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Therianthropy vs Otherkin
DustWolf
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Post: #1
Therianthropy vs Otherkin
Hello,

Disclaimer: The following is not absolute truth. It is a realisation that we somehow arrived at here on TG while talking to eachother about therianthropy. Not everyone agrees with this, but I think it will help you, dear reader, if you know what we found out.


The argument of Therianthropy "versus" the Otherkin has to date created a lot of drama. Every time we bring up the comparison, someone walks away with hurt feelings.

The source of the problem is that once about a time, there were these people who were Otherkin and they saw Therianthropy and said: "Hey, that's basically the same thing as being an Otherkin". Many even to this day, say that Therians are a subset within the Otherkin. It's the same story we have now with Fictionkin and LGBT+ and TeenWolves and other groups...

I don't think it's the same thing. I don't think Therians are a subset of the Otherkin. I think therianthropy is it's own thing. There are certainly people who are both Otherkin and Therian, but I don't think they're the same thing. We have history to prove to us that the Therian and Otherkin communities evolved separately. I have argued, repeatedly, that these two communities should stay separate, because saying these two things are "basically the same thing", diminishes our understanding of both Therianthropy and the Otherkin.


This does not mean that the Otherkin are not valid. They are. So are Fictionkin, the LGBT+ and all the other groups that made their way here to TG. I think the problem we've been having was that we created this artificial divide between Therianthropy and the Otherkin. We said that you are either a Therian (an earthly animal) or an Otherkin (not an earthly animal) and that which one you are depends on what your theriotype or kintype is. This division has many problems; not only are there Theriomythics who say they feel that they are Therians; but there are also objective problems such as the fact that identifying as an earthly or unearthly animal is ultimately all in your head, so what you are depends on how you see yourself? That doesn't make sense.

I think the answer is that Therianthropy is not about identity. Therianthropy is about the experience of animality and our shifts. Therefore a Theriomythic can be an Otherkin and a Therian.

I'm not an Otherkin so I won't speak for them. I don't know what role identifying as something (whether we are talking about social identity, or personal identity) has in being Otherkin. I don't know if cheesy Tumblrkin can be said to be Otherkin or if that makes sense.

I do know that my Therianthropy is about my experience of animality, my psychological needs which I know line up with the behaviour of wolves. I know that identity is secondary to me, I know it makes sense to say I'm a wolf inside, but this is not why I am here (a wolf is a wolf without being aware of it's identity).


We have had truly innumerable arguments here on TG about how "you can identify as anything you want" and how "that is not Therianthropy" and I can't help but feel it was all because of this idea that Therianthropy and the Otherkin are somehow one group of people. We are not. My personal therian experiences are not interchangeable with no experiences at all, my therian experiences are a core part of what I think Therianthropy is. That being said, the Otherkin are their own thing and if for the Otherkin "identifying as anything you want" works, then more power to them!

I do understand that there are certain similarities in experiences between Therians and the Otherkin and maybe there is something we can teach each other, but we should not be holding each other back and trying to reduce our experiences to the smallest common denominator. We are each our own thing. Respect our differences.

And if you need an umbrella term, call us Alterhuman (Alt+H). Don't try to stuff one experience into another. Respect that other people may have nuance of experience you might not be aware of -- and just because you do not experience it, it doesn't mean that it's not real or not important.

And finally, whoever you are, if you do have an experience of animality or experience shifts, you are a therian! No identifying as an earthly animal or jumping through hoops required.

LP,
Dusty

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(This post was last modified: 2020-04-29 18:46 by DustWolf.)
2020-04-29 18:40
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Post: #2
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
I think you're onto something here. Otherkin has seemed to have a very strong focus on identity, historically. Therianthropy has had a focus on experience instead. Even the word describes a condition. You HAVE therianthropy, you ARE otherkin.

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(This post was last modified: 2020-04-29 19:20 by BearX.)
2020-04-29 19:18
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Post: #3
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
(2020-04-29 18:40)DustWolf Wrote:  I think the answer is that Therianthropy is not about identity. Therianthropy is about the experience of animality and our shifts. Therefore a Theriomythic can be an Otherkin and a Therian.

I do agree with this. Of course not all therians shift from what I've heard but I agree that experiences are more important than identifying as something without them. As a theriomythic I would classify myself as both/ in-between.

