5 Reasons Rihanna’s Fox Fur Dress should Still Bother Us.

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“Sorry for the inconvenience. We are trying to change the world.” ~ Instagram, author unknown

I have never been one to focus on the negative, nor to criticize others for living the way they choose.

However, just after the one year anniversary of Rihanna’s appearance at the Met Gala, wearing her yellow, fox fur dress, I still have the inner compulsion to want to hurl pieces of soft, gooey mud at her and shout, “Why, why, why?”

I think we all had a few things to say about that dress and we should—after all it is only through inquiry and investigation that as a society we change and grow.

There are currently massive influential corporations, monopolies and under-cover, money markets that drive our beautiful world—Hollywood and the media being a couple of the largest of these. When I realized Rhianna’s iconic dress was still bothering me today, I decided to do some research of my own into why.

Below are five reasons it might deserve to get under your skin too!

So first off is the feminist argument. In no way do I think Rihanna has tried to be a great role model for women and nor does she have to, but this statement of hers hit me right in my gut. In this century, should we still focus on the idea that “beauty is pain” and that we have to go to uncomfortable lengths to have it—the same ones that led women to wear whale-bone corsets, bind their feet and take arsenic to keep their skin pale? I don’t know about you, but I thought we already threw our bras on the fire and burned them?

Does the fact that this dress was either handmade or manufactured by a non-Caucasian woman make up for its other moral atrocities? The creator, Guo Pei, was quoted in Vanity Fair as saying, “It is my responsibility to let the world know Chinese tradition, give the splendour of China a new expression. I hope people know China in this way.’ My question is, why is a Barbados born, American pop-star now the proud representative for Chinese tradition? Rather, could it be a current example of cultural appropriation and a hint at how North Americans are still creating the “exotic Asian other” and keeping us slightly superior.

  • Animal Rights: Did we all miss that the dress was lined with real fox fur?

Is animal rights not a hot topic anymore? Every headline made a statement of “Rihanna’s fox fur gown,” but only a minuscule few brought up the fact that this dress was lined with real fur. Respect for Animals quoted that, “More animals die for fur trim than to make full length fur coats. Fur trim isn’t the “leftovers” from making full length fur coats. Here is a guide to the number of animals that suffer and die for “fashion.” Respect for Animals estimates that it takes up to 20 foxes to make one regular size coat, since Rhianna’s gown reportedly weighed 55 pounds, I suspect her trim took about 100 animals to make.

Sometimes admitting the truth of something is harsh and in a place like Hollywood where their success relies heavily on our fantasy driven projections of a perfect life, they understandably left this point out of their headlines. Too bad.

  • Silenced Opposition: Apparently, big money still talks and critical media and journalism has a way to go.

All the major magazines I read articles in, including Huffington Post, who usually has a more balanced voice, shared similar titles of “Rihanna Steals the Show in a Gorgeous, Gigantic Gown.” Although, when I spoke with people and read their responses online, I realized most of us regular folks found the gown appalling, saying such things as it looked like a cracked raw egg, pizza, big bird and a disgusting waste.

In USA Today they did mention some criticisms on the appearance of the gown, but still no where did they bring up the other moral issues. I guess when that much money is involved (apparently the dress was upwards of $700,000) we like to still keeps things fairly superficial.

Speaking of that…

This dress actually made me feel ashamed of being a North American. When what we think best represents us at a museum gala is a gown of utter extravagance, that came with great environmental cost, and was used only once, reeks of our consumerism and capitalist driven society. It smelled of old world bourgeoisie, and their negligence of anyone, animal, plant or human who was part of any considered lower walk of life.

With the state of our world do we really want to promote this idea…or shall we question it?

Let me recap:

As many as 100 foxes were killed to make this dress that took two years to put together, three people to carry, and was worn for about one hour (as soon as she was off that tightly piled crimson carpet she changed into something ‘more comfortable.)

