Furries - Not Entirely Human?

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I was just reading something kind of cool; a couple of studies found a large portion of self-described furries consider themselves not entirely human in one way or another. It seems for some, it goes well beyond roleplay.

I'll simply quote the sources directly to save me rewriting it.

I am currently studying people who call themselves furries. As far as I know, my team's first study, Furries from A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism), is the first peer-reviewed journal article to explore the furry culture (fandom) by collecting data from furries. Information from the ongoing Furry Study is placed on Live Journal (see my home page). Other general research interests are in social psychological aspects of anthrozoology. I am the Resource Coordinator for the Society and Animals Institute.

I have developed and teach a State University of New York Social Science General Education course on the Psychology of Human-Animal Relations. I also teach Introduction to Psychology, Life Span Development, and Social Psychology. In 2009 I received a State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities.

-Kathleen Gerbasi's Homepage

-Source

In a 2008 study by Gerbasi et al., 46% of people surveyed who identified as "furry", (usually defined as a person with a strong connection with some sort of animal), answered "yes" to the question "Do you consider yourself to be less than 100% human?" and 41% answered "yes" to the question "If you could become 0% human, would you?"

Questions that Gerbasi states as being deliberately designed to draw parallels with Gender identity disorder (GID), specifying "a persistent feeling of discomfort" about the human body and the feeling that the person was the "non-human species trapped in a human body", were answered "yes" by 24% and 29% of respondents, respectively. Gerbasi "tentatively dubbed" this condition "Species Identity Disorder", saying that "the similarities between their connection to their species and aspects of GID are striking"

-Source

It is important to note that species dysphoria or species identity disorder are not recognized by the psychological community or any official guide (such as the DSM) and is therefore not currently a legitimate diagnosis.

In their 2007 survey, Gerbasi et al. examined what it meant to be a furry, and proposed a taxonomy in which to categorize different "types" of furries. The largest group - 38% of those surveyed - described their interest in furry fandom predominately as a "route to socializing with others who share common interests such as anthropomorphic art and costumes." However they also identified furries who saw themselves as "other than human", and/or who desired to become more like the furry species which they identified with.

-Source

Sex is also something of a hot button issue when it comes to furries, with a lot of conjecture and negativity surrounding them and their supposed sexuality. It turns out a considerably large portion of the furry fanbase describe themselves as bisexual or homosexual and a small fraction (1-9%) admitted to zoophilia, with most (about 80%) of furries being men.

In one survey, 33% of furries surveyed online answered that they had a "significant sexual interest in furry" and another 46% stated they had a "minor sexual interest in furry", and the remaining 21% stated they have a "non-sexual interest in furry". The survey specifically avoided adult-oriented websites to prevent bias. Differing approaches to sexuality have been a source of controversy and conflict in furry fandom. Examples of sexual aspects within furry fandom include erotic art and furry-themed cybersex. The term "yiff" is most commonly used to indicate sexual activity or sexual material within the fandom-this applies to sexual activity and interaction within the subculture whether online (in the form of cybersex) or offline.

According to a study, 19-25% of the fandom members report homosexuality, 37-48% bisexuality, 30-51% heterosexual, and 3-8% other forms of alternative sexual relationships. In 2002 about 2% stated an interest in zoophilia, and less than 1% an interest in plushophilia. Initial figures were collected by David J. Rust in 1997, but further research has been conducted to update these findings. Of the furry fans that reported being in a relationship (approximately half of the surveyed population), 76% were in a relationship with another member of furry fandom.

-Source
-Source

So, furries and non-furries alike, what do you think? Is any of this valid? Do you agree with any of it? Disagree? Let me know.

humanity is a state of mind, as well as matter. if they see themselves as more than human, then all credit to them for having a healthy mind and imagination.

Well, I saw your thread title and though "Nah, they're human. Creepy, maybe, but definitely fully human."

