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Fur and Loathing

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That coat might as well be the mark of the beast.

"I love this fur coat, especially since I killed the animals for it myself!"
Princess Snake, Dragon Ball Z Abridged

If you wear real fur, you must be evil or immoral. That's the only explanation.

This is not about the politics of wearing fur, but simply how the mainstream media has portrayed it since the mid-1980s. In that time, groups such as PETA finally gained some traction, through celebrities building up a Band Wagon Technique. Wearing animal fur was considered the mark of evil. Leather is usually given a pass since the rest of the animal was killed for meat anyway, and as Terry Pratchett put it, "would you tell a 300-pound biker to give up his jacket?"

Fur industry revenues went into a decline through the late '80s and '90s, but this didn't last long. Some other celebrities came along later decided to rebel against the curve, particularly rappers and hip-hop artists. Combined with sites like eBay marketing inexpensive furs, fur has seen a comeback in recent decades. Just go to photo sharing sites and look up "Fur coat," "mink," and even "pimp coat."

Of course the media doesn't reflect this. Partly because it's Still The Eighties, and partly to satiate the remaining anti-fur celebrities, mainstream media since the mid 1980s has an unwritten rule about fur: it's a sign of corruption. Not the fur itself (barring bad horror movies), but of what you did to get it.

So wearing fur in media has now become a Stock Costume Trait, often to show how corrupted characters have become. Wearing fur identifies you as:

It should be noted that cavemen, Native Americans and Arctic tribes like the Inuit never wear fur, they wear skins, so it's all right, since it makes you Closer to Earth as a culture. Note that in Real Life, Inuit and northern Indians actually do wear fur in modern days, and not the synthetic kind which doesn't retain heat as well. Same goes with Russians, who tend to think that anti-fur activists are all deranged freaks.

Also fictional works that take place in the past, or in places like modern Russia, do not assume Viewers Are Morons, and do have people wearing fur, since they are/were common in those places and times. Yet those works still seem to portray those places and times as less enlightened, with wearing fur being a symptom of this. And in Politically Correct History, wearing fur seems to disappear, even in the dead of winter.

Also, this can actually be combined with Pretty in Mink. This is when a character wears real fur, but the character still fits the type mentioned. Works that are explicitly this trope just use fake fur.

One of The Newest Ones in the Book; though one of the Ur Examples of this supertrope is the villain Cruella de Vil from the 1961 Disney film 101 Dalmatians, a good borderline for this trope is when the US game show The Price Is Right stopped offering fur coats among their prizes in 1981.

No relation to the CSI episode of the same name, or its subject.

For the dining equivalent, see Exotic Entree. Compare Good Smoking, Evil Smoking, It's Fake Fur, It's Fine, Genuine Human Hide. Contrast Pretty in Mink.

Examples (examples for Cruella to Animals should go there):

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Cold in The Flash wears a parka; in one issue of the DC Animated Universe Justice League comic he tells the Flash that it's not trimmed with real fur because he's an environmentalist.
  • Parodied in a Josie and the Pussycats comic. Alexandra has a line of fur coats, which Melody says is cruel. Alexandra explains that they are manmade, and starts naming off the synthetic ingredients. Melody doesn't get it and demands she free the Orlons.
  • A rather ghoulish example happens in one Spider-Man story, where a gangster's wife brags about her new coat, which she believes was taken from Tigra. (Her husband seemingly convinced her that he had killed and skinned Tigra, although everyone present at the event realized he was a Bad Liar trying to make himself look big.)
  • In Starfire's Revenge, the titular Supergirl villainess is a ruthless crime kingpin with apirations to global domination, who likes wearing expensive and luxurious fur coats.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Victor Van Damme, once he takes up the mantle of Doctor Doom upgrades from a raggedy cloak, to a majestic fur collared Badass Cape.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Priscilla Rich is a murderous self absorbed socialite who constructs her supervillain Cheetah costume out of genuine cheetah fur.
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman: Priscilla Rich is a cold murderous wealthy socialite who is wearing very prominent furs any time she's out of the house, most commonly a cropped jacket made of cheetah fur.
  • Emma Frost from X-Men is a definite Rich Bitch (although she wasn't as much of an actual bitch as she suddenly became). Her most famous outfit has a cape with a huge white fox collar (assuming this outfit was made for real). However, she first appeared in 1980. Yet when she turned into a hero, it was the early 1990s, and her outfits didn't include fur. Of course the costume may make her look like a Femme Fatale, but in a comic book, even the Queen of England would dress like that (at least when she was younger).
  • In the EC Comics Science-Fiction SuspenStory "What Fur?!", in a space-faring future where skunks are being driven to extinction due to demand for their pelts, a furrier seeks to make a killing on a little-explored small planet which is crawling with skunks. Unfortunately, this planet turns out also to have giant furry aliens who like to wear human skins around their necks.

