Friday, December 14, 2007

A Little Rant from your BloomingtonGirl

Admit it. You've missed my little rants. Here goes.

This morning, in the lobby of the Y, I saw an acquaintance of mine, Irina, at the front desk, signing her kids up for a Y program. Irina is a gorgeous young mother - 32 at the most - and is Russian. Her English is heavily accented so it is apparent that she is not an American. She is as nice as nice could be. Gentle and sweet. Just a doll of a woman. And, I mentioned that she was a knockout, right? Ask my husband. He has confirmed it to me more than once. This woman is so genuinely good in her heart that even a middle-aged woman I know who has put on ten pounds since she moved from CT to IN and is feeling most unattractive isn't even a bit jealous of her. I won't mention her name to protect her identity.

Anyway, lovely and pleasant Irina was standing there wearing an absolute vision of a fur hat that made a fashion statement the likes of which aren't often seen in this slice of the heartland. (The picture posted here doesn't touch it, but you get the idea.)

I went over and petted the hat and literally purred, "Wow! This is absolutely gorgeous! I LOVE this hat. Did you bring it back from Russia?"

Irina said that she did. Then, the woman behind the Y desk (let's call her Annoya) said, "Is it an animal?" I braced myself for tension.

Yes," said Irina in a completely unaffected voice, "It's mink."

Then, Annoya said in a voice of disappointment tinged heavily with judgement, "Oh! It's an animal."

Eager to diffuse any tension (though why I always feel that it is my job to do this, I have yet to figure out), I exclaimed (yes, exclaimed), "But, it's from Russia!" I know I sounded like a complete bubble-headed moron, but I didn't care.

Annoya said, "But it is still an animal. I'm such an animal lover."

Before I venture into my commentary about this interaction, let me just give some background information about little Miss Annoya. She is a friend of a friend, and I happen to know that she has a weakness for expensive shoes. And based on my experience with fashionable shoes and boots - which as we all know is rather vast - I can reasonably assume this woman is not wearing synthetic leather on her well heeled tootsies. The shoe price range she's in is almost certainly filled with shoes made of leather from sweet, unassuming cows. Though perhaps not as cute as their little mink friends, they are still animals last time I checked. So, hey Annoya! Where's your animal love?

Which brings me to my commentary. How can anyone who wears any dead animal product, eats animal flesh or by-products (milk, cheese, eggs) even think about taking a position against wearing fur? It is, no matter how you look at it, all the same thing. You might argue that ingesting animal flesh or their products for nutrition is different than wearing fur as an ornament, but that is absolute crap. (Yes, you heard me right - crap.) In this day and age, one does not require meat - or any animal products for that matter - in one's diet to thrive. Similarly, one does not need to wear fur to stay warm. But, many people choose to eat meat and choose to wear fur.

I need to point out, Loyal Ones, your BloomingtonGirl isn't taking a stand for or against using animals for meat or clothing. What I am taking a stand against is people who get all weepy about animals being raised for fur who are not vegans. If one is a vegan, then one can take a stand about it. Otherwise, they should just shut up.

And, I'll even take this one step further. To protest against a beautiful piece of apparel made from furry animals and not protest against eating meat is missing a point that your BloomingtonGirl feels compelled to point out. I do understand the objection to the slaughter of innocent animals, really I do. But, at at least the minks (or chinchillas or whatever) have a chance of being transformed into an object of art and fashion. The meat animals have no such hope. They just get consumed and excreted. The only mark they make is on someone's cholesterol level or on their bathroom scale. How meaningful a sacrifice is that? (Your fitness and fashion minded BloomingtonGirl is happy to answer that question. Not very.)

This little riff of mine might well lead you to wonder where I stand on the issue of meat, animal products and fur. Well, since you asked, I'll have to tell you that I am actually not sure how I feel about any of it. I have a fur swing-style jacket in my closet and another cropped Persian lamb jacket with a mink collar. I plan to wear them both this winter. Both coats were hand-me-downs from my mother-law and mother, respectively. And the swing style jacket belonged to my mother-in-law's mother, so the animals responsible have been dead a good long time. Would I buy a fur? Probably not, especially living in Bloomington. But I have to say that I don't have terribly strong feelings about it.

As far as eating meat and animal products is concerned, I do feel that morally and ecologically, we might (Earth included) all be better off being vegans for so many reason. But, I can't bring myself to make that sacrifice and I am not sure how much difference it would make if I did. I'll tell you that The Ominvore's Dilemma has really opened my eyes to how our food in this country is produced and I am thinking much more about the food choices I make and what I and my family eat. (I haven't been disciplined enough to translate that into healthy and ethical choices yet, but I hope that is coming. But, at least I realize that I haven't yet earned a seat on the fur bashing high horse...) The book should be required reading for any person who eats in this country. It isn't a gross expose of the underbelly of slaughterhouses or anything of the kind. It is just incredibly interesting and eye opening.

Well, that's all from your self-absorbed, mean spirited BloomingtonGirl. More later this weekend. Time for bed.

Kisses to my Loyal Reader in Lille. How glamorous does that sound?


rachael said...

oh it would be far more glam if i were still in paris! un jour...

i love the notion that food animals just become poo or a tummy bulge and minks wind up pretty.

bisous from lr in lille

Anonymous said...

I'm another of those don't-like-fur-but-do-use-leather people (although I don't give fur-wearers a hard time), and my reasoning is that the cow gets killed for lots of different uses, only one of which is leather, while the mink is killed only for its fur. I may be wrong about this, though. Mink meat is probably used for pet food or fertilizer or something, and maybe there are cows grown only for their leather.

I agree with you that we'd probably all be better off to be vegans. I try to eat very little meat, but am too addicted to dairy products. I find it hard enough to even know what is right and almost impossible to do it, when it comes to eating. But I do have a response you might suggest to your friend Irina when she's faced with a similar reaction. Tell her to say, "But this is free-range, organic, fair trade mink!"

AnonymousMeateater said...


Anonymous said...

That stunning cat about whom you posted earlier would make a lovely wrap! Imagine the compliments you would receive! And how exceptionally soft and warm he would be!

Perk said...

I know a fellow who just went to detox for his addiction to cheese. I swear to God!

Everything in moderation(including moderation!) ;-)