Then I read the post, and am kind of surprised. I'd still say they're definitely human, but some of them might need psychiatric help. :|

Tom Milner:
humanity is a state of mind, as well as matter. if they see themselves as more than human, then all credit to them for having a healthy mind and imagination.

Well, their DNA says they are wholly part of the human species. So it is indeed a case of mind, but not so much matter.

Vuliev:
Some of them might need psychiatric help. :|

Why's that?

(I'm not furry, I'm just curious)

From my point of view, furries are just as human as the rest of us and indeed, their common "belief" in their difference from the rest of us is a sure hallmark of humanity, what other animal likes to label themselves in so many ways? (race, nationality, sexual preference, religion, high school clique, footbal club etc) If they want to see themselves as something other than human though then they're free to as long as it doesn't affect me.

JoJo:
From my point of view, furries are just as human as the rest of us and indeed, their common "belief" in their difference from the rest of us is a sure hallmark of humanity, what other animal likes to label themselves in so many ways? (race, nationality, sexual preference, religion, high school clique, footbal club etc) If they want to see themselves as something other than human though then they're free to as long as it doesn't affect me.

To be fair, I don't think any other animal on Earth can do any of that.

Thank god >_>

That's...interesting.

Of course, any furry who considers him/herself not human is delusional, because biologically, he/she is indeed human. You can't think away your species.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. What's your own opinion?

Grey Day for Elcia:

Vuliev:
Some of them might need psychiatric help. :|

Why's that?

(I'm not furry, I'm just curious)

I'm only referring to those espousing the "animal trapped in a human body" thing, not the ones that do it for sexual or social things.

I suppose I'd have to really follow this study (and subsequent follow-up studies) to see how similar GID and Gerbasi's "Species Identity Disorder" are, but taking the study at face value suggests that those with "SID" have, well, a psychological disorder. GID is one thing--you're still human, just mixed up in how you approach sexuality--but with SID, there has to be a massive disconnect somewhere to create the "animal in a human body" thing.

I think some furries might object to the wording less than human.

What can I say, I don't think furries should be shamed for feeling a strong connection with animals. Humans in general use animals and allegories to nature to represent ideas and ways of life all the time; often, we envy the animal kingdom. To shame furries for openly expressing such, is wrong and hypocritical.

dyre:
That's...interesting.

Of course, any furry who considers him/herself not human is delusional, because biologically, he/she is indeed human. You can't think away your species.

Roughly my thinking on it. I'd love for a furry to give us their opinion, especially someone who feels they aren't entirely human (or human at all, for that matter). I'm curious as to what it feels like and why they feel this way.

Necromancist:
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. What's your own opinion?

I was just presenting some interesting (in my opinion) research data to see what you guys thought. I didn't really make the thread to talk about my opinion.

Vuliev:

Grey Day for Elcia:

Vuliev:
Some of them might need psychiatric help. :|

Why's that?

(I'm not furry, I'm just curious)

I'm only referring to those espousing the "animal trapped in a human body" thing, not the ones that do it for sexual or social things.

I suppose I'd have to really follow this study (and subsequent follow-up studies) to see how similar GID and Gerbasi's "Species Identity Disorder" are, but taking the study at face value suggests that those with "SID" have, well, a psychological disorder. GID is one thing--you're still human, just mixed up in how you approach sexuality--but with SID, there has to be a massive disconnect somewhere to create the "animal in a human body" thing.

It's important to note gender (and gender identity disorder) aren't related to sexuality. I would have to disagree entirely with your notion of GID being related to or caused by a "mixed up approach to sexuality."

They are biologically human.

However, their state of mind says otherwise. Like those who have gender confusion, these individuals can't seem to identify themselves as being part of the human species.

