Furry fandom is a subculture of human society which focuses on the enjoyment of anthropomorphic animals, animals which have human characteristics such as the ability to speak or walk on two legs. Depending on their level of involvement in the furry fandom community, members may simply appreciate visual and written media with anthropomorphic animals in it, or they may add to the body of material containing such animals through writing, drawing, or creating other works of art. Someone who identifies with furry fandom is called a furry fan, or simply furry.
The roots of furry fandom are quite old, but most people refer to the modern movement which began in the 1980s when they talk about furries. The idea of animals with characteristics is an ancient one, with many religions and mythological traditions including tales of animals who behaved like or interacted with humans. Children's cartoons have often included furries in various forms, as has children's literature.
In the early 1980s, an adult community which appreciated such art began to arise, and it came to be called furry fandom. Members of the community may identify with animals, simply appreciate art featuring animals, or enjoy the fantasy genre. A rich and lively community of adults who were interested in cartoon and funny animals led to a wide assortment of adult oriented art, ranging from stories featuring animals aimed at a more mature audience to explicit fiction and art.
Some furries participate in annual conventions which are designed to celebrate furry fandom. Attendees can purchase or exchange comic books, films, stories, books, and artwork with other members of their community, as well as participate in interactive activities. Some furries dress up for the occasion in fursuits, which may resemble mythical or real animals. Furry fandom also has a lively online community, with furries participating in web sites and bulletin boards devoted to their interests.
As is often the case with a subculture, many people associate extremists with all furries. Some people within the furry fandom community do sexualize furries, or engage in deviant sexual practices which are not directly related to the furry community. Since many people find these members of the subculture particularly interesting or oteworthy, many furries find themselves lumped in with these individuals. This has led to somne controversy within the movement, as furries who are not interested in explicit material or deviant sexuality sometimes resent being associated with this small percentage of their social group.