    Comic Strips 
  • In an early Get Fuzzy Sunday strip, Bucky accuses a woman wearing a fleece coat on the subway of being a "Muppet killer".

    Fan Works 
  • This fanart of Queen Mab shows her wearing a fox-fur shawl (complete with taxidermied eyes and nose)- one of many ways the image implies her callous, fearsome personality.

    Films — Animation 
  • Darla Dimple, Enfante Terrible Big Bad of Cats Don't Dance wears fur coats and mink a world where all animals are apparently sentient.
  • In Igor, When the Mad Scientist Dr. Schadenfreude complains about his lack of respect, Jaclyn responds, "Respect? Respect doesn't keep me in baby seal leather boots!" She then nuzzles her boot, which still has the baby seal's face on it, as a soft squeaky cry is heard.
  • Mavka: The Forest Song: The foppish and vain Frol wears a fox's skin as a fur scarf. He serves the Big Bad Kylina, and he nearly kills Lukash's dog and the cat-frog with a chainsaw late in the film.
  • Megamind has "custom made baby seal leather boots", just to try and prove that he's evil.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Ace confronts a woman wearing all kinds of animal products, who dismisses him as "another activist," and goes on "There's nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of nature. I suggest you try it sometime." Ace does so, punching her husband and then dancing around with the man on his shoulders.
  • In The Stallone/Banderas film Assassins, Julianne Moore's animal-loving character spray-paints a woman's fur coat while standing in an elevator and making a "shhhhh" sound to mask the sound of the spraycan. The implication is that she's a free spirit while the fur-wearing woman is a Rich Bitch.
  • In The Avengers, Mrs. Peel's clone wears a fur coat when she tries to murder Steed with a spear gun and pistol.
  • Subverted in Black Panther (2018) with M'Baku, who's extremely antagonistic in his first appearance and later appears in an outfit with gorilla-fur accents. However, he proves to be a valuable ally to the protagonists.
  • In the 1967 film of Doctor Dolittle, the doctor has a somber-but-angry musical number toward the middle of the movie, "Like Animals" where he sings about mankind's exploitative, demeaning, and cruel treatment of animals to a full courtroom. At the end of the song he specifically addresses some upper-class women watching the proceeding, all of whom are wearing fur.
    "When you dress in suede or leather, or some fancy fur or feather / did you stop and wonder whether for a fad, / you have killed some beast or other? And you're wearing someone's brother? / Or perhaps it's someone's mother in which you're clad."
  • In Girls Just Want to Have Fun, The Rival is a Rich Bitch, and wears a white fur jacket for the scene when she first meets the protagonist.
  • In It Could Happen to You one of the first things Muriel buys with the lottery money is a fur coat, only to be immediately splashed with red paint by protesters.
  • In Sister Act Deloris gets a mink coat from her mobster boyfriend in an attempt to win her back. She likes it until she sees the name of his wife embroidered inside it and gets upset that he actually gave her something that rightfully belonged to his wife. She goes to confront him about it which results in her witnessing his murder of his limo driver, which kickstarts the plot of the movie. The fur was used to show that Deloris was a bit The Vamp at the beginning of the movie.
  • While it's not an entire fur coat, bounty hunter Boba Fett from Star Wars, decorates his armor with braids made from the pelts of Wookies. Not only does this signify that he's a badass, since Wookies are enormous bruisers, also that he's ruthless enough to skin sentient creatures when he's done killing them. Notably when he's starring as the protagonist in The Book of Boba Fett, the pelts are conspicuously absent (presumably they were lost when he was separated from his iconic armor for years).

