Tail Between The Legs, Cont’d

Mario 3 Computer Game

Earlier this month I wrote about the increasing fox and raccoon-tail accessory frenzy. I received a lot of responses, many from stores or people attempting to defend the trend, claiming everything from:

“Most of our product actually comes from Native American tribes collecting the remains of animals who have died in nature.”

Or other false (but convenient) excuses like “helping farmers”. When those rationalizations didn’t work, some simply wanted to throw in the towel, citing our powerlessness to change the fashion industry. Because this is such a huge trend at the moment, I wanted to explore what informed the people who are mostly participating in wearing these things.

I sort of blame Mario for subconsciously influencing a generation of raccoon and fox-tail-wearing 20 to 30 somethings. I blame Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. I blame the roadkill-eating freegans who want to symbolize their “going feral” by wearing the tail of their last meal without considering the consequences of the appetite this culture has for devouring any and every sub-culture’s iconography and selling it to the mainstream as empty symbols of rebellion. I blame the racist appropriation of American Indian garments and crafts, and Davey Crockett, and Max from “Where the Wild Things Are”.

The symbol itself is obvious; if you wear a tail, you become wild, like an animal.  It is no surprise then, when we look at what Generation X and Y considers nostalgic and representative of childhood freedom,  how that relates to our human desire to be wild and to have contact with nature and animals. This desire is not wrong – but the execution is the furthest thing from communing with wilderness when one considers how most fur garments and accessories are produced, and the toll it takes on animals and ecosystems. Worst of all – there is really no excuse – it’s not like they are functional; these tails are simply ornamental, yet there are those out there willing to defend it like it’s clean drinking water in a desert.


Written by joshuakatcher

Joshua Katcher is an adjunct professor of fashion at Parsons The New School. His research focuses on sustainability and ethics in fashion production. He started The Discerning Brute in 2008 as a resource for men who want to make intelligent decisions concerning their lifestyles. With a focus on “fashion, food & etiquette for the ethically handsome man”, The Discerning Brute produces expert, essential content and boldly takes a stand. Brave GentleMan, the integrated, eCommerce brother-site of The Discerning Brute was launched in 2011 and features “principled attire” and “smart supplies” handpicked for informed indulgence.
The Discerning Brute on Facebook

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can leave a response, or create a trackback from your own site.

  • deathray

    Right on. But, there is an Ugg ad right next to this post!

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com joshuakatcher

      thanks for pointing that out! I’ll block that one…These Google Ads are difficult to control!

      • Dennis

        i know how annoying that could be. right before i watched an AFI video on YouTube, there was an ad for McDonalds. terribly inappropriate.

  • Jaya Bhumitra

    wow i probably should have copyedited that. here it is again:

    Very interesting post. I haven’t seen any other article explain these trends by citing our childhood influences before, but you are exactly right. Quite insightful.

  • Jaya Bhumitra

    Very interesting post. I haven’t any other article explain these trends by citing using our childhood influences before, but you are exactly right. Quite insightful.

  • http://www.woodstocksanctuary.org Rebecca

    Right on, Joshua. You are a freakin’ gift, to spell it out like that for those who are too lost in pretension to grasp it by themselves. Compassion is the only good fashion!

  • joelle

    did you illustrate that postcard directly above?

  • joelle

    well said joshua