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LONG BLOG

The Furry Blog: Explaining What Furry Words Mean

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I really wasn’t keen on writing about this. Jonathan Holmes asked me to write a C-Blog about this subject a couple times before. Both times, I turned the idea down. Furries already have enough of an image problem thanks to that whole CSI episode crap being incredibly off base. Far too often, I’ve seen some…special people try to represent furries to news outlets to “set the record straight”, only for things to go horribly wrong in the most idiotic way possible. It doesn’t help that furries and the general gaming community/internet at large get along about as well as…well, I would say cats and dogs, but a more accurate comparison would be cats and fire ants.

So forgive me for thinking that the gamers who go to a gaming website to read about video games and discuss video games with other gamers might not be interested in reading a blog about furry shit. Especially after the rather hilarious drama that happened with Splatoon 2 when it was first released. Then again, this is the same community that up-voted a Q-Post with a picture of an ear corn, so what the hell do I know?

But as I thought about it, I realized that the furry fandom has grown exponentially in the past 12 years since I became part of it. I’m not just referring to convention attendance numbers. I know a fair number of the DTOID community are also furries, several more well-known internet personalities are furry (Adum from Yourmoviesucksdororg and KaiserNeko from TeamFourStar), and there are even some furry voice actors. One of whom is even in a certain Legend of Zelda game that came out recently.

So just remember, you people asked for it.

With all this in mind, there’s still a lot of misinformation about furries. I figured it might be a good idea to clear that up a bit. Specifically, about what some “furry” terms mean, since almost everyone on the site don’t quite understand what they’re saying. I’m also going to introduce a few new ones to you, since you’ll probably run into these words one way or another on the internet eventually.

Please note that this is NOT really going to be an explanation about what the deal is with furries. There are other videos and articles out there that do a better job of explaining that. But I do want to address the whole “furry is a fetish” thing that I hear every time the topic is brought up. There are certainly some sexual aspects to furry stuff, but it really isn’t any more sexualized than any other fandom that I’ve seen. I dare you to do a Google image search for “Rosalina fetish” with the safety filters turned off.

Most of the stuff I’m going to discuss will be far more mundane, which you’ll see the most often if you’re around us for long enough. Now that I’ve set the record straight, let’s talk about yiffing.

Yiff

Let’s just get this out of the way. It’s the first word that comes to your minds when furries are mentioned. Yiff is about sex between other furries. While this can mean IRL sex, in costume or otherwise, I’ve personally never heard any furry I know say that out loud with a straight face. Usually if someone wants to have sex, we usually just say “You wanna have sex?” or “you wanna fuck?” or something to that effect.

No, where I’ve seen yiff used the most is in online chatrooms to describe having pretend sex with one another, usually in a private message. You might be more familiar with this as ‘online RP’, which is not exclusive to furries, trust me. Is yiffing a bit sad? Probably! But hey, at least we’re not sending rape and/or death threats to women because they said or did something within a 3-foot radius of a video game. So yay for yiffing, I guess!

As for where the word comes from? Well, from what I could find, this word came about during the early days of the internet. A fox character by the name of littlefox created a whole bunch of words used as greetings or answers to other characters. Then, someone else came along and took the word to mean sex. That usage spread like wildfire and turned into the word we all know and cringe at today. You can find the full recounting here.

Once again, this is why furries can't have nice things.

Fursuit

You’re probably already aware of what a fursuit is. For those who aren’t, it’s a costume of an anthropomorphic animal character, like those mascot costumes you see at theme parks and stuff. They are usually either self-made or commissioned to someone else. There are people who run entire businesses making these expensive walking hug carpets. And when I say expensive, I mean it. That Fox McCloud costume you see in my avatar and on my profile banner cost a total of around $1500. And that’s on the cheap end! I’ve seen fursuit makers charge as much as $10k for a fullbody fursuit.

Speaking of which, did you know there are different types of fursuits? Some suit makers will have different tiers to accommodate for those who’re on a stricter budget. Full fursuits are what you’d expect; a full-body costume that consists of a head, bodysuit, tail, set of hands, and set of feet. A partial fursuit usually consists of all of that minus the bodysuit. Some partials have furry sleeves for the arms and legs.

Both of these types of fursuits will be either plantigrade (they have regular-looking legs) or digitgrade (they have more animal-looking legs). Then there's what kind of style you want for those suits. Do you want something cute and cartoony lookin', or do you want something more realistic? So long as the fursuit maker has the skills to do so, the sky's the limit with how crazy you can make your fursuit.

Most people think every furry has one of these to take to cons. The reality is that the people who do dress up in fursuit are a minority. A lot of people don’t really have any interest in purchasing a fursuit. Usually it’s because they don’t have the money to afford one, they find wearing one is super uncomfortable, or they just don’t care about costuming. Want proof? Of the 7,544 attendees at Anthrocon last year, only 1,890 wore a fursuit.

