The Fantastic and the Unusual
First time director Dominic Rodriguez brings us “Fursonas”, a film that moves back and forth between the fantastic and the unusual and challenges the audience to do the same, to look at themselves and think about how we fit into our own family’s story. “Fursonas” is about accepting yourself for who you are. “Furries” are often stereotyped as people who dress up as animals and have sex. Uncle Kage, who we’ll come to know later in the film, assures us that they are fun-loving people who simply enjoy an alternative lifestyle.
We then movie into the back stories. The several furries featured in the film tell us about how they grew up “knowing deep down” that they were furries, and how it took them years to embrace it. We get into what makes them special, what they’re passionate about, and what it means to them to dress up as furries each and every day.
Next we see how the public has grown to perceive furry fandom over the years, and how “unfortunate” incidents—such as furry appearances on the Tyra Banks and Dr. Phil shows have causes many people to believe that furry fandom is nothing more than a fetish. We see the public denying any passionate reason for being a furry, choosing to ignore their back stories and instead judging the entire group based on some misconceived notions.
We see Uncle Kage “coaching” his fellow furries, asking them to never deny allegations about furries having sex with their suits on but instead deflect the question and talk about how great the furry community is and how it welcomes everyone with open arms. This section reveals the “political” side of furry fandom.
After the politics have been revealed, we see how many members of the furry community turn on their own because they feel betrayed by certain furries, such as a man who legally tried to change his name to “Boomer The Dog” and appeared on Dr. Phil to discuss his alternative lifestyle. This sort of exposure outrages people like Uncle Kage, who preaches, “You’re not just representing yourself, but the entire furry community.” It is amazing to see members of the furry community turning on their own and judging furries in the same way the public judges the furry community.
Rodriguez, in the film, shows how public perception and internal politics create immense pressure on members of the furry community to truly accept themselves for who they are and preach openly about it to the world. Rodriguez creates a meta-narrative that breaks down the wall and openly challenges the audience to not only accept ourselves, but also accept others who don’t live the same lifestyle as us. We are asked to looked past societal norms and realize that we are all capable of love and passion—we are all human beings.
What begins as a series of innocuous portraits soon becomes a deeply involved examination of the issue of community representation in the media, a controversy that comes into any misunderstood or misrepresented group. We are engaged with the film but I wish that there had been more narrative.