Saturday, May 29. 2010
The Chewfox Incident was a clusterfuck that demonstrated that the furries are almost completely unable to deal with the media or the real world in an honest and frank fashion.
Every time a furry gets in front of a TV camera, the results have been cringeworthy for all involved. The subculture is extremely difficult to explain over the course of a newspaper or magazine article, much less a thirty-second soundbite. The results are always unflattering, always awkward, and always filled with an alphabet soup of loaded buzzwords. The picture that results is even more sad, confusing and pathetic than it has to be.
Because of this, the furries are oddly self-conscious about their "image". They want the subculture to have a good reputation, but the steps they take to make sure of this are counter-productive. These steps involve painting a very sanitized picture of themselves. Instead of being as frank and honest as possible, they'll distort what the whole thing is about and say that the sexual part is only a tiny tiny fraction of it. They'll play up their associations with mainstream cartoons and fiction in an attempt to make it look more "normal". This cover story doesn't survive even the most casual investigation, and yet they've held on to it for the better part of a decade.
This explanation might have worked back in the 1990s (when furrydom as we knew it then was somewhat different), but it certainly hasn't been accurate for almost a decade. It's still propped up in front of TV cameras by the likes of Samuel Conway as a sort of defense mechanism, a way of helping to quell the fears of the mother or father whose son is begging them for money for plane tickets to rush off to Anthrocon.
The audience pretty much identified which couple was
the furry one instantaneously. Chewfox and her significant
other were not exactly the most photogenic people in the
room, but when you're pressed with finding a heterosexual
couple willing to admit to doing it in animal costumes on
national TV, I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume
that the choices are somewhat limited.
The party line was challenged with an appearance on the Tyra Banks show by one "Chewfox" (and her boyfriend "Tomcat"), who appeared in a segment featuring couples with unusual sexual practices. There she did something very, very rare for a furry when placed in the spotlight. She was honest. She acknowledged that yes, furry was pretty much all about sex and that yes, they try to be safe about it, and no, there's not really anything wrong with that. Chewfox's appearance marks the first time a furry was able to come up with a reasonable explanation of the fetish culture that could fit into a sound bite.
Indeed, if you actually take the time to watch the segment, there's really nothing disgraceful or damaging going on here. At least, nothing nearly as embarrassing or disgraceful as the last few times this has happened. If you remember the last 10 years of furry media appearances, you'll remember the tours of filthy houses with walls plastered with commissioned furry porno, people actually using the y-word in public, furpiles, and other bizarre, creepy and off-putting behavior. The Anna In Wonderland episode is as good an example as any, but the Sex2K episode or (most infamously) the CSI episode are also constantly pointed to throughout the years.
This was completely lost on the furries at large, who were whipped into such a frothing rage that FurAffinity was crashed (not much an achievement, mind you) with the sheer number of dumbasses weighing in to express their EXTREME ANGER at Chewfox for informing the nation of the bleeding obvious. Supreme Leader Dragoneer was only too happy to follow along, banning her for an infraction that had nothing to do with the site. (Double standard much?)
Man, not even Frank Gembeck got that red text shit.
It's very hard to understand why the furries flipped out so hard over what Chewfox did. One possible reason for the outburst of anger here is that furry is not one rigid solid block of specific interests. God no. Some have a non-sexual obsession with talking animal people, some just like the porn, some like the idea of role-playing as a talking animal person, and some like dressing up as a talking animal person. There's varying levels of furryness; varying levels of things that people are comfortable participating in.
You see this with other fetish subcultures, but for whatever reason some furries can be absolutely militant about it. The idea that fucking in a talking animal costume is not much more perverted than jacking it to a drawing of a talking animal is lost on these people. The idea that both activities harm nobody and involve consenting adults does not seem to occur; all they're concerned with is the notion that it could make them "look bad" when they already "look bad" in the first place. They're all in the same damn boat.
The other possible reason for the flipout is probably the bigger of the two. It's been touched on already, but it needs to be emphasized: what Chewfox did contradicted the standard furry cover story. A fellow furry went on a daytime talk show and directly contradicted what so many furries tell their parents in order to make them feel safer about their involvement with the subculture.
Sure it calls to mind the popular stereotype of the average furry being a live-at-home unemployed socially-awkward manchild, but stereotypes, like the fondest of dreams, do come true. (And with Great Depression II slapping our tender mouths, being a basement troll makes more economic sense than ever before!)
The entire affair concluded when Dragoneer came to his senses, unbanned Chewfox and everyone went back to bitching about JessKit or whatever. Or did it?
A few months later, Chewfox allegedly tried to get something out of the incident. She threw together a silly T-shirt to use in a dumb photo for her friends and got banned for annoying the crap out of everyone in the process. This huge mistake on Chewfox's part gets her banned from FA for off-site events for a second time.
Some time later, Chewfox decides to wash her hands of FurAffinity forever and DMCA all of her content off the site. This is the final mistake that seals her status as persona non grata among the furries. It's possible that she could have apologized for the convention stunt and fixed everything, but by this point it's clear that both sides in this snafu have completely fucked up.
In the end, a lesson in honesty has been squandered by petty bickering. Her detractors have learned all the wrong lessons, while her supporters are left scratching their heads at her decision to make a bad situation much worse.
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