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It seems that in 2021, dating shows are all the range.
Whether it's the ever-popular Love Island, the outrageous Too Hot for Handle or the intriguing Love is Blind, millions of people across the world are cracking on with this kind of TV to see if others can find true love.
With each programme comes a slight twist. For example, Are You The One? pairs contestants together based on a dating algorithm that calculates their compatibility. But it's fair to say that Netflix's new show Sexy Beasts is taking these turns to the extreme.
Contestants are transformed through make-up and prosthetics into larger-than-life animals and creatures, in the hope singletons will look beyond their appearance and judge the book by its content, not its cover.
On the surface, this seems like a fun, if bizarre take on reality TV.
But when digging deeper, the show has caused some controversy, particularly amongst a subculture known as the Furry community.
The Furry community has been defined as 'people who are fans or who identify with anthropomorphic animals'.
But what is the community's problem with Sexy Beasts?
Prominent spokesperson Joe Strike says it's down to the show's choice of masks.
"The reaction has been pretty negative already to tell you the truth," he said.
"The masks we wear are like expressions of our personality or an alternate personality that we like to adopt from time to time. Unless there's something in the show, I think those masks are totally chosen at random.
"I'd be surprised if there's any effort to correlate what head they put on them to the person's personality.
"I think [the makers of the show] are not coming out explicitly and saying furry, but I think they know there's an awareness.
"I think they're trying to piggyback on that without coming out at themselves and saying the 'F word'."
The community has grown significantly in the last ten years or so, having first came to prominence in the 1970s and 80s.
Katharine Gathes, the curator of KINK: Geography of Erotic Imagination at Museum of Sex, New York, told the Metro: "It's such a massive subculture, that there's a huge amount of variety and diversity,"
"It is a subculture with a higher proportion of non-white people than some other subcultures and a higher proportion of gay, trans and non-binary people.
"It's a very, very open culture and you feel welcome no matter who or what you are."
You can see Sexy Beasts FUR yourself now, with the series streaming on Netflix.
Words: James Aldred
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