The fluffy in the furry: The “fluffy” controversy: The hot debate on a proposed safe-for-work space for furries

The furry fandom we know today is a melting pot of people from diverse backgrounds, regardless occupation, race, gender, among others. It means that, as with other fandoms, it has its own safe-for-work (SFW) and not safe-for-work (NSFW) sides as well.

If the fandom was to be a spectrum bar, as said, one side will be SFW, the other being NSFW. These sides have their own names, particularly the term “yiff” for the NSFW side, and just recently, “fluffies” for the SFW side, the latter being a recent subject of social media controversy.

The term “fluffies” was coined by a furry called @DurianChop. Being a asexual minor himself, he describes this as a strictly safe-for-work space that welcomes minors, sex-positive furs, especially asexuals uncomfortable with sex and anyone just looking for a clean space. They reside in the SFW spectrum of the fandom, therefore, “fluffies” are not separate from furry fandom, according to the creator.

The introduction of this concept attracted varied reactions from the fandom – while a number of furs felt intrigued and held positive views at the idea, on the other hand, detractors alleged that the idea attempts to “take down the NSFW community” or to “break away from the fandom”. Critics also added that the fluffy community may be more prone to predators as well.

Some even alleged connections between them and far-right groups, such as the furry raiders or “burned furs”, a now-defunct movement that aimed to counter against adult content in the fandom.

That, and all of the allegations were addressed by the creator.

  • First, the initial icon used by the Fluffy Community twitter account looks like this; a black paw icon in a white background. This attracted allegations that associated them with the Furry Raiders, given an apparent resemblance to the insignias they wore on their armbands.

However, the creator responded in a tweet that he used the image after searching online for ‘paw print’ images and had no awareness of these alt-right groups in the first place. He changed the account’s profile picture afterwards.

  • Secondly, the creator added that, though he acknowledges the presence of the NSFW part of the fandom, the fluffy community neither shames people of their sexual preferences nor hold a “NSFW is ruining the fandom” mindset.
  • Thirdly, the creator said that the fluffy community is a SFW sub-community that’s part of the furry fandom, instead of a separated community as claimed in the allegations.
  • Lastly, the creator stated that he may also implement moderation in their online communities to keep predators out of the fluffy community as well.

The situation was further complicated when a clone account with the same name, but different Twitter username @TheFluffyFans surfaced, which as many claimed, is spreading far-right propaganda and making statements contrary to the fluffy community’s concepts and ideas. 

The creator in response said that the account @TheFluffyFans is fake and also claims that the account is responsible for the streak of harassment he has received. On that, many also pointed out that some people even sent explicit material to the creator in response to the fluffy community concept. 

This led to the creator locking the fluffy community Twitter account and stating in a tweet that this controversy “adversely affected his mental health”, and that the account will become inactive.

So far, is this overreaction or simply an attempt to “stop alt-right advancement” in the fandom?

Given that the fandom has numerous negative encounters with entities associated with the alt-right movement in the past; Furry Raiders, Milo Yiannopoulos, to name some, it can be said that the fandom is sensitised towards things that are ‘politically suggestive of far-rights’, or over-sensitised in this case, according to many Twitter users who heavily criticised detractors of harassing the creator @DurianChop, and unnecessarily comparing the fluffy community with far-right groups.

On the bright side, the fluffy concept has received much positive attention from furs around, with an increasing number of furs now calling themselves fluffies in support of this initiative, while praising the concept of being minor friendly and its emphasis on creating a safe and clean space for others, in the midst of a relatively saturated environment.

This controversy highlighted that, though the fandom is generally sexually tolerant, as the influx of young furries into the furry fandom continues to increase through the years, so does the importance of creating more spaces that are safe, clean and age-appropriate. But that does not mean that the NSFW side must be gone, either.

At the end of the day, there will be people interested in the NSFW side, and there will also be those who are more interested in a safe and clean space. It ultimately comes down to personal preference, but regardless of which side they go, they are in the end, not separate from, but are part of a tolerant fandom with diverse interests and niche.

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