Fetishization and Objectification of People

We've all heard of fetishes, like leather, exhibitionism, or men wearing ladies' panties, etc., but there's another sort of fetish which is probably not quite so healthy, and that would be the fetishization of certain types of people, or certain features of individuals. 

Whether or not this is unhealthy, I can't say for certain. I'm no expert on the subject, but my gut instinct says it could prove to be a problem at some point down the line, depending on how it's approached. To get others' opinions on this as well, I asked some questions regarding this topic in a Facebook group that I'm in, which is unrelated to sex, figuring it would give me a somewhat wider view of attitudes with regards to this topic. Most people were pretty much in agreement, though. 

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For starters, let me explain what I am talking about here. As I mentioned above, I'm not referring to the usual fetishes that someone may have, but instead, I'm referring to fetishizing a human being, or, more precisely, specific types of people, or their attributes. And doing so in favor of that attribute, potentially without regard for any other aspect of that person. Now, the standard definition of a fetish as as follows:

fe·tish noun \ˈfe-tish also ˈfē-\
: a strong and unusual need or desire for something

: a need or desire for an object, body part, or activity for sexual excitement

: an object that is believed to have magical powers
— http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fetish

We're going to ignore the magical powers part of that because, well, that's just stupid... unless you have a thing for leprechauns, or something. But, really, it's rather irrelevant to what I'm referring to.

When I refer to the fetishization of people, or individuals, rather, I am talking about those who might pursue someone simply because they were redheaded, or because they were Asian, or black, or perhaps because the individual was a little person, disabled, or an amputee. 

This can be loosely tied to fetishization of body parts, of course, especially in the cases of redheads, or amputees, where we're talking about specific features which these people have, that a person is drawn to. But for the sake of this post, I'm going to lump it in with fetishizing people because those attributes are, generally speaking, a part of the whole of the person, and are not permanently alterable. Sure, you could change the hair color, but you'd have to dye all of the body hair, and most people with red hair have other features in common with one another, such as pale skin tones, and freckles. In any case, just work with me here! 

So, is it necessarily a bad thing if someone were to date you primarily because of your race, or because of the color of your hair, or because they liked that you have a hairy chest, and they didn't really look at the rest of you? Is it a bad thing if they do this and you're just hooking up?

The consensus among those that I asked seemed to be that, they were more concerned if someone they were dating was only dating them because of some fetishization of one of their features, but were less concerned if it was just for a hookup, and I tend to agree. 

I have a hairy chest and a bigger belly, and many men like this sort of thing. It's not something I'm into, but I don't begrudge others for being really into bearish guys. If it's a hookup type of situation, I don't mind that they seem to be obsessed with my chest and stomach. But if we were dating, and all they really cared about was what was under my shirt, then I'd be concerned. To this person, I have been objectified, and am little more than a warm, self-cleaning sex toy, which would make me feel rather used, underappreciated, and unloved.

How do you know, though, if the person you are dating is only into you because of what you are, or because of some physical feature, and not because of who you are? Well, I guess that would be something you'd have to keep an eye out for, especially if you were among those who would commonly be fetishized in our society. For instance, in the USA, white men seem to have a thing for Asians. Why? I don't know. Personally, I'm rather indifferent with race. But, if you were Japanese, and a white man was dating you and he seemed really interested in you as a person, you're probably safe. But if he only seemed to care about your look, or perhaps cared more about Japanese culture than you, then something might be up. 

If you are a little person, and an average sized person was dating you, and they made little effort to get to know you, or they seemed to mostly be interested in the fact that you were smaller than them, that might be cause to believe that their interest in you is solely based on your status as a little person, and nothing more. 

To me, this seems like a shaky foundation on which to build a relationship, as the person may lose interest in the novelty of your particular unique attributes and then move on. Now, if we're talking about a hookup, in which neither party is really getting to know one another, and it's all mostly based on physical attraction, then I guess it doesn't matter a whole lot of they're screwing around with you because they think you are gorgeous, in general, or if they just love the fact that you have huge tits.