Fictional work celebrated by furry fandom typically attributes high-level intelligence, human facial expressions and anatomy, speech, bipedalism, clothing, or other attributes to otherwise animal characters. Work in any medium that includes such characters may be considered part of the furry genre, although they are most often seen in comics, cartoons, animated films, allegorical novels, and video games.
The specific term "Furry fandom" was being used in fanzines as early as 1983, and had become the standard name for the genre by the mid-1990s. However, fans consider the origins of furry fandom to be much earlier, with fictional works such as Kimba, The White Lion released in 1965, Richard Adams' novel Watership Down, published in 1972 (and its 1978 film adaptation), as well as Disney's Robin Hood as oft-cited examples. To distinguish these personae from seriously depicted animal characters, such as Lassie or Old Yeller, cartoon animals are referred to as funny animals, a term that came into use in the 1910s.
During the 1980s, furry fans began to publish fanzines, developing a diverse social group that eventually began to schedule social gatherings. By 1987, there was sufficient interest to stage the first furry convention. Throughout the next decade, the Internet became accessible to the general population and became the most popular means for furry fans to socialize. The newsgroup alt.fan.furry was created in November 1990, and virtual environments such as MUCKs also became popular places on the Internet for fans to meet and communicate. One of the oldest and largest MUCKs in existence is FurryMUCK.
Furry fans are eager for more material than is available from mainstream publishers, and this demand is met by other fans who produce a wide range of materials in both amateur and professional capacities. Most furries also believe that visual art, conventions, literature, and online communities are strongly important to the fandom.
Furry artists, writers, and publishers produce a prolific amount of drawings, paintings, stories, comic books, fanzines, puppets, and small press books, as well as sculpture, textile art, fiction, music, and photography. While most of this fan-created art is distributed through nonprofessional media, such as personal websites, some is published in anthologies, by Amateur Press Associations, or in APAzines. Furry artwork is also available through websites devoted entirely to furry art produced by multiple artists, while other sites contain furry artwork under the term "anthro". A few works of furry art have also been released in mainstream culture, and furry artwork has appeared on commercial apparel.
There are several webcomics featuring animal characters created by or for furry fans; as such, they may be referred to as "furry comics". One such comic, T.H.E. Fox, was first published on CompuServe in 1986, predating the World Wide Web by several years, while another, "Kevin and Kell" by Bill Holbrook, has been awarded both a Web Cartoonist's Choice Award and an Ursa Major Award.
Sufficient interest and membership has enabled the creation of many furry conventions in North America and Europe. The world's largest furry convention is Anthrocon, held annually in Pittsburgh in July, is estimated to contribute approximately $3 million to the town's economy each year. Another convention, Further Confusion, held in San Jose each January, closely follows Anthrocon in scale and attendance. In 2006, 19 furry conventions took place around the world exceeding 9,900 attendees and raising over US$50,000 in charity. The first known furry convention, ConFurence, is no longer held; Califur has replaced it, as both conventions were based in Southern California. The University of California, Davis survey suggested that about 40% of furries attended at least one furry convention.
In their 2007 survey, Gerbasi et al examined what it meant to be a furry, and in doing so proposed a topology in which to categorise different "types" of furries. The largest group, at 38% of those surveyed, they described as being interested in furry fandom predominately as a "route to socializing with others who share common interests such as anthropomorphic art and costumes." However they also identified furries who saw themselves as "other than human", and/or who desired to become more like the furry species which they identified with. This distinction can be viewed in light of the findings of the larger Furry Survey, according to which a majority of furries consider themselves to be predominantly human, while about 6% do not consider themselves human at all.
The majority of furries report a non-judgmental attitude towards certain aspects of sexuality and a high tolerance for variety in sexual orientation and activity. 19-25% of the fandom members report homosexuality, 37-48% bisexuality, and 3-8% other forms of alternative sexual relationships. About 2% state an interest in zoophilia, and less than 1% an interest in plushophilia. About half of the furry fans are estimated to be in a relationship, with 76% of those having a relationship with another furry.
Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Jim Powell was sharing a hotel with Anthrocon 2007 attendees a day before the convention and reported a negative opinion of the furries. Residents of Pittsburgh have welcomed furries during the event, with local business owners creating special T-shirts and drawing paw prints in chalk outside their shops to attract attendees. Dr. Samuel Conway, CEO of Anthrocon, said that "For the most part, people give us curious stares, but they're good-natured curious stares. We're here to have fun, people have fun having us here, everybody wins".
According to Furry survey, about half of furries perceive public reaction to the fandom as negative; less than a fifth stated that they were responded to more negatively than the reactions of the general public before.
What are their listening habits?(FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RURAL LIFESTYLER)(National Association of Farm Broadcasters)(Brief article)
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