With that in mind however I have met very few furries who grasped onto the animal culture in full. Even CatMan who has gone through many, many surgeries in order to transform him into a tiger still holds onto his basic functions as a human being. A home, basic cooking, and a fairly normal lifestyle.

there is also a clear difference of people who actually FEEL like they are not human, and another set who just wishes that they were of a different species. In psychology and especially when taking polls and such this can be confused, and there are many different cases where there are less people who actually believe.

Of course there's disorders such as Delusions of Grandeur, so I suppose there might be quite a bit of people out there who might really think they are part animal, and the brain synopsis would match their beliefs.

MammothBlade:
I think some furries might object to the wording less than human.

What can I say, I don't think furries should be shamed for feeling a strong connection with animals. Humans in general use animals and allegories to nature to represent ideas and ways of life all the time; often, we envy the animal kingdom. To shame furries for openly expressing such connections, is wrong and hypocritical.

My thinking was, because they don't see themselves as 100% human, they are less than "human"--with human being the state of... well, complete humanity. It's not derogatory and I'm sure anyone who felt they weren't entirely human wouldn't mind being called less than human :P

I think they sometimes get shamed and attacked for their fandom because it is so puzzling and alien to outsiders. We humans have a tendency to distrust and fear that which we do not understand. It kept us alive for long time, but it is mostly useless now.

Grey Day for Elcia:
It's important to note gender (and gender identity disorder) aren't related to sexuality. I would have to disagree entirely with your notion of GID being related to or caused by a "mixed up approach to sexuality."

Ehh, poor choice of words on my part, but you should have been able to gather that from my post. :P

That is very interesting. The one thing that i've always wondered about is that most people seem to think its something new, but people have been relating to animals for thousands of years with all kinds of stories of shapeshifting & animal spirits & whatnot. Just my thoughts...

SaetonChapelle:
They are biologically human.

However, their state of mind says otherwise. Like those who have gender confusion, these individuals can't seem to identify themselves as being part of the human species.

With that in mind however I have met very few furries who grasped onto the animal culture in full. Even CatMan who has gone through many, many surgeries in order to transform him into a tiger still holds onto his basic functions as a human being. A home, basic cooking, and a fairly normal lifestyle.

there is also a clear difference of people who actually FEEL like they are not human, and another set who just wishes that they were of a different species. In psychology and especially when taking polls and such this can be confused, and there are many different cases where there are less people who actually believe.

Of course there's disorders such as Delusions of Grandeur, so I suppose there might be quite a bit of people out there who might really think they are part animal, and the brain synopsis would match their beliefs.

You made a bit of a plunder with your English there.

"Like those who have gender confusion, these individuals can't seem to identify themselves as being part of the human species."

I know what you meant, but people with GID see themselves as perfectly human :P

Thanks for weighing in ^^

Vuliev:

Grey Day for Elcia:
It's important to note gender (and gender identity disorder) aren't related to sexuality. I would have to disagree entirely with your notion of GID being related to or caused by a "mixed up approach to sexuality."

Ehh, poor choice of words on my part, but you should have been able to gather that from my post. :P

I just wasn't sure if you meant it that way or the other, is all. Confusion cleared!

Grey Day for Elcia:

SaetonChapelle:
They are biologically human.

However, their state of mind says otherwise. Like those who have gender confusion, these individuals can't seem to identify themselves as being part of the human species.

With that in mind however I have met very few furries who grasped onto the animal culture in full. Even CatMan who has gone through many, many surgeries in order to transform him into a tiger still holds onto his basic functions as a human being. A home, basic cooking, and a fairly normal lifestyle.

there is also a clear difference of people who actually FEEL like they are not human, and another set who just wishes that they were of a different species. In psychology and especially when taking polls and such this can be confused, and there are many different cases where there are less people who actually believe.

Of course there's disorders such as Delusions of Grandeur, so I suppose there might be quite a bit of people out there who might really think they are part animal, and the brain synopsis would match their beliefs.

You made a bit of a plunder with your English there.

"Like those who have gender confusion, these individuals can't seem to identify themselves as being part of the human species."