(2020-04-29 18:40)DustWolf Wrote:  I'm not an Otherkin so I won't speak for them. I don't know what role identifying as something (whether we are talking about social identity, or personal identity) has in being Otherkin. I don't know if cheesy Tumblrkin can be said to be Otherkin or if that makes sense.

That being said, the Otherkin are their own thing and if for the Otherkin "identifying as anything you want" works, then more power to them!

I think it's hard to study true otherkin because sadly most I've met are not true otherkin. And by not truly otherkin I mean that most I've met have sadly been tied up in fictionkin "kinnie" culture. Now I personally think fictionkin is separate from otherkinity and therianthropy entirely. Or at least "kinnie culture" fictionkin. Because to me identifying as a fictional human doesn't make you non-human at all and to me it shouldn't be considered otherkin, therian or non-human at all really.

I do however agree with you that otherkin is more identity motivated thar therianthropy. My personal opinion on that is that unlike therians (mostly earthly animals just being realistic) we don't have the luxury of comparing our behavior directly to that of a non-human animal or seeing what we are in the flesh at all (or even photographs) therefore without a strong sense of personal identity as non-human we probably wouldn't come to the conclusion of our species. I don't think this was ever supposed to be transferred to "I am (blank) because I am" without any actual experiences behind it, but perhaps by Tumblrkin and others who didn't truly understand what it means to be otherkin it got corrupted to that.

(2020-04-29 18:40)DustWolf Wrote:  I do understand that there are certain similarities in experiences between Therians and the Otherkin and maybe there is something we can teach each other, but we should not be holding each other back and trying to reduce our experiences to the smallest common denominator. We are each our own thing. Respect our differences.

And finally, whoever you are, if you do have an experience of animality or experience shifts, you are a therian! No identifying as an earthly animal or jumping through hoops required.

I don't think the boundaries between the two are entirely clear, and some like me straddle that line. I don't think we as a community have even entirely decided what those differences are. I agree with the notion that "therians are Earthly animals only!!!" Is modernist bullshit. There are many many otherkin who experience shifts for instance who I don't think anyone would classify as therian, and some therians who don't have shifts at all (but perhaps other experiences.) So I personally wouldn't use that line of thought to differentiate them. Maybe more along your earlier thought of more experience based vs more identity based though.

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2020-04-29 20:10
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Post: #4
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
(2020-04-29 19:18)BearX Wrote:  Even the word describes a condition. You HAVE therianthropy, you ARE otherkin.

I'd opt that this isn't as solid as it may feel (as I also agreed at first place). As you can just as well say:
You HAVE otherkinity, you ARE therian.

but yes, I agree with your core opinion! I more often say I experience therianthropy. Than bluntly 'I am a therian' (to those outside the community or locals). And I could opt, that I don't see as many otherkins using the term 'otherkinity' as I see therians using 'therianthropy'. Being another facot showing that therians are more experience-focussed.

I basicly agree with all what @DustWolf said. I made simular conclusions, and have been voicing those publicly, for quiet a while now. My opinion is what Dust described.

Dust did put it nicely tho: you can be Both otherkin & Therian (outide having just both a theriotype and a kintype) as I hadn't looked at it That way yet. rater 'Or Or Or'. 'Therian, Or otherkin, Or theriomythic,..'
I'll surely remember that.

Thank for the interesting read.

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2020-04-30 0:14
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Post: #5
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
I prefer Alter-Human, Animal People, what have you. But in my opinion, therian and otherkin are different.

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2020-04-30 3:50
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Post: #6
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
(2020-04-29 20:10)Atlantis Wrote:  I don't think the boundaries between the two are entirely clear, and some like me straddle that line. I don't think we as a community have even entirely decided what those differences are. I agree with the notion that "therians are Earthly animals only!!!" Is modernist bullshit. There are many many otherkin who experience shifts for instance who I don't think anyone would classify as therian, and some therians who don't have shifts at all (but perhaps other experiences.) So I personally wouldn't use that line of thought to differentiate them. Maybe more along your earlier thought of more experience based vs more identity based though.

My line of reasoning is very similar to this and likewise, I would agree that the lines between the two groups are often unclear and may vary greatly between individuals or subsets of the two groups.

I like to think of this stuff as a sort of spectrum where an individual has the predisposition to feel not human, for whatever reason, and there are different waypoints or landmarks such as "therian", "otherkin", "furry", ect and a bunch of people that fall in-between these definitions.

My conclusion of this has been developed from careful observation of these groups over the past five years.

