Ivy league students should have more tolerance for the ‘furry’ among them

By Daniel Eichberg

Even as a little kid, I always knew I was different from everyone else. While most children played with blocks and video games, I would spend hours chasing my dog in the backyard on all fours. My first word was “woof,” and I wasn’t housebroken until I was 5 years old. To this day, old issues of The Sun line the floor of my room. Most disconcerting to my parents, however, was that I had the unhygienic habit of cleaning myself with my tongue and then greeting their business associates with licks on their faces.

My behavior became really out of hand during a seventh-grade field trip to the National Zoo. After we passed through the elephant house, I wandered off and got separated from my class. The next morning, the zookeeper found me laying on the floor of Bling-Bling the giant panda’s cage wearing a bathrobe and smoking a cigarette. Needless to say, my parents were furious and grounded me for a week with no kibble. I still think about Bling-Bling often, and I send her a bouquet of bamboo every year on her birthday.

Social workers subjected me to years of electroshock therapy, behavior-modifying drugs and savage beatings, but nothing seemed to curb my compulsions to hunt small rodents and hurl my own feces in fits of rage. Finally, after many enlightening sessions with a world-renowned pet psychologist, I realized my true identity. I was an animal trapped in a human’s body, yearning to gallop free.

Thrilled with my self-discovery, I ran to the nearest Wi-Fi hot spot to discover if there were any others who, like me, were victims of this cruel, cosmic practical joke. A cursory scan of Wikipedia informed me that there are an estimated 20,000 “Furries” out there. Furries are people like me who enjoy – and I mean really enjoy – stuffed animals, anthropomorphized animal art and Bugs Bunny put on a dress and played a girl bunny, all while pretending to be animals.

Every year, thousands of furries gather to meet other furries at national furry conventions called conFurences. Some of the larger conFurences include Anthrocon, Further Confusion and the Midwest Furfest. Furries comes clad in their own fursuits, full-body animal costumes tailored to reflect their own unique fursonas. Mine is a giant panda in honor of Bling-Bling, and I now feel naked when I’m not wearing it.

I came to Cornell as quite the cockeyed optimist, expecting a climate of inclusion and a commitment to diversity. I was sadly mistaken, as I have been met with nothing but ignorance, confusion and detached apathy for my culture, usually in that order. People here can be outright cruel at times: I have been called names like fureak and furvert on numerous occasions. Such disrespect is unacceptable and hurtful. As the Great Bard wrote, “If you prick us, do we not meow, oink, and moo?”

Cornell’s toxic atmosphere of exclusion and marginalization of furries wreaks havoc to our self-esteem and well-being. Just a week ago a Statler Hotel janitor, deprived of healthy outlets for his furxations, was spotted by several Hotelies (I’m not making this part up) viewing transsexual furry porn on computers in the student lounge. We shouldn’t scorn or fire this brave soul; nay, we must respect the customs and traditions of the furry lifestyle and honor his God-given right to watch curvaceous fox vixens fondle their oversized penises on student computers during paid university time.

I’m not here to harp about a problem without offering a solution. My plan is threefold. First, we need greater furry representation in the Student Assembly. Currently, we only have seven publicly furry members in the Student Assembly, a number drastically disproportionate to the number of furries at Cornell. Second, Gannett must address the furry health crisis. Furries are a startlingly 10 times more likely to contract certain debilitating diseases such as kennel cough, gill rot and beak rash than average Americans. Gannett must also offer tougher condoms specifically engineered to resist tears on fursuit cloth. Most importantly, the Tapestry of Possibilities orientation program must portray furries in a positive light so that new students may appreciate and celebrate our rich heritage.

So the next time you see a girl wearing a fox-ear headband, a sexy bunny Halloween costume or the Cornell mascot, remember that there is a person underneath the fur. If we all work together furvently, we can make Cornell a better, furrier place.