I know what you meant, but people with GID see themselves as perfectly human :P

Thanks for weighing in ^^

Erk, you're right. xD Damn lack of focus~

Mr Fixit:
That is very interesting. The one thing that i've always wondered about is that most people seem to think its something new, but people have been relating to animals for thousands of years with all kinds of stories of shapeshifting & animal spirits & whatnot. Just my thoughts...

Very true. As SaetonChapelle brought up above you, humans have always had a close relationship with other animals, from mythical tales of animal spirits possessing men, to the gods themselves being our four or more legged cousins. It's only very recently, with the advent of cities and the such, that humans have really separated themselves from the animal kingdom.

SaetonChapelle:

Grey Day for Elcia:

SaetonChapelle:
They are biologically human.

However, their state of mind says otherwise. Like those who have gender confusion, these individuals can't seem to identify themselves as being part of the human species.

With that in mind however I have met very few furries who grasped onto the animal culture in full. Even CatMan who has gone through many, many surgeries in order to transform him into a tiger still holds onto his basic functions as a human being. A home, basic cooking, and a fairly normal lifestyle.

there is also a clear difference of people who actually FEEL like they are not human, and another set who just wishes that they were of a different species. In psychology and especially when taking polls and such this can be confused, and there are many different cases where there are less people who actually believe.

Of course there's disorders such as Delusions of Grandeur, so I suppose there might be quite a bit of people out there who might really think they are part animal, and the brain synopsis would match their beliefs.

You made a bit of a plunder with your English there.

"Like those who have gender confusion, these individuals can't seem to identify themselves as being part of the human species."

I know what you meant, but people with GID see themselves as perfectly human :P

Thanks for weighing in ^^

Erk, you're right. xD Damn lack of focus~

You posted some beautiful cosplay earlier, so I'll let this one slide :P

I really can't fathom any serious parallel to GID. I can understand how a mix up in regards to mind and body could possibly happen to someone in regards to gender, but when it comes to species that's clearly impossible unless it's just some kind of delusion.

Grey Day for Elcia:

SaetonChapelle:

Grey Day for Elcia:
You made a bit of a plunder with your English there.

I know what you meant, but people with GID see themselves as perfectly human :P

Thanks for weighing in ^^

Erk, you're right. xD Damn lack of focus~

You posted some beautiful cosplay earlier, so I'll let this one slide :P

Yayy!!! My fashion abilities in the fantasy world has saved me!!!
My Masters in psychology is dealing with OCD and Schizophrenia, although I would love to continue looking in on such things as these. Any articles you found dealing with any forms of brain scans or electrical synopsis of these people?

Mortai Gravesend:
I really can't fathom any serious parallel to GID. I can understand how a mix up in regards to mind and body could possibly happen to someone in regards to gender, but when it comes to species that's clearly impossible unless it's just some kind of delusion.

Well, we are animals ourselves, having evolved alongside and with every other species on Earth, we even possess some of the same brain makeup as our very early cousins, the reptiles--the small portion of the brain above the stem dates back to our reptile days and serves little purpose nowadays, only activating in very extreme situations.

With this in mind, I find it very believable that someone's brain could tell them they are something they aren't.

Sometimes I like drawing anthromorphic things and apparently, for some people, that means I am a "furry" now.
Others regard people who like to dress up in animal mascot-ish suits as "furries" but I wouldn't necessarily call the twerp in the goofy costume running through disneyland a "furry".
Again others call zoophiles "furries" but that's not what all furries are.
Nor would all zoophiles identify as "furry".
I think.
I'm not sure having a "strong connection with an animal" is what all furries have, given that I have been called one and really have no such thing.

It's an unprecise term that really has no meaning to me.

