fr0ttagecheese said: Hi! I'm sorry, but I've always been confused about what fetishization is when it comes to m/m and why it gets thrown around so much when women write I've asked other people, but always got answers that kept me confused. Could you help me out?
Fetishization is basically when you dehumanize someone “other” from you specifically for your sexual pleasure. Say, if you look at your History teacher who is an East Asian woman and you can’t keep yourself from thinking of her as a sexual object (because she’s “submissive” or “petite” or whatever other sexual stereotypes people believe about Asian women) when you should be looking at her as a person and a professional. Or maybe you have a fetish for trans women, or fat women, or black men. You can’t see them outside of a sexual context and sexualize them against their will. You don’t look at them as people. You don’t respect their boundaries. When they don’t conform to your sexual desires—the fat woman doesn’t want you reblogging pictures of her in her wedding dress to jerk off to, or the Asian woman refuses to be submissive and giggly and instead demands your respect, or the trans woman refuses to tell you about her genitals—then you become hostile and even violent because that person “betrayed” you and refused to be the sexual object you are trying to force them to be.
When we’re talking about M/M specifically, we’re talking about treating gay or queer men as sexual objects in much the same way. Your neighbour is a gay man and you need to riddle out whether he’s a top or a bottom. Your son is gay and you treat him like he’s a character in your favourite queerbaiting tv show. A gay man who doesn’t sexually please you—because he’s a POC or he’s fat or disabled or he just plain doesn’t want to be nice to you—is a person you want nothing to do with, because he has nothing to offer you sexually. With gay people, you see their sexuality first and their individuality second, or last, or never at all.
Now, not everybody is going to agree with me on this, but I think fetishization requires a certain amount of privilege between the parties: a white person dehumanizing and sexualizing a black person, a cis person dehumanizing and sexualizing a trans person, a man dehumanizing and sexualizing a woman, a straight person dehumanizing and sexualizing a queer one.
So is M/M written by women fetishistic? It certainly can be, especially when it’s produced/consumed by straight people. However, I’m very much not okay with blanket condemning it as such, especially when we’re talking about queer authors/readers. I take it on a case by case basis. Some books or authors or individuals, you get the sense that they only care about queer issues insofar as the queer people involved give them sexual pleasure—for example, someone who reads M/M but doesn’t support marriage equality or otherwise opposes LGBT issues politically, or someone who writes M/M but is dismissive or oppressive of anyone who isn’t a sexy cis gay man, ie they don’t have a care in the world for POC LGBT, or for trans people, or for queer women. Only the gay men they sexually fantasize about.
So basically: does the text/person treat queer people as objects? Do they dehumanize them? Do they put their sexual desires first when it comes to dealing with LGBT issues and people? Do they treat gay sex as something uniquely titillating specifically because it’s “exotic” and “other” or somehow superior to m/f or f/f sex for no discernible reason? Are they dismissive or hostile toward any queer person who doesn’t agree to or play along with their sexual fantasy or their expectations for how they should act? To me, this would all be signs that you are dealing with a fetishistic person or text.
Any other queer people wanna weigh in on this?
*standing ovation for this post*
Clearest definition/clarification of this I’ve seen yet.