The Smu Reviews

Pop Culture
Music / Art / Pop Culture

I wake up and my wig is falling off my head, and my mole is on the other side of my face. My fake mole. No not fake, it’s just surreal.

Ok so there has been a shitstorm brewing around Lady Gaga and fur for the last few days and since everyone and their uncle has been sending me links to articles (of varying levels of accuracy) about it I figured I might as well just go ahead a post up my thoughts here. Kill two birds with one stone as it were. Sorry, was that inappropriate?

The essential facts of the story are as follows:

Gaga has been seen wearing various fur coats recently 

PETA sent her an open letter calling her out on it

Dear Gaga,

Many of your gay fans, I among them, have long admired what you told Ellen: “I hate fur and I don’t wear fur.” I included a link because these recent photos of you in fox and rabbit and with a wolf carcass make it appear that you have amnesia. I’m also including this brief videohosted by Tim Gunn showing the violent cruelty that you promote when you wear fur. What happened? Are your stylists telling you that it’s fake, or are you a turncoat? Many gays are animal advocates because we recognize that the same arrogance and indifference that some have toward animal suffering has at times been directed toward us personally because of our orientation. PETA has long participated in Pride events around the country, and just last week, we helped lead protests against Chick-fil-A. But by wearing those dumb furs in a heat wave, you’re making yourself a target just like the mindless Kim Kardashian. As we plan our fall campaigns, please tell us whether what you gracefully told Ellen was heartfelt or just a pose.

We await your reply.


Dan Mathews

Senior Vice President


She deflected the issue with a trollish tweet and cryptic follow-up

Everyone is freaking out

So my thoughts:

Well, for anyone reading this who doesn’t know me, I’m a vegan and therefor don’t wear leather or fur or eat meat or dairy.

So far no one still really knows if it’s real or fake she’s wearing – and I’ll be damned if I can tell from looking at it – I can never spot fake fur unless it’s like the coat I’ve got that cost £12 from the kids section of Primark and basically looks like skinned Build-A-Bear.

This either makes her pretty smart or pretty dumb in how she’s handling it. I don’t much care for how PETA are handling it either way – what exactly does Mr Mathews’ sexual orientation have to do with anything?

I will be disappointed if it is real but less because of her actually wearing the fur than because of her response. Hang in there with me on that one..

I can look the other way when she wears fur or leather because I live in a world where almost everyone I know wears leather and eats meat and fur is really not a whole lot different to me.  It’s much easier for the average person to be sanctimonious about real fur because they will likely not be able to afford it (other than someone’s Aunt Trudy’s of course) but would never dream of giving up their  inexpensive leather or meat – fur is, rightly, seen as more flagrant and dickish. It has that air of Cruella De Ville. Yes, yes, meat is (albeit in-essentially) nutritional not just fashion and leather is a byproduct and blah blah blah but once you get over the other side of veganism it just all starts to look like uniformly barbaric carnage. So I choose not to think too much about the choices of others in that respect because, you know, I want to have friends and shit. 

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MEAT DRESS I HEAR YOU SAY? The meat dress I could live with because it was an arresting image, really is no different to eating the meat (which she does, along with spending most of last year head to foot in leather) and opened up a lot of interesting conversations for me with meat eaters who funnily enough often seemed to find it really disgusting..

Anyway the point is there is a BIG difference for me between wearing fur on occasion and being actively pro-fur. Being pro-fur is not saying ‘I know, but I couldn’t resit’ or ‘I know, but I was given it for free’ it’s saying ‘Fuck you, I don’t give a shit and neither should you’. And more than anything it bothers me how being all sassy about it will result in a million fans thinking YAYZ FUR IZ COOL GAGA SEZ!!! Taking a pro-fur stance would be neither popular with me or many of her fans (judging by comments on her posts about it) even if the fashionistas might back it.

On the other hand if it’s fake her tweet is hilarious. Well, it’s hilarious anyway but you know what I mean. If the coats are fake and she knows that PETA just haven’t done their research then she’s basically just giving them a big old ‘talk to the hand’. Right now I’m swinging towards fake because I would prefer that to be the case, her second post about where ‘real’ elegance comes from seems to indicate that to me and because I don’t think even Gaga is wilfully publicity hungry enough to take an openly pro-fur stance. Funny as it is, I do wish she would clarify her feelings on the matter one way or another though.

And no, even if it is real I won’t suddenly stop being a fan – that’s patently ridiculous – although I would definitely be pretty sad about it. I have a small handfull of friends who I would allow to argue with me on that but the rest of you can go back to your chicken fillets and zip it.*

*With love, of course 😉


Gaga responded tonight:

To the fans. i want you to know that I care deeply about your feelings and views, and I will always support your philosophies about life. We’ve been having over-arching conversations about society, equality, and politics for the past five years, and we should continue. I do not however support violent, abusive, and childish campaigns for ANY CAUSE. Particularly one that I respect. “Animal Rights.” I am choosing not to comment on whether or not the furs I purchase are faux fur-pile or real because I would think it hypocritical not to acknowledge the python, ostrich, cow hide, leather, lamb, alligator, “kermit” and not to mention meat, that I have already worn. This should already put me in a category as one who appreciates and adores the beauty of animals in fashion, but am not a strict vegan. I have truly always stayed away from skinned fur, especially as i have never been able to afford a nice one, but this does not mean my morals are rigid and that I won’t bend at the sight of an absolute art piece of a coat. I have no chains about this. You see a carcass, I see a museum pièce de résistance. But I am truly sorry to fans who are upset by this, its a fair and applaudable feeling about the health and safety of animals. I respect your views, please respect mine. 

And to campaigners, Save your flour to make bread for the children who are hungry. And Kim Kardashian is fabulous.

I may not share her feelings but she has articulated almost exactly the points I felt about the blowup myself. I agree with her about PETA’s approach and although I would have loved a more emphatically anti-fur response I am just relieved to see that she respects and understands the issue itself and the feelings of her fans. 

Edit: I know that sounds a bit wishy washy and confused, it’s hard to explain exactly what I mean.  I like her response in so much as it’s honest. It teeters on pro-fur but is more ‘never say never’ than ‘fur is fabulous’. As I said before I have a hard time seeing why fur is any more grotesque than the millions of everyday, invisible crimes that are committed against animals by almost everyone – it was reading about what is considered ‘free range’ and ‘humane’ that tipped me into veganism not couture coats. 

I do think fur is abhorrent and I respect the more hardline views of other vegans but I have issues with meat eaters and leather weathers being sanctimonious about fur. I realise I’m a bit contrary in this and I don’t expect many people to agree with me. I’m not saying Gaga’s position is good – I’m just not any more (or less) horrified by it than a whole lot of other horrible stuff. I think the view she is expressing is probably also less of a distance from the way most people feel about animals than they allow themselves to admit – and I respect her for manning up, even if I think she’s wrong. 

I predict the media will skin her alive for this though. Boom Boom.

All words by Susan Sloan.