10.3 Bullying

Given that furries are often the subject of ridicule and harmful stereotypes,1 we investigated whether furries, compared to a sample of the general American population, were more likely to have experienced bullying. In focus group and interviews, many furries suggested that their interest in furry and strong connection to the furry community manifested as a result of feeling like an outsider and being picked on, which led to a sense of affiliation with a community of other self-identified outsiders. We wanted to test whether there was truth to these claims, some of which have found support in other areas (e.g., interests pre-dating finding the fandom and feelings of isolation;2 belongingness;3 the fandom as social support.4)

Participants were asked about the extent to which they experienced different types of bullying at different points in their lives.5 Even after statistically controlling for the fact that furries are more likely to be non-heterosexual or transgender,6 both of which, themselves, are associated with a history of bullying, furries still experienced significantly more bullying than the average person, whether measured as being physically beaten up or as teasing or ostracism. 48.3% of furries reported being bullied from the age of 4-10 (as compared to 37.1% of non-furries), 61.7% of furries reported being bullied from the ages 11-18 (as compared to 39.2% of non-furries), and 15.1% of furries report being bullied from the age of 19-24 (as compared to 10.2% of non-furries). This suggests not only that furries are more likely than the average person to be bullied (almost twice as likely in some age groups), but that the majority of furries are bullied at some point in their lives. The differences in bullying were also most prominent during the ages of 11-18, an age critical to the formation of a person’s identity. This suggests that there may be some truth to the lay hypothesis of many furries that they were, indeed, picked on more as children and that this may have had an impact on their identity and on the groups (in particular, furries) that they chose to associate with later in life.

Future research will further investigate the role of bullying in the development of identity in furries, and to determine what effect engaging in the furry fandom has on counteracting the negative effects of bullying.

References

  1. See 10.2 Experienced Stigma
  2. See 2.1 Time in the Fandom
  3. See 2.10 Furry Motivation
  4. See 11.1 Wellness
  5. Anthrocon 2012 and IARP 2-Year Summary
  6. See sections 1.3 Sex and Gender; 5.1 Orientation

15 Comments

  1. Juliana chapman

    Furrys should not get bullied you guys should let them be who they wanna be and you never know how much money they spent on that outfit so if you wanna bully you should get bullied back.

    Reply
    • jasmine

      i agree

      Reply
    • Anthony

      Thank you I am a furry myself I thank you and will confront my bully wish me luck.

      Reply
      • Lenny

        Godspeed Anthony, Godspeed

        Reply
      • Jhonny mccock

        I suggest dont, you dont know how strong he is.

        Reply
      • A Furry Friend

        Good luck man! I know you probably already did this since I’m in the future but hope it went well!

        Reply
    • Jhonny mccock

      But they spend so much on shit that will not fit them as they get older and throw those presious dollars away forever

      Reply
      • Josh

        Go away its our passion and life so what if we do

        Reply
  2. Nathan

    As someone who is working on getting a license to practice psychotherapy, this is incredibly helpful and opens up many questions for future research. Bullying is especially prominent in American school systems and is a life changing experience. By dissecting these major experiences in an empirical, qualitative, and qualitative ways, we can learn how to treat individuals who are suffering in their lives, and in turn, educate others on such experiences. In my experience, furries are advocates for connecting with nature through creativity and pop-culture, putting empathy and inclusivity first, and showing the world that being yourself is one of the greatest gifts and must be respected.

    Reply
  3. joey

    being part of this fandom is awesome but the bulling NEEDS to stop

    Reply
  4. Josh

    Why are we bullied?
    Like just stop!
    Stop saying that we want to kiss and make out with animals
    nobody cares so why do you?

    Reply
  5. Palid The sang'toare

    the bullying isnt fair. all of it is misconception about furries spread from the internet!-

    Reply
    • Admin

      Unfortunately the spread of misinformation and misconceptions about the furry fandom started well before the internet and social media made it spread easily, quickly, and more anonymously in the almost total absence of fact-checking authorities. The good news is that the internet, through sites like ours that show our research and list all of the evidenced-based facts about the fandom, can be a force for good as well. We’re making a difference here; however, progress takes time, and bad/misinformation information often spreads faster than accurate information, so we’re always playing catch-up.

      At least there’s a space now where furries, the non-furry public, and importantly, the media can go to get accurate information to debunk these myths, and better inform themselves before judging someone’s interest in anthropomorphic artwork or the furry fandom.

      Bullies bully for many reasons, and I suspect the furry misinformation is just one of many excuses they use to justify being cruel. Hopefully, through accessing our information here or through the mainstream media who are now citing our studies, the furry excuse will be off the table, or at least better inform the parent, guardian, principal, school nurse, school counselor or teacher who’s dealing with the situation.

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Reply
  6. Wolf VanZandt

    Hmmm….a book could be written on bullying…

    Wait, books have been written and there’s a lot of research on the topic and these folks are adding useful information.

    Funny thing is, I’ve never been bullied because I was a werewolf. I was bullied as a child because I was small, often sick, and seen as weak. People are bullied because they’re available to be bullied.

    Until humanity transcends their baser nature….until the mainstream desire to be a better person and to benefit others overrides the desire to get ahead at others expense, there will be bullying.

    The best, current solution I’ve found is to be a role model. If you see someone being bullied, place yourself at risk and advocate for them. Be the better person and show others that it works.

    Reply
    • Admin

      Thank you 🙂 The world would likely be a better place if everyone decided to be better role models and advocates for those who can’t advocate for themselves. I think what we have to remember is that bullies seem to have an instinct to find their victims, and the profiles of those victimized by bullies isn’t always what it appears (i.e., they come in all shapes and sizes and from diverse backgrounds and situations), so we have to be careful assuming anyone’s situation. We can have empathy with those who’ve been bullied through shared similar experiences, generally, but the specifics of the who, what, when, how, and why can vary.

      One of the worst outcomes of bullying is that victims too often suffer in silence, so letting them know they’re not alone, and that they have resources and support around them is important.

      Advocacy can be a powerful tool, and take many forms, but please don’t risk your personal safety. If personal safety is a potential outcome in any situation, please consider notifying the proper authorities in your area 🙂

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *