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Fw: [rAw vEgAn] How to hit narcissists with the anti-fur message

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  • Cynthia Hendrick
    ... From: grEEn strAwbErrY To: lIst rAw vEgAn Subject: [rAw vEgAn] How to hit narcissists with the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2005
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: grEEn strAwbErrY <strange_fruit@...>
      To: lIst rAw vEgAn <raw_vegan@...>
      Subject: [rAw vEgAn] How to hit narcissists with the anti-fur message
      Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2005 19:19:13 +0100

      How to hit narcissists with the anti-fur message
      by Irene Muschel

      Here we are, 30 years after the publication of Animal Liberation by
      Peter Singer and Man Kind by the late Cleveland Amory marked the
      beginning of the modern-day animal rights movement, and it is impossible
      to walk anywhere in New York City, still the global hub of the fur
      industry, without seeing people in fur coats, jackets, accessories, and
      especially fur trim. Stores that never sold fur before are now selling
      it, often without identifying the animals it came from.

      The labels just say, "Real fur, imported from China," or "Genuine fur."
      This could be dog or cat fur. Although importing dog or cat fur garments
      is illegal, items priced at under $150 are exempt from the federal
      requirement that furs be accurately labeled. I am left with feelings of
      despair and anger that the animal rights movement has failed so
      miserably in this area, through the use of futile, self-defeating
      tactics, the absence of vigilance, not monitoring what works and what
      does not, and rigidly refusing to change methods to become more
      successful. What is going on here?

      If the empirical evidence exists that the old protest methods have not
      discouraged wearing fur, why are animal rights groups--in a panic
      reaction to the resurgence of fur-- spending vast sums of donor dollars
      doing more of the same? Several factors contributed to the continuing
      torture and killing of animals for the vanity of fur-wearers, but at the
      top of my list is animal rights movement support for fake fur.

      Fake fur was first introduced as an alternative to real fur nearly 50
      years ago by the late Lady Dowding, the founder of Beauty Without
      Cruelty. No longer prominent in the U.S., Beauty Without Cruelty was
      among the first organizations to campaign vigorously against wearing
      fur. National chapters are still influential in India, South Africa, and
      other parts of the world. Cleveland Amory endorsed the BWC anti-fur
      campaign long before he started the Fund for Animals, and before he
      wrote Man Kind; so did Christine Stevens, the late founder of the Animal
      Welfare Institute.

      The idea behind fake fur, which arrived amid an advertising-driven tide
      of enthusiasm for plastics and other synthesized materials of all kinds,
      was that people might be more easily dissuaded from their desire to wear
      beautiful animal skins if they were made aware of the availability of a
      comparable alternative. Remember that this campaign approach was
      introduced just as nylon, Naugahyde, Fibreglas, polyester, polyethylene,
      and Styrofoam won consumer favor, nearly 20 years before the rise of the
      environmental movement made "natural" a selling point, and several years
      before the 1959 Walt Disney animated
      film 101 Dalmatians demonstrated that fur-wearing could be attacked

      The leading animal welfare and animal rights groups of the 1970s and
      early 1980s vigorously promoted fake fur with no evident application of
      critical thinking, while real fur sales soared to new highs every year
      from the mid-1960s until the fur sales crash of 1988-1989. The crash,
      during which U.S. retail fur sales plummeted to half of the 1988 volume
      by 1991, immediately followed a change in message from "wear fake fur"
      to "don't wear fur, or anything that looks like fur."

      This winter PETA, relentless in the fight against fur, has an enormous
      lighted billboard in Times Square, showing a beautiful woman wearing
      fur, captioned "Fake it--for the animals' sake." When I saw it, it took
      my breath way. It gives spectacular visibility to a pro-animal message
      where thousands of people can see it all day and all night. The
      intention is
      great--but why that image?

      Promoting fake fur is a major tactical mistake, we should know by now,
      because it encourages more people to want to wear fur. It looks like
      real fur and has all of the same associations with beauty, fashion,
      glamour, status, and money, in an era when plastics long since lost any
      fashionable cachet. Promoting fake fur glues together the perception of
      wearing animal skins with the hope of personal enhancement.

      People who might never think of buying fur are seduced into doing so by
      this linkage. The animal rights movement should be working to debunk the
      seductive connotations of fur, rather than strengthening them.
      Advertising should promote the concept that wearing fur, real or
      otherwise, makes the wearer look ugly, odd, crazy, inappropriate,
      desperate for attention, and cruel--like Cruella, the only prominent
      fur-wearing screen personality from whom the fur industry has struggled
      to disassociate itself.

