Furries have been maybe the single most maligned and harassed online community since the inception of the Internet. Furries are a fandom subculture that grew out of sci-fi and anime conventions in the early '80s and they're devoted to the celebration of anthropomorphic animals. Furries make artwork, write short fiction, and create "fursonas," which they use to interact with each other both online and in real life.
What is being a furry really about? What do furries actually do? Thanks to shows like CSI and misinformed exposes in publications like Vanity Fair, the furry community has been wildly misunderstood in popular culture. Targeted online bullying on 4chan, Reddit, and other online forums has added to the problem, fueling a misperception of the furry subculture.
In fact, the furry community is pretty much just a fandom, except that instead of being a fandom for an existing show, comic book, or video game, it's a fandom for sort of a loose concept, consisting entirely of original characters, and focused on creative expression and role play.
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It's All About CreativityThough it's often construed as a community that's primarily about sex, the furry fandom is actually all about creating stuff. It's basically a fandom loosely organized around the concept of a world run by anthropomorphic animals. People in the fandom make art, write short fiction, and build elaborate costumes to engage creatively with each other based on that premise - it's like a giant live-action role playing game.
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Fursuits Are Expensive (And They're Usually Handmade)There's no warehouse in Temecula that mass-produces fursuits. They're almost all made by hand, either by fans themselves or by a select few private artisans who create them to exacting specifications. Furries hold workshops - and exchange tips online - sharing the best techniques and often shell out a minimum of $2,000 to $3,000 for one fur costume.
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Not All Furries Wear FursuitsAccording to the Anthropomorphic Research Project, only about 15% of people who participate in the furry fandom own their own fursuits. Plenty of furries go to conventions wearing minimal costumes (like face paint and fake ears), or they go in street clothes. Some furries stick to writing fiction and making artwork, and don't dress up as their "fursona" at all.
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Furries Do Not Believe They're Really AnimalsPeople who believe that their "real" species or identity is something non-human (like a dragon, a bunny rabbit, or a character from Final Fantasy VII) are known as Otherkin, which isn't the same thing as being a Furry. Though Otherkin do sometimes create "fursonas" and participate in the Furry subculture, Furries and Otherkin are not interchangeable, and both groups tend to resent being directly conflated with one another.