I will note that culturally, there are some very stark differences between therian groups and otherkin groups which is to be expected as, like BearX says, the two have evolved separately.

As far as identity vs experience goes - I'm very much on board with "social identity doesn't mean a hill of beans to me". It's something that can be changed at will and tells me nothing about a person's character, what they've been through or what they actually feel. Experience, reading or listening to someone's story gives much insight as to how serious someone is and how/why they feel non-human, regardless of which flag they decide to raise.

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2020-04-30 7:56
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DustWolf
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Post: #7
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
(2020-04-30 7:56)LycanTheory Wrote:  
(2020-04-29 20:10)Atlantis Wrote:  I don't think the boundaries between the two are entirely clear, and some like me straddle that line. I don't think we as a community have even entirely decided what those differences are. I agree with the notion that "therians are Earthly animals only!!!" Is modernist bullshit. There are many many otherkin who experience shifts for instance who I don't think anyone would classify as therian, and some therians who don't have shifts at all (but perhaps other experiences.) So I personally wouldn't use that line of thought to differentiate them. Maybe more along your earlier thought of more experience based vs more identity based though.

My line of reasoning is very similar to this and likewise, I would agree that the lines between the two groups are often unclear and may vary greatly between individuals or subsets of the two groups.

I like to think of this stuff as a sort of spectrum where an individual has the predisposition to feel not human, for whatever reason, and there are different waypoints or landmarks such as "therian", "otherkin", "furry", ect and a bunch of people that fall in-between these definitions.

My conclusion of this has been developed from careful observation of these groups over the past five years.

I will note that culturally, there are some very stark differences between therian groups and otherkin groups which is to be expected as, like BearX says, the two have evolved separately.

I would argue that anyone who falls within the definition of a Therian, is a Therian. Whatever else they might also be.

If there are as you say "otherkin who experience shifts for instance who I don't think anyone would classify as therian", who are these people (example, please) and why wouldn't we consider them therians, if they experience shifts as we do?

I am arguing that using the theriotype to determine who is a therian is wrong, and that we should be judging exclusively by experience. This way, the overlap is much easier to manage: if you are an Otherkin who also experiences shifts, you are an Otherkin but also a Therian -- no conflict here. Exactly like how Theriomythics feel.

You don't need to have two different theriotypes or something to be in both groups. I'm not sure what got misunderstood.

LP,
Dusty

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(This post was last modified: 2020-04-30 10:47 by DustWolf.)
2020-04-30 10:41
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Atlantis
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Post: #8
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
(2020-04-30 10:41)DustWolf Wrote:  If there are as you say "otherkin who experience shifts for instance who I don't think anyone would classify as therian", who are these people (example, please) and why wouldn't we consider them therians, if they experience shifts as we do?

I am arguing that using the theriotype to determine who is a therian is wrong, and that we should be judging exclusively by experience. This way, the overlap is much easier to manage: if you are an Otherkin who also experiences shifts, you are an Otherkin but also a Therian -- no conflict here. Exactly like how Theriomythics feel.

I have two years before this on an exclusively otherkin site, with exclusively otherkin friends. One of the only differences I didn't see was a difference in shifting. Otherkin shift, in fact every single otherkin I ever talked to about it shifts. If you use that definition, there wouldn't be a difference between otherkin and therian because pretty much every single otherkin, would be therian. Which I don't think you're looking for from your original argument.
You want an example of some of these people who I would never consider therian? Elves, humanoid aliens, the vast majority of fae, angels and demons etc. I've talked to multiple people of each kintype (though of course I can't personally be a lie detector but that aside) and every single one I've talked to experiences shifts. But you know what those shifts lack? Animality. I think it's one of those things that's hard to pin down, but ultimately one of the clearest things we have which separates otherkin and therian. I feel for some reason that you've gotten the idea that not a lot or no otherkin experience shifts, perhaps because shifts and other experiences aren't necessarily the focus of the community

I think that you were very much right in the regard that there's important differences between the communities respectively, especially in that focus on identity. I also, however, really have to strongly disagree that shifts are the right path to go down when dividing that difference (there's also some people who are definitely therians who don't shift and never have and I'd feel really awful if they were put in a situation like BearX where they came back to the community and were suddenly no longer considered therian.) However if we wanted to talk about the substance of one's shifts and importance of identity vs shifts, that I can get behind.

