Author Topic: The meaning of the fursuit  (Read 4761 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline tinka

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Male
  • Posts: 12
The meaning of the fursuit
« on: July 30, 2012, 01:36:31 pm »
First the intro. Boring stuff will follow. Please, tell me what you think...

One is tempted to argue that fursuits are merely crutches for self-expression - masks to hide our shame, inhibitions, social norms - magic feathers of confidence...

There is no 'transformation' - only liberation.

But I would argue that they are more than that.

They are vehicles for our imagination, carriers of our dreams - and shoulders to cry on for our friends.

They make us human.

Anthropomorphism is associated with children and childishness. To be an animal, act like an animal is considered the opposite of human - even though we know that biologically we are no more than animals - and that we have to be pretty selective in our definition of animal and non-animal behavior in order to reach our desired conclusion: that we are somehow separate/above etc. from all (other) animals.

So this in mind: do furries behave like animals? An acute observer might recognize that they don't. They ACT like animals, but they don't behave as such. There are no fox characters at cons eating the bunny characters at first sight. Sure, they might ACT so - for fun - but the actual behavior of ripping and consuming the flesh - is generally frowned upon. And they seem to be able to use the toilet facilities quite consistently too. Where is the "animal behavior" in that?

This is very Human (as in homo sapiens sedens -type) behavior.

And indeed these people do occasionally bark, scratch, paw each other - but again, an expert in animal communication would say: this is merely humans communicating human thoughts - acting out complex scenarios and esthetic performances - by allegory: imitation of animal behaviour - for which we have assigned anthropomorphic meanings which might not be the 'real meaning' that an ethological research (animal behaviour) on it might reveal.

So, people seem to be dressing as animals - in order to behave like humans! Why do they do that?

As we become adults - we accumulate frameworks or 'shortcuts' to our thinking and behavior: social norms, prejudices, 'principles'. Children on the other hand have never had a chance to aquire these. We find that they are inherently good at something called 'divergent thinking': seeing things from different perspectives, seeing multiple answers to a question, thinking laterally (an essential capacity for creativity). We all have this capacity as children - and it mostly deteriorates as we get older - or as we become 'educated'. [1]

We learn that the world expects us to behave, express ourselves, even think - in a specific way. And as we do so - over time we exercise our skill of divergent thinking ('exploration of possibilities') less and less. Finally we find ourselves barred into a cage of social roles and pressures - to the extent of even forgetting how to bring out the 'free spirit' each of us ones were.

So no wonder people experience a 'transformation' when they put on a fursuit.

People do dress up for trek/wars/anime cons as well - but mostly they just stand around - they are not free to be something they would like to be - or could be. Instead they have to be the thing 'that Lucas wrote'. So whether its an animal isn't the key. In fact, if you see a character recognizable from a comic series, even a non-animal one, at a furry con - they are probably not going to be acting out that comic - and there is certainly no expectation of them to do so. Each character is the result - of how they feel - there is no framework to follow - other than loose ones that people prefer to follow themselves - such as cats doing mostly meows instead of barking - perhaps for 'narrative purposes' (but I feel trying to be analytical about such an esthetic experience is just silly). For hybrids or imaginary animals even these loose frameworks don't' exist.

So there is certainly the element of liberation!

It is now an established fact in the field of human psychology using brain scanning - that humans are inherently 'Good' creatures [2] - in that we are empathic: our most primitive drive isn't aggression, violence, self-interest, utilitarianism - but sociability, attachment, affection, companionship … and the first drive is the drive to 'belong'. [3]

It is when we introduce 'the other being' - the other than 'our-self' - to this equation - we immediately want to respond with empathy towards them - it is only our inhibitions, our cultural norms, our prejudices which control and limit our response.

But such silly concepts only apply to our 'human form' - not to a fursuit. In it we can forget and are free to recognize the other being as a kindred spirit: someone who 'could be us' (an empathic connection).

Unfortunately, I've have never worn a fursuit myself, so I don't really know how it is...

- Humbly yours, Tinka

[1] about the concept of divergent thinking by Sir Ken Robinson:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zDZFcDGpL4U#t=460s

[2]BBC Horizon - What makes us good or evil?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u88lYs4FMTY

[3] The Empathic Civilisation - Jeremy Rifkin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=l7AWnfFRc7g#t=143s
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 07:07:57 pm by Kobuk »
If there's more to life than this, I don't want to know what it is

Offline Magna

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Female
  • Posts: 855
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 02:49:11 pm »
For me, I'm interested in fursuiting because it's an avenue to get away from being myself. I'm really really shy, and have some amount of social anxiety. If no one knows it's me in the suit though, I can dance around and act goofy all I want. It's a fun way to go out and about in society without being judged. Plus, it's fun to see people's reactions to a large walking, talking (maybe) dog/cat/dragon/whatever.

