27 November 2007

Twenty Years Ago

11-27-87 . . . Today—the day after Thanksgiving—is traditionally the busiest retail sales day of the year. Needless to say, I stayed away from the stores. But I saw on television that certain animal-rights activists demonstrated against the wearing of furs. It was obviously orchestrated; and it succeeded in getting television, radio, and newspaper attention. The message is that wearing fur is wrong. Apparently, the primary consumers of furs these days are young, career-oriented women. They consider furs a luxury item, a sign that one has “made it” in the business world. They’re also soft and feminine, which plays into another tradition besides conspicuous consumption. One woman on television, trying on a fur, exclaimed “I wouldn’t mind finding this under my Christmas tree!”. I agree with the protesters that producing, selling, buying, and wearing furs is wrong. I’m not sure I agree with their tactics, however. Demonstrations may raise people’s consciousness, but they also alienate. We need empirical studies to determine which effect predominates.

No comments: