RE: Is TikT0k Harming Therians?
At this point, outside of the times when I'm able to pop into this forum, my exposure to the therian community such as it is mostly consists of hearing things second-hand from furries that I'm friends with.
I'm relatively open about my therianthropy in furry spaces these days, and so occasionally I get questions about it. Sometimes they're from folks who are exploring therianthropy for themselves, sometimes they're from folks who are just curious. But I definitely can feel sometimes that folks come to those questions with a little bit of baggage, presumably from being exposed to it somewhere prior to talking to me.
If I'm thinking about these things just on the personal, how-things-impact-me level, I would hope that folks who see "therian" in my bio or whatever else would be open to talking to me about what that means to me instead of jumping to too many conclusions. For anyone who I'm actually friends with, I have faith in them to do that, and that's what's really important to me. People generally get that, well, it means different things to different people, it's hard to have any really specific definitions that apply to everyone, and so on. So, even if they see some goofy stuff on TikTok, maybe they idly wonder if I do quadrobics when they're not there, but they don't assume that I have to do that to be a therian. Or if they do, then it's not really worth my time to talk with them -- it's my job to know what I am, not theirs, and they can keep their snouts out of it. That's just something folks have to learn at some point.
On the other paw, though, it is a little sad to me when I see folks who are interested in therianthropy, or maybe they seem kinda therian to me from past interactions, but they reject it because they see someone's definition that doesn't fit them and don't dig any deeper. I don't know how much of the weird baggage I've seen folks bring to discussions about therianthropy comes from TikTok vs. anywhere else, but I have noticed people get frustrated because they get the impression that therianthropy has to be a spiritual thing. It makes it a little harder for me if they do ever come to me with questions, because first I have to dispel their misconceptions. Ultimately, I can't define therianthropy for people, so there comes a point in every conversation like that where I have to start pointing them to various resources and say, "Hey, here's some other ideas people have about things, you should look through these and kinda mash all this stuff together to figure it out for yourself." And then whatever stuff I point them to is competing with this other baggage... all I can really hope is that folks have enough common sense to understand that the sorts of posts y'all are describing are merely one individual's experience, not a definition that everyone must agree with.
I guess what I'm getting at is, I put a little bit of hope into the average person that they can see these sorts of posts and understand that it's possible it means different things to different people. Being trans means all sorts of different things to different people (even as they all have certain things in common), "queer" means all sorts of different things, and I hope that people can understand therianthropy on a similar level. But it is frustrating when folks go out and prescribe definitions that don't actually apply to everyone. I wish people wouldn't do that, but... so it goes.
novus ordo bestiarum