Recently I was chatting to well known aussie SL resident Wolfie Rankin and we discussed the idea of covering what it means to be a furry. I posed a bunch of questions to Wolfie, and his responses are below:
Lowell Cremorne: What’s the history of furries?
Wolfie Rankin: It’s difficult to say when the genre began, some have said that it reaches back to the 1960s. Some say movies like Watership Down, Disney’s Robin Hood, Jungle Book, and Fritz the cat got the ball rolling.
Human beings have had affinities with animals for thousands of years, and have dreamt of having the strength and speed of animals. Look at our cars – Viper, Jaguar, Bronco, Mustang etc.
Women call their hubbies “Tiger” and men wish they were horses (at least in part). Then there’s the US Bald Eagle emblem.
Lowell Cremorne: How does one become a furry?
Wolfie Rankin: Being furry is not something you do one morning for the sake of fashion…although it has occured in the fandom now and then. I have seen times when skunks were “in” this week and foxes were “in” the next.
Disney was probably a furry, and I’m sure that Mel Blanc, the voice behind Bugs Bunny, was a furry. as he once said in an interview that Bugs was his alter-ego, that he didn’t just play Bugs, but he was Bugs on the inside.
Lowell Cremorne:What made you decide to be a furry?
Wolfie Rankin: In my case it was automatic, The thoughts were already in my head. When a friend introduced me to the internet in the late 90s, I found there were werewolf and furry newsgroups. I joined alt.horror.werewolves, where incidentally, I met Jakkal, who made the Avatar I use on SL.
To discover there were people who felt a lot like me well, that was great.
Lowell Cremorne: Is there any significance in the type of animal persona a person takes
Wolfie Rankin: There can be, it could be a spiritual thing, or even an expression of sexuality. I’m really just wearing my insides on my outsides, I suppose that’s how it works.
I’ve had some deep talks about reincarnation with some people and wondered if souls of animals could come back as people, why not?
Listening to Dr. Karl on the radio years back, he said that “if reincarnation is real and there’s more people every year, then where are all the new souls
coming from?” A good question… I noted that there’s less animals every year too, so where are their souls going?
Lowell Cremorne: What are the downsides of being a furry in SL?
Wolfie Rankin: Not many really. Furries often worried what would happen when the broader populace discovered furries and especially after certain TV programs (MTV and ER) focused on the “shock horror” aspects of the genre.
But I think most people I’ve met are very comfortable having furry friends. If anyone has been worried about it but wants to talk about it and find out what it’s
all about, they discover that there’s nothing to fear.
Lowell Cremorne: What are the upsides?
Wolfie Rankin: Ahh well we did “sorta” have a Second Life in ye olde internet which were MUDS, purely text based, but had to remember who and what each other was, for me that wasn’t always easy. It’s partly why there’s so much furry art, as people would hand draw their avatars or pay someone else to do it… and say “this is me, this is what I look like”. It was fine for the day, but to actually see each other in Second Life is a lot nicer. There’s still art though, and it’s bloody good too.
Lowell Cremorne: There’s a perception I’ve come across that furries are gay. Thoughts?
Wolfie Rankin: There’s no real difference between furries and anyone else as far as sex goes, all tastes are covered and catered for, which includes straight furs too.
Lowell Cremorne: If I like the look of a furry avatar but I don’t “feel” furry, can I still wear one?
Wolfie Rankin: Of course, by all means have fun… it should make no difference to anyone what you choose to wear as an avitar in SL, as long as it’s not deliberately offensive, of course!
Lowell Cremorne: Any furry links you’d like to share?
Furry comics: [try these out, they’re loads of fun]