“So…what’s that little badge for?”
Fursonas are probably one of the more recognizable facets of the fandom right after fursuit – chances are if you’ve ever interacted with a furry online or even looked into the wild world of the fur you’ve already seen one. But what exactly are fursonas, and why are furries often seen with them? Well luckily, yours truly is here once again to walk you through another aspect of the Furry Fandom.
So what’s a fursona? It’s basically a persona that a furry creates of themselves. A sort of furred alter-ego, in a sense. I mean, the word itself is a mashup of “Furry” and “Persona.” They can range from being a simple mascot that accompanies one’s creative endeavors (I often refer to my fursona, the blue bunny Niko, as my mascot), to something they express themselves through, to something that they have just for the fun of it. I mean come on who wouldn’t like to have a character that they can get loads of cute artwork of? Another thing that’s important to note is oftentimes furries will incorporate their fursonas into their overall identity in the fandom – having a furry ask you “So, what are you?” is quite the typical icebreaker. At the end of the day it’s all in good, cute furry fun.
I suppose many also wonder what one does with their fursonas aside from getting or drawing cute artwork of them. And no, you have to make your fursona look cute as I’ve seen my definite share of badass fursonas. It’s whatever you want it to be, really. Anyways, back on track, what one does with a fursona is really just as varied as why one gets a fursona: some will do online roleplaying with their fursona, others will feature them in original fiction (I’m guilty of this), many get fursuits made out of their fursonas, and of course there’s getting a badge made of your character. That is, one of these:
Badges are often used by furries to help identify who – and what – they are, and tons of furries have one. In fact I almost consider it a rite of passage to get a badge. A sort of commitment to the fandom, I suppose. Many like to have multiple artists draw badges for them, too. I’ve seen a friend of mine on Face Book post a picture of a clothesline in their room and the entirety of it had badges clipped on it.
Personally, I love coming up with stories that feature Niko and my other two fursonas – a cute chubby rabbit named Tamagi Stardust and a green fennec named Razzle Joestar. I also enjoy getting artwork of them and my other (non-fursona) characters drawn. There’s something about seeing how others interpret my descriptions of my characters and allowing limited artistic freedom to see what artists can come up with. For instance, Razzle originally had short green hair, but one artist wanted to give him a mullet, and after seeing the final piece I decided that it was a good look for him. Though sometimes written words can lead to mishaps – originally I envisioned Tamagi as being chubby in the stomach area only, but had just described him as “Chubby.” Well, the artist certialy gave me a pudgy bunny, but he was so adorable that I adopted it as his official look. Which is another thing to note about fursonas: for many, they tend to change and go through revisions. A fursona now might look quite different from how they were initially envisioned.
Now, the creation process. I wish I could give you an easy answer here but…and some of you may have called it…it’s pretty varied. Some folks will go, “Well lions are my favorite animal, so let’s start with that!” Others might say, “Well, my personality seems to line up pretty well with how otters tend to be, so let’s go with that.” And then you get folks like me that go, “Well, I’ll load up Second Life and browse the furry avatars for sale on there and see which one appeals to me. Oh, that blue and white bunny looks nice. I think I’ll go with that.” And again, some might switch their fursonas or change their designs – originally a grey and white wolf bore the Niko Linni name before the blue bunny came along (the wolf was renamed “Niam Minh”), and at one point Razzle actually served as my main fursona. Then there’s folks like a friend of mine who’s also a green fennec, but he likes to splice in some genetics with the character, giving him a husky tail and lynx-like ears. So if you want to make your fursona a genetically diverse being, go right ahead! Many furs will also come up with back stories for their fursonas as well. Mine’s a travelling muse who has the mishap of trying to inspire stubborn people.
Now, do you need a fursona to participate in the furry fandom? No, not really. But it’s something that a lot of furries just seem to do – to the point that some furs will legitimately feel left out if they can’t create a fursona or run into difficulties designing one. We’re a friendly lot though, so if you ever fancy yourself a furred alter ego there’s plenty of folks willing to help you out on that.
Have you ever made your own fursona? Would you like to make your own fursona? What would it be like? Or, do you have any other questions about these furred alter egos? Sound off in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all in the next installment. Hope you like cosplaying!