Midwest Furfest 2015 - Dumb Questions

Midwest Furfest 2015 - Dumb Questions

A note for the sanity of all involved: if you want any actual demography on furries, please explore the continued labor of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project here. They've got scientists and everything. I just wanted to do a panel at a fur convention.

Do you have any burning questions about the makeup of the fur community? Does an informal flash-poll of a random group of people at a furry convention sound good enough to draw sweeping conclusions from? You bet it does.

Welcome to Science Town, interlopers.

Last week, I attended Midwest Furfest in lovely Rosemont, Illinois. My mission: to expand our understanding of fur in the least productive way possible. I asked somewhere around 32 of the most physically present individuals to raise their hands indicating their level of agreement with a whole host of statements and questions (133 to be precise, though not accurate). We learned a lot about each other during this time, and now we pass that learning on to you.

Other than the photo in the excerpt, I am committed to the anonymity of the panel. The original videos I used to review and tabulate hands have been destroyed, ensuring that no one can check my work for errors.

Bar chart values are all represented as the percentage of the present audience: 100 is everybody, 50 is half the audience, 0 is nobody. I specify the sample size on the pie charts only for the sake of inconsistency. No sample contained fewer than 24 participants, so you can be 95% confident that these values are within 20% of the real value representing the kind of people who would come to a panel called "Dumb Questions" at a furry convention. Aren't statistics great?

Freeform Responses

I distributed small scraps of paper randomly to all participants at the end of the panel with the instruction to draw something and give it back to me if they felt like it so I could perform some weapons-grade psychoanalysis on them. Here was the result:

Right off the bat, I see a total of 3 dicks (2 drawn, 1 crafted), which I consider a true display of restraint on the part of my audience. Other notable pairs include fox tails, barking-type enunciations ("RaR RaR RaR!" and "WHURF!"), questions, references to freedom (either literally in the case of "Wings of Freedom" or visually in the case of the fog with sunglasses in the cage) and aborted attempts to make airplanes.

We have a few confessionals. "I was furry before I knew what furry was" is unpacking an id that has discovered an environment where the superego will let it surface.

"Pogo" is, of course, an inanimate transference, and a multi-referential one at that. Pogo sticks move up and down from the force the rider exerts, not only in the obvious case of sex but also in the course of emotions that surround a convention where the pressure built in anticipation before the event is now being released--we are springing upward and are free in this moment, but fearful of the inevitable fall back down when we will depress the spring again and become, ourselves, depressed by the pressures of life outside these walls.

There's also a happy fox and an oddly detailed reptilian eye. I'll edit these findings as more patterns emerge.

Important findings

These are the hardest hitting correlations I've found in combing over the data collected. Feel free to say these things as if they are facts from now on:

  1. If you mix cider and rum in a glass shaped like Abraham Lincoln's head, virtually any furry will drink it.

  2. Furries are almost universally opposed to both German and Spanish nationalism.

  3. Furries are extremely picky about what percentage of their body they would be willing to have permanently transformed into an animal.

  4. Cool cats outnumber hot dogs in the community by a factor of 2.

  5. Approximately 55% of furries like girls, rum, broccoli, harpsichords, those vacuum tubes at the bank, and petting their friends.

  6. Contrary to the common stereotype, relatively few furries are in reliable contact with someone who is willing to crank out hardcore pornography for free on short notice. In fact, the proportion appears to be about the same as those in contact with someone who they trust to dispose of body.

  7. When in doubt, go for the hug.

Basic Demographics

Random Facts

  • 89% agreed that this was the "Dumb Questions" panel.

  • Just 8% participants were an only child. 20% are presently "aspiring to be the only child".

  • 11% were first-time con goers.

  • 34% consider themselves bronies. What proportion of that group was introduced to furry through My Little Pony is unknown because I'm not very good at thinking of follow-up questions.

  • 86% have high fived someone so hard that it hurt. The cause for this in most cases is a misjudgment of angle, though several individuals have made injury-through-high-fives a pastime in their circle of friends.

  • Only 2 participants were willing to admit to owning a selfie stick. Both owners went out of their way to assert they received them as gifts, suggesting that the shame of selfie stick ownership remains extremely high.

  • 56% were wearing pants with more than 4 pockets.

  • 44% would be willing to drown in a ballpit if it was so big they could get lost in it.

  • 97% like hugs. 13% like their hugs to have some aggression to them. 27% think they like hugs too much, however--based on my own empirical research--that's physically impossible.

  • 72% like paws more than regular feet. 50% like paws more than regular people. No one raised their hand in opposition to either statement, implying the rest of the audience was on the fence about it.

  • 22% have experienced phantom limbs for limbs they've never possessed (mostly tails). No one present had more than 3 phantom limbs.

  • 31% claim to be liars, which of course means they are telling the truth.

  • 94% had heard of the 6-2-1 rule (a convention convention demanding that attendees get 6 hours of sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower per day). 80% were following the rule as of Friday at 4PM.

  • No one polled was in favor of Iranian sanctions.



