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NORTH KOREA: when fur fashion detracts from the real issues

North Korean cheerleaders ~ Winter Olympics 2018

North Korean athletes ~ Winter Olympics 2018

The current Winter Olympics, also referred to as #PyeongChang 2018, is an event that has brought together nations from all over the world. With the political differences between North and South Korea there has been a lot of media coverage on these two nations, which are participating under one flag at these Winter Olympics.

Unfortunately fur fashion, as worn by the North Korean squad, seems to serve a particular purpose on this occasion. Ignoring the wonderful warm synthetic alternatives now available, this inclusion of fur fashion could be a deliberate attempt by the North Korean Workers’ Party to create the impression that its country is thriving. Well, this is certainly implied by Heo Euna, head of Korea Image Strategy Institute, when she refers to a North Korean celebrity  as “…  trying to showcase the image of being rich by wearing the fur” (http://bit.ly/2ELuGPr).

A possible reason for this policy is that in contrast to South Korea – one of the fastest growing developed countries in the world – the true state of North Korea is opaque. Information that is publicly reported is expected to praise both North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and his country. Although the media in North Korea is under strict state control, rare glimpses into North Korean society reveal that except for an elite group life is hard for ordinary citizens (http://bit.ly/2BUyjUF ;  http://bbc.in/RqXiDE).

While there is nothing wrong with pomp and ceremony per se, the problem is when cruelty towards animals is involved, such as the animal suffering inherent in fur production. A case in point is the more than 200 North Korean cheerleaders – reportedly selected for their looks, skills, family backgrounds and loyalty to the ruling Workers’ Party – dressed in expensive fur-trimmed outfits and fur hats (https://www.voanews.com/a/north-korean-cheerleaders-fashion/4244596.html). Tens of thousands of fur-bearing animals would have been brutally killed for these expensive outfits, only to present a façade of wealth to the world. Seemingly, compassion towards animals is not a priority in North Korea.

The sad reality, though, is that when it comes to the fur industry in all its forms, there is nothing to cheer about!

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