Are Anthros Becoming Furries?

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Bad enough that we anthropologists have to compete with the clothing line Anthropologie. Now real competition shows up, a genuine cultural phenomenon. Anthros are becoming furries in popular internet parlance – anthropomorphized versions of humans. Is it now game over?

[Update: Got the video to embed; here's the link to What Is Anthro?, complete with theme music from Haddaway's What Is Love?]

Globalized culture is often visual culture. So just check out the image results of Google searches on “anthro girls” and “anthro boys.” Or if you’re too lazy (I know you are; via biocultural evolution, you are optimized to do internet searching for visual benefits over clicking costs), just scroll down. Here are two top results.

How’s that for the anthro image!? Somehow, somewhere I (my professional anthro self) should feel violated. But I’m too busy clicking on more images…

Now, just what is happening? Well, it appears “anthros” has become a broad term for humanoid objects. Kinda like several professors I know. Here’s the expert opinion from jekkal on How to Classify Anthro:

Anthro covers every possible thing you could turn into a humanoid, from superintelligent shades of blue to your pencil, and even covers various things like your tattoos coming to life. Machines, Animals, and Plants, in non-anthro form, are all what they sound like. Anthro machines are Droids, anthro plants are Treants, and Anthro Animals are Furries. Combining Droids and Furries gives us Cyborgs, while the same combination outside of the Anthro spectrum gives us virtual pets like Aibo. Plants don’t really merge with Machines or Animals too well.

And the handy Venn diagram from jekkal:

Here we thought the threat to the discipline was getting split by the science controversy, or so diffused that we merge with disparate scholarly traditions. Popular culture has already overtaken us!

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