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fr0ttagecheese asked: 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*
Absolutely it’s best to take it on a case-by-case basis.
I think the OP was talking about fiction, at least it looks to me like they were talking mostly about women writers who write m/m fiction whey they asked why fetishization gets thrown around so much when women write.
I don’t care who wrote something that has a character I can relate to in it, and finally FINALLY has some positive representation of someone like me. I don’t need the writer to BE exactly like me in order to write those characters. Straight cis men have always written almost everything, and we don’t demand that they shouldn’t be allowed to write about any characters but straight cis men.
The reason why fetishization “gets thrown around so much when women write” as the OP asked, is because of misogyny plain and simple.
Men have been filling their fictional worlds with every kind of character there is forever, and cis men have always gotten published and advertised and critically acclaimed so much more than writers of other genders that it’s ridiculous. Men have written far more harmful fetishizing crap than anyone else.
Yet where are the cries of “men shouldn’t write lesbian characters!!!!!” Or “men are just fetishizing women when they try to write about any female character!” But as a group, cis men absolutely do far more harm in the real world with their depictions of characters of other genders than any other group of writers you could possibly group together to criticize, as people so very much LOVE to do with women writers.
Men are allowed to write any characters. They’re judged on an individual basis, based on their actual work. That’s because men are considered individual humans and not a group that needs to be marginalized and controlled, like women. When women write, they are fair game to be attacked just for being female and having no right to write about anything other than what society approves for them and then devalues simply by calling it “by and for women.”
I think even on Tumblr, people jump to judge and criticize and shame women who write fan fiction in ways that they would NEVER do to a man writing fan fiction, because they’re so used to giving a straight cis male writer tons of leeway for being judged on the merit of his actual individual work no matter if he were writing any characters of any gender or sexual orientation.
Women are just regularly lumped all together and told that “women can’t do ____” and we’re so used to it that we unfairly blanket-judge all women who write fan fiction and we fall right into what we’re socialized to do, which is to attack women and tell them that they can’t do something just because they are women.
We’re so used to it that we see nothing wrong in telling all women that there will be something inherently wrong with them trying to write m/m fan fiction, without giving the individual writers the chance to prove their ability to understand those characters and write them well, the way we ALWAYS give that chance to men no matter what stories or characters they want to write.
So yeah, I think it’s misogyny that’s behind the fact that cries of fetishization get thrown around so much when women write.Wow, this is a great post and really explains what’s wrong with the waysome people do m/m and why it’s not necessarily a blanket problem that’s automatically going to happen every time someone who is not literally a gay or bisexual cis man writes about a gay or bisexual cis man.
In fact, eons ago when my spouse and I were in slash fandom, there was LOTS of fetishisting bullying from the straight fans. I was excoriated for talking about marriage equality where all they wanted to do was read about buttsex. They made it a very unfriendly environment for two young queer people, and in some ways it helped create our marriage as it drove us together.
I agree with everyone — please let this be a case by case basis so you can harshly condemn those who are doing all the wrong things teacupnosaucer mentioned, without saying that no woman could ever write about two men falling in love without it automatically going down this path. Or misgendering trans men who write m/m, which I’m ashamed to say happened in my old fandom in a really fucking gross way.
love both of these responses! thank you for weighing in :)
The friend zone is very real. We have all had someone we were close to that we realized we were crushing on in a big way - but we hated ourselves for it. As much as we hoped and prayed things would change for the better, many of us acknowledged that our love for the other person was going to be detrimental towards the relationship. The people in this kind of friend zone cry while watching romance movies or go out and get drunk and kiss strangers. We make sure to keep a respectful distance between the person we like and ourselves - we are distinctly afraid of fucking things up because of our shitty heart being a complete dickweed and doing the thumpy thing when it shouldn’t.
The Friend Zone is entirely false and is a complete invention made by boys who on one hand get angry if they think you’re soliciting sex by playing video games but on the other hand get angry if you are not soliciting sex just by breathing. The Friend Zone consists rarely of actual friends - instead it’s often people who stare at us in class and make us uncomfortable by constantly trying to talk to us while we’re obviously engaged in something else. These are the people who invade our personal space and aren’t afraid to talk dismissively about the things which we are passionate about - our faith in particular.
These are not kind people. Once I was in a hospital’s waiting room and a woman was quietly saying a prayer for her son. After a few minutes, several other people joined in, linking their hands and bowing their heads. The boy next to me began to talk loudly to me about how disgusting and juvenile it was and how amused he happened to be by the behavior of the “sheep.”
"I’m Catholic," I replied, looking into his eyes, "I think what they’re doing is beautiful."
He looked down my shirt. “You seemed more intelligent than that,” he snorted, “I should have known. Are you even reading that book or are you just skimming?”
I blinked. I wish I had said something like, “No, I’m just breathing in the words and hoping they stick,” but instead I just gave him a dirty look and tried to tune him out. He kept talking to me for the better part of an hour.
Eventually, he got around to asking me out for coffee. I wanted to explain I was waiting for my mother to get out of chemotherapy, that my family was poised on the edge of a terrible end, that I barely knew him and basically already hated him. Instead, I smiled sheepishly and said, “I’d rather not.”
"You bitch," he replied. I watched his face flare hot. "You sluts are all like this. You play hard-to-get faux-intelligent and you lead people on just to hurt them."
"I’m…?" I started. I was scared. He was in my face. His hands were curled into fists.
"You’re all like this," he repeated. At this point, a few of the other people in the room were staring. I was pressed against the side of my chair, trying to get as far from him as I could. He wouldn’t lower his voice. "You fucking friend zone all the nice guys and date shitty asshole men and then come crying to our shoulders when you need someone."
I am not a confrontational person. Panic bubbled in my throat. I felt tears jump into my eyes. I started stuttering again. I was really honestly positive he was going to hurt me - for no other reason than turning down coffee.
This is the difference between the friend zone and the Friend Zone: one is hating yourself for liking the other person. The other is hating the other person for not liking you.
idk why police officers being monitored to make sure they’re performing their duties ethically and within legal parameters is such a controversial topic because if I recall they’re a fan of using the whole “if you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear” shtick to justify harassing civilians it’s almost like they’re full of bullshit
my favorite tidbit about rome is that in the mid-1800s one of the popes didnt like the statues in rome having dicks so he ordered them knocked off. fast forward to the last decade or so and art historians in conjunction with the vatican are trying to erm. restore. the statues. but the dicks were just. kept in a box. so art historians are going around rome, with a box of dicks, trying to match them up to their owner.