The Grumpy Vegan isn’t surprised to see The Observer (the Sunday Guardian) publish the annual pantomime, “Fur is Back!” feature article. Every year the international fur trade succeeds in convincing key publications to place articles proclaiming fur is back. It’s as an annual event as the Christmas Pantomime is in Britain, a traditional musical comedy show. Pantos take a traditional children’s story (e.g., Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Puss in Boots) and turn it into a highly enjoyable, full of nonsense shows subtly aimed at audiences of children and the adults who accompany them.
Reading The Observer’s “Would you rather go naked? Not any longer” by Elizabeth Day is just as good as going to this year’s panto for the entertainment it provides.
So, let’s put on a show! Cinderella! That’s always a good choice for a pantomime.
Principal boy is Elizabeth Day, the article’s author, who leads us through the show, er, article. In pantoland the principal boy is always played by a young woman. Don’t ask.
Every panto also has a villain. Cinderella’s oldest ugly sister is the villainous pantodame. I hear Karl Lagerfield is available. Her/his script reads,
In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish.
Guffaws all round!
We need someone to play Cinderella’s other fur-wearing ugly sisters! Look behind you! It’s Keira Knightley, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Eva Longoria, Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss, Lindsay Lohan and the ugliest ugly sister of them all, Anna Wintour. (The Grumpy Vegan recently saw a panto which featured Dolce and Gabbana as the ugly sisters.)
Then in Cinderella there’s a famous scene where the mice help Cinders go to the ball. Don’t ask. But as this is a special pantoland production the mice are going to help the ugly sister, Karl, get him, sorry, her, to the ball. Enter stage right the mice wearing fur! Yes! It’s Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Joseph and Gucci!
Every good panto ends with a moral. And the moral of this story is that the counterpoint to the fur trade panto stars is — surprise, surprise — the PETA “I’d rather go naked” anti-fur campaign.
Principal boy Elizabeth Day writes
And while the Peta anti-fur campaigns were extremely high profile in the early 1990s, there now seems to be a growing concern for bigger global issues like climate change or child poverty. Fur has begun to look like a bit of a side issue, a slightly old-fashioned thing to get het up about.
Indeed. But Day points out that
In the 15 years since Peta’s original “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” ad campaign, we seem to have gone from a nation that equates fur with inexcusable animal cruelty to one that views it merely as an occasional fashion statement. As a measure of just how much the climate has changed, one need only look at the five supermodels featured in that first campaign. From a line-up that included Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer and Elle Macpherson, only Turlington has stayed true to her word. All the others have, at one time or another, chosen to promote or wear real fur in the intervening years.
Regrettably, the anti-fur campaign has primarily focussed on public education. There is one or two exceptions, e.g., Respect for Animals’ campaign to pass the UK’s Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000 which prohibits fur farming.
Astute readers of this blog will know that this is stage one in the five stages of social movements. Generally, the animal rights movement has yet to succeed in advancing the anti-fur campaign onto stage two, public policy, stage three, public education, stage four, legislation and stage five, litigation. All the time the anti-fur argument is framed as personal lifestyle choice, as PETA’s co-founder Ingrid Newkirk said in the article
Fur has lost all its cachet. It’s yesterday. I see prostitutes in Atlantic City wearing fur.
the animal rights movement will witness the revival of fur and not just as accessories.