by Quentin Long
©2011 Quentin Long
Amongst mundanes, theres a common idea that anything furry is strictly for kids. Many people in the furry subculture would not agree, of course
but there is a not-inconsiderable amount of evidence in support of the furry-is-for-kids idea. For instance, think of all those Disney cartoons which feature anthropomorphic characters, to name only the first (and perhaps most pervasive?) piece of cultural data which comes to mind. And lets not forget all the explicitly child-safe material produced by furries themselves!
Of course, theres also a goodly bit of furry-produced material which is the absolute, Platonic opposite of child-safe. And apart from furporn, the furrys-not-just-for-kids crowd (which is, as I said, a darn big chunk of the furry subculture) can point to things like Orwells Animal Farm or Speigelmans Maus, things which are both (a) unquestionably furry, and (b) truly mature in ways that are completely and utterly not related to inserting protuberance A into orifice B. So yeah, there is more to furry than just stuff for children.
But does that mean the furry-is-for-kids position is incorrect?
An art form is what its practitioners make it to be, after all. And considering the sheer quantity of anthropomorphic material which genuinely is for kids, from Æsops Fables to Beatrix Potter to Donald Duck and then some, its clear that a significant percentage (if not a decisive majority!) of furrys practitioners have been and are making it for children.
Im sure that some of my readers would disagree most vehemently with that idea but how can anyone argue against it? What, all those Winnie the Pooh cartoons and books and movies and yada yada yada arent for children, or maybe theyre not really furry? And lets not forget all those multimedia (comicbook/videogame/etc) crossover properties, Sonic the Hedgehog and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and so on and so forth; theyre not for kids, or they arent truly furry? Yeah, right, you betcha.
Well, you could argue that one swallow doth not a summer makethat theres a difference between someone for whom furry material makes up the bulk of their creative output, and someone for whom furry material is an unusual divergence from the stuff they customarily create. And (the argument goes) in recognition of that difference, someone whos trying to figure out what furry really is ought to pay more attention to material created by people who do furry most/all of the time, than they do to material created by people who only do furry once in a while.
By this reasoning, the creative works of J. Random Anthro-Graffix (who does furry art, and nothing but) ought to be considered more furry than the cartoons of Disney (a company for which anthropomorphics are merely one component of their total output). Of course, this reasoning would also tend to suggest that the likes of Animal Farm are, on some level, just not as furry as Anthro-Graffixs drawings which, while a somewhat unexpected consequence of the originally-stated premise, is also a position thats not entirely indefensible. Another consequence of this reasoning: Members of the furry subculture are the proper, intended audience for anthropomorphic material (because the more furry stuff a person creates, the more likely it is that theyre creating their stuff for fellow members of the subculture).
At this point, the furrys-not-just-for-kids crowd may be telling themselves, Yep, just as we said! Furry isnt purely for children. It cant be, because furry is for furs. Well, maybe but theres an unspoken assumption which needs to be brought out into the light:
Namely, that furs are not children.
To be sure, a huge chunk of the subculture is well over 18; hence, furs are not children is, in brute chronological terms, unquestionably true. But theres more to being a child than just how many trips around the Sun youve lived through! Theres also psychological maturityor the lack thereof. Im sure you can all think of at least one nominal grown-up whose standard behavior is the sort one ordinarily associates with a single-digit age, yes? Rarer, but far from unheard-of, are children (in the purely chronological sense!) who are wise beyond their years.
The question is, what percentage of older members of the furry subculture are, in fact psychologically immature? I trust I dont need to explain the relevance of this question to a discussion of whether or not furry is just for kids! Anyway, one of the hallmarks of immaturity is self-centerednessthe idea that its all about me. For instance, a child wants what they want, when they want it. You say there are solid, practical reasons for the childs not getting whatever-it-is right then and there? Tough, because the child doesnt care about any of that. All the child does care about is, theyre not getting what they want!
Case in point: One-sided internet roleplay. Of the furs you know who engage in RP, how many have highly specific requirements, all of which simply must be met 100% in full in order for them to enjoy it? How many are unable and/or unwilling to accomodate any RP preferences other than their own?
Case in point: Center-of-the-universe fursonæ. Is a fursonas physical design such that it cant not attract gobs & gobs of attention from others (see also: macrofurs, excessively exotic coloration, multifurs, etc)? Is the fursona defined as possessing mass quantities of sheer, raw power (see also: dragons, godlike spirits in anthropomorphic form, etc)? If the answer to either question is yes, you could be looking at a center-of-the-universe fursona; if the answers to both questions are yes, you can bet the rent on it.
So what percentage of older furs are, in fact, children? More than you think. Which is fine, in and of itself but given the numbers of furs who like to insist that furry isnt just for kids, perhaps those furs might want to do something about the subcultures observable level of immaturity.
Maybe its time to grow up.