Now when the media is so kind as to notice us, the default description
is 'people who like to dress up in animal costumes,' period (i.e., the
AnthroCon episode of 'Back to You'), and the art end of it is
I guess that misconception is unavoidable: 'suiters are much more
photogenic (and probably safer to put on TV) than furry pin-ups etc,
even though ‘suiters are a (large) fraction of con attendees. Please
let it be noted I am NOT attacking 'suiters (some of my best friends,
etc.), but doing more research for my book on anthropomorphism and the
evolution of the fur scene.
If anyone in FA has any thoughts or anecdotes on the subject – when
fursuiters first started showing up at cons, and how/when/why their
numbers increased - I'd be very interested in hearing them.
That's OK. Wished I knew when all this happened in the first place,
I'd rather it still stayed on paper personally. :-)
I doubt my thoughts will hold much weight, seeing as how I'm more of a
fringe dweller than integral to the fandom. But I wonder if the whole
fursuiter thing might simply be symptomatic of something larger. I
wish to draw on two fandoms I am familiar with and part of, comics and
It seems like, with Generation Y starting to join fandoms, that the
dynamic has shifted. Originally, cosplay was something done for fun
to get fellow fans to go "Wow!". But lately, it's taken a more
competitive turn (anime cosplayers with professional get-ups
participating in "amateur" competitions). So it could be a bunch of
newcomers to the party trying to prove how involved in the scene they
are, and while art is difficult, it doesn't grab attention like a
Another possibility could be that, when cosplaying/fursuiting/
whatever, interpersonal dynamics change. At Ren Faires, for example,
people get to talk and behave in ways of the Romantic era, something
they can't do IRL. It's virtual reality without computers. I've seen
Star Wars cosplayers at conventions run into each other, and suddenly,
it's like a little party/show breaks out, especially when multiple
Darth Vaders start debating which of them is the evil twin (now THAT
was funny!) or Jedis show up. It creates this safe little "bubble"
where these new rules of interaction can be done, complete with
shorthands that break the social ice faster.
Keep in mind the closest I have to cosplay is my Gryffindor robes.
With my body build, I can't think of any other outfits that would be
appropriate and not scar people for life. Some people simply should
not wear spandex in public. Ever.
That's because it's what they can see from the outside of the hotel,
which is where most of them stay. You don't have artists sitting on
the sidewalk. (Notably, when they doodled on the sidewalk, it *did*
It's also something that people can relate to. Lots of people like
dressing up for Halloween. It's easy to imagine a group of people who
loves dressing up all of the time. But most people *aren't* artists,
and perhaps they don't "get" why people would spend their time
creating art for their own amusement.
If you're asking "why is fursuiting so popular", the simple answer is
that furry fans love roleplaying. How much better would it be if you
could play that role in real life, with your friends? You can turn a
convention into an RL MUCK. And that can be fun to interact with even
if you don't have a suit of your own. It got to the tipping point
where people started to become professional fursuit makers, just as it
got to the point where some people are professional furry artists.
Bear in mind that the largest furry site in the world is an art site.
The art scene is still alive and kicking. But there are also a lot
more fans out there than before; and they're largely *consumers* of
art. While this crowd may not have always been present, or as strong,
they were attracted by the artwork that related to their interests.
The fandom has grown to the point where a majority of people in it are
not artists. Rather than try to be something they're not, they're
bringing other creative skills to bear on the concept of "furry" -
costuming, roleplaying, puppeteering . . . and naturally, the good
ones attract their own fans.
This is a good thing. Without fans finding some way to express their
creativity, furry fandom would stagnate into fixed groups of creators
and consumers like so many other fandoms. Maybe in ten year's time
we'll see people sporting their own real tails, or a resurgence in
body painting, or massively multi-editor furry fiction . . . I don't
know where we'll end up, but I'm excited to find out what it will be.
But I'm sure there'll forever be a place for art.
My frustration and pleasure with Furry Fandom
is the way it seems to mutate (or "evolve" if you prefer)
without any central powerhouse.
I can't see any "guiding hand" to what happens.
Fursuiters were always there, from the early ConFurence,
but they were kinda the "elite" since it was only build-it-yourself,
or spend $$$ for a professinal costume.
HAPPILY, the "make it yourself" dominated,
thus the individuality and wide range of expression.
And it's led to a "cottage industry" where there are MANY
furries offering fursuits (just check FurBid and Ebay!).
