PopCultureShock >

Anthrocon 2007 Convention Report

Posted by: Taki Soma on August 4, 2007 at 1:23 am

Furries!! Or ‘What I Did Over Summer Vacation’

By: Taki Soma, Age: 31, Grade: 5

Perhaps it’s all because of the myth behind the genre that of course used to veil us comic book aficionado with pimples, ponytails and virginity – the rest of the world associate Furries with questionable sexual identities, flamboyancy and carnal fetish beyond our recognition – which of course is about dressing up as anthropomorphic characters and having orgies (Now to clarify, I’m strictly speaking in general social view of the two genres versus what I truly think of either of them when I just described the above.).

Anyway I really wanted to understand that world and to clear the fog over reality, I finally gathered up enough courage to ask a few friends of mine to attend a Furry convention with me – to my surprise, a couple of people were on board!!! And this is what I saw and experienced at the 2007 Anthrocon in Pittsburgh, PA – The biggest furry convention in the world:

So only one other person, Michael Oeming, ended up joining me with a brave face on, and thank god I didn’t have to go alone because no one else would believe just how bizarre this world of furry-fandom really is. I have heard of them, seen bits and pieces of them on the Internet and actually have seen some aspects of furriness at comic book and fantasy conventions. But never have I been shocked and amused at the sheer number of furries, escorts and tailed people as much as the time I walked into the official hotel attached to the convention hall. They lorded over the front lobby as if they owned the place and in a way, they probably did — at least for that weekend. So while in the lobby, I notice that many of the fur-suiters and their escorts (they are people in regular civilian clothing who help out the fully suited furries, or fur-suiters if yer nastay to get around) would ‘Glomp’ each other. And by Glomp, I mean giving someone a vigorous hug or leaping in for a hug in a full fur-suit. I once overheard a group of people, seemingly strangers, shook hands and one of them ‘broke the magic’ and said, “What are we doing? We don’t shake hands! We hug, we should glomp!”

While we’re on the subject, let me tell you about ‘breaking the magic’ – it is an unspoken rule to not speak while you’re wearing a suit. To do so would break the wall of imagination – the mystery of which sex you might be behind the mask or what you sound like as a human being should be left behind.

While observing the whole convention floor, the after-hours activities and such, I noticed that there are many foxes, felines and exotic animals but no monkeys or apes at all. When I captured a furry while it was in its unnatural state of being human and asked him specifically about the preferences in certain types of animals, it was stated that most people shun monkey/ape types because they resemble humans too much. Oh, and get this; the furry suit cost from $2k and up. And $2k might get you something that’s used or something you put together with the cheapest material you can find. I had heard that average cost is about $5k! These people are serious, dedicated and apparently rich. They do have specialty suit makers but for the most part, people are into making their own special suit and do not like to wear commercially licensed characters such as Pokemon or Mickey Mouse although some exceptions are allowed such as a bear wearing a Darth Vader outfit or a Fox wearing a Storm Trooper gear.

As for fetishes or bizarre -philia, because I know that you have read this article just to read about the dirty, sweaty furry sex and we all have this pre-conceived notion that furries likes to engage in full-on orgies with their fur-suits on. I have yet to witness an actual furry orgy, but I know it does happen. They also like to refer to sexual intercourse as ‘Yiff’ – sound foxes make while mating. Just for fun, here is a link to all types of bizarre philias you can identify yourself with… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plushophilia

Anyway, moving on with the fun and bizarre fetish, some furries are into what’s called ‘vore’, short for vorarephilia, a sexual fetish derived from the desire to be eaten, swallowed whole or to eat someone – purely fantasy based and is not connected in any way to cannibalism. Most vore fetishes are in their imagination and do not involve tearing of the flesh, blood or loss of life. It is more about playful innocence they desire. Like a large animal carrying smaller animals in its mouth as a type of a vessel to transport the smaller creatures safely in the false pretence of eating them; I saw some artists cashing in on images of just the inside of a wide-open mouth of a ferocious looking animal.

I also witnessed artists drawing explicit sexual deviant images of anthropomorphic animals of different origins engaging in ‘Yiff’ with very humanoid, hairless sex organs to pedophilia to symbolisms I couldn’t even begin to make assumptions of. Did I also mention that perhaps half or more of the artists there were female? Compared to the percentage of female artists in the comic book industry, which I believe is in the 3% or so.

As for some denials of copious sexuality in the fur community, I would have to say that most have innocent fetish and does not venture into the dark, deviant side of it but there definitely is a lot of sexual motivations behind the fandom. I have only seen one child (about 4 years-old) the entire weekend and it definitely is a deliberate decision for most parents attending the convention to keep their children away, I believe. So deny all they want, I do believe there is some truth to the myth.

