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Furry, or more fully, furry fandom is a general term referring to both a genre of art and literature (including comics) concerning anthropomorphic animals, and the fan culture that surrounds this genre. An enormous amount of variance applies to both applications of the term, both in degree and type. Don't try to insult a furry by calling them a son of a bitch: they will thank you, and likely return the compliment.
 Furry fandom
The fan culture surrounding furry is easily as diverse as the art. Ranging from mild interest to full lifestyle devotees to spiritual seekers, furries, as the fans are more properly known, are difficult to easily define. In general, the one common feature among them is an interest in anthropomorphic art and concepts.
It ranges from the innocent to the fucked up, so too are the fans, whose involvement can be very light, or stray far into some rather unusual perversions indeed. These latter tendencies have been made much of in the media, and they certainly do exist, but they are hardly representative of the fandom as a whole. However, there is a sexual tone to much furry art, and a high incidence of both male and female bisexuality. To the uninitiated, and in some cases even to the well-experienced, these expressions can be quite shocking, and do serve to make large parts of the fandom difficult to access for some. However, knowing that, it is possible to avoid or at least minimize contact with these elements, and simply enjoy the fun.
There is also a high incidence of spiritual seekers within the fandom, ranging from those following New Agey shamanistic practices involving belief in totem or power animals, to those attempting an ultimately futile pursuit of lycanthropy, to those who see their furry persona as a true representation of their ideal selves. Some, usually calling themselves "therians," believe that they have a genuine spiritual, emotional or psychological connection to specific animals, or that they are an animal in human form.
A common stereotype is that many furries have body image issues due to obesity or other issues, and adopted a furry persona as their ideal of what they should look like, sometimes coming to believe they were "born into the wrong body." As with the sexual aspects of the fandom, this is just that, a stereotype, and it is unclear to what extent this is actually the case; nonetheless, academics sometimes target furry convention attendees with surveys asking all the usual questions about their sexuality, spiritual beliefs, and body image and self image issues, much to the annoyance of those who are there to have fun or are just curious and checking the scene out.
Furry conventions, again much noted in the media, are somewhat a genre unto themselves. They have a tendency to polarise the fandom between those who go to every single one of them (these can usually be identified as the people who have no money and no idea where it's gone), and those who wouldn't go to one even if they were paid. It's worth noting that some of the latter individuals are, in fact, paid to attend conventions, and are usually given the title "Guest of Honor" - though they still don't want to be there, and usually complain as loudly as they possibly can about this fact given the slightest provocation.
As with the other aspects, a wide variety of expressions are noted, from the presence of actual artists to the phenomenon of fursuiting, which involves actually dressing in elaborate "anthro" costumes. Some costumes can be quite elaborate, using principles of animatronics to add movable eyes, jaws and other appendages. And again, a sexual aspect does come into play, side-by-side with more innocent expressions. Tolerance is generally the order of the day, especially at conventions.
Attendees at conventions from less socially-adept countries generally spend their time drinking overpriced alcoholic beverages. When this is not possible, they spend their time complaining that the bar is closed. This may explain some of the polarisation.
 Furry art
The primary expression of furry as a genre is in traditional (i.e. painting, etc.) or digital artwork, which as noted above varies both in style and content. The degree of anthropomorphization, which is to say the human-like qualities of the characters, ranges from fully human with some slight characteristics, to fully animal but with human intelligence, a style generally referred to as "feral." The most common expressions involve more or less human forms, but with animal paws (or equivalent), heads and tails. As well, content varies considerably, from the innocent to the startlingly perverse and/or offensive. At the latter end of the range, an "anything goes" attitude tends to pervade the fandom, although it is not by any means shared by all.
A smaller, but still noticeable, genre of amateur fiction has also grown up around these expressions, generally shared through the internet rather than any professional printing.
Comics, such as the seminal Albedo Anthropomorphics and the much more widely known Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have long involved furry characters, if not entirely furry casts. Less professional efforts appear regularly on the internet, and many furry webcomics exist, and typically they lack in quality like many others.
There is little (if any) film aimed directly at furry fans, although a great deal of anthropomorphic animation exists, much of which is well beloved by fans of the genre, including Secret of NIMH, Fritz the Cat, and Cats Don't Dance, as well as television shows, such as Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, the various Sonic the Hedgehog shows, and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
As one might expect, a genre like furry does attract a large amount of controversy. Clearly, the sexual aspect draws much attention, especially when the more outre fetishes are taken into consideration. Indeed, there are controversies within the community as to what limits, if any, should be placed on furry art. Within the fandom itself there was a backlash against the more outre aspects, calling themselves "Burned Fur" (circa 1998-99) among those who wanted a fandom without any of the sexual or quasi-spiritual associations, but Burned Fur proved to be divisive and short-lived. In an ironic footnote, after the group disbanded, the abandoned domain name for their website was purchased by a porn merchandiser.
Some have accused fursuiters of dressing in costume in order to attract children, whom such displays have traditionally been aimed at. In a similar vein, the production of sexually-themed artwork based on characters from children's animation (Sonic the Hedgehog is one popular theme) is seen by some as an attempt to push sexuality onto children, even though such art normally isn't easily accessible to children. Other accusations, such as bestiality, have been leveled, due to the sexualizaton of animals, however altered from their base forms.
Members of the furred community feel the overly sexual component gives the rest a bad name and may use the derogatory term 'furvert' to describe such people. Avid watchers of Fox News are also called furverts.
 Web presence
There are many furry sites, including a wiki called WikiFur. Accessing it requires keyboards that support non-opposable thumbs. Mice under 20cm, with or without balls, are considered exempt from furry rules.[citation NOT needed]
 Fur bashing
Furry-bashing is common at websites such as Something Awful, Portal of Evil, Encyclopedia Dramatica, and, most notably, CrushYiffDestroy! As a result, furries think they are the "underdog," although that may be a bad pun.
Regrettably, fur bashing causes matting.
Wiki-Tikki-Tavi is furry, but not a mongoose wiki.
 Kill it with fire!
If you want to appear incredibly intelligent and well-adjusted, chant "Kill it with Fire!" at a furry or group of furries. This is a well-known chant that strikes fear into the hearts of many furries, as it signals the presence of one of their many enemies, be they Goons, Anons, EDiots, or one of many "upstanding citizens," and is often accompanied with similar chants of "Yiff in Hell!" The vast majority of furries have totally not heard this chant hundreds of times before, and you will appear to be highly original and insightful. And, of course, irrational hatred of outgroups shows you are a hip and worldly person of distinction.
 See also
- WikiFur - General information
- Fur Affinity - Art site, requires free membership to view mature/adult art
- Fchan - Mostly adult art site, not even slightly safe for work. (Warning If you value your sanity, don't go into the /ah/ section. Seriously. Even most of the furries fear this section. And don't go into the /toon/ section unless you want to have your childhood destroyed.)
- WikiFur: Timeline of conventions There are too many furry conventions to list, but that didn't stop WikiFur.
- The werelist forums - A bit of info on "therians" in the library, but registering enables you to read quite a bit more.