I'll admit I've heard of folks trying to "buy prestige"
by commissioning a "name brand furry" for their fursuit,
but that's not worth a hoot when you're in a level playing field
just as participating at a charity event in 'zoot.
It's the smiles and reaction from the folks that matters
for they care not a whit what your fursuit cost or who made it.
It's your performance: the personality and communicating joy
that matters to them.
I lucked out and got my ferret fursuit at a rather low price,
and it matches my ferret persona.
It's hard for me to remember how I enjoyed FurCons
before I had a fursuit since it's such so encompassing.
It's now the primary way I particiate at the convention
(in the fursuit parade, masquerade, games,
and just roaming around).
So to why fursuiters have reached a "critical mass"
with >10% of attendees having at least ONE fursuit
(either owned or borrowed), I can't really isolate any cause or trigger.
It's addictive fun?
There are /some/ statistics such as the fursuit counts
of the Anthrocon, FurFright and other FurCon parades,
but even that is undercounted,
for many folks just don't choose to participate in that event.
It's not a fursuit census.
Perhaps a census/survey in the fursuit LiveJournal groups would help?
> ... I wish to draw on two fandoms I am familiar with and part of,
> comics and anime.
That's reasonable, considering how Furry Fandom
is a splinter group from anime
(furs used to meet at anime clubs before there were enough of us
to have our own convention and meets).
>It seems like, with Generation Y starting to join fandoms, that the
>dynamic has shifted. Originally, cosplay was something done for fun
>to get fellow fans to go "Wow!". But lately, it's taken a more
With so many FurCons, I have no time for anime cons or clubs anymore.
To be honest, I was never really into anime so much as the
furry characters (Dragon League, Galkeeva)
or the comedy/humor series (Urusei Yatsura, Ramna half, etc).
The NY C/FO overdosed me on the giant-robot genre
so I just can't stand Macross/Orguss/Robotech/...
The little I've heard about cosplays,
I equate it with "costumers who take it WAY TOO SERIOUSLY!".
The performances I hear about all require immense audience
knowledge of the characters, series, particular episodes, etc.
Ya, I particpated in spoof-plays at Sci Fi cons long long ago
and they similarly required that you remember the movie
to get the jokes, but a LOT of the humor stood on its own.
> So it could be a bunch of newcomers to the party
> trying to prove how involved in the scene they are,
> and while art is difficult, it doesn't grab attention
> like a costume/fursuit does.
In a positive light, that's a great equalizer.
Newcomers can gain acceptance and make inroads
totally on WHO they are and WHAT they do (and how and why)
rather than who they know or how long they've been around.
The downside: they don't honor any "traditions"
or learn about the folks who were here first.
There's too much instant gratification
and too little knowing, honoring/appreciating
or helping those who made-it-all-happen.
Furry fandom is nowhere as functional as sci fi fandom
where it's more of a community or extended family at times.
>Another possibility could be that, when cosplaying/fursuiting/
>whatever, interpersonal dynamics change. At Ren Faires, for example,
>people get to talk and behave in ways of the Romantic era, something
>they can't do IRL. It's virtual reality without computers. I've seen
>Star Wars cosplayers at conventions run into each other, and suddenly,
>it's like a little party/show breaks out, especially when multiple
>Darth Vaders start debating which of them is the evil twin (now THAT
>was funny!) or Jedis show up. It creates this safe little "bubble"
>where these new rules of interaction can be done, complete with
>shorthands that break the social ice faster.
That sounds like fun, but "fun with rules" since they're
playing well-known/well-defined characters
or time periods not of their own making.
I like the total freedom of improvisation
without any such limitations or restrictions.
That's just one ferret's view.
From an inch off the floor :">
-- meJeep deMeep ferret!
I also note that other than the line "both drawing and non-
drawing" you make no attempt to mention the writers, who are the real
backbone of any fandom. For without the stories all you have is
Cos-Players and pinups.
>So to why fursuiters have reached a "critical mass"
>with >10% of attendees having at least ONE fursuit
I have no fursuit, never will. I would though like a Solar Guard
outfit. Though at my age and body style it would have to be a desk
>The little I've heard about cosplays,
>I equate it with "costumers who take it WAY TOO SERIOUSLY!".
And the men dressed as little girls such as we say at SanJapan?
>The downside: they don't honor any "traditions"
There are Traditions? Now I adfmit that I have only been around this
section of fantsy fandom since about 1978, but the only 'traditions'
that I am aware of is sister Vickie and the First Furry Church. And
helping each other when we could.
