Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What's a girl to do?

I love animals. I mean, really really love them. To illustrate, I can't visit anymore because the bastards make me cry every time.

But, it's easy to distance this love -- which is immediate, visceral, and directed to the animals in my everyday life -- from the things I eat, buy, and wear. Animal products are neatly packaged and given euphemistic names like "leather" (instead of cow-skin) and veal (instead of -- what was the South Park name? -- "tortured baby cows").

So I go about my life, drinking milk, eating eggs, even wearing leather and make-up that was tested on animals, and god knows what else. My animal-love and fashion-love revolve in separate mental orbits, and when I'm shopping, the adorable leather bag is on my mind, not the baby moo-cow crying for its mommy who just boarded the bus with a one-way ticket.

But then comes the self-punishment.

Here is the weekly cycle:

1. Visit PETA
2. Get reminded that I am responsible for all the horrible stuff I see.
3. Feel horribly guilty; cry for about ten minutes.
4. Friend calls, forget about PETA
5. Go shopping, buy something at Bloomingdales.
6. Visit PETA, remember that Bloomingdales sells lots of fur.
7. Repeat list ad infinitum (substituting different products).

So what's a girl accustomed to a certain lifestyle (and not a fan of hemp, pleather, soy-products, or botanical make-up) to do?

Some will surely suggest:
"How about you just stop being such a superficial bitch?"

Ok, ok, point taken.

But will me becoming a minimalist really address the problem? I don't think people will stop wanting to be beautiful, fashionable, and have fun gadgets for quite awhile...But is there something special about these products that makes it necessary for animals to suffer when they're being made?
So why isn't there a place for people like me to shop, eat, or hang out?
Well....for some unknown reason, animal-friendly became associated with "earthy minimalist." Vendors seem to assume that people who love animals want to be healthy, all-natural, and unconcerned with superficial things like style.

My solution: Let's dispel the myth that animal-lovers want to give up the things of this world. Give us an easy way to shop, eat, and live without giving up our style or feeling like hypocrites.

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