Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Reflections on Fur Protests

What creates in people the desire to wear the skin and fur of another being? If we go back far enough in time, it was survival. But now? It is morbid to think of, the death you’re wearing. How can these people not think of the cats and dogs they’ve snuggled with any time they feel the fur? Are they really not thinking of the death of animals not so dissimilar to the “pets” they almost definitely have at home?

Maybe it is the power. They feel more in control of their own lives if they are contributing to the horror and death of another being?

I can’t accept reasoning along the lines of “because I like it” – the cruelty, inhumanity, complete lack of regard for the life, terror, and pain of another living sentient being is too great for something as simplistic as preference or “liking” to be a reason behind the purchase and wearing of fur. There has to be more, as far as I’m concerned.

And so I can’t help but to wonder about the people going into the fur stores. Most of them are obviously wealthy, but that isn’t enough reason, the supposed status. The fur store is in a pretty pretentious area of Denver, so there are alot of really expensive cars being driven by, and tons of people driving those expensive cars honk to support us!

Sometimes I see these women with their expensive cars, their downturned mouths, their defensive posture, as they carry their furs to the store, and I can’t help but to feel sorry for them. In my mind they become sad housewives, emotionally abused by distant husbands, desperate for any way to feel validated, empowered. Too bad they can’t realize that it has to come from within.

It is impossible to not try to figure out the answer to these “why” questions as we hold our signs, encourage honking, ignore the “i love fur” comments, standing outside the fur store. Many an hour among the protesters is spent pondering this, yet we never seem to have an answer. And of course there will never be just one answer to “why”. Not that any answer can possibly answer to the cruelty.

We’ve had some intersting and positive interactions with some of the people who go into the store. One woman went in the store, tried on one coat, came out, and picked up some of our literature. I only hope that we made her think and prevented a sale of one death coat.

Another woman walked past our signs carrying her fur coat, looking extremely pissed off. Well, that and looking somewhat frightened (of us, i suppose), is pretty common. What was unusual was her comment to one of the protesters, “this coat is the worst decision I ever made. It starts to rot, and stinks, so I have to pay money to have them store it in the summer.” When she came out, with smiles and encouragement for us, she gladly accepted some literature on donating fur coats, and thanked us.

I think she is someone who wouldn’t have gotten the coat had she put more thought into it, had really understood the cruelty involved. So maybe we are accomplishing something, one coat at a time.

It doesn’t lessen the frustration of watching these women walk into the store with their furs draped over their arms, averting their eyes from our signs, from us. When they do look at us, it is with resentment and disdain, something I don’t understand. Sure, resent us for trying to make you think about what you are doing, but disdain? Are you judging us? You with your death coat and death shoes?

I’ll be standing outside Marks Lloyds Furs again tomorrow morning. Honk if you drive by, okay? I’ll wave.

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