Drive-by

You know, despite my yen to have a bigger readership, there are definitely some advantages to running a small-time blog. Case in point: bigger blogs probably have to deal with comments like this all the time:

So what, people can’t have sexual attractions to specific people? Oh, I know, I should stop going after people I find attractive, suppress my desires and live a ‘normal’ life. OH WAIT WHERE HAVE I HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE? Jesus Christ, you have such a double standard.

Thanks, random commenter!The comment appears on my post about a comic that a whooooooole lotta people find offensive, dismissive, triggering… I’m sorry, do I need to add more adjectives, or can we leave it at those?

My response, in case anyone is curious:

Loki, have you read any of the linked folks in this post? (You could even try An Open Letter, helpfully tracked back in three different places in this very comment thread.) Unless you’ve done that and would like to, oh, I don’t know, actually engage with the crux of these arguments–or demonstrate that you understand the distinction between fetishization/objectification and simple attraction–I’m gonna have to ask you to refrain from commenting again.

I think that was remarkably civil of me, given how frequently this bullshit “But people just like what we like! We can’t help it!” argument comes up whenever someone dares speak up about objectification and fetishization. Loki’s comment is particularly amusing (or infuriating, depending on what kind of mood you’re in) because of that part about my “double standard.” Because clearly being queer and wanting to not get the shit kicked out of me for loving another woman is exactly the same as othering trans guys as “ridiculously hot transformations of gender perception.”

Because I think so highly of myself, allow me to quote myself:

Here’s my argument: I can’t say that “honestly preferring” men’s sports is necessarily sexist, just as I can’t say that “honestly preferring” blondes is. But just as I think it’s important to see that our attractions don’t exist in a vacuum–they’re colored by cultural factors, in this case a society that routinely objectifies women and fetishizes their physical and psychological parts–it’s important to see that our preferences for entertainment don’t, either.

(I want to make it clear that this was in a post about women’s athletics. I don’t think trans guys are women, and I don’t want anyone to think that by quoting this particular passage I’m drawing a direct parallel between the objectification of women and the objectification of trans men. But I do think there are plenty of people who do fetishize the physical and psychological parts of trans men, as the infamous comic so helpfully illustrates.)

Really, it’s just making my ears steam a little that anyone would read my opinion that people should at the very least examine their own attractions as somehow equal to the societal oppression I experience as a queer woman. Aside from the fact that I don’t have the power to stop anyone from being attracted to anyone else, I’m not saying “Bad dog! Stop being attracted to trans guys!”

What I am saying–and I don’t think I’m alone here–is that when lots and lots of people have said, “Actually, I’m not flattered–I feel othered, and objectified, and like you’re exploiting my identity and my life,” maybe it’s time to take a second look at those “sexual attractions to specific people.”

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7 Responses to Drive-by

  1. RMJ says:

    Hope it’s okay to blogwhore, but I wrote on the societal implications of attraction back here if you’re interested.

  2. RMJ says:

    Oh jeez, that was slightly jerky of me. I hate it when people make a claim about your post or make a point that one of your links counters. I bet they never hit “subscribe to replies” too, so they never hear your rebuttal. Ugh.

  3. pandanose says:

    Blogwhoring is always fine (although it Is a little funny that you essentially did a drive-by on a post about a drive-by)!

    I had read that post of yours, by the way, and that’s one kind of attraction I’d never thought of that much. I’ve always been a sucker from accents, but pretty much Any accent will do–deep country, Irish, Southie…

  4. Jaleesa says:

    I’m a bit inexperienced when it comes to thinking about this stuff as I carry no fetishes and don’t really understand them…but it would seem to me that all fetishes are in response to societal conditioning or societal norms, sort of pathological. It doesn’t ever seem to be a condition of just liking what you like.

  5. pandanose says:

    Well, Jaleesa, I think we can really extend that to attraction in general. And, as our drive-by commenter so eloquently demonstrates, even folks who others recognize as engaging in objectification or fetishization don’t always recognize what they’re doing.

  6. Jaleesa says:

    And yet they feel so entitled to state their opinion…dangerous stuff, there.

  7. pandanose says:

    Well, we’re all entitled to our opinions, I suppose. But if we hold inflammatory opinions we’re not entitled to immunity from reaction/being held accountable.

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