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Being influenced by the perceptions of others. by DoNotDelete

I turned my back on a forum recently because some of the people there started backtracking in regard to their opinions of furries (it wasn't the only reason I decided to leave but it was the final straw).

Overall I've felt as if the (internet) perception of furries has improved a lot over the past decade - but somewhat recently (on the aforementioned forum) I bore witness to a couple of people making sweeping statements about how furries are 'bad people' (or something to that effect). Though I don't really consider myself to be a 'furry' or even an 'anthro artist', I still stuck my neck out and laid out the whole "generalisations are bad", "don't tarnish the whole for the actions of a few" and "live and let live" schtick, but - honestly - I get tired of having to be the one who has to make that case all the time.

I guess I've found myself in that position one too many times - being the voice of reason in a hostile room - it even felt as if it was becoming my responsibility to be the advocate for the misconstrued. Being in that position - being someone who is forever trying to convince internet users to be more diplomatic and understanding of other subgroups (like furries) - realistically that's a battle that will never be won - and it's not a job (or even a pastime) that I would wish upon anyone.

But for all the bitching and whining people do in the back rooms of the internet about how much they dislike furries and the artwork many of them make - how many of the bitchers take their complaints directly to the source and actually confront the people whose artwork they dislike so much? At the end of the day they're just cowards - full of bluster and bravado in the relative safety of the internet's back rooms but lacking any real kind of courage to act upon their own prejudices.

If these people dislike furries so much why do they scour the internet for furry art just to make themselves even more upset and/or angry? Don't these people realise that they don't have to impose these images upon themselves? Isn't what they're doing just like jabbing themselves in the eye with a rusty fork? Isn't that kind of a dumb thing to do?

I guess it's the nature of the internet (and people in general) that a lot of people need to have something to bitch and complain about - and they seek out places where they can share their prejudices, intolerances and insecurities - and have other people tell them that they're not alone in what they're feeling. It's not something I have ever liked about the internet, but it's a common enough thing (apparently).

I guess - really - I feel sorry for these people who have nothing else in their lives but the need to bitch and whine about the way that other people (supposedly) live theirs - all the while lacking the courage and confidence to follow through with their own interests or make something positive out of their own lives.

Referring back to the title of this journal - I guess I've always been somebody who's tried to consider how my work will be perceived not only by furries (for example) but also by the kind of people who take pleasure in crapping all over furry artwork - and - honestly - trying to balance those two perceptions has only ever been a limiter on my potential.

Consciously leaving a hostile and negative environment like the aforementioned forum has been like a breath of fresh air - my mind has become clearer and I'm starting to focus on what I want to do with my artwork instead of being overly concerned with how that artwork will be perceived by others.

A ways back I adopted a line from Hamlet as my mantra: "This above all: to thine own self be true." but I guess I've only recently begun to truly embody it myself.

So - in conclusion - if you're letting the perceptions of others hold you back in your projects, I encourage you to get out of their field of influence and follow your own heart - you'll be happier for it.

Being influenced by the perceptions of others.


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  • Link

    Sometimes I think they're just envious. They want to let themselves be a part of something (like furries), but their social programming won't allow it. They're afraid to be branded differently than they perceive themselves to be, or what society says they should be. In turn, that fosters contempt, so they'd rather try and bring something down than tolerate, understand, or even be a part of it. People are weird creatures.

    • Link

      I think I can agree with that for the most part. But I've met more than a few people that have just been exposed to negative ideas for so long that that becomes their only line of thinking. These people then reach out to others, as humans oft do, and try to find like-minded individuals. Once they have their counterparts they share their negative ideas in a closed environment which simply breeds more negative ideas. So in trying to find acceptance they end up perpetuating what keeps them separate in the first place.

      It's a sad thing in either case, though. And I fully believe the two groups would find good company in each other.

      • Link

        I think everyone's kind of guilty of that, though. It's just how we're wired... people different than us that we can't understand are scary and naturally the "enemy", and then trashing on them bonds similar people together as a means of validation and protection. In reality, we'd all probably be able to get along more or less if people just looked past most of the petty differences. So, basically just paraphrasing what you said! Quite in agreement.

        • Link

          I think it's a human thing to seek out people who are of a similar mindset - but it's also a human thing to identify those who are different and ostrasize them - probably as a way of reinforcing the bonds with those who are similar, maybe even a common enemy being something to unify against (or to project insecurities and problems toward).

          It's kind of scary that such base instincts still dominate people's behaviour - and a lot of the time people aren't even aware of how these pack-animal behaviour instinctual things are influencing them.

          I think these behavioural traits can be overcome once people become aware of them - the trouble is a lot of people aren't self aware enough to make observations about their own behaviours - i.e. "Why am I reacting this way to this thing?" "Is this a logical reaction or an emotional/instinctual one?" "In reacting this way, what does it say about me as a person?"

          I guess it's an uncommon thing for people to be able to look at themselves objectively like that - not everyone is able to detach themselves emotionally and make logical observations about themselves.

          • Link

            It's good to see someone who looks into human behavior so deeply. You're very bright.

            • Link

              I think I'm only so observant of such things because over the years I've become aware of how different I am to other (normal) human beings - in noticing, analysing and understanding the things that are (apparently) absent in my own psychological make-up I can more easily identify those things in other people.

              I was a very naive child and it took me a long time to be able to pick up on the subtleties of social interaction - but nowadays I can pick apart someone's behaviour in an almost mechanical fashion.

              All that said - I'm actually not entirely objective about my own errant psychological nuances - like how I find monsters and stuff attractive but not other human beings. Objectively speaking there's no logic to that kind of behaviour - it's probably more of an emotional thing or indicative of some kind of developmental error during my childhood years.

              Do I want to correct this flaw in my behaviour? Not really (I think I'm 'happier' the way I am).

              • Link

                Your description of yourself reminds me of myself.

          • Link

            I wouldn't say it's just a human thing, it's a pack animal thing in general. Protect your own, everyone else is the enemy. It's hardwired into us, no matter how hard we try and recognize otherwise. There's truth to the hardwiring, which is why we still possess it. All of our technological advances far outpace the advancement of the human brain, for better or worse. But aside from that one point, yes, you're correct; most people have a very difficult time being able to introspect objectively. It's not something we're naturally trained to do.

            • Link

              Yeah, I meant to suggest that it was a behaviour common to both humans and some other pack animals - being some kind of self-preservation mechanism that's hard-wired into their genes.