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fetishism.

September 13, 2010

i forgot how much i loved this song until it came up on my itunes today. she’s canadian, ps. score.

the other day i got into a good conversation with my friend ben. we were talking about fetishism. it had been suggested that i had a fetish for gay men.

cue giggles. my reputation seems to precede me. i have people, now, telling me that “oh, you’ll like this writer. he’s GAY!” it’s like some odd reverse-homophobia. i’m not going to love every man just because he’s gay. true – i do write about gay/trans/drag culture quite a bit, but (hopefully) not in the way that i am gong to subvert it and take it for myself.

okay, so we got to talking about fetishism, and the fact that someone i knew was sort of mentioning that perhaps i wasn’t so comfortable in my own gender and that i was, rather, resorting to fetishizing gay men in order to… i don’t know, attain some sort of release? i’m not sure of the point. and the discussion didn’t bother me, because i’d rather have people talking about me than not. i’m a writer. i’m here to provoke. if people aren’t talking then i’m not doing my job. the thing that bothered me – and ben and i discussed this – is that people are talking about fetishes as though they are a negative thing. i think the word “fetish” has a negative connotation. “paraphilia” is the more negative of the two terms, but even then, there are varying levels of fetishes/paraphilias.

NOTE. being attracted to lingerie on a person is a “fetish” (!!!!). and on the list of paraphilias on the ubiquitous wikipedia, such things as being attracted to hair, being attracted to strength, and being attracted to breasts are listed – lumped in, actually, with such things as incest, pedophilia, etc. it’s a slippery slope.

i guess this is my psychology side coming out. who cares if i’m fetishizing something? i say this because i don’t consider fetishizing something negative. to me, it’s an inherent respect/attraction/excitement/happiness that occurs when that something or someone or whatever is seen or experienced. honestly, as long as everything and everyone is safe, legal, consenting – as i said before, it’s a slippery slope. if you are to condemn me for “fetishizing” gay men, then i will condemn you for “fetishizing” breasts, or leather, or feathers, or long hair, or painted nails. the only way we are all fetish-less is if we are all naked, clean, “normal” looking – and even then, there will still be deviations.

but enough of that rant. i bring this up because i find that writers often fetishize things! i once heard a writer read who had been OBSESSED with fruit for months! and some of the writers in my program are obsessed with various things (things i won’t mention because i don’t want to screw with their writing and let people steal their ideas.) i’ve known writers to be obsessed with incest, with killing, with voodoo, with anal sex!

i feel tired now. the point is this: don’t jump to judge, and understand the terms you are using before you use them. understand if there are connotations. understand if there are negative feelings attached with a word. and don’t deign to understand my writing without asking me properly. i don’t mind people asking me things at all. and i always strive to be the least subversive writer i can be when it comes to the gay community.

– anna

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2010 8:13 pm

    Have you seen Carnivale? Or, at least, the first half of the first season? In it there is a blind psychic who has an affair with a bearded woman. I was having a conversation about the bearded woman with some housemates; one of them was unhappy with the psychic’s affair with her. I asked him why, since he was on “my side,” in that he wasn’t descrying about how perverse and unnatural bearded women are. He said something to the effect of, “It seemed like his only interest in her was a fetish for her beard.” To which I said, “Perhaps he does have a fetish for her beard, but how can this be a bad thing in itself? How could this stop him from having a healthy relationship with her? Perhaps his sexual attraction to her beard is what enables him to have a relationship with her as a person (ie. he is not turned off by something most people find, rightly or wrongly, repulsive). Perhaps (no, more than perhaps), in this sense, fetishes are potentially a good thing; they give those people who are somehow conventionally unattractive a chance at being not only loved but physically desired.” To my relief he agreed. I don’t like protracted arguements.

    Of course fetishes can be dangerous or unconcentual, and people can in the pursuit of fetishistic desire commit dangerous or unconcentual acts, or lose their lives to sexual addiction… but that’s also true of sex in general, or, for that matter, eating or driving cars or whatever. It doesn’t mean fetishes are intrinsically bad.

    Um. Yes. I am done. I will stop taking over your comment board.

    • September 13, 2010 8:14 pm

      Oops. I must not have properly closed that italics tag.

    • September 19, 2010 11:47 am

      I agree. It’s a very convoluted thing – I find that arguing for or against fetishes really starts to peel back layers…

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