Just last year, I had an encounter with a fur coat that left me both aghast and amazed. At Chicago’s Modern Vintage Fashion event, there was an entire booth dedicated to fur. Now — indulge me for a second. I’m from the islands. Furs are not a part of the wardrobe in such climates. So visiting colder climes and now living in Chicago, has been quite the eye-opener. Because downtown, honey there are some women strutting their stuff in fur. And I can’t deny my fascination with it.
Fur is so soft. It’s so glam. It’s so over-the-top and decadent. There’s a part of me that loves the look of fur, particularly in moderation (head-to-toe fur is crazy tacky, IMO). But an even bigger part of me can only see the cruelty, the blood, the senseless murder of it all.
Before I get into all of that, back to Modern Vintage Chicago.
This particular booth was dripping in fur. All colors, all kinds. Fox and mink and chinchilla and rabbit, as well as more exotic-looking varieties. I walked around touching all of it. And then I came face to face with a fox stole. Complete with a pointy little nose, heartbreaking eye sockets, and little paws with pads and claws that reminded me so much of Max, my cat’s. It made me shudder. I just had to get out of that booth ASAP.
After being spooked by the stole, I had to SMH at myself. Because I eat meat. And I’ve been ardently seeking a leather jacket, because everything I’ve seen that’s pleather in plus size looks really cheap and fake. And I have a thing for suede. I realize that I am a total hypocrite.
But as hypocritical as I may be, I will never wear fur. And I don’t quite understand the defensive stance Kelis recently took in her open letter to PETA. First she took to Twitter to brag about wearing her “Cruella De Ville.” Then she took to MySpace for a rant that is nonsensical, to say the least. Kelis defends her right to wear “rodents,” then proceeds to tell PETA to “…Find a worthwhile cause like the women being maimed in these Middle Eastern countries. Or female circumcision. Or women’s rights here in America, we still get paid less for doing the same jobs as men.”
Kelis I love your music, but I can’t agree with your MySpace rant. There are already organizations that focus on women’s rights. PETA is dedicated to saving and improving the lives of animals. And animal rights is a very worthwhile cause. Without the hard work of animal rights groups around the world, many species that are currently endangered would most likely be extinct.
I am glad that organizations like PETA do as much as they do to raise awareness of the tremendous cruelty to animals that is done around the world. But I also think PETA does the cause a disservice. The group has become the most public face of animal rights, and their tactics are often ill-advised. As much as I’d never wear fur, I’d also never even consider throwing a bucket of paint on someone. That is no way to win hearts and minds, or convince anyone that wearing fur is bad. That’s a way to polarize people, and to make those who do wear fur angry at animal rights supporters, and even more adamant in their desire to wear clothing made of animal pelts.
There are far better ways to make a point.
Edited at 11:34 pm – I’d like to thank the bellas in the comments and on Twitter who have added reasons to question PETA’s approach to animal rights even more.
I’d like the record to show that I’m not mad at anyone who’s got a fur coat. Many of the people I know who own furs, own antiques that have been passed through their families for eons. Even if you’re pro-fur, I say that’s your prerogrative. I am aware of my own apparent hypocrisies, I abhor hunting and would never wear fur, but still I eat meat and look good in leather. To me, the difference is this — I don’t want an animal — ANY animal — to be killed just for its fur. I tell myself leather is different — cows are already killed for their meat, and leather is taken from already dead cows. But it’s more or less the same thing — an animal’s flayed skin. In terms of eating meat — that’s probably never gonna stop, sorry. But I’m trying my best to be better, by participating in Meatless Monday. I made that resolution for health reasons, primarily. But it’s a baby step in what I believe is the right direction.
I am a fan of faux fur — we’ve really come a long way from the old days. A good faux feels just as soft and cuddly as a fur coat, to me. But just when I’m patting myself on the back for making a choice against cruelty, then I’ll read that fake fur isn’t always fake.
What’s an aspiring fashionista like myself to do?
I don’t know, y’all. What do you think? Are you a fur fanatic? Or are you pro-PETA? What are your views?
* photo from the Wall Street Journal