I wrote a post about Disney's efforts to market Zootopia to furries last week, and I really pissed off some furries by describing the community as "people who like to roleplay as animals for sex reasons". The following is an email I received from a furry named Brooke, published with her permission: Recently I stumbled upon the article "Disney Is Marketing Zootopia to Furries, Which is Genius" while writing my own review about Zootopia. Having just watched Zootopia, I was digging online for reviews that could expose criticisms that I could evaluate within my review.
I will preface the message that yes, I am a furry. Although the article does provide insight as to aspects about the movie's production and advertising I was once blind to, the article features comments such as "if you know of a group that basically has a sexual fetish about the main focus of your film, why not market to it" and "marketing directly to people who like to roleplay as animals for sex reasons". While I agree that writing for Gizmodo means you have to make your article seem "bigger than life" in order to catch the eyes of the public, the entertainment of this article lies within labelling other people as weird in a negative connotation. Because these statements ring a dissonant chord with me, I was inspired to write this in attempts to portray an accurate image of the fandom for people who don't know about furries.
Now I will not sit here and deny that sex and fetishes are a big part of the fandom, because they are. If you walk into a furry convention in the dealers room, you're bound to find saucy comics and artists with portfolios labelled "NSFW 18+" on them. Often times, furries tend to dismiss the sexual aspect of the fandom, but these interests are truly prominent and widespread within our community. However, this singular aspect does not define our group as a whole, like the article imposes.
The definition that unites us all is that we all have some fascination for anthropomorphic animals to a certain extent. With the many interests in the fandom, the line gets blurred between what constitutes a furry and what does not. Many come to the furry community under different reasons. One may be interested with the many talented musicians or creative artists in the community and desire to contribute through fine arts. Perhaps someone had dreams of dancing on the stage and wearing a goofy animal costume while doing so was the gateway to embracing that hidden passion. Inevitably, some people will come for the NSFW aspects such as sex and fetishes just how others come for the art, music and dancing. Although sexual fetishes is an inherent part of the fandom, labelling furries as a group that "basically has a sexual fetish" about walking talking animals is ludicrous and inaccurate. Despite one's avenue of involvement, the umbrella of liking walking, talking animals is a constant.
As the article aforementioned does contain loose wording that does not convey the inherent truth about furries, I find a different reason as to why furries are flocking to Zootopia. The main focus of being a furry is purely just the "fascination of anthropomorphic animals", and yes, the film Zootopia does centre on anthropomorphic animals living within a utopia. The film celebrates diversity through powerful messages and embrace differences between one another, a concept that the furry fandom exemplifies. Whether you're an artist or a musician, a photographer or a porn artist, we try to accept these differences and welcome them to expand our community.
Just like most furries trying to denounce any negative implications concerning their public image, I don't particularly enjoy the sexual aspect of the fandom, but I can at least appreciate the time and passion people invest in their endeavours. If people want to have sex in costumes, I'm fine with it because that's their private life and it does not harm me, and it shouldn't concern anyone else either. I'm mainly a furry for the beautiful art people have created and the close friends I've crafted within the community. I have been inspired to try out new hobbies such as photography, art and dancing, which are things I would have never attempted if I weren't inspired by the passionate individuals in the community. The alluring part about being diverse and "weird" crew is that we tend to be accepting. If you meet a bunch of furries, they feel like genuine, long time friends, because regardless of who you are, we look past differences and come together and share what we love. I feel like everyone needs to embrace their "weird" sides on occasion instead of suppressing them, because everyone has a little quirk about them that makes them happy.
To recapitulate my points, I'm not upset at the article; I found the article to have a very great voice as if a friend was telling me this wacky tale about how Disney is trying to market to a weird group on the internet. However, perhaps it's better to shed light towards a group of people in a positive connotation rather than a negative one. For instance, say that Zootopia concerns human-like animals, which is a primary interest of the furry fandom on top of many other things.