Offline Mylo

  • *
  • Posts: 4761
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2012, 03:47:27 pm »
Just some comments I have about your thoughts on furries acting (or falsely acting) as animals.

As furries, I believe we are fascinated by anthropomorphic animals.  The key word is anthropomorphic, human-like.  Some of us may bark, or pretend to have certain limbs, or do other things that we impose upon animal personas, but we are really just utlizing societal archetypes of these animals.  Like, a fox may be sneaky and quick or a lion is courageous and strong.  I really don't like these archetypes when applied to a fury setting simply because it involves generalizing traits in one animal species.  It's equivalent to saying, if your "fursona" was a human, that you had to act as if you were very intelligent or you are indifferent to the environment...that's isn't true of all humans.  So while we may favor acting as our animal archetypes in some aspects, we may delete other aspects in favor of humanity (for example, urinating in a restroom as opposed to anywhere); this is an application of human-like animal, or even, a human with animal features. 

As far as fursuits go, in my opinion they are a way to enhance the illusion that furries are really their anthropomorphic animal selves.  It is a tool to help us have fun and enjoy being someone other than ourselves (temporarily; some people may like this, others may not).  Add in everything Arlesey said, and that's essentially what a fursuit means.  :) 

Offline tinka

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Male
  • Posts: 12
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2012, 04:14:58 pm »
Arlesey/Mylo: of course you are right - I'm always over analyzing things...

But I also have a slightly different point of view - having 'worn' various 'suits', 'roles' in my life: teacher, military instructor, the professor type at work … all 'roles' really which I played that weren't me. Even some standup comedy - which I can tell you - felt very awkward even with the experience I have with standing in front of lots people. If I have to play a 'role' (especially one that is 'dictated' to me) I feel I'm being dishonest...

So for me - putting on a fursuit - wouln't be - to be - something else them me - it would be - to be me.

But I'm being boring again, so I'll just say how I feel…

The general mayhem and anarchy of the Muppet shop - and Monty Python - and some of the more obscure underground comics - for sometime were for me the pinnacle of open intellectual expression...

I though I knew silly.

Then I saw furries on youtube.

And I thought: there is just no way you can have more fun than that.

So for me - fursuiting would be about self-expression - as well as entertaining others.

That is pretty much what I intend to reach out for from now on...
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 04:16:53 pm by tinka »
If there's more to life than this, I don't want to know what it is

Offline Wereaibo

  • Hero Member
  • Species: Nightmarish animatronic animal
  • Straight from the Uncanny Valley
  • *****
  • Male
  • Posts: 575
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2012, 05:14:42 pm »
For some a Fursuit may be a means of getting closer to their true form. I for one feel that I'd be happier as an anthropomorphic dog than as a human. I've always felt that way. A Fursuit would be a means of making myself look more like what I feel I should, a means of making one's mirror image match one's inner self if you will. The only reasons I don't own a Fursuit is that I couldn't afford one and doubt I'd be able to breathe in one if I had one. They look hot.
You humans need to refine, alter, corral codify and measure things yes? Very well. I shall use your wristwatch to count out ten of your seconds. I suggest you use that time to run. For at the end of it I shall come for you and I will catch you and we shall measure the duration of your death... In screams.

Offline Kobuk

  • The "Malamute Dewd"
  • Hero Member
  • Species: Anthro Alaskan Malamute (Husky)
  • #1 Dew drinker.
  • *****
  • Male
  • Posts: 27533
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2012, 07:12:33 pm »
Quote
One is tempted to argue that fursuits are merely crotches for self-expression

Changed the spelling in the word in your opening post for you. The way it was originally written would've been quite embarressing.  :-[  :D


As for your topic........

What is the meaning of a fursuit? IMO, To have fun, Be something else, and act silly. Pure and simple. :)
Click link below for more fursuit information. ;)
http://forums.furtopia.org/kobuk's-fursuit-guides/

Offline tinka

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Male
  • Posts: 12
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2012, 05:00:11 am »
Felt a bit rejected this morning :( but better now after I managed to draw this...

Fragile:



 (: am I too weird for furries :D
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 06:22:52 am by tinka »
If there's more to life than this, I don't want to know what it is

Offline Mylo

  • *
  • Posts: 4761
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2012, 12:54:28 pm »
Felt a bit rejected this morning :( but better now after I managed to draw this...

