The human fetish
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
If it’s valid to elevate a few just because they are ‘exotic,’ does it not become valid to skip others because they are not the right type?
There is much to be said about racial fetishization. Terms like jungle or yellow fever come to mind while statements like “you’re so pretty for a (insert racial and gender combo)” have become universally condemned. But at the same time, when in the pursuit of promiscuous experiences or even long-term relationships, it’s generally a good thing when someone has a reason to give you a whirl. Is it possible then for people to be okay with being sexualized based off of their ancestral line?
I am very willing to wager that for a large section of the male population the idea of a woman wanting them solely for a quality that’s only skin-deep is acceptable; after all, anything that boosts desirability is a boon in the mating game. So, why not wear a G-Unit t-shirt and feign a Brooklyn accent to attract girls who have an eye for the stereotypical portrayal of black males? Some Asian men might not find it all that hurtful to style their hair and dress like a K-pop idol if it gets them dates and more. Besides, there is an audience of Asian women looking for white men, so even the traditional fetishization is not unidirectional. In cases like that, mutual exploitation leads to mutual satisfaction, and as the great Bill Withers once wrote: “If it feels this good getting used, oh you better keep on using me until you use me up.”
But then again, if it’s valid to elevate a few just because they are “exotic,” does it not become valid to skip others because they are not the right type? Dating apps like Tinder and Grindr have both had to put a stop to users explicitly stating their racial dating preferences in their profiles due to its inherently discriminatory nature. Is it then not fair to say that these “preferences” are no less racist than negative stereotypes even if they have results desirable to those it applies to? In the eyes of potential mates, stating “Asian only but not Indians” is clearly offensive even if it secures a handful of men dates.
The commonly accepted answer in our woke world is yes, stereotypes are bad even if they lead to one’s desired sexual gratification. As a culture, we have moved more towards the idea of race agnostic dating practices and denying “positive stereotypes.” But no one can decide for someone else what they should be offended by and it certainly can’t stop those in the dating pool from doing it. It’s more likely that people will hold whatever attractions they hold regardless of the negative effects it will have. Attraction is predominantly illogical, and it’s not yet been figured out how best—if it’s possible at all—to change peoples minds on these preferences.
It’s likely then that some people will have an uneasy acceptance of the objectification that benefits them, and the more power to them for reaping the benefits (carnal or matrimonial) of the desires of others. Since these occur between consenting adults, it should not be a concern to others what grounds the relationship was built on. Still, it is a near impossible balance to hold between preference and discrimination or objectification.