SaetonChapelle:

Grey Day for Elcia:

SaetonChapelle:

Erk, you're right. xD Damn lack of focus~

You posted some beautiful cosplay earlier, so I'll let this one slide :P

Yayy!!! My fashion abilities in the fantasy world has saved me!!!
My Masters in psychology is dealing with OCD and Schizophrenia, although I would love to continue looking in on such things as these. Any articles you found dealing with any forms of brain scans or electrical synopsis of these people?

No, sorry. The sources deal entirely with surveys and dialog between various researchers and psychologists. So, yeah, it's all psychology at this point and not in any way medical. I imagine funding is basically non-existent and there's really no rush to look into it as furries aren't an at risk group, so it will be very slow going.

So, first you post beautiful cosplay, then I find out you look super cute, and now you tell us you're doing your masters in psychology? You must have been snapped up by some lucky individual pretty quick, lol.

Mortai Gravesend:
I really can't fathom any serious parallel to GID. I can understand how a mix up in regards to mind and body could possibly happen to someone in regards to gender, but when it comes to species that's clearly impossible unless it's just some kind of delusion.

Well, they're both identity disorders--one (SID) would just be more complex and more difficult to work around.

Grey Day for Elcia:

Mortai Gravesend:
I really can't fathom any serious parallel to GID. I can understand how a mix up in regards to mind and body could possibly happen to someone in regards to gender, but when it comes to species that's clearly impossible unless it's just some kind of delusion.

Well, we are animals ourselves, having evolved alongside and with every other species on Earth, we even possess some of the same brain makeup as our very early cousins, the reptiles--the small portion of the brain above the stem dates back to our reptile days and serves little purpose nowadays, only activating in very extreme situations.

With this in mind, I find it very believable that someone's brain could tell them they are something they aren't.

At best that would be a kind of weak explanation for certain extinct species that are along the lines of apes. And even then that's rather unconvincing. Certainly wouldn't apply to any furry I've heard of. Hell, thinking they're some kind of prehistoric man would make more sense and we don't see those around.

Vuliev:

Mortai Gravesend:
I really can't fathom any serious parallel to GID. I can understand how a mix up in regards to mind and body could possibly happen to someone in regards to gender, but when it comes to species that's clearly impossible unless it's just some kind of delusion.

Well, they're both identity disorders--one (SID) would just be more complex and more difficult to work around.

One isn't recognized so that's a premature comparison. And my point was that one clearly has an element that is purely non-biological.

Mortai Gravesend:

Grey Day for Elcia:

Mortai Gravesend:
I really can't fathom any serious parallel to GID. I can understand how a mix up in regards to mind and body could possibly happen to someone in regards to gender, but when it comes to species that's clearly impossible unless it's just some kind of delusion.

Well, we are animals ourselves, having evolved alongside and with every other species on Earth, we even possess some of the same brain makeup as our very early cousins, the reptiles--the small portion of the brain above the stem dates back to our reptile days and serves little purpose nowadays, only activating in very extreme situations.

With this in mind, I find it very believable that someone's brain could tell them they are something they aren't.

At best that would be a kind of weak explanation for certain extinct species that are along the lines of apes. And even then that's rather unconvincing. Certainly wouldn't apply to any furry I've heard of.

I'm not saying that SID (oh god, that's really close to the acronym for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome :/) is legit or wholly medical. Just that I imagine it could well be founded in fact.

Failing that, yeah, a delusional state brought on by any number of things (from escapism caused by abuse or bullying, to sexual confusion) is entirely possible, I would think.

While I can't comment of the sexuality thing (seems a bit weird to me), I can understand the feeling of wanting to be an animal and free from social pressures and responcibilities. I'm sure most people just feel like going feral at some point. It wouldn't be the only genetic hang up humans have from our hunter-gatherer days. Social evolution happen a lot faster than physical evolution after all.

Well, I happen to live with one that I consider to be less than human, but that has nothing to do with his hobby. It has everything to do with his terrible hygene (sp? it's been a damn long time since I've even had to mention such a term) awful manners, and general dickishness.

