: a hairy, overweight male, often unwashed, and living in his parents' basement while surfing for pornography on the Internet. Ironically, many of those perpetuating the stereotype match this description.
Of course, the image of a social furry fan who has mostly mainstream, unremarkable interests and hobbies is not as titillating to sensationalism seekers, or groups like Something Awful. No matter how many furries there are who would fit the picture of the typical and less controversial, 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 often been singled out and held up as the symbol of furry fandom.
There are also stereotypes within furry fandom itself. Many are specific to its internal culture; these are often based on the favored species
of a given individual, especially among those fans who have a personal furry
or who role-play
frequently. For example, male foxes
are often seen as gay, overly sexualized, and not very bright, while dragons
are portrayed as arrogant, pretentious, and followers of wonky mysticism - and if female
, they are fangirls of Anne McCaffrey