What do furries call their characters?

Furries are people who have an interest in anthropomorphic animal characters, which have human personalities and characteristics. These furry characters are often created and roleplayed by their creators, known as fursonas. But what exactly do furries call their furry characters?

Fursona

The most common term used by furries to describe their furry characters is “fursona”. This is a combination of the words “furry” and “persona”. A fursona is the furry character that a person has created to represent themselves in the furry community. It’s a furry version of an alter ego. Just like someone may create an avatar for online forums or games, a furry creates a fursona as their identity in the fandom.

A fursona usually has a unique name, species, personality, backstory, interests, and visual design that reflects their creator. Fursonas often share similar likes and interests to their creators. However, they are still considered separate identities from their creators. A furry may roleplay as their fursona and interact with others in the community through them. This allows them to take on an alternate personality. The creation of a furry character allows for creative expression and performing an idealized identity.

Furry Character Types

While most furries have one main fursona, it’s also common to have multiple characters. Here are some other terms to describe the different types of furry characters that someone may have:

  • Alter-ego – Another term for a fursona or main furry identity.
  • Character – A generic term for any anthropomorphic animal character.
  • Secondary character – A furry may have multiple characters in addition to their main fursona.
  • Original character (OC) – An anthropomorphic character created by the furry themselves.
  • Fan character (FC) – An anthropomorphic character based on an existing media franchise.
  • Persona – Similar to a fursona, a persona is a character that represents someone’s identity.
  • Avatar – Some furries use the term avatar interchangeably with fursona. An avatar is a graphical representation of a person.
  • Roleplay (RP) character – A character created specifically for roleplaying, may be different from someone’s main fursona.

So in summary, “fursona” refers specifically to a furry’s main anthropomorphic identity, while terms like “character”, “OC”, and “avatar” can refer to any type of furry character creation.

Creating a Fursona

For many furries, creating their fursona is one of the first and most exciting steps in joining the fandom. It’s a chance to conceptualize an idealized version of themselves and give it life through art and writing. There are several steps commonly taken when creating a furry character:

  1. Choosing a species – Selecting what type of animal the character will be. This often matches the person’s favorite animal or personality traits.
  2. Deciding colors and markings – Picking out the character’s fur, hair, and eye color schemes along with any distinctive patterns.
  3. Designing the look – Drawing or commissioning the character’s overall visual appearance, clothing, accessories, etc.
  4. Naming – The character needs a unique name that their creator likes.
  5. Developing a personality – Adding individual quirks, interests, backstory, likes, dislikes to give the character life.
  6. Bringing them to life – Through art, writing, and roleplay, the new fursona becomes a living identity.

Fursona species choice is very important, as most furries stick with one anthropomorphic animal to represent themselves throughout their time in the fandom. Some of the most popular fursona species include:

Species Percentage
Wolf 14%
Fox 10%
Dog 9%
Red fox 4%
Dragon 4%
Tiger 4%

However, fursonas can be based on any real or mythical animal. The choices are endless. After settling on a species, furries will spend time customizing their fursona’s colors, markings, clothing, and accessories to create a look that suits their personal tastes and self-image.

Fursona Psychology and Symbolism

There are some common psychological reasons why furries are drawn to create and identify with their fursonas:

  • It allows them to inhabit an idealized identity that may be very different from their real self.
  • They can experiment with their gender, sexuality, looks, personality, and lifestyle through a fursona.
  • It provides a creative outlet to build their own character and story.
  • They get to be their favorite animal and adopt perceived positive traits of that species.
  • Joining a community of fellow furries who appreciate anthropomorphism.

Additionally, the species choice for a fursona often carries symbolism about a person’s values, traits, and self-image:

  • Foxes – clever, curious, energetic
  • Wolves – loyal, social, romantic
  • Dogs – playful, friendly, kind
  • Big cats – power, courage, beauty
  • Reptiles/scales – ancient, primal, self-sufficient
  • Fantasy creatures – magical, mystical, limitless

By choosing a particular species as their fursona, a furry makes a statement about how they see themselves and want to be perceived by others in the fandom. The visual design of the character is also an expression of identity.

How Fursonas Are Used

Fursonas serve many purposes for furries in the fandom beyond just being an online avatar. They are a focal point for participating in furry culture and connecting with others:

  • Art – Furry artists draw, paint, or sculpt images of their own and others’ fursonas.
  • Writing – Backstories, adventures, and experiences may be written about fursonas.
  • Online roleplay – Acting out the persona through writing, art, games, or chat rooms.
  • Offline meetups – Some furries create fursuits of their fursonas to physically embody them.
  • Identity – Introducing oneself to others in the fandom through a furry persona.

A furry’s engagement with the fandom often revolves around developing their character, sharing it with others, and expressing it through various creative media. Even furries without artistic skills themselves will often commission artworks of their fursona from others.

For some, especially those that enjoy fursuiting, their character is something they physically bring to life to become the embodiment of their fursona. They may adopt the personality, voice, and habits of their character when interacting with others at conventions and meetups. Their fursona allows them to lower their inhibitions and be more social within the furry community.

Fursonas vs Furry Lifestylers

While most furries use their fursonas for creative expression, roleplay, and meeting others with similar interests, a minority of furries identify in more serious terms with their furry personas. These “furry lifestylers” feel their inner self is truly more animal than human. They may believe they have an animal’s soul or spirit inside a human body.

Lifestylers aim to align their daily life and habits with their inner nature, such as following an animal-based diet or exercise plan. Some practice spiritual meditation to get in touch with their animalself. They pursue mental, emotional, and spiritual alignment with their fursona species. These furries take on their furry identities full time, not just while in fandom spaces.

However, the majority of furries distinguish between fiction and reality. Their fursona provides an outlet to explore animal anthropomorphism and escape normality at times, but most understand they are fundamentally human in real life.

Fursonas vs Fursuits

Fursonas are furry identities and characters, while fursuits are the costumes that bring those characters to life physically. A fursuit is a full body outfit made of synthetic fur that transforms someone into their fursona. The different terms can cause confusion to those unfamiliar with the subculture.

It’s important to note that not all furries own fursuits – they are expensive, bulky, and high-maintenance. However, many enjoy commissioning artwork of their fursonas or writing about them instead. In fact, statistics suggest only about 15-20% of furries own fursuits. But just about every furry has a fursona or character representation of some kind.

Key Differences:

  • A fursona is a fictional identity and backstory.
  • A fursuit is a costume used to physically portray that identity.
  • Fursonas exist as creative works and performance.
  • Fursuits are custom-crafted apparel.
  • You can have multiple fursonas but usually only one fursuit.
  • Nearly all furries have a fursona.
  • Only some furries own fursuits.

In summary, think of a fursona as a character concept and profile, while fursuits are the tangible realization of that character. The former requires creativity, the latter, costume crafting skills. They complement each other but are distinct aspects of furry culture.

Conclusion

For members of the furry fandom, assuming an anthropomorphic animal identity can be liberating, comforting, and encourage creative expression. The ability to inhabit a fursona gives furries a way to explore alternate selves, avoid judgement, and find a community with similar interests in anthropomorphic art and fiction.

By considering how furries create and use their furry personas, we can better understand why these animal characters are so impactful to their lives. A fursona allows someone to step into the shoes of their idealized inner self and find their tribe among fellow furries. Their characters are beautiful forms of self-discovery, imagination, and community.

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