Author Topic: The furry limit?  (Read 2918 times)

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Offline redpaw

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The furry limit?
« on: September 04, 2012, 11:33:54 pm »
The question "what is furry?" has as been asked many times, and has just as many answers. Every person in the fandom has a unique and personal view as to what qualifies as furry. But I wonder, is there a general consensus as to what furry is not?

Taking (a simplified version of) the most commonly accepted definition of the fandom: Furries are people who have an interest in anthropomorphic animals.

Alright, so what counts as an anthropomorphic animal? Well I see it as any animal that has human like traits or characteristics. That's narrowed it down a little, but we can go further.

What is characteristic of humans? (I think this is the part where most peoples opinions diverge): If I were to make a list of everything I thought was human-like then it'd be pretty long and boring to read, so I'll just summarise it into two categories - Body and Brain. Almost there!

Body - pretty simply any resemblance to your own physical shape (hands, feet, limb proportionality etc...) or the way you move.

Brain - more complicated. In this I'm including self awareness, social behaviour and language. Not everyone will create fursonnas with human-like behaviour or even the ability to communicate with any form of language. But the one aspect common to every fursonna (that I've met) is human-like intellect and emotions. That's not to say that a feral battle scarred wolf has to cry at the end of pokemon the first movie to have human-like emotions, but he will have unusual decision making behaviour that is similar to humans.


So perhaps that is the Furry Limit? At least for the feral end of the spectrum. Let me know what you think, and if you can come with a definition for the point at which a furry is considered a human.

P.S: Whilst a sentient fox might not be considered furry, my point is that a fox without sentience is definitely not considered furry.

P.P.S: Foxes may or may not be sentient  :P

Offline Kobuk

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 01:00:17 pm »
Quote
P.S: Whilst a sentient fox might not be considered furry, my point is that a fox without sentience is definitely not considered furry.

P.P.S: Foxes may or may not be sentient

That almost sounds like a logic puzzle that redyoshi would enjoy debating.  :D
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Offline redyoshi49q

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 12:30:11 am »
Quote
P.S: Whilst a sentient fox might not be considered furry, my point is that a fox without sentience is definitely not considered furry.

P.P.S: Foxes may or may not be sentient

That almost sounds like a logic puzzle that redyoshi would enjoy debating.  :D

...Meh.  It needs more upside down A's and E's, a few more dots in triangles of varying orientations, a couple hundred variables from the Latin and Greek alphabets (both uppercase and lower case of every letter with three layers of both superscripts and subscripts, mind you), and most certainly a biconditional or ten thousand (with an almost certain preference for the latter).  Honk iff you love formal logic!

...On a more serious note, for those who understood any of the above, please don't actually do any of that, even if you happen to not be at home.  You'd only have yourselves to blame for the resulting headaches.  On a less serious note, it seems my IRC style sense of humor is leaking into the forums today.  What fun...


P.S: Whilst a sentient fox might not be considered furry, my point is that a fox without sentience is definitely not considered furry.

Actually, I once read a book whose protagonist was a falcon.  It's the most extremely feral literary work on the feral/anthro spectrum I've ever seen; the author puts great emphasis on the nature and (limited) extent of the cognizance of the falcon and the other animals in the book.  Technically, though, it *is* anthropomorphic (the deviances from 100% feral are explicitly noted as such, and are few and far between), and even works that are truly 100% feral would be of interest to the fandom and would therefore be "furry" in that sense even if they weren't technically anthropomorphic.  Moreover, the readers could anthropomorphize completely feral characters in their own minds, thus making them effectively more anthro characters.

I'd preliminarily say that the furry "limit" on the feral side doesn't exist for that reason.
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Offline Avan

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 12:41:21 am »
>.>
<.<

Now I'm going to have to express the Kernel in formal logic. What fun! :P :D

But anyways, yes, I agree that there is a limit on the animal end which cuts off at a sentience/non-sentience boundary, and a limit which cuts off on the human end before you reach the 'neko-style'/'ears & tail' stage.

