faux

I’ve been noticing little bits and pieces online about fur. It’s popping back up in fashion, it’s being labeled eco-friendly, and it’s looked upon in a nostalgic light, part of the back-to-basics, what-would-grandma-do way. F that S.

Even back when wee Michele was eating Happy Meals, I knew fur was gross and wrong. My mother drilled that into my head. Faux wasn’t really an option then, so when someone looked like they were wearing fur, they were. So I grew up confidently sneering left and right. I can picture myself at 12 or 13, doing my girls-day-out X-mas shopping on State Street, purposely not wearing sunglasses so evil bitches could get the full force of my laser-eye stare of disapproval.

Today it’s not so easy. I saw a woman at the grocery store in a big ol’ fur (maybe). As my sneer reflex began to kick in, I pulled back, thinking, “This is Portland. It’s 2009. There’s no way that’s real.” Maybe I was wrong, but I couldn’t be sure. I changed my expression to one of concern. Just in case.

The faux furs today are so advanced that you can look and feel just as creepy without the slaughter. What bothers me about the faux furs is the aesthetic. You’re still saying there’s something desirable about animal fur. As a matter of disclosure, I do have a faux fur coat—but it’s a bright Merlot, more like wearing a shag carpet. Unless I find myself in some Jim Henson-inspired alternate universe there’s no danger of being associated with actual fur.

Anyway, the aesthetic opens the door for those working the greenwashing angle. True, vintage furs aren’t hurting any new animals. True, most faux furs are made of plastic. But also true is that it takes resources to raise animals and chemicals and energy to turn that animal skin into fashionable clothing and accessories. And much like the factory-farm opponent who knows that guy who raises his own chickens and whatnot, you’ll hear about the culling of the New Zealand possum or whatever, but how much of the fur today comes from those isolated cases?

I’m not saying I think you’re evil for wearing your grandmother’s fur coat or keeping your hands warm in the faux muff that’s so soft it feels like you’re petting your kitty all day. What do I know anyway? I was just thinking out loud.

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