Fursonas ★★★

After sitting through the first third of Dominic Rodriguez’s furries documentary Fursonas you could be forgiven for thinking that people dipping their feet/paws into that particular fetish were exactly like the rest of us, only a hell of a lot more boring. Despite what Vice et al have had to say on the matter, those guys and gals who get off on… sorry, enjoy hanging out in… animal costumes and visting conventions aren’t any better than your average Trekkie. They’re just regular outsiders who like to dress up.

And maybe run around in the woods while they’re dressed up.

And flesh out a sexualised avatar online.

But they don’t have sex in those suits. You understand? They. Don’t. Have. Sex. In. Those. Suits.

As Rodriguez goes deeper down the fox hole, and as he reveals his own community membership, it turns out “boring” isn’t the best adjective. “Guarded” is perhaps a better descriptor.

The furry underground, at least the Pittsburgh arm where Rodriguez focuses his attention, is tightly brand managed by one Uncle Kage. Originally set up as a benevolent figure, it isn’t long before Rodriguez pulls out his claws and twists his documentary into full-on exposé, not of the furry scene but of Kage’s near fascistic control of its image.

All this makes for an interesting take on queer subcultures and their interaction with the general populous, and the furry world is analogous for almost any subculture teething through to the public consciousness. The debates had amongst these men and women mirror those conversations that were being had in apartments and dorm rooms across New York and San Francisco in the 1960s where gay men and women were nutting out how best to achieve their own mass outing. For the furries though, it is all complicated by the grime of internet message boards.

It’s fascinating stuff and though many will no doubt complain, comes across as reasonably even handed. Where there are concerns of bias, even called out by interviewees on camera, Rodriguez has seen fit to include them in his film. All in all, probably a little less than what outside audiences are probably hoping for, but a little more at the same time.