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Opinion: How to handle the Zootopia fans

Edited by mwalimu as of 18:55
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zootopiafans.jpgYes, we know, we all saw the box office figures. Zootopia is a big hit, and seems to be the establishing mass-media beachhead for "furry fandom". But please, please spare a moment to think about how best to interact with people arriving into the world of anthropomorphic-fiction. Consider this conversation you may well have in the near future ...

"Hey, is that Zootopia fan art? I loved that movie."

"No, it's actually my fursona."

"Oh, like a Zootopia OC, yeah I have one of those."

"No, No, this is from before Zootopia, from the furry fandom."

"Oh. No, I'm not into that stuff."

Stop right there ... Now, this is where you do not rant.

Hold it in. I know you have a whole spiel ready to go. I know you have your list of eighty favourite webcomics to push them towards. I know you have that stack of Kyell Gold books to throw at them. I know you want to get them measured up for their first fursuit. I know you want to help them sign up for fuzzybutt.muck.fur ... But just stop. Stop right there. Just let them like Zootopia.

Remember when you were at school, and the teacher tried real hard to get you to understand how vitally important Shakespeare was? Did getting all the plays dumped on your head and quizzes on similes and metaphors do much to make you a Shakespeare fan? Did it convert you to a life long appreciator of the Bard? Probably not.

If you really must, ask them what kind of things that are similar to Zootopia that they do like. Then suggest a small number of similar things that you think they might like. Don't dump a whole load of stuff on them. Don't decide they are "secretly a furry fan and in denial". Just let them enjoy this film they liked, and allow them to discover other things they might like to, on their own terms.

Remember, not everyone who likes Star Trek is a science fiction fan, not everyone who supports their local sports team is an sports-fanatic, not everyone who likes a good meal is a foodie. And that's okay. Let them enjoy the parts of the fandom they enjoy even if they're not a part of it.


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Kudos to my copyeditor for choosing the perfectly correct illustrative image.

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Though it could be a bit confusing if someone actually made a character that's very similar to one of the characters from Zootopia for example.

Also looking around I've noticed some rabid Zootopia fans has been forcing their personal preferences as fact and unfairly compare the characters to different styles of anthropomorphic films..

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Well, I would probably just start talking to them about politics of prejudice and symbology within the movie like a freaking nerd!

We've had the Bronies, I would hope that we are adapted to having fandoms that have overlap but are not necessarily a subset of furry itself.

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[comment removed on request]

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I have a feeling that anyone who knows what furries are enough to say "I'm not into them" won't be confused about the difference between Zootopia art and furry fan art. They might be one of those "I'm not a furry" furries, though.

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Yeh those are in denial... But I wouldn't call them a furry if they don't like that... but still... they're furries.

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Well, this goes without saying. I would never force a human to become a furry lest they take offense to the fandom's kinky shadow.

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"Oh, like a Zootopia OC, yeah I have one of those."

Okay so he's into Zootopia fanfic. But not a furry. *chuckles*

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It may seem odd to us that one doesn't come without the other. But one can like Star Fox or Sonic the Hedgehog without being a furry. It's possible to like a media that just happens to contain an anthro animal character in it without having a bias for works that contain anthro characters in general.

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I have to say, it's a bit different. Not wholly different but a bit different. Because the whole theme of Zootopia is that characters are anthro animals, with the fabled stereotypes and conflicts it entails.

It's not like Star Fox or Sonic who just happen to be anthro animals while they have adventures about unrelated stuff. Sonic or Star Fox could be people and it wouldn't change their games. If Zootopia wasn't about anthro animals there would be no movie.

So yes, you could be a fan to the point of fanfics, and yet not interested in furry whatsoever, but, really, that's a little bit kind of a stretch. I'd think it's possibly a self-denial. But I respect all stances.

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Honestly most people I know that aren't furries just say it's a typical Disney cartoon. I don't know any non furs who are making OCs or whatever.

I'm a different furry with different opinions.

Debut Album out now go stream it plz

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I do, and they're calling them "zootopiasonas", because as you can see, using the terminology from one group is the absolute best way to distance yourself from them!

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That sounds more like somebody's doing a thing just to get furry's goat (and doing well at it).

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Honestly I don't think so, mostly because ending things with "-sona" has become par for the course for lots of things (Steven Universe fans call their OCs "gemsonas", and there have been many others that I can't think of right now).

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Which doesn't help your point that they're borrowing from us if they're not just borrowing from us.

But, anyway, checking r/furry, one of the top posts is about "zootopiasonas." Checking r/zootopia, the word doesn't appear. Yeah, pretty sure this is a troll thing.

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Just kind of interesting tidbit, but this piece popped up in the Yerf archive random images generator at the bottom of Flayrah. Note it's from 1998; the word "fursona" had not yet replaced "personal furry." Took a few years for those two words to be squished together.

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Good to know people have been furries-in-denial since then, I actually didn't know! (I was a toddler in 1998)

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No, no, no. They're totally furries, posting furry art, to a furry website, calling themselves furries; they just hadn't come up with the word "fursona" yet.

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I knew there was a reason I put that thing there!

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Why not just shorten it to "Zoosona"?

The thing about neologisms, the less syllables the better.

Unless you're going for a Supercalifragalisticexpialodocous kind of thing.

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Will show them Albedo.

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"Furry" should be a moniker adopted out of pride, not forced onto somebody, or used to ridicule. If they are not ready to call themselves a furry yet, we shouldn't rush things. If they decline to be identified as a furry, we should respect that decision.

If they do ask you what are furries, you should show them this, a 5-minute introduction to the fandom:

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That commentary was pretty wrongheaded.

You can exchange the term "Furry-Fan" with "Zootopia-Fan", without anything being lost in translation.
If you think the anthro character design is cool and awesome, you are a Furry. You don't need to be a weirdo or something else.

Why do you openly discourage Furries to explain the Fandom to others?

As I said: Pretty wrongheaded.

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We can explain the fandom, without pushing it onto somebody. A person is not a furry unless they decide to call themself a furry.

On the other hand, you make a good point that we shouldn't shy away from explaining the fandom. But, we should do it in a way that won't make people feel uncomfortable.

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That way of explaining furry is pointless because there's no common ground in it. I'm completely on the side of defining what a furry is and then anyone that fits that definition is a furry. If someone eats meat, they are not a vegetarian, regardless of what they call themselves. And if they have made a decision to not eat meat and do not eat meat, then they are a vegetarian, if they like the term or not.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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And I'm on the side of observing what people who call themselves "furries" have in common, and use that as an explanation of what furry is. Not all who fits this explanation will be furries, that's okay.

Remember, not everyone who likes Star Trek is a science fiction fan, not everyone who supports their local sports team is an sports-fanatic, not everyone who likes a good meal is a foodie.

We don't want to make people feel that furries are "pushy". Be patient, but welcome them to events, fora, art sites, and communities. If they like what they see, they'll want to be furries.

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Err.... kind of sort of agree?

Well, I'll be...

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