Fur: A Case of Celebrity Hypocrisy | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Fur: A Case of Celebrity Hypocrisy

Life&Style writer Gabrielle Taylor-Dowson explores the hypocrisy surrounding fur in the celebrity world

In 2009, Khloe Kardashian took a stand against the celebrity fascination with fur by working with the People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in an anti-fur campaign. The advert proudly proclaimed ‘Fur? I’d rather go naked’, the words emblazoned over a suitably naked Khloe, her hair back-combed to represent that of a big cat (a popular choice for the coats of the famous.)   

I personally don't wear fur but that doesn't mean I am going to force my views on anyone else
 However, the partnership between the group and the reality star ended when, in March 2012, her sister Kim Kardashian was attacked with flour at her perfume launch. The attack was in protest of Kim’s penchant for fur clothes (the attacker shouted ‘Fur hag!’ as she threw the flour.) Allegedly, the attacker was a very involved member of PETA, despite the organisation denying any responsibility. In response to the incident, Khloe admonished the group for their actions in a post on her website. “...PETA lied to the public” and “they have proven that they support this kind of behavior" she wrote. “Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions — I personally don't wear fur but that doesn't mean I am going to force my views on anyone else, ESPECIALLY by violating them… I will no longer support PETA.”  

PETA reacted to Khloe's response with a statement that appreciated her decision to “remain on animals’ side by not wearing fur,” but did not admonish the attacker’s actions and wished she “had more influence on her sister [Kim.]” 

Despite Khloe’s firm words, her actions after the incident beg to differ. For example, on numerous occasions she has been pictured carrying a Fendi bag charm; made out of a combination of fox fur and lamb leather this accessory, retailing from £200 all the way up to near £1000, is far from PETA-approved.  

The Kardashian-Jenners are not the only fur-wearing celebrities (see also Beyoncé, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez) but they are the best example of the celebrity hypocrisy surrounding fur culture
 Khloe is not the only member of her family to indulge in fur. Kylie and Kourtney also own the Fendi charms. Kim and Kanye are notorious for wearing full-fur coats, even dressing their daughter North in miniature versions. Most memorably, Kendall posted a picture to Instagram of herself in an ostentatious St. Lauren fox fur cape. These incidents are all despite the family claiming they ‘love’ animals. Over the years documented on their hit show, they have owned dozens of pets: from the family Labradors to Chihuahuas, a peacock and two cats. But of course, the Kardashian-Jenners are not the only fur-wearing celebrities (see also Beyoncé, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez) but they are the best example of the celebrity hypocrisy surrounding fur culture. If someone would not wear their pets as clothes, why do the same to a fox, or a python, or an ostrich? It is incredibly easy for a celebrity to say what they think will get them a positive reaction from the public (“I love animals!”), but more often than not their actions contradict their words.   

It would be better if celebrities did not hide their like for fur behind a supposed love for animals, when the torture the animals experience to achieve a ‘glamourous’ coat or stole is immense
 The celebrity hypocrisy surrounding fur is infuriating. It would be better if celebrities did not hide their like for fur behind a supposed love for animals, when the torture the animals experience to achieve a ‘glamourous’ coat or stole is immense. For example, animals caught in traps suffer greatly whilst waiting for the trapper to retrieve them; any amount of time spent with a limb caught in a leg hold trap is excruciating, but some try to chew off their limbs to escape. Another problem with any kind of trap is the lack of discrimination - for every intentional capture, there are 2 to 10 unintended victims (birds, cats, dogs, etc) maimed and killed in traps. Moreover, around 30 million animals are raised in cages and killed worldwide for fur every year. The animals raised on fur farms live in intense confinement, and suffer psychologically. Such neurotic behavioural consequences include pacing, circling, self-mutilation, and throwing themselves against the sides of their wire cages. Caged foxes will resort to cannibalism. Again, how can a celebrity claim to love animals but wear a garment that is crafted out of animals pain? It is, perhaps, admirable that Khloe Kardashian isn’t “going to force my views on anyone else”, but this passivity to her sisters and other celebrities choices is also a problem. How are people going to change if others do not call them out on their choices? 

There is another point to make in this argument, however. Yes, animals are killed for fur - in awful, cruel ways, but more animals are killed for food every day in North America than are used for fur in a year (as an example.) So why is there an almost universal outrage to the wearing of fur, but meat-eaters are still the majority of the worlds population, with no major protest against them?  

Fur is seen as an unnecessary luxury, a marker of our society’s elite
 The answer is in the question. Fur is seen as an unnecessary luxury, a marker of our society’s elite, and it is easier to be self-righteous about something you do not have access to. Arguably, it is easier for me and you to judge celebrities for wearing fur because never would we be able to reasonably afford that expensive Fendi bag charm. In contrast, nearly everyone has access to meat, so is it harder to reflect upon your own actions and think that killing animals for food is as bad as wearing them as clothes?  

But regardless of your stance, whether your a meat-eater or a vegetarian or a vegan, hopefully your all against the use of animals for clothes and can see through the ‘animal-lover’ persona most celebrities feed to the public.  



Published

5th December 2017 at 9:00 am



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