CHAPTER SEVEN

Walk a Mile in My Fursuit

IT DIDN ’T BEGIN with today’s furries; people have been dressing as animals for tens of thousands of years, beginning with the earliest indigenous cultures. Native Americans donned bison hides and performed the Buffalo Dance in hopes of a successful hunt; they wore eagle feathers and danced in honor of the sacred animal whose domain extended beyond the clouds. The shamans of the Pacific Northwest Nootka tribes dressed in bear skins and bear masks to “abduct” children in a ceremony bestowing adult privileges. Mesoamerican and African tribes created and wore animal masks and masks of human/animal hybrids as part of their religious ceremonies…

Today’s modern “tribes” are sports teams, the animal spirits their cartoon mascots. They’re brought to life by performers garbed not in animal skins, but in suits of polyester, foam and fake fur. The practice may no longer carry the spiritual weight it once did but it’s the identical instinct—to mingle the human and animal—taking contemporary form.

As residents of contemporary times, furs express their animal identities using the same materials to create fursuits—the head-to-toe animal costumes that have come to represent the fandom. (“Furries—those people who dress up as animals? Yeah, I saw them on TV.”) It’s a natural if inaccurate assumption; fursuiters always get the lion’s share of attention when the furry circus comes to town. If you work for the local paper or TV station you’d be crazy—or fired—to not put them on camera…

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CONTINUED IN –

FURRY NATION:

The True Story of America’s Most Misunderstood Subculture

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