  • Genius Pixie Opal Koboi in Artemis Fowl: the Opal Deception has fur-covered seats in her custom-built luxury shuttle, as a sign of her leaving behind the fairy world (most fairies are vegan), and embracing the human world. It should be noted that leather doesn't get a pass in this setting, either; had the seats been made of leather it would have been just as abhorrent to the fairies. However, even Artemis is disgusted by the fur seats.
  • The despotic House Harkonnen of Dune fame earned its early success through manipulation of the market for Bjondax Whale fur.
  • It gets a bit ridiculous in Harry Turtledove's Crosstime Traffic novel Gunpowder Empire. The two main characters will literally stop whatever is happening just to talk about how nobody wears fur anymore and how polite society sees it as repulsive. This doesn't just happen once, but about 9 times in a 200 or so page book. The alternate timeline never saw the Roman Empire fall or technology advance much past our timeline's 400 AD. Still, even if they're in northern Europe and freezing, "FUR IS EVIL!"
    • Notably, the narration points out the hypocrisy involved. It's something of a hallmark of Turtledove to have characters express a viewpoint, while the narration points out the flaws and cultural viewpoints that shade that belief.
  • In “Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook”, Lucille says that her grandmother can’t wear her mink coat in public or else people will throw paint on her.
  • The Reincarnation of Peter Proud. While the title character is swimming in a lake, a woman wearing a fur coat goes out to him in a boat. When she gets close to him she murders him with an oar.
  • Little Red Riding Hood in Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes shoots The Big Bad Wolf to get herself a fancy new coat. She is later called by a certain little pig who is being menaced by another bad wolf; unfortunately for the pig, her greed for accessories made out of animals doesn't stop at a second wolfskin coat.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Traders": Despite being written in the 1940s, the Grand Master's fur collar is clearly being used to show how he's a greedy corrupt ruler for Askone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Designing Women Suzanne Sugarbaker (played by Delta Burke) is criticized for her new fur coat she shows off by her sister and after being attacked by animal rights activists ends up with a broken arm and refuses to have the coat cut off of herself to set the arm resulting in her spending weeks in the coat while her arm heals. At the end she swears off fur simply because she spent so much time trapped in it.
  • A Different World's Whitley was occasionally seen wearing a fur coat. When one of her boyfriend Byron's political supporters chastises her for it and even insinuates that she'll withdraw her endorsement because of it, Whitley calmly and coolly informs her that her owning a fur is her business and should have no bearing on whether or not she supports Byron's Senate run.
  • In one episode of Friends, Phoebe got a fur coat as a gift and, being the hippie of the group, constantly complained about how evil it was — until she tried it on and decided it looked good. For the rest of the episode, she justified wearing it using very spurious and shaky logic, and eventually she gave it to a hobo when a squirrel made her feel guilty.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Miss Enright, Miss Brooks' snooty, catty rival, brags about her furs as well as other expensive clothes.
  • In Starsky & Hutch, Hutch's thieving ex-wife shows up in a white fur coat.
  • Veronica Mars wears a coat with a faux-fur collar while talking to some animal rights activists, realizes it, and takes it off. One of them sneaks behind her and moves to chop the collar off; Veronica catches her, shrieking "It's fake!" (This is probably important to actress Kristen Bell, who is herself an animal rights activist.)
  • In the musical episode of X-Play, after receiving lucrative contracts to produce their own games and stressing out factory workers to make it, Adam and Morgan go from snarky video game reviewers to rich snobs. The first shot of them after the factory scene starts with a close up of a pair of high-heels stepping onto the sidewalk, panning up a fur coat, and then to Adam's head. Morgan joins him a second later in a business suit.

  • Whenever ZooBooks mentions fur, it's in a negative light. Its "Sharing the World with Animals", for example, has a man and a woman in seal and leopard fur coats, respectively. The captions explain the methods used to kill animals, such as the use of steel traps, which the magazine compares the force of to "a car door slamming on your hand". Justified when the trope comes up in issues for endangered animals, like in the "Tigers" issue, as poaching for fur has been cited as the reason for some animals becoming rarer.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Carmella debuted as Enzo and Cass's Token Evil Teammate, and wore a fur coat to the ring. When she Took a Level in Kindness, she stopped wearing the fur.
  • The WWE tag-team MNM, a pair of heelish celebrity hangers-on, were known for their fur coats and boots. Oddly enough, their manager, a Rich Bitch Vamp by the name of Melina, never wore fur, though she does seem to be fond of animal prints. One member, Johnny Nitro, kept the furs even as he transitioned to his new gimmick, an odd cross between the Jerk Jock and the Warrior Poet by the name of John Morrison.
  • Jamie Noble - with a Deep South gimmick - got his ditzy girlfriend Nidia an expensive fur coat as a gift. Part of Nidia's Heel–Face Turn involved her putting the coat in a shredder.
  • Sable is named after a special type of fur, and it counted as a Meaningful Name when considering her vampy primadonna character. When she was a face, it leaned more towards Pretty in Mink.
  • In addition to a whole bunch of wacky gear clearly designed to attract as much attention as possible,note  "The Villain" Marty Scurll usually wears a black fur coat to the ring.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Despite the late medieval setting, in Ironclaw the only character shown wearing something made from another creature's fur is Lady Amalsand Jakoba, because every species of fur-bearing mammal in the setting is sapient. There's plenty of leather though since reptiles aren't intelligent.

