Your Racial Fetish is not a Compliment

I read “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf last week & this passage pretty much sums up the premise of the book:

The books and films they see survey from the young boy’s point of view his first touch of a girl’s thighs, his first glimpse of her breasts. The girls sit listening, absorbing, their familiar breasts estranged as if they were not part of their bodies, their thighs crossed self-consciously, learning how to leave their bodies and watch them from the outside. Since their bodies are seen from the point of view of strangeness and desire, it is no wonder that what should be familiar, felt to be whole, become estranged and divided into parts. What little girls learn is not the desire for the other, but the desire to be desired. Girls learn to watch their sex along with the boys; that takes up the space that should be devoted to finding out about what they are wanting, and reading and writing about it, seeking it and getting it. Sex is held hostage by beauty and its ransom terms are engraved in girls’ minds early and deeply with instruments more beautiful that those which advertisers or pornographers know how to use: literature, poetry, painting, and film. (Naomi Wolf, “The Beauty Myth”) 
Men are taught to desire whereas women are taught to be desired.

That’s the difference between male & female sexuality in our patriarchal society in a nutshell.

While white women are objectified as well, it hurts women of color more.

At least, when you type “pretty white girls” in Google, you get faces. Faces of people; living breathing creatures with dreams, goals, & desires. Faces of people exhibiting emotions we all feel. Faces of people who might even have the same interests as us.

Now contrast that with what comes up when you type “pretty Brazilian girls” in Google. Pictures of women where the main focus isn’t on the girl’s face, but rather a specific part of her body: a toned, flat stomach, mountainous bosoms, or a perfectly round derriere. Some pictures don’t even have the girls’ faces in them. They are just photographs of perfectly shaped bums…& who do these enviable rear ends belong to?

We will never know.

You see, at least white girls are treated as human beings. They aren’t sexualized unless if they want to be sexualized. As a WOC, you simply don’t have this luxury. You’re either a sexy & kinky Latina, a shy and submissive Asian girl, a voluptuous and bold black woman, or a “forbidden fruit” in the form of a Muslimah. You’re not a woman. You’re an exciting mission. Your body exists solely for the White Man to conquer.

Where do we fit in this picture? Where are our dreams, goals, & desires? Our emotions? Our interests?
Fetishization harms women of color by reducing them to racist stereotypes. 

Women of color are groomed from a very young age to accept their role as hypersexualized beings in the society. How can one not notice the absence of women of color in the media who aren’t sexy? How can one not notice the fact that almost all the “natural” & “body positive” movements that have become recently popular exclude us? Worse yet, we never, ever see a WOC actually desiring someone…unless if she’s playing the role of a promiscuous woman. Where are all the sex positive movements telling us that it is ok for us to want someone?

As a WOC, why must my existence be a predicament? When you aren’t fetishizing me, you are hating my existence. You are getting offended by my features, as if my thick curly hair is a pit of snakes hissing and threatening to swallow you whole. As if my big nose is a hawk waiting to dig in your flesh. As if my dark skin is toxic & touching it will infect with Ebola, MERS-CoV or whatever the disease du jour affecting only people of color is.

This is why I don’t take being fetishized as a compliment. It’s just another way for white people to exert their superiority over me…to “conquer” me…to let me know that I was picked the way people pick animals at a local pet store...based on my breed, my color, how easy it is to "tame" my, & how domestic I am. It's not flattering.

It’s a slap on the face.

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One Response to Your Racial Fetish is not a Compliment

  1. A quick question about the study: when you found higher rates in regards to ads looking for dates/marriage among Asian women, were the ads posted by white men? Or were they regular matrimonial?


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