Therianthropy vs Otherkin
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.
Most problems are man-made.
(This post was last modified: 2020-04-29 18:46 by DustWolf.)