These are the thoughts that I had upon watching Logo TV’s “What?! I Think I’m an Animal” documentary.
Many therians and otherkin are saying that it was pretty good and that it could have been a lot worse. I suppose that this is true, but I still think that this documentary is bad for the therian community as a whole. Here are my reasons why.
First off, I have a major beef with the title. From the get-go, even before the documentary came out, I felt insulted by that title. It’s very disrespectful to therians in general, and kind of makes us out to be thinking something about ourselves which isn’t true. It could have been worded a lot better than it was.
The very title indicates a “shockumentary,” a documentary put out strictly for its shock value, or to arouse viewer concern.
Somewhere near the beginning, the interviewer states, “These people don’t believe they are human at all.” Right off the bat, she says something which indicates that we are all in denial about the fact that we are human and live human lives. If someone feels this way, and completely denies that they are human, then they are not therian. They are delusional. We therians do not view ourselves as not human; regardless of what we think the cause is for our therianthropy (that could be a whole new article in and of itself), we realize that we are living human lives in human bodies. We just identify with animals somehow. On an inner level, we see ourselves as animals – this does not mean that we feel that we are “not human at all.” This is nonsense.
One thing that becomes apparent in this documentary is the fact that most of the people involved are either teens or very young adults. I have no beef with teens or young adults, but it would be very refreshing to see some older therians, as well. I would love to see therians who are in their thirties, or forties, fifties or even older. I realize that it might not always be easy to find such people, but they do exist, and I know of a few here and there. I, myself, am in my 30’s, and so is my husband. The reason for this is – well, sometimes kids kind of do themselves some bad by seeming immature and maladjusted. This isn’t true of all younger people, of course - there are some very mature and rational-thinking teens out there – but there are a lot of younger therians that just kind of make the rest of us look bad. In addition, I’d love to see things from a similar perspective to my own. I often feel that being older, I and some of the younger therians just don’t quite “get” each other.
All right, now for my views on having items pertaining to your theriotype, or having a “therian name.” I know that some of you who are reading this might go with the idea that’s gotten popular right now, that both things are bad and indicate that you aren’t a real therian. This isn’t necessarily true. I can totally understand that you don’t want to seem like some of the people in this show, but not all of us who have names for ourselves that aren’t our given ones, or who have objects that pertain to our therianthropy, are immature, “wolfaboos,” or need a reality check.
First off, I collect bird-related things. I have lots of items and pictures which relate to birds of prey (those that are and are not my theriotypes, respectively), I have lots of shirts with birds on them, and I collect bird-related items. Why? Because I love birds, am passionate about them, and want to fill my personal space with things that I love, which make me happy. It’s as simple as that. I am happy around birds, and so I like to fill my environment with them. I wear bird shirts because not only am I a therian, but I’m owned by small parrots at home, I enjoy bird-watching, and I do volunteer work at a raptor rehabilitation center. Wearing bird shirts is a form of self-expression. I do not feel comfortable telling people I’m a therian, but I’m more than happy to express my love for birds and my passion for helping them. Unlike some of the people in the documentary, it’s not about proving to others how much of a ______ I am with how many _______ items I have. It’s just about my love for something, and my desire to express it.
With regards to my name, RedFeather FalconHawk, it’s what’s felt right for me. I realize it’s an easy name to come up with, but I like it for myself, and that’s what matters. I won’t go and legally change it for a few reasons – people questioning it constantly, namely, but I have never felt that the name given to me upon my birth was fitting to me. Some people have been criticizing it, saying that having a name to express your therioside is giving it a different personality and therefore wouldn’t be therian - isn’t true in every case. I am me. Even though I have two theriotypes in a human body, I am one spirit, and my therian name is what I feel is more like my true name – something I can love and grasp onto – than my given name ever was. I’ve never liked my given name that much.
On the same token, legally changing your name is kind of extreme and while I can understand the desire to do so, I can’t say that I feel it would be practical, in most situations. But as to criticizing someone for that alone, well, I choose to leave that one be. They can do what they want.
Getting back to the meat of the article, another thing about the documentary which bugged me was mention of people’s sex habits. While I can understand mentioning that someone’s married, or a gay couple, or polyamorous, or what-have-you, they shouldn’t make a big production of it. People’s sex lives are private, and while therianthropy could affect how you act, it is not what therianthropy is centered on, and I feel that the documentary makes it out to be that way.
One thing which bothered me is how the married couple mentions how they like to bite and claw each other during sex, as if that makes them wilder and therefore, more wolf-like. While it may hint at wildness, from what information I can find about wolf mating, it doesn’t have anything to do with biting or clawing. It sounds like mating pairs are quite affectionate towards each other while courting, and that their mating habits aren’t especially violent. I could be wrong, as I don’t know a lot about wolves’ mating habits and I realize there’s a lot of misinformation out there, but from what I’ve seen about the topic, wolf mating isn’t violent. So biting and clawing are more like a kink or a fetish than something actually reflecting that someone is a wolf therian.
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