I apologise in advance if any part of this came off as rude to you, what you're hearing isn't ill will, just very strong feelings on the topic

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2020-04-30 12:05
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Post: #9
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
I've been thinking about this thread and one of the questions that comes to mind is "why is this stuff so important?"

Of course, the answer is going to vary widely I assume.

But why is is so important and in what context?

Why have we all devoted paragraphs, words, thought and time into focusing on the differences and similarities between therians and otherkin?

Every time this topic comes up, so does the question and I've yet to really find what suits me as an answer.

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2020-04-30 16:16
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DustWolf
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Post: #10
RE: Therianthropy vs Otherkin
(2020-04-30 16:16)LycanTheory Wrote:  But why is is so important and in what context?

Why have we all devoted paragraphs, words, thought and time into focusing on the differences and similarities between therians and otherkin?

Every time this topic comes up, so does the question and I've yet to really find what suits me as an answer.

For me obviously this is relevant because TG is a Therianthropy website and thus anything that helps outline this is helpful in letting people understand which topics to pursue on this forum and which are irrelevant.

The other aspect is that by clarifying what exactly we mean when we say "Therianthropy", we help ourselves focus and thus help us understand ourselves better.

I don't know how to elegantly word this, but essentially every step we make in the direction of expressing our feelings about Therianthropy better, is a step in the direction of understanding what Therianthropy is. Like it or not even the best scientists won't be able to help us unravel Therianthropy, if we ourselves are not sure what exactly we feel or how to word it.

This distinction between Therians and Otherkin I feel additionally helps dispel some misconceptions, such as for example that Therianthropy is all about identity or that people who do not identify with earthly animals are not Therians. These are things I personally could not even begin to reasonably explain to myself, until I tried explaining what I've included in the post above. Now it makes sense and this is the value of making these distinctions -- I think this value is considerable.

There's more but this stuff keeps slipping my mind as I focus on the different things.




(2020-04-30 12:05)Atlantis Wrote:  You want an example of some of these people who I would never consider therian? Elves, humanoid aliens, the vast majority of fae, angels and demons etc. I've talked to multiple people of each kintype (though of course I can't personally be a lie detector but that aside) and every single one I've talked to experiences shifts. But you know what those shifts lack? Animality. I think it's one of those things that's hard to pin down, but ultimately one of the clearest things we have which separates otherkin and therian. I feel for some reason that you've gotten the idea that not a lot or no otherkin experience shifts, perhaps because shifts and other experiences aren't necessarily the focus of the community

I think that you were very much right in the regard that there's important differences between the communities respectively, especially in that focus on identity. I also, however, really have to strongly disagree that shifts are the right path to go down when dividing that difference (there's also some people who are definitely therians who don't shift and never have and I'd feel really awful if they were put in a situation like BearX where they came back to the community and were suddenly no longer considered therian.) However if we wanted to talk about the substance of one's shifts and importance of identity vs shifts, that I can get behind.

Honestly I don't even experience shifts myself, my therianthropy is very integrated and my experience is mostly animality. I only included shifting because I think @Zefer Nezumi mentioned it in our conversations on Discord. If there is someone who experiences shifts and has doubts on whether Otherkin who are not Therians share the same experiences, perhaps you could chime in on this.

If we take examples of Otherkin here on this site: We have @Raz who as a Theriomythic is obviously Otherkin being a dragon, but has also very clearly stated she prefers to be seen as a Therian. As I understand it you @Atlantis have a kintype which is both an alien and thus clearly Otherkin, and is a quadrupedal "animal" and therefore is a Therian. We have @Shuual whom I helped interview in a therian talk who explained that he is a Kitsune and has experiences matching those of Kitsune, but also aligns with the experiences of fox Therians. We have @Alliana who identifies as a werewolf, but also has experiences that line up with those of wolf Therians. We have @LycanTheory who has dabbled with a demon-kin Otherkin identity, yet is very obviously a dog Therian.

While it is a reasonable argument that Otherkin who do not identify as Therians would simply not show up on this forum or in other communities I liked to hang out in, I have not encountered any Otherkin I wouldn't call Therians who have described experiences like those of Therians.

And mind you (Click to View)

If such non-Therian Otherkin with Therian-like experiences are around, I'd love to talk to them about this directly and not talk in their name or discuss hypotheticals that may or may not be accurate.

LP,
Dusty

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(This post was last modified: 2020-04-30 18:41 by DustWolf.)
2020-04-30 18:00
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