Fragile:



 (: am I too weird for furries :D

I didn't mean to act negatively towards you; I was just stating my opinion about the subject, which may or may not have analyzed the subject as much as your argument.  Forums are excellent places to share your thoughts and analyses on the main subject (in this case, furries)...some people will agree with you, some people will disagree, but that doesn't mean we don't like you.  ;)  In this particular situation,  I suppose more people are into fursuits for the simpler reasons...I even still over-analyze things (a result of years of English classes :P).  So don't be frightened from sharing your thoughts.  It's always good to read varied opinions because it adds diversity to the consensus. 

And trust me, you're not too weird for furries.  ;) 

Offline tinka

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Male
  • Posts: 12
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 10:33:43 pm »
Its OK.

It was funny just how much emotional distress I experienced when I didn't get the response I expected - I thought I would get arguments to the points I made - but instead I got "your whole argument is silly - just relax and have fun"

I feel a great need to understand this thing I'm becoming - because "to understand something, is to be liberated from it". I have a bad habit - of thinking about thinking (and then think about thinking about thinking about thinking ... )  (:

I though I'd cry cycling all the way to work, but instead I wrote two more sketches on the way - one called 'weirdout berries' and another one 'the naked furry'. The cartoon I did during lunchbreak was a surprise - I haven't drawn anything for 15 years. I guess emotional distress is a great motivator of creativity.

so, more please :D

PS: and English classes? what are those? I've learned all my english on the interwebs - with a bit of japanese as well...

curse the auto-fill! (Check Spelling Automatically - turned that odd of off now…)
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 10:45:43 pm by tinka »
If there's more to life than this, I don't want to know what it is

Offline Chiscringle

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 07:28:16 am »
You should try reading [Adjective][Species].  They do a lot of this.  In fact, the second to most recent post is about that.

I'll reply with a section of what I'm doing for my first contributor post:

I wanted a suit because I felt that it was something that would help my entry into furry fandom.  My induction into SF fandom was through the masquerades – I was seven at the time, so panels were something I did a bit later.  My personality tends towards consistency unless need changes me, so the entry into a fandom via costuming was still what I considered the norm.  It was an expression of my personal fandom in way that was easy to see and understand.  I am voluble with those I know but not particularly good at starting the conversation.  I have poor fine muscle control, so art was out of the question as a means and it seems that the author is something neglected in furry fandom – not so in SF where I am significantly better known (I should now clarify that ‘significantly’ means that I am a recognized expert in several fields at two conventions so far and hopefully will be a published fantasist sometime in the next five years).

In other words, my personal experience is that the fursuit helps to lower the barriers both ways.  Most people only look at the suiter and see how they are liberated.  I think there's a lot of the other way to that as well.  The person interacting with the suit can be freer with their behavior because the suit invites it.  If a ferret suiter sticks their nose in your bag, they're being a ferret and you can interact with them as such.  Not so much just some person who comes up to you.
My quad: Thrakmon

Wizard lynx: Loramendi

Main furry story: Kindle Store

FA: Chiscringle

Offline tinka

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Male
  • Posts: 12
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2012, 01:34:53 am »
You should try reading [Adjective][Species].  They do a lot of this.  In fact, the second to most recent post is about that.

I'll reply with a section of what I'm doing for my first contributor post:

I very much liked the telling of your experience. I'm still dreaming of 'entering' the fandom. And I will also do it by expressing myself with fursuiting. I've done a bit of stand-up, story-acting and I Love It. I have a drawer full of ideas - well, actually fully detailed scripts some of them. I feel like all I need is a fursuit and a stage ... the day is coming.

I'm not sure if/how neglected the author is in furry fandom - but I'll empathise since I'm also one. As someone who would like to write, direct and act (and sing and dance, make music etc.) - I don't want to think about IF I can do 'Arts'. I'll just try everything. I wanna see how possible things are. Drawing for me is perhaps more a question of lack of any practise - and I know it takes years, perhaps decades, of hard work to become proficient in a 'hand-craft'. So be it. I have time.

