The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The Ethics of Fur
My mother-in-law gave me a gorgeous fur coat and a fur wrap last week. For being over 40 years old, they are in wonderful shape. I think it's sweet that she gave them to me, but now I have an ethical dilemma. Is it ever OK to wear fur?

I don't mind posing with them on my website. Somehow, the nostalgia factor makes it a bit removed from modern-day reality and sensibilities. But I'm wondering if there would ever be an occasion that wearing vintage fur is acceptable? Or would I risk being doused with paint by some well-meaning uni student, or get looked down upon by a socially conscientious matron who would look at me as some harbinger of death? And is it any worse to breed animals for fur, when we breed them for meat? Am I just a vegetarian at heart?

I am in no way justifying the fur trade, and I wouldn't be caught dead buying new fur. It's just that this is vintage fur - and it seems a shame not to wear it. Somewhere. Some time. I'm just not sure what that time or place would be.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, there are 40 little minks staring at me - but I don't know if they're saying: "Hey! They killed us to make that coat. How could you wear that?" or "They killed us to make that coat. Take good care of it - that's our legacy. If you rip it up, we died for nothing."

I love my mother-in-law. She's a wonderful, generous woman. But do I keep these furs secret forever? I wonder how many other women like me are out there, who've inherited furs and are too embarrassed or conscientious to wear them? I'll probably never know.
posted by Melanie O. at 8:50 PM -
  • At 10:23 PM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    A sensitive discussion about vintage fur. What will you do with your coat and wrap? I hope you wear them for appropriate occassions.

  • At 4:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just had the same thing happen, I inherited a couple of furs. I just want to wear them for xmas and that sort of thing, but I still feel weird about.

  • At 8:11 AM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    I think the anti-fur campaign has been really successful, since we're debating this in our minds.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do - I would be worried about being personally attacked if I wore them in public, because some people don't really stop and think about the ethics of that steak they're eating, or those leather shoes, versus that old fur coat. Animals died for all of those things. I'll probably always feel weird about it and just wear the furs for nostalgia photos.

  • At 3:24 PM, Blogger KGB Files said…

    I'm sure your hubby wouldn't mind you wearing the fur...with nothing else under it! :)

    It's a hard topic. I'm very much anti-fur but covet leather purses. Hypocritical? You bet.

  • At 2:38 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Hi Kat - we're all hypocrites, aren't we? Either we're eating or wearing animals or wearing/using materials made from non-renewable resources the manufacture of which adds to our already overgrown carbon footprint. It feels like you just can't win sometimes.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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