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons this dress is still on my mind is because Rihanna has the money and power to invest in the most conscientious attire ever. Her dress at the Met Gala was more then a fashion statement, it was a comment on our current society and the need that there is for us to still wake up.

For all the Earths’ precious resources that this fox fur dress absorbed, I do find some grains of gratitude in it. It can be a teacher, one that serves as a quick slap on our hand and a sign of the good and hard work we still have left to do in becoming conscious.

I feel it is important to keep our eyes and hearts open to the things that disturb us. Behind our initial reactions usually lay valid and good reasons why.

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.’” ~ Albert Einstein

We need to be the ones who question pop-culture and keep mass corporations and media driven industries in-check.

Please, share your voice on matters like these too!





Author: Sarah Norrad

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Video Still








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Sarah Norrad

Sarah Norrad was born a wild woman in the rural and rugged forests of the Nimpkish Valley, on Vancouver Island, BC. This is a place where the mountains, forests and rivers speak louder than the people. A transformational coach, certified yoga instructor, mindfulness and lay counsellor, and authoress, Sarah muses at the world through a lens steeped in mindfulness, adventure, and tenderness. Currently, she exploits the cracks in her own heart to write as a columnist at elephant journal, her busy brain to create content for others through her business and her keen spirit to sit as coach and counsellor, teaching powerful tools for success in all aspect of our lives, especially personal power. Please track down her offerings and her mindful self on elephant journal, her writer’s page or her personal Facebook, her website, Cowbird, Twitter and Instagram.

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Maria Luigi Sep 26, 2018 8:22pm

I have to agree. Riannha should have known better. What a waste of 100 lives for one hour of red carpet glory?. You don't get my vote. I will have nothing but contempt for a being like that. Those Foxes we're more Sentiment than she will ever be .

Nallib Said Tala Montenegro Apr 3, 2018 7:00am

the designer, rihanna... the idiots making this shit... I hope they die painfully

Maxie Vine Jan 13, 2017 8:14am

#@rihanna .This makes you so ugly. Unfollowing you in every way. Think of all the money you could have given to Hiati instead. #rihannaBoycott

Mills Wills Sep 21, 2016 12:14am

She's not suffering if she loves it.

Mills Wills Sep 21, 2016 12:13am

The only valid point is that foxes were killed. The rest reads like a sociology students field day. Do we really need to try and find more things to hate. A talented Chinese woman made a big yellow dress that Rihanna could hardly walk in but she loved wearing it.

Lynn Driessen Jun 2, 2016 4:42pm


Cathy Maxwell May 28, 2016 6:04pm

I agree with all these points; it seems excessive. I have a fox and raccoon coat in my closet that I bought when I was about 19 (long ago - before I really knew better!) and I don't wear it. Fur is gorgeous and soft and luxurious... but much moreso when still on the lovely animals who should be the only ones with the right to wear fur!

Jason Herbert May 25, 2016 9:31pm

I'm not apposed to wearing fur per say. A coyote lined coat can keep frost off your face and keep you warm in -30 degrees. I eat what I hunt and I do shoot for predator control but this is asinine. I've no taste to shoot fox's where I live, their pretty rare sightings and they eat pretty small mammals. Coyotes numbers are a true burden here but doesn't seem Hollywood enough to glam about in. I know a lady who's had the same beaver pelt coat her husband trapped 40 years ago. She told me "she wished she had the foresight to add a beaver or two more in the waist". But this is completely obnoxious and nauseates me. Just fucking senseless.

Barbara S. Cromer May 21, 2016 11:47pm

Thank you for writing about that dress, that indeed, was appalling on so many levels. I have always loved fashion, but I find the whole Met Gala thing obscenely trashy. Also, thank you for saying that women should be past suffering for fashion. In the 21st century one would think society would have progressed beyond the likes of Louis the 16th France.

Carrie Dale May 20, 2016 1:20pm

beyond lame.