In short, I think that my most interesting observation(s) about furries are that most had some type of social anxiety disorder, and thus, I believe that dressing up really appeals to them – they can be someone else and show affection to others of similar interest and disorders. And no, to my knowledge, they mostly lead a normal life outside of conventions and do not don the fur-suits, furry ears or the tails in their daily lives – although I do wish that they would.

For more in-depth studies about furry lifestyle, here is a link to what’s called a ‘wiki fur’. Please enjoy: http://furry.wikia.com/wiki/WikiFur_Furry_Central

del.icio.us Digg Facebook Technorati StumbleUpon TwitThis Yahoo! Buzz

14 Responses to "Anthrocon 2007 Convention Report"

1 | Mike Oeming

August 5th, 2007 at 11:10 pm

Avatar

Wow, this was one of the strangest experiences Ive ever had!! I cant believe we survived it:)

2 | Jon Haehnle

August 6th, 2007 at 1:45 am

Avatar

I don’t know if this is possible, but it sounds even crazier than it looks! Never let it be said that Taki and Mike are not adventurous or open-minded lol

3 | Jeremy Dale

August 6th, 2007 at 5:58 am

Avatar

Wow. Just… wow. You’re braver than I am, Taki. ;)

- jeremy

4 | Kayode Kendall

August 6th, 2007 at 9:34 am

Avatar

There really are no words, other than . . “I’m frightened.”

5 | Taki Soma

August 6th, 2007 at 11:11 am

Avatar

It really was way crazier than it sounds.

6 | Kayode Kendall

August 6th, 2007 at 11:36 am

Avatar

See, that’s what I was afraid of!

Anyone watch Entourage? They had an interesting episode last week, where Drama had sex with a chick while they both wore furry costumes!

7 | Jon Haehnle

August 6th, 2007 at 11:43 am

Avatar

KK: Yeah, I didn’t see the episode but Oeming mentioned it to me heheh

8 | Snake

August 6th, 2007 at 2:32 pm

Avatar

What the hell is this?! I’m countin’ like 50 unregistered costumes in these pics alone! The Union of Novelty Costumed Performers don’t abide no scab furries!

Bastards.
~Snake
http://www.division18.com

9 | GreenReaper

August 7th, 2007 at 12:27 am

Avatar

Glad you had an interesting time at the con. :-)

10 | Freaky Lynx

August 8th, 2007 at 10:46 pm

Avatar

Anthrocon can be a bit of a roller-coaster experience, it being the largest furry con out there. For your next experience, you may want to shoot for one that’s a little bit smaller, get to know the folks a bit ;)

11 | Coyoty

August 9th, 2007 at 1:43 am

Avatar

When you see the special furry episodes of shows like CSI, Entourage, ER, Drew Carrey Show, etc., keep in mind that they are fictional, exaggerated stories written by non-furries for comic relief. They’re as close to real life as the doctors and lawyers and police and other characters are on TV situation comedies and dramas.

12 | AHR

August 9th, 2007 at 2:19 pm

Avatar

Hey Taki – I met you briefly at Wizard World Philly in Artist’s Alley, and you had mentioned that you were considering going to Antrhoon. I’m glad to see you made it through and were neither killed by furries nor forced to dress up as Pikachu. I wonder what that one kid was doing at the con…and what exactly they thought of the experience.

13 | Adan Jimenez

August 9th, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Avatar

Okay, whatever else furries may or may not do, those are some fantastic costumes. Almost all of these pictures depict just gorgeous costumes with levels of detail that are just unheard of in most comic-themed costumes. I assume it helps in that you don’t show an ounce of skin when wearing one of these things (whereas someone wearing a Superman costume has to make their own face and hair match the part, for example). But man, $5K? That is a lot of money for a costume.

Also, how are they not dead under all that fur? Are there no dehydration incidents? Is this not the most uncomfortable thing to wear in a con, something already filled with tons of other sweaty people? They better have some damn good AC.

14 | Jim

August 10th, 2007 at 7:01 pm

Avatar

Not all the costumes cost that much. Many people build their own, and may spend a few hundred dollars. Most costumes are more like $1-2k to get it created by a well-known artist.

At furry cons there are rooms dedicated to suiters only called “headless lounge”. It’s a place where someone can take their head off (hence the name) behind closed doors so they can cool off and get some water, without destroying the image of their character (Many suiters will refuse to remove their head in front of their “audience”, sometimes even to the detriment of their health) Typically areas that expect to have a lot of suiters will have the temperature dropped quite a bit, usually in the mid 60s.

They are extremely hot, and within seconds of putting one on you’d be sweating. It’s definately not for everyone, which is why you only see about 10-15% of the attendees wearing them.