The Furry Fandom is many things to many people, and it’s difficult to pin a single definition for it down. If you ask 10 furries to explain the furry fandom, you’re likely to end up with 11 different answers.
Broadly, Furry is a predominantly LGBTQIA+ community (with over 80% versus about 5% of the baseline human population). Consequently, furry is also largely considered a queer subculture.
The Pinboard Twitter account goes on to describe Furries as:
And all of those things are true.
But the Furry Fandom is also a loose collection of distinct hobbies. One of those hobbies is wearing fursuits (thus, “fursuiting”).
Different people will enjoy the same hobby in many different ways.
However, there is a contingent of furries (predominantly from Europe) that have a large and jagged stick up their butt about how other people enjoy fursuiting.
Eurofurence recently sent out a survey asking how their attendees feel about policing other people’s engagement with the fursuiting hobby.
It’s difficult to imagine why they would need to ask for this data in a survey; except to build a case for enforcing an arbitrary strict rule against how attendees express themselves in fursuit.
Furthermore, if they were just interested in opinions, rather than trying to use survey data to justify a rule change, why is the question worded the way it is?
This is not the first time Eurofurence (and/or its attendees) has started a pointless attempt to control fursuiters and punish people for “poodling” (wearing some, but not all, parts of their fursuit at once). They’ve had this particular brand of brainworms for years.
Eurofurence isn’t alone, either. NordicFuzzCon was also afflicted with this weird hate-boner for poodling.
Eurofurence/NFC defenders are quick to point out that these cons no longer have (or at least no longer enforce) the rules against poodling or headless fursuiting in con spaces. But the bigger issue is that they ever had such rules in the first place (even informally).
Additionally, the head-ass takes aren’t limited to furry conventions. To wit:
Since this topic is sometimes presented alongside the usual suspects of fandom discourse, the signal-to-noise ratio is abysmal. Thus, I’m probably understating the problem by several orders of magnitude.
In Defense of Poodling and Ruined Magic
Professionals wearing mascot outfits at theme parks are instructed to never remove their characters’ heads in the company of guests, because it might traumatize children to discover that e.g. their favorite Disney character is actually an adult wearing a costume. To do so would “ruin the magic” of the experience.
Furries are hobbyists wearing fursuits they bought with their own money and/or made with their own time and materials.
The rules of a billion-dollar media mega-corporation do not automatically transfer over to the furry fandom.
If you spent $6,000 (or even $60,000) to bring your character to life, it is entirely your decision what you do with that fursuit. Not mine. Not some stranger’s who had no skin in the game.
If someone wants to “poodle”, unless you own the costume or are paying them for their time, that’s not your call to make.
(And even if you are, there better be a pre-negotiated contractual agreement in play. Otherwise, you’re still not in a position to make demands.)
If a convention wants to demand that fursuiters never remove their fursuit heads outside of the headless lounge, and people actually comply, one of two things will happen:
- There will be a stark increase in medical incidents at that convention, which could cause the event insurance bill to skyrocket (among other things).
- People will linger in the headless lounge since it’s the only place they can fursuit freely without reprimand. This will lead to absurd levels of overcrowding and cause even more conflicts.
Speaking of medical incidents, these anti-poodling or no-headless policies aren’t just short-sighted and judgmental, they’re also ableist as fuck.
Why Is This Even A Thing?
It’s perfectly okay to have preferences about your hobbies.
Personally, I try to stay in suit for as long as possible without removing any fur. Being in character is a lot of fun, and I want to maximize my own enjoyment!
But if any convention ever complains about me wearing a fursuit without my head on, for any reason, I’m likely to return the following year wearing a pup hood instead of my suit head.
(It turns out that a lot of the anti-poodling jerks also shun pup hoods because of puritanical views on sex and kink. Fuck those people, though.)
To be clear: I don’t care if you have personal preferences. It’s fine to have preferences. It’s also okay to talk openly about your preferences.
Just don’t try to enforce them onto others.
Consider: some furries have strong opinions about natural vs unnatural colors in fursona designs. But they express this personal preference in their own fursona designs instead of shitting on other peoples’ fursonas or trying to enact rules against unnatural colored fursuits at furry conventions.
The furry fandom has progressed beyond the need for pointless policing.