Bikini fur and fur bikinis

Sue Walsh

in The Last Taboo

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780719075001
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702567 | DOI:
Bikini fur and fur bikinis

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This chapter discusses the grounds for reading animal fur as body hair. This is because body hair and fur are connected with, and substituted for, each another in a variety of ways. The chapter first considers an advertisement for an anti-fur campaign launched by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 1999/2000. The advertisement in question features, in PETA's own words, ‘a woman in pink panties whose bikini line is in dire need of waxing, with the caption, Fur trim. Unattractive’. The outcry surrounding this particular PETA campaign advertisement peaked in the publicity around an open letter of protest written by Galen Sherwin (the then president of the New York City Chapter of the National Organization for Women) and the response by Ingrid Newkirk (president of PETA). Diagnosing the cultural enforcement of shaving, waxing and depilating as the problem can only result in an equally culturally determined unshaven body, as long as the notion of the connection to the natural body remains inviolate.

Keywords: body hair; animal fur; advertisement; PETA; Galen Sherwin; Ingrid Newkirk; shaving; waxing; natural body

Chapter.  7368 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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