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The Rainfurrest Convention - Elf M. Sternberg
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The Rainfurrest Convention
Like Foolscap, I could only do one day of Rainfurrest. I went alone. I hadn't intended on doing much, and didn't look at the schedule before going. I should have; according to friends of mine who were there, the writing track could have used me.

When I arrived, there was a wave of Fursuits come out and lining up for photographs. There had to be almost 300 there, and it was quite the impressive crowd. Fursuiting seems to be the one thing that really moves the Furry community. The art is so ubiquitous and yet so ordinary that it doesn't reach out much anymore, nobody cares about writers, and there wasn't a single furry-oriented game being sold or promoted anywhere. The dancing at night was about fursuits.

Fursuits and sex. There were two people selling bondage wares at the convention, as well as Bad Dragon [warning: NSFW]. I must be getting old and responsible; while I was tempted by a great many toys, I did not buy any. Maybe later.

I managed to run into Jimmy Chin, and went to dinner with him and a bunch of his friends. They pretty much confirmed my suspicions: aside from fursuiting, there really is no way to stand out in the Furry community, and now that there are so many fursuiters, even that's becoming a smear across the general haze of interests.

Furry's biggest problem remains that it has no central narrative. Its center does not hold. In the end, any single furry narrative is either using furries as placeholders for collections of personality traits, cutouts for collections of physical traits (which is fundamentally no different than fetishizing about race), or as stand-ins for some other fundamental Other. My writing is no different in this regard; I've used furries as fetish objects, and I've used them to represent Otherness to highlight issues around disability and able-bodiedness, infertility, and other compatibility narratives. (I have avoided condemning an entire species to being stand-ins for any given crippling neurosis that afflicts only some humans.) And thus far, I don't see a way out of this essential conundrum.

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Comments
resonant From: resonant Date: October 2nd, 2012 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I promise to provide all my LJ friends with a certain list of essentials, including toys.

http://resonant.livejournal.com/349055.html

One friend wanted a certain furry toy. The company I ordered it from took the money, but did not deliver.

I am now getting a 3D printer so that I can FABRICATE that furry toy for him.

Furry toys are the next frontier for acceptance.
areitu From: areitu Date: October 2nd, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Regarding furry toys, sex and bondage, the running joke between some friends and I, is that "Fetish is the new husky" (replace "husky" with the species du jour)
areitu From: areitu Date: October 2nd, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another thing some have done to stand out in furry, has been to organize local events, ranging from picnics to conventions.

"No central narrative" is a good way to put it. I hope you don't mind if I borrow that phrase when explaining it to non-furries some time!
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