Flashback: 1950's, I Love Lucy. An American icon. I loved watching re-runs as a kid. Still do. Two things that bring no laughter: shows in which she covets fur (in one episode, she actually sleeps in her mink stole she loves it so much), and scenes where the Ricardos light up.
We now know how harmful the cigarettes are that they were smoking. Desi Arnaz in fact passed away to lung cancer. But we should also know how egregiously cruel fur is. Yet so many people, even in 2010, still associate fur with the good life and glamour and many are still smoking (The Wall Street Journal put the percentage of American adults who smoke at about 20%).
Flashforward, 1998-2004, Sex and the City. Fur and smoking are both featured on this marketing powerhouse. Carrie, after having successfully quit smoking seasons earlier, resumes the ugly habit when she lives in Paris in the last few episodes. What about the fur coats she was wearing during the series? Real or fake? Do some of the impressionable women watching know enough to demand faux?
Starlet Kim Cattrall once wore fur and now shuns it, but that hasn't stopped this New York City fur shop from displaying her image.
Doubt the influence of media images like Sex and the City? You can even take bus tours where they point out how you can shop just like Charlotte, Carrie, Miranda and Samantha. The show is a textbook case on the effectiveness of product placement.
Hopefully our society will become more enlightened. Much like a bad horror film, I will never get this video of an animal being skinned alive at a Chinese fur farm out of my mind from PETA. Horror movies are pretend. This act of brutality is not.
So, what do Lucille Ball and Kim Catrall have in common? Their images above are being used to market products associated death. For Lucy and Desi's Philip Morris ads, it has the possibility of causing a slow death by lung cancer. For Kim's image, it's a a certain painful death endured by helpless animals, who come to earth to suffer for our disposable values and wants.
What's the first word that comes into your mind when you see this? I hope not glamorous if you've watched the video.
Learn more about Fur Free NYC. Visit PETA's Fur is Dead site.
Sick. Spotted outside a fur shop on 29th street in New York City.
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