In psychology, any opinion rigidly pre-established and generalized, that is, not acquired on the basis of direct experience and which does not depend on the evaluation of individual cases, on people or social groups.
Can you remember how many times have you stereotyped someone based on their appearance or behavior over the course of the day? Maybe many times, maybe a couple ... but certainly at least once. Let's be honest, we all make stereotypes about the people around us. But is it something we are taught from an early age, or is it in our nature to label others?
The fact is that we always do it either to make fun of or to denigrate someone, often without bothering to investigate behind the appearance of the subject.
From a more "innocent" point of view, stereotypes are present in our life since we are little: they are presented to us in fairy tales with the villain who wants to harm others, the good and courageous prince, the wise and cautious old wizard and so on ... figures that, in this case; they open the way for us to help us distinguish between good and bad people and the difference between good and evil. Then as things change, we realize that this distinction loses importance and we no longer stop to analyze the figure correctly, unfortunately tending to fall on the most negative aspect of the question:
A fat person will be stereotyped like the lazy one, who always eats and messes up.
A girl who treats her appearance as vain and frivolous.
A person too shy as unsocial and always closed in their world.
I could go on and on with multiple examples, so the result is the same.
Certainly they do not help the mass media that make money on stereotypes with advertisements, the news, sitcoms that do not make you laugh and a lot of other useless stuff. Even in comics and books there is no lack of models that can be labeled, but through the television medium, which can give them shape and voice, the impact is very strong and difficult to forget.
Not even the most harmless pastimes are spared.
For this article, I'll take a world as innocent as it is… bizarre as an example. Has anyone ever heard the word "furry"? Well, the Furry fandom is a fandom focused on fictional characters, anthropomorphic animals with human personalities and characteristics. Science fiction and fantasy genres often use anthropomorphism, and therefore are particularly popular in furry fandom. Those who follow me for my drawings will have often seen that I make drawings with these subjects, but I don't call myself a Furry artist, I just like to draw them. That's all.
Well, a few days ago I had a follower's post connected to the problem we are discussing before my eyes.
Many artists (myself included) draw anthropomorphs by simple stylistic choice and do not go beyond this. Simple and pure fun. In short, my artistic choice. Many people, however, associate this term with the actions of a small circle of people who are part of that world, muddying it. In a nutshell: if you draw furry, you are a maniac.
Nothing more false. Unfortunately, it has been like this from the beginning and it will be until the end.
Quoting someone: "A bit like saying that an artist who makes manga is necessarily a 180-pound hikikomori with pillows with naked lolitas on them."
The furry world has much more history than you think and as the history of humanity is divided into eras or centuries, it too has its "historical periods" which we will define as waves.
An acquaintance of mine (and talented furry artist), gave me a little history lesson about it and I found it very interesting. I report what I explained to me:
"The criticism arises a little from the fact that a good part of the fandom from the third wave onwards (the third wave is the one in which the fursuits were born) contributed to give a bad name to the fandom;
accomplices the mass media as well.
The problem is that those outside the fandom hear the word "furry" and associate it with the toxic part.
The first wave of furry were the pioneers, those who thought of a fandom aimed at anthropomorphism in the media (disney, don bluth, cartoons, comics ...) and it was the 70s. [...]
In the 90s we have the first tastes of digital art and the internet (sabrina online, etc).
The third wave is the wave in which the furries wanted their own identity and no longer be just "a group of people with a common passion for anthropomorphic animals in the media" ... and therefore also with the advent of the internet, the classic furry style (that of fursuit) was born, the fursuits, conventions focused on that, a greater diffusion on the internet but in this key and. ... unfortunately also bad things like the rainfurrest and other similar things
Those outside the furry subculture and don't know its history obviously tend to associate the word furry with these things. And there you can not start explaining that people do not understand for lack of bases (knowing all the fandom and its history), you have to liquidate with simple answers: Like "No, that has nothing to do with it ... think about things like robin hood disney, beastars, bna. Here, I do that "
And so it happens that if you say "I draw anthropomorphic animals" someone says to you "Furries? But I don't know the ones who have orgies dressed as animals in hotels?
To which I wonder, sometimes "But every time you read Mickey Mouse then automatically you were furry".
In short, finding every time having to explain that a stylistic choice does not involve strange things is a bit frustrating and this also explains a bit why many anthro artists (myself included) distance themselves a bit. "
In conclusion, the furry environment is not a bad place, it all depends on the people you meet. And it is unfortunate that it is precisely the negative subjects that feed the continuous round of too many preconceptions that now muddy the good name of the fandom.
The fact that there is such a strong prejudice solely for the anthropomorphic style precludes many people from knowing its best side and finding the fun. It would be the case that the new generations learned the history behind this strange word, so as to better understand how long and troubled its path has been up to now.