>I've been in furry fandom since ... BEFORE YOU WERE BORN :">
>I have the badges to prove it!
<insert ranchus sound here> Sorry, I was helping run CAPCON in
Lubbock Texas with Mrs. Mel. White back then.
>>was funny!) or Jedis show up. It creates this safe little "bubble"
What is more fun is when some idiot does not know the difference
between a Roman or German WWII salute. Then you and your companions
get to 'edumahkate' him. On the battlefield. Severial times (as he
loudly insulted a Duke, about three knights, six squires and half a
dozen other fighters. Almost half female. Then there was myself, the
Herald who blithly called to battle each duel.)
>That's just one ferret's view.
>From an inch off the floor :">
While your down there, would you mind seeing if you can find my
communicator? I need to call Fireball XL-5.
Well, I have a slightly different, but not much, perspective. I used
to go to anime conventions in the Chicago area. I specifically
mention Chicago for reasons you will see anon.
Back before I bailed on the anime fandom (not anime itself, but the
fandom), there were two conventions in Chicago, ACen, and an attempted
upstart called Anime Reactor, roughly six months apart. The first AR
convention, during the cosplay show, a guy doing a bit about Trigun
turned his performance into a bit that got him dubbed "Stripper
Vash". And naturally, as memes demonstrate, everyone wants in on the
joke, regardless of whether or not it was a good idea t begin with.
AR quickly became known as the "Anything Goes" convention (a friend of
mine who loved cosplaying at the cons, she refused to go after the
second year). So here's the polar opposite of taking it WAY TOO
SERIOUSLY, in that you not only don't require any knowledge of the
anime they are cosplaying as, but it wouldn't matter anyway, as the
performance has nothing to do with it. It ranks up there with the
girl at DragonCon one year performing in the show as Ginny Weasley,
who proclaimed she would get the boys at Hogwarts to notice her, and
started doing a striptease. Thankfully, she stopped before any nudity
happened. That was just flat out wrong.
My main beef with most cosplay competitions nowadays is that people
will pass off professionally made works as their own effort. I
understand one anime fan has won some competitions despite her eBay
source being pretty open knowledge. Either the organizers can't
bother to maintain the rules, or the fans don't stick up for fair
play. Between this and people Wal-Marting their art prints, anime
cons just aren't fun for me anymore.
Admittedly, some anime cosplayers do go for the obscure, but with all
the anime produced, the likelyhood of knowing everything is pretty
slim. So I cut some slack (giant robots bore me to tears) in that
regard. But the people who act like you're an interloper just because
you've never even heard of the anime they are cosplaying as? Sheesh.
> Ya, I particpated in spoof-plays at Sci Fi cons long long ago
> and they similarly required that you remember the movie
> to get the jokes, but a LOT of the humor stood on its own.
And that's the best kind. Otherwise, you are just scoring points for
recognition, not for any humor value.
> I've been in furry fandom since ... BEFORE YOU WERE BORN :">
> I have the badges to prove it!
The earliest badge I see for anything, not just furry, is 1976. You
> That sounds like fun, but "fun with rules" since they're
> playing well-known/well-defined characters
> or time periods not of their own making.
Well, and also, there is an element of respect and certain personal
limits. At the last ACen I went to, many women swore they wouldn't
return because so many guys were copping feels (I felt sorry for one
woman who cosplayed as Mai Shiranui from King Of Fighters, complete
with thong back). Women dressing like fap material does not equal
>Admittedly, some anime cosplayers do go for the obscure, but with all
My daughter Rebecca went as Readman at SanJapan, and almost no one
requnized her. It appears that in Anime, anything over three weeks
old is forgotten.
Fursuiters "took over" furry fandom? Man, I thought that was my job...
Fursuiters have always been showing up at furry cons as far as I know,
and I've been attending them since 1994. They only make up about 15%
of convention attendees, so they're hardly taking over. How would they
take over, anyway? Snuggle us into submission?
(The 2008 State Of The Fandom Survey by Furry Research Center puts the
number of fursuiters at 21%. The UC Davis Study puts it at 16%.)
They get mentioned by the media because they're photogenic. No big
There are more fursuiters now then there were before (IIRC years ago
they were only 7-8% of con attendees) due to the tremendous growth of
furry fandom in the past decade, which has resulted in sharing of
knowledge and improved construction techniques, as well as the
increased popularity of fursuit commissions.
