BREAKING DOWN STEREOTYPES: A LOOK AT THE PERFORMANCE OF SELF-IDENTITY WITHIN THE FURRY COMMUNITY
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The furry fandom has recently gained considerable exposure in the mass media. Furries are individuals who have an interest in anthropomorphic animals and are occasionally portrayed in the media as a socially or sexually deviant subculture. Through an ethnographic study of a local furry group, I discovered that this portrait of the group is misleading. The existential sociology and symbolic interactionist perspectives allows us to see, furries as people who use their personal, social, and cultural resources to develop their “fursonas” to express personality traits that they normally cannot divulge. Furries create fursona based upon their chosen animal characteristics. Furries see fursonas as their real or constructed personalities. Through regular group meetings, furries interact with each other and develop their fursonas socially. The process of developing a fursona evolves over time. Furries locate themselves socially and culturally as fans, similar to those in sports and comics. In a Goffmanian sense, furries’ group activities are performances that, like those of clowns and drag queens, can be experimental and theatrical.