Yes, there are people who get these kinda suits for sexual purposes behind closed doors, but that’s a minority of fursuiters. A minority of a minority of the fandom, really. Most people aren’t interested in having any sex in their expensive fursuit for a variety of reasons. Those who do tend to make those kinda fursuits themselves. See, most people who run a reputable fursuit making business will blacklist you right quick if they find out you’re doing that. Who knew most suit makers don’t want that kinda stigma associated with their products?

Fursona

This is one of the most complicated terms used amongst other furries. It can mean a number of different things depending on who you ask. At its core, think of it like creating an avatar in an MMO or a character in a D&D campaign, but with WAY more options for choosing your race. It’s really a way to represent yourself in the fandom through artwork or at conventions with costumes. For most people (myself included), it’s an online handle or an avatar and not much more. Most fursuits you see at your average furry convention are merely a way to bring those avatars to life in the real world.

Someone’s fursona can be of just about any species they can think of. Real animals, mythical animals, hybrids, anything’s on the table. Of course, someone’s fursona is not limited to real-life or mythical animals. There are those who choose to have characters based in the worlds of more popular franchises. This is mostly to express their love for said franchise. There are some cringe-inducing Sonic OCs of course, because Sonic just naturally attracts those kinda people (there are some decent ones out there, I promise). But I’ve also seen fursonas of Pokemon, NeoPets, Digimon, and lombaxes from Ratchet & Clank, which aren’t so much characters as they are just avatars for those fans (again, myself included). Hell, I’ve seen a fursona of a kubrow from WarFrame, of all things.

There are some people who use this term to describe their inner self. As in, they identify themselves as some kind of animal or mythical creature. That’s a smaller fraction of furries who overlap with otherkin. They identify as something that’s not human. That’s not something I really bother with, so you can look that one up on your own.

Commission

This is a term that gets tossed around the furry community a lot. While we all wish we were artistically talented wunderkinds who shit beauty in their sleep, most of us know better than that. Instead, a lot of us will commission other, more talented people to make said things for us. Note that the term ‘commission’ isn’t limited to visual art. This can also include music, writing, and fursuits, of course. But generally, when a furry is talking about getting a new commission, they’re usually talking about art.

A good chunk of commissions involve the previously mentioned fursonas. Because we are nothing if not vain little shits who want our pretend characters on as much stuff as possible. There is some art that is 18+, but there’s just as much, if not more, that’s completely innocent. Some of them look cool. Some of them are cute. And some of them are just really badass. You might’ve even seen some furry artist’s work pop up in a gaming magazine or two!

Seriously though, I cannot stress enough how talented some of these artists are. It’s just mind blowing sometimes. Look at this animation for a moment.

Fucking awesome.

Greymuzzle

The next couple of terms I’m about to describe aren’t things you wouldn't likely hear unless you’re in furry chatrooms. A greymuzzle refers to a furry who is either at least in their 40s or 50s, has been in the fandom for a very long time, or both. Furry has been around long before the internet as we know it today came to be in the 90s (you’re welcome, BTW). Many of these people are now site admins, convention founders, staff members for sites and cons, etc. They pretty much keep the whole community together.

Yeah, not much else to say about this term. Moving on!

Popufur

This is one of my most disliked terms. The word is used to describe someone who is rather popular in the furry fandom. It’s like being an internet celebrity on a much, MUCH smaller scale. The word has a negative connotation, often talking about someone who let their popularity go to their head. While there are certainly a few individuals out there who could stand to be brought down a few pegs, those complaints mostly come from people who’ve let their jealousy get the better of them.

Really, that just seems like a totally wrong-headed way to go about it. At the end of the day, we’re all people like everyone else. We all just happen to like animal people. Some of us make art, some of us wear costumes, some of us make music, some of us make videos. But really, we’re still just people. Treat others with kindness and respect and they'll likely treat you the same way. This applies to people from all walks of life, not just furries. 

But mostly, I hate this word is because it’s a terribly forced fur pun.

So there you go! Now you know a bit more about our weird little subculture. Or at the very least, you’ll understand some of these terms a bit better. Furry is something that can be so vast and complex at times, so trying to define it is rather difficult. Yeah, it's got its problems, but then so does every other fandom in the world. I'd like to think there's more good that comes from furry than bad. I mean, just ask those Syrian refugees that stayed at the same hotel that was hosting Vancoufur a couple years ago.

So in the inevitable situation where a major news website hires a furry as a writer and they drop any of these terms more frequently, you too can understand the obscure references and jokes they make!

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About Zalnoone of us since 2:32 PM on 05.15.2011