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Offline Amy

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 08:13:11 pm »
What I think... If you have an interest in furry topics, and actively participate in the fandom OR have a personal, hidden fursona, you're a furry. What classifies as a furry then is any combination of human-animal on the entire spectrum, excluding 100% humans and 100% animals. For all I care, you could have a single strand of fur coming out of your nose and still be furry, if you meet the criteria of the first sentence. Humans themselves can be furry, if they're a morph and have a furry form. Non-sentient animals though, I'd have to say, are incapable of it, unless someone has an overly-convoluted explanation as to how their character can be furry (a human trait) while lacking a human mind.

Furries also extend into the sci-fi realm as well. Non-animal, non-human beings (like me) can be furry if the character itself is a furry. To explain... I am pure energy, but I manifest as a furry in my furry form, as well as a number of other forms (neko, feral in either kitten or adult cat), and any form besides.


td;lr - Furry is an immensely confusing and complicated word when it comes to *explicit* definition. The word furry is dynamic in its definition, and means something different to every person. Thus, placing an explicit definition onto would be an injustice to the people that use it, unless that definition is simply: "Furry is whatever you want it to be."
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Offline Thornbrier

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 05:25:58 am »
Honk 8): I think there is a distinction to be made regarding the use of the word furry here. In some arguments we are hearing it used to describe people, which I think does fit the mold of "whatever you want it to be" or put more accurately "If you think your a furry, you are." On the other hand, we have the term being used to refer to objects/concepts which should or should not be considered within the explicit realm of the furry fandom.

Example: 'Furry music' currently seems to refer to any music created by furries. Using the argument presented above "Furry music" should only be used to describe music which has content having something to do with anthropomorphic animals. Otherwise it is just 'music by furries,' which still has its place within the fandom, but is not itself explicitly 'furry.'

Similarly, energy beings are not inherently 'furries' but the choice (denoting intelligence like unto a human) to manifest in an animal form to interact with the world makes that specific energy being A furry.

By this same token I don't see why people say Xenomorphs aren't furries. Regardless of their back-story origin, Xenomorphs are constructed from the most feared aspects of insects (notably the parasitic life cycle) and other animal predators, then given the capability for tool use and near human intellect.

As for the human/animal limits? I agree that there is a limit for how feral a character can become before they stop being a 'furry', however, that limit is so far down that the character would essentially become unplayable as humans are, unfortunately, incapable of getting our minds down to the level necessary to truly portray such a character without simply saying, "its an ordinary cat." As soon as we ascribe any motivations or actions from a human perspective the feral character becomes a furry.

On the human side this is much harder to limit as humans are, in fact, animals. We often like to think of ourselves as so much above the rest of the animal kingdom, but we only have a few advantages which have created this large perception of a gulf between us. We are constantly surprised to discover that various other animals are doing things we long held as 'human only' behavior. I don't understand why Neko is so furtively fought against as being furry. Heck, at the extreme end I would even call Naruto a furry. I would count most forms of demon as furry (hooved feet, horns).

Now, a completely separate question is whether a given group of people want to include these when they search for 'furry' art and such. Some communities (like e621) have, at times, had limits they set for what was or wasn't considered 'furry enough' for them, and I see no problem with this either. But saying things like, "YOU CAN'T CALL NARUTO A FURRY!!!!!" is just wrong.

Offline Kobuk

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 07:52:18 am »
Ask ten people to describe, explain, or define "furry", and you'll probably get 15 different answers. There's no right or wrong way to explain what furry is or isn't. Everybody is going to have their own unique take on it.
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Offline Amy

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2012, 11:27:32 am »
Ask ten people to describe, explain, or define "furry", and you'll probably get 15 different answers. There's no right or wrong way to explain what furry is or isn't. Everybody is going to have their own unique take on it.

My point exactly.


Nice post Thorn. :3
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Offline redpaw

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2012, 08:09:30 pm »
Yay! Wall of text time :P (But seriously I love reading detailed replies like this, I even took notes whilst reading Thorn's xD)

Quote
td;lr - Furry is an immensely confusing and complicated word when it comes to *explicit* definition. The word furry is dynamic in its definition, and means something different to every person. Thus, placing an explicit definition onto would be an injustice to the people that use it, unless that definition is simply: "Furry is whatever you want it to be."

