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Of furs and wearing them

Going through a short backlog of topics that I consider worth commenting on as far as observations of British life go, I am going to address a fairly obscure one today: The seemingly universal recoil towards wearing real fur.

Natasha and Becky have both faced this on a few occasions now, while I do not remember this general attitude to be so widespread back home in the States. To be honest, I’ve heard enough stories involving PETA protests and seen enough posters of gorgeous nude celebrities (“I’d rather go naked” campaign) to suggest that the British – and Europeans, in general, – cannot be any more animal-rights-minded than Americans, but when you repeatedly encounter regular people appalled with the idea of wearing a fur-accented garment, it makes you wonder whether the entire culture adopted a certain attitude.

Let’s first agree that “using” animals for their meat and hides was no less essential for the early humankind than breathing was. I will allow that that was ages ago, that in our day agricultural and technical progress reached a point where humankind should be able to remain satisfied and warm without killing a single animal. I am, however, personally not ready to give up my steak or lamb kebab. I do not find it appealing to engage in shooting animals for sport – aka hunting – but I do not find it appalling that some animals live and die for the benefit of man.

Brits love their roast meats, their Cumberland sausages, their gammon steaks and their shepherd’s pies just like any other nation loves their traditional dishes. (Truth be told, I know several vegetarian Brits, just as I know Americans so afflicted.) But it’s the question of fur that seems to cause true apprehension here, wildly contrasted with the appreciation for fake one.

Say, Natasha goes to a school shindig wearing a jacket with a fur accent. Fellow mothers swirl around complimenting her attire.

Some woman: Oh, this jacket looks so lovely! And the fur looks so real! Feels so soft! Isn’t it nice how they can make faux fur feel soft and real these days?

Natasha: Er… this actually is a real fox…

Silent scene… Other women adopt constipated facial expressions and start giving Natasha wider berth…

Becky sagely advises that you should simply lie and always say that the fur you wear is artificial. It does appear to likely keep you in the “being admired” column here…

Posted in Expat Archive

2 Comments

  1. jason

    I find the PETA crowd extremely tiresome myself. I don’t think animals, even the ones we eat or make into coats, should be mistreated, but I like hamburgers and leather and fur. How sad to think this group’s radical nonsense has made such in-roads into an otherwise sensible populace (the British) that people would shun a neighbor for wearing what is probably a very nice (and warm) coat.

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