    Video Games 
  • This is spoofed in Team Fortress 2. One of the many cosmetic items replaces the Medic's lab coat with one that's been lined with white fur, and the description offers a "guarantee" that "at least three endangered species went extinct during the making of this product", and then it ends with "Note: fur is synthetic".

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night's Gilgamesh becomes the male example when he appears in a pimped-out fur coat as his 'civilian' dress. This wasn't part of his uniform when he was summoned into the world, but he went shopping and consciously selected it. Personal traits include haughty, disdainful of all others, proud of his vast riches and in fact considers himself owner of everything in the world — does he fit the Rich Bitch aspect yet?


    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Given the level of technology in and where they live, Sokka and Katara are apparently wearing animal furs to keep warm, with no stigma attached. Although there is this dialogue in "Bato of the Water Tribe".
      Katara: Bato! It looks like home!
      Sokka: Everything's here, even the pelts!
      Aang: [unenthusiastically] Yeah... nothing's cozier than dead animal skins.
    • Of course, this makes sense given that Aang is a vegetarian and cares for animals in general. Using animal products as a matter of practicality is one thing, but it has to irk him slightly for his close friends to be EXCITED over it.
    • A canon comic features a fur salesman using synthetic fur and going on a rant about the cruelty of real fur.
  • Indirectly done in Family Guy, in the episode when Lois is mayor. She agrees to allow pollution so she can buy a fur coat. She relents, though, and doesn't have to give back the coat, but the coat is never worn after that.
  • In one episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show, after the show's Villain Protagonist, Itchy the mouse skins the show's hero, Scratchy the cat alive at a mall, a sinister looking Rich Bitch buys Scratchy's skin off Itchy to wear. Extra creepy as the skin had clearly come from a humanoid sentient being, the White Gloves were even still attached.
  • The Simpsons has Mr. Burns; despite the fact he is normally only seen wearing his trademark business suit, the episode "Two Dozen & One Greyhounds" reveals he has a real fixation on the most unusual sorts of fur for his clothing. Besides the greyhound fur tuxedo he plans on making from the puppies he stole from the Simpsons, his wardrobe includes a vest made from the chest of a gorilla, a sweater made from Irish Setter fur, a hat made from the skin of his last pet cat, evening wear made from the skin and wings of vampire bats, slippers made from the feet of albino African rhinocerii, grizzly bear fur underpants, literal turtleneck shirts, a beret made from the head of a French poodle, two formal suits (one single-breast, one double-breast) made from the breast-feathers of robins, and a set of loafers made from gophers. He also comments that when he made the loafers, the alternative would have been skinning his chauffeurs.
  • In the South Park episode Douche and Turd, PETA is shown constantly going around and dumping red paint on people wearing fur. This comes back to bite them when one of their members dumps paint on P. Diddy's pimp coat. With his crew, he proceeds to gun down the entire PETA complex.
  • One of Cartoon Network's What A Cartoon one-shots, Yoink Of the Yukon, revolved around a grizzly bear named Nook and his feud with the Royal Canadian Mounties over their allowal of fur trapping in the Yukon. Mind you, this being meant for comedy, fur trapping here is portrayed as literally stealing the clothes off the critters backs, leaving then naked and freezing in the snow. The issue is resolved when the main character Yoink, after much conflict, ends up outfitting all of Nooks friends with a set of tuxedos he got off the Home Shopping Network.
    Yoink: It was the best I could do on such short notice, eh?


Video Example(s):


Cruella De Vil

One of the most famous examples, and with a name and personality like her's one can hardly blame Rogers for calling her such a cruel woman.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheVillainSucksSong

Media sources: