Does Wearing Fur Make You a Murderer?
"People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs."
As a writer and an artist, people often ask me the cliché question, "What inspires you?". My answer? The unexpected events of daily life, my physical surroundings, my wardrobe, the news, documentaries, random thoughts I have while taking a shower, recently read books, and conversations with both loved ones and complete strangers. The list carries on but essentially it's life in general that serves as my cosmic inspiration. With that being said, it was a "friendly" debate with my mother via social media that led me to this contentious topic- wearing authentic animal fur. She advocated a more "anti-fur" stance, whereas I advocated a stance that was more along the lines of "wearing fur as a situational justification". To wear fur or not to wear fur? THAT is the philosophical question.
"Your unwanted furs may also help people in need. Because of the vast number of furs that we receive, we donate many of them to homeless people who can’t afford to buy their own coats—the only people who have any excuse to wear fur."
-PETA, quoted from the official website
I begin with this quote because PETA justifies the idea of a particular group of individuals wearing fur because they have an "excuse". Let me first make this clear... I am an advocate for peace, humanitarian and philanthropic gestures, as well as giving back to one's community and those who are considered to be destitute and less fortunate. Yet I find it ironic that the largest advocate for the anti-fur movement actually condones the wearing of fur, but only if the individual wearing it is without a consistent roof over their head and a monthly electricity bill to pay.
These "black and white" justifications transcend into all aspects of cultures and societies across the globe- why must everything be black and white? PETA is essentially insinuating that even if my bank account balance is negative due to a series of unfortunate economic events, I'm claiming bankruptcy, and I possess only fur stoles (as opposed to scarves) because of my personal preference regarding style... I shouldn't wear my fur stoles for warmth during the miserable winter months because of the sheer fact that I'm not technically homeless? Well, maybe I shouldn't... because then PETA would douse me with red paint and refer to me as Cruella de Vil. Maybe I should wrap a Martha Stewart hand towel around my neck and call it a day.
"In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and even clothes, the discussion of fur is childish."
Yes, we're giving back to the community by donating our "unneeded" furs to PETA so that they are reallocated to those who are in need, but what if the fur that I have has unprecedented sentimental value? Given that PETA clearly believes in the idea that furs should not go to "waste", is it acceptable that for every gifted fur stole I possess, I donate multiple coats to homeless shelters because they lack sentimental value? Is this not an act of charity that would arguably be a grander gesture? Who is to dictate what the justifiable tradeoff is? Should I also be donating all of my leather handbags, shoes, accessories, furniture, car upholstery, thawed chicken breasts, and steak filets because they're also products that inherently began with the killing of an animal?
The very reason that the controversial debate was sparked between my mother and I was because I had mentioned that my grandmother had presented me with a vintage mink stole that she had received when she was a mere eighteen years of age. Just in case you would like a bit of perspective on the situation, this particular mink fur is over fifty years old.. vintage by any and all fashion standards. I justified the acceptance of this gift because it is a family heirloom and because it isn't a "new" fur accessory that I went and personally purchased from a major fashion house or furrier. In all honesty, I own multiple pieces of fur. They range from mink and fox to raccoon, but all of the pieces that I possess are gifts, not personal purchases. Let it be known that I'm not in favor of purchasing current fur but an advocate of the preservation of historical items and family heirlooms.
My most sizable issue with organizations and groups of individuals who continuously and blatantly bash, demean, and criticize others for their choices? Hypocrites. I couldn't help but find it sickening when I found out that Christy Turlington is not only an advocate for PETA but is also endorsed and promoted by PETA itself. Naturally, I also couldn't help but find it ironic that she has also been the face of many ad campaigns for Bally. For those who are unfamiliar with the brand, you may be asking yourselves what, exactly, is so ironic about that? Bally is notorious for using some of the most premium materials in the construction of their high-end luxury products- including, but not limited to, calf leather for their handbags, shoes and other accessories, as well as python. It was the Spring 2010 ad campaign starring none other than Christy herself that really tickled my fancy... I think she would have been better off just posing naked for HUSTLER.
I believe that the lesson to be learned from this particular example is that you cannot be a hypocrite and demean those around you. If you don't live a completely pure and holistic lifestyle that encompasses being vegan and eating things that are purely organic while also strictly staying from any and all animal products, as well as items that are produced using animals testing; you have very little room to criticize others. You should also consider eating items that are undeniably organic and natural because GMO's and preservatives are apparently the demise of the human race. If you don't live the holistic lifestyle outlined above, I suggest that you simply save your PETA red paint for your next decor related DIY project.
I am not an advocate for the barbaric killing of animals for the pure sake of attaining their furs but my intent with writing this article is more so to shed light on an issue that has flawed arguments. Further, I believe that individuals shouldn't be criticized and attacked with red paint when those who are doing the verbal and/or physical attacking may potentially be hypocrites to a certain extent. If they themselves are not hypocrites, then they're most likely members of an organization that is hypocritical. I'm also curious as to whether these red paint crusaders are strictly consumers of all products that are produced with fair trade. Have they recently purchased items that would trace back to factories that utilize slave labor in third world countries? Just a question to ponder.
Before you criticize others, take a deeper look into your own lifestyle.