Your final point is brilliant! I totally missed that: the meaning of 'fursuit' isn't just about 'me me me'. Self-expression isn't just about what you do and feel - but also what others receive from you. I mean, that is what one thinks when one writes - and certainly I feel liberated writing specifically to furries - rather than just any audience - because I know they are receptive to a certain kind of imaginative freedom - they are willing and able to project the animal-human-being to your performance - as needed. Like an act of masquare, you and your audience engage in a play of shifting points of view - the nose sticking into your bag isn't a human in a costume, nor is it a dangerous wild animal - its a something else entirely - only limited by the imagination of the actor and the audience (well, you are no longer 'the audience' when you start interacting with a fursuit - you have become an actor yourself - and perhaps even a 'fursuiter' in your heart ...

this thing is dangerously contagious :D
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 08:58:07 am by tinka »
If there's more to life than this, I don't want to know what it is

Offline Ambroise

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Male
  • Posts: 35
    • Facebook
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2012, 01:36:11 pm »
I feel that the suits are a way of getting that much closer to your fursona.
but it's also a way to "be something else"
I think of them more like a cosplay then anything.
A good cosplayer will get the character down to every last quirk and then in turn behave just like the one they are dressed as.

Furries in suits are no different.


Some can say it is an escape or whatever but the same can be said for anyone who dresses up.
be it otaku's, Trekies or furries.
De'La Rot

Offline Sk Skunk

  • Hero Member
  • TANSTAAFL
  • *****
  • Male
  • Posts: 633
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2012, 02:25:41 am »
At a base level, it is an excuse to have fun. I don't draw, barely write, but I had a taste of suiting a long time ago. Fursuits were my draw into the fandom. Also, for me, there is something else. It's kind of hard to put into words. I have said it before, it's odd that furry makes me feel more human. Maybe even gives me a reason to be human. (:

It's a bit different for everyone. It's also why I like being a furry, it is so many things. It also changes with many, as their time in the fandom goes on.
"Who am I to say where my possibly non-existent soul has or has not been."

Offline Iara Warriorfeather

  • Species: Main: Velociraptor (Iara) Alt: Jaguar/Smilodon (Moongaze)
  • Furtopia's Dinosaur-in-Residence
  • *
  • Female
  • Posts: 1589
    • My Homepage
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2012, 07:41:49 pm »
First the intro. Boring stuff will follow. Please, tell me what you think...

One is tempted to argue that fursuits are merely crutches for self-expression - masks to hide our shame, inhibitions, social norms - magic feathers of confidence...

There is no 'transformation' - only liberation.

But I would argue that they are more than that.

They are vehicles for our imagination, carriers of our dreams - and shoulders to cry on for our friends.

They make us human.

Anthropomorphism is associated with children and childishness. To be an animal, act like an animal is considered the opposite of human - even though we know that biologically we are no more than animals - and that we have to be pretty selective in our definition of animal and non-animal behavior in order to reach our desired conclusion: that we are somehow separate/above etc. from all (other) animals.

So this in mind: do furries behave like animals? An acute observer might recognize that they don't. They ACT like animals, but they don't behave as such. There are no fox characters at cons eating the bunny characters at first sight. Sure, they might ACT so - for fun - but the actual behavior of ripping and consuming the flesh - is generally frowned upon. And they seem to be able to use the toilet facilities quite consistently too. Where is the "animal behavior" in that?

This is very Human (as in homo sapiens sedens -type) behavior.

And indeed these people do occasionally bark, scratch, paw each other - but again, an expert in animal communication would say: this is merely humans communicating human thoughts - acting out complex scenarios and esthetic performances - by allegory: imitation of animal behaviour - for which we have assigned anthropomorphic meanings which might not be the 'real meaning' that an ethological research (animal behaviour) on it might reveal.

So, people seem to be dressing as animals - in order to behave like humans! Why do they do that?

As we become adults - we accumulate frameworks or 'shortcuts' to our thinking and behavior: social norms, prejudices, 'principles'. Children on the other hand have never had a chance to aquire these. We find that they are inherently good at something called 'divergent thinking': seeing things from different perspectives, seeing multiple answers to a question, thinking laterally (an essential capacity for creativity). We all have this capacity as children - and it mostly deteriorates as we get older - or as we become 'educated'. [1]

We learn that the world expects us to behave, express ourselves, even think - in a specific way. And as we do so - over time we exercise our skill of divergent thinking ('exploration of possibilities') less and less. Finally we find ourselves barred into a cage of social roles and pressures - to the extent of even forgetting how to bring out the 'free spirit' each of us ones were.

So no wonder people experience a 'transformation' when they put on a fursuit.