Okay, I'll start off by saying that I know the furry fandom is huge! :) The shear breadth and scope of what this fandom entails is probably one of the reasons it can't be defined in a nice neat little (or even large) piece of text. However I do still believe there are truncation points in the continuous spectrum of furry.

Quote
I think there is a distinction to be made regarding the use of the word furry here. In some arguments we are hearing it used to describe people, which I think does fit the mold of "whatever you want it to be" or put more accurately "If you think your a furry, you are." On the other hand, we have the term being used to refer to objects/concepts which should or should not be considered within the explicit realm of the furry fandom.

Yeah I want to clear that up: when I use the word furry in this post it is to describe 'anthropomorphic organisms' - not the people that like them. You used a nice example here:

Quote
Example: 'Furry music' currently seems to refer to any music created by furries. Using the argument presented above "Furry music" should only be used to describe music which has content having something to do with anthropomorphic animals. Otherwise it is just 'music by furries,' which still has its place within the fandom, but is not itself explicitly 'furry.'

This is what I think of as a fandom of the furry fandom, it's like a secondary layer where the content may have nothing to do with furries but is generally only created and seen by those in the furry fandom (very roughly speaking, there are many exceptions to this).

I think it's a bit much for one thread to try and explore every direction anthropomorphism can take and discuss whether there is a point which it leaves the realms of furry. Which is why I purposefully left out aliens, energy beings, sci-fi stuff, shapeshifters and whatnot in the original post ;). Perhaps this could be done later if people aren't tired of talking about the trivial points of what is/ isn't furry.

Onto the topic at hand:
Quote
As for the human/animal limits? I agree that there is a limit for how feral a character can become before they stop being a 'furry', however, that limit is so far down that the character would essentially become unplayable as humans are, unfortunately, incapable of getting our minds down to the level necessary to truly portray such a character without simply saying, "its an ordinary cat." As soon as we ascribe any motivations or actions from a human perspective the feral character becomes a furry.

On the human side this is much harder to limit as humans are, in fact, animals. We often like to think of ourselves as so much above the rest of the animal kingdom, but we only have a few advantages which have created this large perception of a gulf between us. We are constantly surprised to discover that various other animals are doing things we long held as 'human only' behavior. I don't understand why Neko is so furtively fought against as being furry. Heck, at the extreme end I would even call Naruto a furry. I would count most forms of demon as furry (hooved feet, horns).

The main question here is how does the human mind differ from other animals? I agree with you that humans tend to grossly over exaggerate this difference (something that really irks me) and lump everything into an 'us and them' mentality. There are animals that share some aspects of human behaviour (our closest relatives being prime examples) but it is so far only in humans that all these aspects are found together in the extent that they are (ie: social behaviours, language, abstract thoughts, complex reasoning). I think this supports the argument that a human-like sentience is required on the feral end, however if you can link to anthropomorphic stuff that shows ferals with 'sub human-like sentience' I will be forced to reconsider my argument (in other words if you can find stuff that doesn't fit this rule, I'd love to see it :)).

The flip side to all this is the human end of the 'furry spectrum'. Instead of anthropomorphism we're talking about zoomorphism. So would neko's technically fit into furry? I think so, how about something that had body of a human but the brain was much more similar to another animal? That's a tough one, by the reasoning I used in the paragraph above it should be counted as furry. However I am not so sure as it sounds more like it would belong in the otherkin community (which admittedly I don't know much about so I can't be sure of that either (: ). And finally there is the feral child to consider. I can confidently say I don't think this is furry (if for no other reason than the fact that this can actually exist whereas everything else I have talked about is limited to fantasy xD)

The furry fandom is a very large picture, filled with every colour in the rainbow. I'm just trying to describe a small part of it :).

P.S WOW! This is looooong. If you made it this far have a virtual bro-paw for the effort *bro-paw* :3 Also I am incredibly tired whilst posting this so sorry for any poorly structured sentences/ misleading words :-[

Offline DreamerHusky

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Re: The furry limit?
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2012, 06:17:21 pm »
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« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 04:00:12 pm by DreamerHusky »