> Fursuiters have always been showing up at furry cons as far as I know,
> and I've been attending them since 1994. They only make up about 15%
> of convention attendees, so they're hardly taking over. How would they
> take over, anyway? Snuggle us into submission?
I would not mind being snuggled.
Hi, Meep - looks like we got started at about the same time - my first
convention was also a Star Trek con - the first Equicon, in 1973.
Costuming at ST cons was pretty much expected by then - most other SF
cons except for the strictly literary in fact. There were costumes at
the first ConFurence - I wore a tail myself, though IIRC there were a
few fursuits about as well. It's not new, though of course access to
more complicated tech and available sources for pre-made suits or parts
of same has gone up.
address munged, email kay at following domain
And there's _so much_ of it, so that it's pretty much impossible to keep
up with very much of it.
Oddly enough, I have a half-finished furry sketch based on Yomiko
Readman on the floor by my right foot - probably finish it some time
before the end of the year - so that one's not entirely forgotten at
least. READ OR DIE.
>Oddly enough, I have a half-finished furry sketch based on Yomiko
>Readman on the floor by my right foot - probably finish it some time
>before the end of the year - so that one's not entirely forgotten at
>least. READ OR DIE.
It is one of Rebecca's favorite anime. Then she already called Dib's
omn the family library when Anna and I check out. Actually, I'd love
to watch her pack out nearly 6,000 hardback and 3,000 paperbacks.
Could it be we are the cause. One thing bothers me is a looking at
con pictures and video others posted, it often exclusively
fursuiters.I hope to do a photo shoot at my next con but concentrate
on other aspects.
If you're referring to the generation after X, that would be the Echo
Boomers. Generation Y is some invented marketing term and not a
particularly accurate description of the generation.
Could it be that the art show at any convention generally prohibits
> Could it be that the art show at any convention generally prohibits
Only if they have pr0n to hide.
The last two 'cons' I attended did not permit photographs of the art
show, porn or no porn. These were AKON 7 & SanJapan 1.5. There
reasons were simple, 'If you want it, buy it."
address munged, email me at kay at following domain.
The first con I attended was CFE2 in Independence OH at the Holiday Inn.
There was maybe 15 fursuiters total, and most performed and posed in
fursuit events. The first MFM was attended by 4 fursuiters I believe. I
don't think it was a very big thing, but I heard that what I built was a
"FURSUIT" rather than a dog costume when I started out. I thought it fit.
> Now when the media is so kind as to notice us, the default description
> is 'people who like to dress up in animal costumes,' period (i.e., the
> AnthroCon episode of 'Back to You'), and the art end of it is
> completely ignored.
If the media wants to see fursuiters wearing aqua suits with a ton of
fur on top and smelling of Civet oil, so be it. I remember some of the
earliest media footage I saw was a report with Timmy Kangaroo (?) the
Kare 11 piece on one of the CFs and it followed a fursuiter doing what
he did. Fursuiters are these nutty people who like to wear animal
costumes and go to conventions. *shrug* Oh well. Furry life goes on.
I guess that misconception is unavoidable: 'suiters are much more
> photogenic (and probably safer to put on TV) than furry pin-ups etc,
> even though ‘suiters are a (large) fraction of con attendees.
I agree and then, I really don't see that most of the con attendees are
fursuiters. Yeah, there is a lot, and yeah, I photo mostly them, but
that's what they are there for. I'm not going to photo crowds of furs
that I don't know all day, but throw an interesting suiter in there, SNAP!
> If anyone in FA has any thoughts or anecdotes on the subject – when
> fursuiters first started showing up at cons, and how/when/why their
> numbers increased - I'd be very interested in hearing them.
This is, an internet fandom. When I got the net, I found furry. This was
in 1996 when it was at least $1200 for a 100 MHZ computer/monitor. As
computers got cheaper, WEBTV became somewhat popular, the internet went
through a period where everyone gave it away, then, computers got even
cheaper. Hence, our numbers grew and grew and hence, more and more
I made my suit in 1994, before I could imagine some crazies like me
existed. Reason why? So I could be more of a dog. The whole time, with
more and more fursuiters, wearing new and different suiters, and me,
with the *less than $100* homemade fursuit that wasn't even full and was
a pain to wear...but I was more of a dog. I even wore it as recently as
MFF 2007, and still felt like the day I first wore it. It's never been
a contest or popularity thing for me, it brings me closer to dog. That's
Well, I think that goes to show that 1) Californians will pay anything
and 2) California is overpriced all around as a result.