‘Zootopia’ and Furries: One man’s explanation

El Capitan audiences come to celebrate. At the first Saturday morning show for “Zootopia,” I found myself sitting next to a furry. He had just purchased a Disney Nick P. Wilde cap, and both Nick and Judy plushies. He also had a fox tail and a tale of his own to tell. While the organ player was giving us his rendition of the “Frozen” soundtrack, Kei Fox, as he wishes to be known, showed me a photo of himself dressed as Nick P. Wilde. It was impressive.

Kei Fox felt that the general population has a negative impression of furries and fur fandom (e.g. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” Season 4 Episode 5 “Fur and Loathing”). In response to my questions, he sent me the following responses via email.

Q: You’ve already dressed up as Nick. Did you make the costume yourself?

A: My fox costume was made a fellow furry who has earned a decent living through manufacturing custom furry costumes, also called fursuits, for clients who wish to dress up as their own created characters, or fursonas, as they are popularly known. The Hawaiian shirt, khaki pants and neck tie were simply acquired together from a local outlet, but they are useful in portraying Nick Wilde, even without a full fox costume to accompany the apparel.

Q: I know you’ve memorized the song, too.
A: The song “Try Everything” inspires us to follow our dreams, never being afraid to back down in the face of oppression and those who would attack our dreams.
Q: How do you feel you are wrongly stereotyped and what would you like people to know? Why do you love Nick?
A: Like Nick Wilde, foxes are often misrepresented by people as untrustworthy and troublesome, when they overlook the fact that foxes are also very self-reliant and family-oriented in the wild, as Nick demonstrates in his own resourcefulness and his memories of loving his mother. Nick Wilde is someone who only acts selfish and arrogant because he believes that the world has turned its back on him because of his species, and if everyone thinks he’s bad, then that’s how he’ll act. As a furry, we have been often viewed negatively as sexually perverted, even vulgarly zoophilic (being sexually attracted to normal animals). These perspectives are false, created by others who lack understanding, seeking only to attack what they simply find to be unusual and easily misconstruing.
Q: What is your favorite part of the movie?
A: If there’s a favourite segment in the film, it’s the finale, because it brings everyone together in a sense of harmony and unity, celebrating that while they have differences, they are all Zootopians, who stand together as one people.
Q: Why did you want to see the movie at the El Capitan?

A: To see the film at the El Capitan has been a first-time experience, having known that it is owned by Disney. To see a film produced by the same company delivers a very wholesome experience of appreciating Disney’s history in the film industry and its continual inspiration to the young and the young at heart with such positive movies. In a society where personal access to entertainment is through the Internet, we may forget the origins of such works being in the theater, and the El Capitan strives to maintain that charisma of inviting us to take a break from modern technology and to enjoy the atmosphere of a movie in its most-rooted respectability.

Are you a furry? Or do you have a story? Then contact me at Jana.Monji@gmail.com.

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