Age (in years)

27% have thought they were too old to pursue something in the last month. 62% of that group were under the age of 25. Kids these days.


Future studies will poll for this information at the beginning and end of the session. This was from the beginning.

Biological Sex (n = 36)

Tabulated by judging faces in the video when room occupancy was at its peak. Predominantly male, with 4 people that were too close to call based on reflex that I would've awkwardly followed around for a while to see if they dropped any hints before asserting one way or the other.

"I would describe my sexuality as..."

Initial confusion about what I meant by "pro-guy" might have impacted that figure.

Alcohol Preferences

Only 2 participants claim to have been in a fight over the comparative qualities of an alcoholic beverage before, suggesting a strong confidence in furries' personal preferences concerning booze.

"I have no reservations about using a public restroom." (n = 36)



Participants were asked to raise their hand if that seemed like the right thing to do after hearing a word or term. Two of the three participants who raised their hand for German nationalism opted for a thematically appropriate angle while doing so.

"I know a guy."

Participants were asked to raise their hand if, when presented with the stated scenario in the real life, they "know a guy". That "guy" could also be themselves. Those statements were: "Oh man, my car won't start." (Mechanical) "Oh man, this loan/legal document is complicated." (Documentation) "Oh man, I need a picture of a doberman being transgressively intimate with a pine marten for charity in the next 24 hours." (Pornography) "Oh man, I was arguing with a friend about Toy Story 3 and accidentally murdered them with a shovel. Now I need to dispose of a body." (Domestic disputes)

"I have met a transgendered person, accidentally misidentified them and..."

Given the prevalence of transgendered people in the community, there's a strong chance that last one is even higher.

"I would be [ ] if I could."

In a surprise upset from previous IARP research (which predicted about 40%), almost no one at the panel wanted to be 0% human or even 35% human. It appears that support does start coming up at around the 27% range however, suggesting that furries prefer serious transformative experiences that when things start getting extremely arbitrary.

Reference by sex

Participants raised their hand if they referred to someone of the designated biological sex by the designated counterfactual slang. Male slang appears to be more popular, though we will need a much more comprehensive list of terms to confirm this finding. The single participant who has used "dudette" has also used every other word from our list.


Being A Furry

Random Facts

  • 17% have seen a murrsuit in person. Presumably more were simply unaware, though this would require additional controlled experimentation to prove.

  • More participants know who FibreKitty is (19%) than know who he isn't (14%).

  • While 93% of the audience had seen both Zootopia trailers, no one had seen them more than 8 times.

  • 31% believe "this is all Sonic's fault".

  • 14% spent more on being a furry than being a human being this year.

  • 38% purport to counsel other furries going through tough times.

  • 9% like furry drama. 22% cause furry drama.


More Graphs!

"I would describe my fursona as..."

Only one person claimed not to have a fursona.

Stuffed animal ownership (n = 36)

In addition, 5 of those polled have duplicates of the same stuffed animal (14%).

"I like furry..."

I am a connoisseur of furry...

Curious drop in high-caliber support for furry literature. Dilettante readership?

I consider myself a...

No one apparently dances despite there being about a thousand people in the ballroom to do that every night of the con.

I've tried in the past to be a...

Most of the responses to all four of these statements came from the same set of people, who have presumably all tried to draw a picture of a book about music videos.

I would be willing to do pornographic...

"Catgirls are part of the fur community." (n = 32)

This question began as a poll about furry being a subset of anime, an opinion which attracted no support.

"My Little Pony has built a bridge that has opened many previous outsiders to the furry fandom."

Two participants raised MLP dolls into the air to indicate their support for this statement.

"My Little Pony has built a catapult with which to fling flaming garbage into the furry fandom."

Opinion remains heavily mixed on this issue.

I've gone in for a hug, realized I was maybe too excited for it, wasn't sure how the other person was going to take it, and

Evidence suggests, at a 2-to-1 ratio, that you should totally go for the hug.


Though no data on stranger interaction was tabulated, there is an apparent supply-side buildup of petting among friends. This can be remedied by having more than one person pet a single individual.

The Dirt

Here are the questions you wanted me to ask that the IARP wouldn't. I only asked a couple because the panel was about having a good time rather than starting shit with people, but I'm sure the more web-savvy among you can do plenty of damage to the public image of the fur community with what's here.

  • 44% of participants believe themselves to be afflicted by an autism spectrum disorder. Given the extremely non-clinical nature of both the panel and myself, no additional probing into this topic was pursued (though I will have plenty of questions for those individuals should we do another one of these panels).

  • 25% are willing to consider themselves sexual deviants. No one bother asking what I meant by that, implying a substantial amount of confidence in the assertion from both sides.

  • 47% claimed to be willing to respond to a question about pornography ownership. Of that 47%, 40% claimed to own at least one physical furry pornograph. One person also claimed to own a physical furry pornograph who apparently misheard the first question.


Thank you for reading all or part of this! It was way too much work, as all foolish endeavors are. If you've got questions you'd like to submit for a future one of these (probably FWA next), post them in the comments below or e-mail them to !

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