With winter and awards shows upon us, the celebrity-obsessed wonder, "What are they wearing?" When it's fur, you wonder, "Why are they wearing it?"
Fur makes the shapeliest star look like a pudgy cave-dweller. Kim and Kanye become dumpy mall rats when they pile on the pelts. The matter of animals by the dozen being electrocuted for a single coat is of no interest to the self-absorbed duo.
Fortunately, the most admired and articulate personalities are speaking out. After winning a Golden Globe last month, Taraji P. Henson said, "I love clothes and to dress up, but no fur. Stella McCartney laced me with all these incredible faux furs." Taraji's ex-con character Cookie on Empire may have a fur fetish, but Taraji ditched the fur from her closets after seeing raccoon dogs skinned alive for fashion in a PETA documentary on HBO. She then ditched all of her clothes to star in a "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" ad, which she unveiled at PETA's Fashion Week party with fellow animal advocate Tim Gunn.
Another dynamo who removed the unsightly hair from her back -- I'm talking about fur -- is the fabulous Wendy Williams. In addition to her daily talk show, Williams now hosts Wendy's Style Squad to cover red carpet fashions. "Fur is not the mark of success anymore," she said at the photo shoot for her PETA campaign, which she unveiled live on her show.
Sia led the charge this winter, with this imaginative computer-generated spot in which animal models strut down the catwalk in human skin.
And then there's Pink. "I would like to say I've always been fur-free so I could be proud of myself," says the pop icon. "Unfortunately, I went through a selfish phase and wore fur on a couple of occasions. But I wised up and now boycott fur completely. I wish everyone was forced to learn the horrors that these animals go through for fashion trends. I hope fur wearers get bitten in the ass by the same kind of animal they wear on their back." She took this message to the masses on a PETA billboard in New York's Times Square and stars with Ricky Gervais in a video about fur and exotic skins.
Who else is fur-free? Lena Dunham, Rooney Mara, Jessica Chastain, Angelina Jolie, Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Natalie Portman, to name only a few.
Sharon Osbourne, who won a People's Choice Award last month for The Talk, says, "The reasons I stopped wearing fur were because I was educating myself through documentaries on what goes into actually making these fur coats and fur scarves that I was wearing, and when I realized how it was done I was sickened." Sharon hosts PETA's newest video showing how hundreds of chinchillas have their necks snapped for just one fur coat.
Many of you may be thinking, OK -- gross -- but I don't wear fur. Terrific! I'll end by suggesting you take another evolutionary step by visiting PETA.org to watch Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes, and Pamela Anderson reveal how less-furry animals live and die before ending up in someone's closet.
DAN MATHEWS, senior vice president of PETA, is the irreverent force behind many of the colorful crusades carried out by PETA, one of the most high-profile and enduring pressure groups of all time. Mathews launched PETA's legendary "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign nude on the streets of Tokyo, has promoted animal rights costumed as a carrot, a cow, and a priest, and has persuaded a nonstop parade of stars -- including P!nk, Paul McCartney, and Pamela Anderson -- to protest, pose nude, or even go to jail for the cause. He has been profiled by The New York Times and USA Today and was named one of the world's most influential gays by Out magazine. Mathews has lectured at Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge universities, and his irreverent memoir, Committed, was published in the U.S. and Australia and across Europe.