Teresa Roste May 19, 2016 4:03am

Disgusting how someone would do that be so selfish and uncaring and murder animals to wear them as a freeking ugly dress for one hour as a fan or former fan I will not be supporting her music or anything to do with her anylonger this does it for me

Liddy Ann May 18, 2016 4:36pm

What a heartless, narcissitic twat!

Lauren Beaumont May 18, 2016 11:38am

Just a heads up, I think you need to Google the theme for the Met Gala 2015. It will explain why she mentioned the Chinese connection to the dress.

Donna Dolittle May 18, 2016 2:27am

Casey Smith - Me neither! It's a sorry world we live in when an author ranks the deaths of 100 foxes midway down the line of importance and only 2 points ahead of the dress needing to be carried by 3 people! Sense of perspective/humanity/empathy sorely missed!!! (and Elephant Journal published it?!?) Terrible dress, terrible article, terrible ethics (of those who don't care about animal wrongs).

Casey Smith May 18, 2016 2:18am

As sad as it is, a lot of people do not care about the animal rights aspect. If she had only written the article based on the horrible lives and deaths of those poor foxes, a lot of people wouldn't even have read the article. :( Hopefully it will raise some awareness. I missed this dress as well, as I try to avoid all things "Rhianna". I am disgusted and truly heartbroken for the foxes that were tortured and died for that ugly dress. :( I honestly don't get some people.

Donna Dolittle May 18, 2016 1:30am

Shit article. The only reason needed is what it is made of. If Elephant Journal wanted to construct a worthwhile article then perhaps focus on the details of how the hundred foxes suffered a torturous caged existence then a hellish death...it might carry more weight than wittering on about how three people had to carry the dress! Sorry, but do you REALLY think that is a worthy comparison?

Sarah Norrad May 17, 2016 5:46pm

Thank you Dania! I am incredibly happy that we are discussing this too and very proud that Elephant Journal has the courage to publish and spread consious raising writing. Thank you for sharing your voice on this matter too. We do make a difference.

Linda Summersea May 17, 2016 5:46pm

Sarah Marie Norrad Yick. No, I didn't notice the tiger rug.

Sarah Norrad May 17, 2016 5:43pm

Thank you for that info, Linda. That was an intersting article. Did you notice the tiger rug in the showroom of her store? So when Rihanna said, 'hand made by one Chinese woman,' that wasn't exactly so. Thank you!

Linda Summersea May 17, 2016 5:40pm

Sarah Marie Norrad Hi up to you too. My husband tells me it's a beautiful day. I'm holed up behind the blinds, working on my memoir edit. Almost time for a walk in the island forest. ;-)

Sarah Norrad May 17, 2016 5:36pm

I missed this dress at first also. It wasn't until a writer firend brought it to my attention. I am totally wondering that too Linda, is the dress sitting in some storage locker somewhere?... If it could be repurposed somehow, it would make it at least a little more conscious. Maybe we need to suggest this to Rihanna ourselves! Hi down to you in Puget Sound. That is a beatiful place and I bet the spring there is magic!

Vanessa Conte May 17, 2016 4:11pm

so happy this is being discussed! fur is outdated showing backward thinking

Linda Summersea May 17, 2016 3:27pm

BTW The dress was made by a team of "6 to 8" women. One designer. (I was curious.) http://www.timeoutbeijing.com/features/Shopping__Style/146906/Interview-Designer-Guo-Pei-on-Rihannas-pizza-dress.html

Linda Summersea May 17, 2016 3:22pm

Somehow I missed this dress in the media last year. This was (is) insane. Where is the damned dress now? (...and please don't tell me the Smithsonian is purchasing it—although it might serve as an example of the decline of the 21st century.) Thanks for the enlightenment. I'm down the coast from you, on an island in Puget Sound.

Sarah Norrad May 17, 2016 3:22pm

Thank you Alex for taking the time to read this and to comment. I hope through our voices, questions and shared thought that we can keep waking up and become more gentle to our environment and each other. xo