People do dress up for trek/wars/anime cons as well - but mostly they just stand around - they are not free to be something they would like to be - or could be. Instead they have to be the thing 'that Lucas wrote'. So whether its an animal isn't the key. In fact, if you see a character recognizable from a comic series, even a non-animal one, at a furry con - they are probably not going to be acting out that comic - and there is certainly no expectation of them to do so. Each character is the result - of how they feel - there is no framework to follow - other than loose ones that people prefer to follow themselves - such as cats doing mostly meows instead of barking - perhaps for 'narrative purposes' (but I feel trying to be analytical about such an esthetic experience is just silly). For hybrids or imaginary animals even these loose frameworks don't' exist.

So there is certainly the element of liberation!

It is now an established fact in the field of human psychology using brain scanning - that humans are inherently 'Good' creatures [2] - in that we are empathic: our most primitive drive isn't aggression, violence, self-interest, utilitarianism - but sociability, attachment, affection, companionship … and the first drive is the drive to 'belong'. [3]

It is when we introduce 'the other being' - the other than 'our-self' - to this equation - we immediately want to respond with empathy towards them - it is only our inhibitions, our cultural norms, our prejudices which control and limit our response.

But such silly concepts only apply to our 'human form' - not to a fursuit. In it we can forget and are free to recognize the other being as a kindred spirit: someone who 'could be us' (an empathic connection).

Unfortunately, I've have never worn a fursuit myself, so I don't really know how it is...

- Humbly yours, Tinka

[1] about the concept of divergent thinking by Sir Ken Robinson:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zDZFcDGpL4U#t=460s

[2]BBC Horizon - What makes us good or evil?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u88lYs4FMTY

[3] The Empathic Civilisation - Jeremy Rifkin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=l7AWnfFRc7g#t=143s


To be fair, I am also not versed in fursuiting, so I am just voicing my opinion too.

I agree with you, Tinka. I think that putting on the fursuit, the mask, the alter-ego of the fursona, in a sense allows a furry to be more comfortable with the concept of self, to embrace the inner child, or animal, and to be free in that embrace.

I understand this because so many times I feel that I am unfairly criticized and judged by those I love the most, only because I love them too much, and in order for me to escape these entrenching situations or feelings, I envision myself as an equine/canine/feline/avian character, or draw these things, and get a sense of freedom then, a wildness I otherwise do not experience. For animals do not judge you--they love unconditionally, without judgment, without fear, without anger. From my perspective, I have been in an incredibly controlling environment much of my life, family and even significant other wise, and time and time again I find myself turning to animals to heal my inner pain, realize that I do things for my own benefit, regardless of what others think, and that I can love and come to terms with my inner me. Perhaps for some, donning a fursuit is akin to becoming the fursona, the animal that is held most dear, an animal that is really an expression of self that was resisted, repressed and hidden for a long time. In other words, embracing a fursona is embracing one's self...it is healing, I would think, for those that do.

Perhaps too that is why so many children love fursuits--because it is an expression of the true self, which children so often do without a care in the world as to what others may say, think or do.

I think more research into this would be amazing...it seems a few more psychologists are getting interested in sub-cultures like furry, because these can be purely therapeutic for those who need it.
Furry Code:
FDC5adw/FP3adsw A+ C+ D++ H++ M- P++++ R+ T++ W Z Sf RLS/LW* a+ cn+ d-- e+++ f+ h+++ iwf++ j p*

My twitter feed (art and such)
My art portfolio website

Offline Rocket T. Coyote

  • Hero Member
  • Species: Canis Latrans Rocketus
  • The Furry Model Rocketeer
  • *****
  • Male
  • Posts: 2399
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2012, 09:54:11 pm »
The fursuit as an oportunity to bring the character I created to life and to share him with the world.
"The coyote is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck, and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him. And even the fleas would dessert him for a velocipide."~Mark Twain
(Baps the old humorist.)

Offline typingwithpaws

  • Sr. Member
  • Species: fox
  • ****
  • Male
  • Posts: 335
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2012, 06:11:12 am »
for me?
the ability to become someone else, entertain others. stand out from society. make people smile. and i get to BE an anthro. what fun!!
"Nothing will ever surpass the beauty and elegance of a bad idea"

Offline werecat2012

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 207
Re: The meaning of the fursuit
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2012, 01:08:23 am »
It's a fun way to be different. You also might meet people that way.

If you live in a small town, perhaps you don't know any furries in real life. So if you wear a fursuit or even just some accessories, that would be a dramatic way of being different and standing out from the crowd. Yes, there are people who don't like change and will think negatively of anyone who dresses differently than they do. However, other people might start talking to you who otherwise wouldn't have even noticed you if it weren't for what you were wearing.