I know not all furries are like that, hell I used to be on a site where some of the smartest and kindest were furries, but I'd be lying if I said the experience of living with the insufferable prick for the better part of the year hadn't left a negative mark.

Back to the topic, I think perhaps such an issue may be far further spread. In this age of promotion of the "perfect human" it's easy for people to consider themselves not that human at all. Hell, I don't act like a human, I certainly don't look much like one is supposed to look, and I very much doubt my thoughts are similiar to my fellow man, so general observational logic would suggest I'm not completely human, or at least, not a normal one.

I guess sometimes one may wish they were not part of the human race, such can be their cruelty. Of course, there are times where one would very much like to be a part of it as well. It's an interesting subject, and it touches upon a lot to the open mind. I mean yes, if one was to consider oneself to be non human, are we to treat such a person? Is there any harm in it, or would the escape from it cause yet more harm? Which leads us to question who we are to dictate exactly what a "sane mind" is, and thus what reality is.

And it is at this point I realise my own ability to take a single train of thought far further than the tracks itself, or rather how far people are willing to read.

Grey Day for Elcia:

SaetonChapelle:

Grey Day for Elcia:
You posted some beautiful cosplay earlier, so I'll let this one slide :P

Yayy!!! My fashion abilities in the fantasy world has saved me!!!
My Masters in psychology is dealing with OCD and Schizophrenia, although I would love to continue looking in on such things as these. Any articles you found dealing with any forms of brain scans or electrical synopsis of these people?

No, sorry. The sources deal entirely with surveys and dialog between various researchers and psychologists. So, yeah, it's all psychology at this point and not in any way medical. I imagine funding is basically non-existent and there's really no rush to look into it as furries aren't an at risk group, so it will be very slow going.

So, first you post beautiful cosplay, then I find out you look super cute, and now you tell us you're doing your masters in psychology? You must have been snapped up by some lucky individual pretty quick, lol.

bummers! Ah well. Yeah, I dont suppose anyone is rushing to put money into such a study just yet.
I have been however doing a base study on the microchips that England has been creating that can grant an individual renewed memories. The long term effect (assuming that cloning is available) they plan in either transference of memory into a clone, or cyberspace. Here's just a base page but there's hundreds. Ive become quite fascinated.
http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2004/10/65422?currentPage=all

And nope. Not quite. xD I usually go solo's to cons and not many people share my video game loving, comic geek, cosplaying self. Guess it's a bit much for people.

Djinn8:
While I can't comment of the sexuality thing (seems a bit weird to me), I can understand the feeling of wanting to be an animal and free from social pressures and responcibilities. I'm sure most people just feel like going feral at some point. It wouldn't be the only genetic hang up humans have from our hunter-gatherer days. Social evolution happen a lot faster than physical evolution after all.

Mmm. A lot faster.

What part of the sexuality aspect do you find weird?

Mortai Gravesend:

Vuliev:

Mortai Gravesend:
I really can't fathom any serious parallel to GID. I can understand how a mix up in regards to mind and body could possibly happen to someone in regards to gender, but when it comes to species that's clearly impossible unless it's just some kind of delusion.

Well, they're both identity disorders--one (SID) would just be more complex and more difficult to work around.

One isn't recognized so that's a premature comparison. And my point was that one clearly has an element that is purely non-biological.

First bit is true, I'm just pointing out how you can compare the two (and I don't feeling like saying "Hypothetically" every sentence. :P ) But, as Elcia pointed out, the concept of SID isn't too hard to grasp--it would be a regression of sorts towards previous evolutionary behaviors, I suppose. Obviously, I have no idea how or why that would happen, or how the brain creates the feeling of a particular animal (something I think you're trying to get at) but to say that SID can't be a biological thing doesn't make sense. The mind is (quite obviously) a biological thing, and it does some pretty crazy shit when its jimmies are rustled.

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