      Fake fur takes as a verity that people will want to wear animal skins
      and that this attitude must be accommodated. Yet there is nothing
      encoded in our genes about wanting to wear fur. As advertising promotes
      it, so advertising can discourage it. Our message should be that the
      only place an animal skin is admired and appreciated is on the animal.
      Animal advocates should never promote the idea that animals have
      attributes that people should want and take away for themselves. That is
      exactly what fake fur does. It resonates with the human history of
      killing animals for food, clothing, and shelter, echoes the
      current practice in some parts of the world of torturing and killing
      animals to enhance health or sexuality, and subtly adds to all this the
      idea that wearing fur will bring other personal benefits.

      Fake fur hinders activism. Many animal advocates are now afraid to
      approach people wearing fur because they do not know if it is real or
      not. If they do approach a fur-wearer, often the response is a quick,
      dismissive "It's fake," even when it clearly is not, from the look of
      the garment and the attitude of the person wearing it. So, all dialogue
      is stopped.

      Another failure of anti-fur campaigns is adequately addressing the issue
      of who is wearing fur. People who wear fur either do not know about the
      cruelty involved in obtaining it, or do not care. For people who do not
      know, pro-animal organizations offer an enormous amount of information,
      including fact sheets, graphic photos, and literature, all available on
      some excellent web sites. Every aspect is covered. However, activists do
      not appear to understand that this information has no impact on
      narcissists, who do not care.

      The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by
      the American Psychiatric Association, lists as the traits of a
      narcissist "a grandiose sense of self-importance.preoccupied with
      fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal
      love," who "requires excessive admiration, has a sense of entitlement,
      lacks empathy," and "shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes."
      This is exactly the sort of person toward whom most fur ads appear to

      Pictures of leghold traps and skinned animals have no impact upon this
      kind of person--who is, nonetheless, vulnerable to other anti-fur
      tactics, which lower the status-enhancing value of fur. What kind of
      advertising have animal rights groups created in recent years to target
      this prominent type of fur-wearer? None! On the contrary, they have
      nurtured the narcissists by promoting their self-aggrandizing

      The message that fake fur can make one beautiful convinces the
      narcissist that only "the best," i.e. real fur, can provide a feeling of
      superiority. A different theme must be created for such people. The
      locations where anti-fur messages are placed need to be considered.

      Having lived in New York City all my life, I have never seen any
      sustained, highly visible anti-fur advertising in any middle class or
      upper class residential neighborhood. This is amazing to me. People
      strut in their furs to stores, restaurants, schools, churches,
      synagogues, etc. with total impunity. There is no counterforce. It is as
      if there were no
      animal rights movement. There are, of course, activists who do on
      occasion engage in protests at events where fur is common, and set up
      tables distributing anti-fur literature. But all of this is sporadic and
      limited. The overwhelming majority of fur wearers never see these
      messages. How do the leaders of the animal rights movement expect these
      people to learn?

      In order to be successful, anti-fur campaigners must saturate middle and
      upper class residential neighborhoods, to affect people where they live
      and most want to impress neighbors and friends. Huge anti-fur billboards
      maintained on buildings and telephone kiosks in residential
      neighborhoods on a permanent basis would be a constant reminder of the
      facts of fur to
      those who are capable of caring, and with a different message could
      attack the status of fur as perceived by narcissists. The anti-fur
      message must be repeated year-round. The feverish activity that now
      occurs during "fur season" is not
      sustained or pervasive enough to make a lasting difference.

      Just as a healthy individual must have the ability to evaluate his or
      her own life in order to live more successfully, a healthy cause must
      examine itself constantly, monitoring its tactics and effects, if it is
      to succeed in its aims. The cause cannot grow unless the leaders attempt
      to understand the dynamics of why people do what they do and thus
      what works and what does not.


      Editor's note: U.S. retail fur sales, adjusted for inflation, have
      actually not increased in dollar volume since stabilizing in the
      mid-1990s at about 30% below the peak level sustained in the mid-1980s.
      Fur sales in the winter of 2002-2003 came to $1.7 billion, equivalent to
      $1.3 billion in 1990. However, there has been a significant change in
      the U.S. retail fur-selling strategy.

      Furriers a decade ago tried to compensate for the collapse of the middle
      income market by pushing the most costly furs. The current strategy
      represents a return to the marketing strategy of the 1970s and early
      1980s, which aimed at high volume sales of low-priced furs to first-time
      buyers, with the idea of getting new buyers of inexpensive furs to
      upgrade to pricier garments later. The cheap furs of the 1970s and early
      1980s used trim from rabbits, muskrats, and nutria. The cheap furs of
      today use imported furs of unspecified origin--and often these furs are
      unacknowledged byproducts of the Chinese and Korean dog and cat meat



      Animals Rule,
      People Drool...
      Cuz animals are cool,
      And so many people are cruel!!!!!!!

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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