On framing fur

December 22, 2009

Even most of the worst fur-wearing, selfish idiots love puppies.

Even most of the worst fur-wearing, selfish idiots love puppies.

The Vegan Shoe Lady has some thoughts on anti-fur activism that are worth a scan – basically, she thinks there might be some legs in positioning fur as something only scary hookers wear.

I like the concept, but I suspect there’s a portion of the population who actually want their style to be defined as “scary hooker chic” – observe this vapid piece from a recent Globe and Mail (which, I must say, has had quite a few pro-veg articles in it as of late, so let’s not condemn it altogether) in which the writer claims “The [fur] coat made me look like a working girl crossed with a bear, just the look I was going for.”

I may have shared this before, but when we visited New York City a few years back, Ange and I were surprised by the amount of fur on display on the streets (the majority of the wearers were merely walking in the streets, and weren’t necessarily card carrying streetwalkers, but hey, maybe we were in that neighbourhood.)  We developed a response involving mixing a cough/throat clearing sound with the exclamation of “whore!”

There were never any confrontations, so people probably didn’t catch on, but it made us feel better.  Of course, on further reflection via this post, I think we might have been reinforcing some really weird desires in the fur-wearer’s subconsciousnesses…

There’s something to this whole “only really really socially unacceptable people, for reasons we’ll figure out soon enough, wear fur” thing, but fashion seems to be so cyclical that one generation’s skanky is another’s ironic awesome, and the length of a generation can be really really small.

For now, I thinking about going after the trim lining hoods and whatnot – I recall reading (can’t find the link) that one of the industry’s tactics in the 90’s when fur wasn’t as popular was to get it added as trim to start to build a collective acceptance*, so why not use it to power an exit – and engaging people in a dialogue like this:

“Hey, is that real?” (I honestly don’t know how to tell.)

“How do you know?” (just a setup for later.)

“I hear a lot of real fur is cats and dogs with different labels.” (HSUS report here)

“How do you know it’s not?” (boom, roasted.)

* While researching, I found a great summary of some of the non-activism/anti-activism reasons for fur’s rise and fall over recent history that’s worth a scan – as in many areas of vegan outreach, I think it’s difficult to claim victories or cede defeat without considering other factors.

(Photo by wsilver)

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