The Elephant in the Room

It’s difficult to talk about anthro art without sexuality and pornography coming up at some point in the discussion. On the one hand, it’s a natural part of the human experience and so appears in nearly everything humans do, including anthropomorphization. On the other hand, furry is seen by many people exclusively as a fetish, and isn’t one of the goals of this project to try and break away from that perception?

Since I announced Zoion, this is the topic that has come up most often in conversation. It’s inevitable that I’d have to address it.

I’ve tried to emphasize in the marketing material that the magazine will be clean and professional. Or as I’ve started to say when I was talking about it at FWA, “not cringey”. Nevertheless I’ve had people ask a variety of questions as to what exactly might be included.  Obviously art exists on a spectrum. Not everything falls neatly into the categories of “clean” or “adult”. This is, naturally, where editorial discretion comes in, and it would be something of a quixotic task to try and define every possible instance of what may or may not be included. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said, “I know it when I see it.”

That being said, here are a few of the specific questions I’ve gotten, and some answers:

• Will you accept advertising for adult products? No.

• Will you accept advertising for adult products, even if it’s not obvious from the context of the ad that they are for an adult audience? No.

• Will you talk about, discuss, or otherwise try to curate pornography in an effort to preserve it as a part of furry culture? No. I wrote in response to a comment on Print Lives : “I don’t think it’s disingenuous to not include furry pornography any more than it is when regular art magazines don’t include regular pornography. There’s plenty of room in our lives for both. At the moment, furry pornography is so ubiquitous that it’s drowning out non-pornographic work. It would be great if there was a way to shift that balance a little, and that’s one of the goals we have in mind for the magazine.”

• Will you link to a gallery which includes adult artwork? Possibly. If an artist is featured and has all their work in one gallery, we would likely still link back to it. This is very much something to address on a per-case basis. And there may be other options too, such as a disclaimer that the gallery contains adult material.

• Will you include tasteful or artistic nudity? This is an interesting question. While the answer is basically “no, we will not include artistic nudity”, the explanation as to why is not so simple. To address this, I’ll be writing a separate article tomorrow that contrasts examples of historical artistic nudity with artistic nudity in anthropomorphic art. Depending on length, it may also include some thoughts on challenging subject matter in art, or that may be discussed in a future article. I don’t want to spend too much more time on adult or pornographic themes in art. But like I said, it’s something that’s come up a lot, so better to address it now at the beginning so we can move on.

If you have another question that’s not listed here, feel free to leave it in the comments.

I’ll close with the following quote from my aforementioned comment which I think gets the point across pretty well:

“Consider that the audience for furry pornography of any sort—even tasteful artistic nudity—is so incredibly large and it receives so much attention, there is just no situation where us leaving it out would be detrimental to the fandom. Contrariwise, if we include it, it could very well be detrimental to our goals of attracting a diverse audience, including people outside the furry fandom who appreciate the fine art aspect but have no interest in nude anthropomorphic animals, no matter how tastefully done.”


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