I’d like to speak today about a linguistic dispute in the reddit crossdreamer thread. A dispute which can be described in the following terms…
– Some members of the community want to refer to crossdreaming as a fetish. We will call them fetishists.
– Some members are offended by this. We will call them crossdreamers.
How to resolve this issue
First of all I want to make clear that this is solely a linguistic dispute. Crossdreamers have no problem with the idea that crossdreaming is fundamentally sexual.. ie… there are no hidden female identities, no transgender narrative… and that the crossdreamer is primarily motivated by a sexual urge. Crossdreamers do not believe that, but recognise it is a valid argument.
So that’s not the cause of the dispute. What offends the crossdreamers is the use of the words fetish and paraphilia when talking about that sexual urge.
The crossdreamers claim – and this is the heart of the issue – that fetish and paraphilia are stigmatising, loaded terms. They are basically synonyms for perversion and abnormality, and that there are a whole range of neutral terms which can be used to replace them. These neutral terms, such as ‘sexual preference /taste for/ sexuality/ erotic interest in/ orientation/ allow for the same debate – minus the offending language.
The fetishists argue that fetish and paraphilia are harmless, neutral terms – simply labels for a range of sexual tastes which differ from that of the majority.
Okay, so does everybody have the two sides clear? 1) fetish and paraphilia are loaded, stigmatising terms. 2) fetish and paraphilia are harmless labels for alternative sexual desires.
Step 1 – seperating ‘fetish’ from ‘paraphilia’
Fetish has three meanings:
‘A sexual focus on a nonliving object or nongenital body part.’ American institute of Psychiatry.
2) Common parlance A:
Any type of sexual taste that is different from classic heterosexual sex. This can be completely benign and harmless: “Tommy has a fetish for latex.”
3) Common parlance B:
Any type of sexual taste that is different from classic heterosexual sex and is considered perverted: “Tommy has a fetish for latex (said contemptuously.)
Firstly, it is blatantly and abundantly clear that crossdreaming is not a fetish in academic, scientific or medical terms. In fact, James Cantor – qualified sexologist and virulent believer that transsexuals are motivated by sexuality – wrote on our very website, three weeks ago…
Finally, autogynephilia is not a fetish. (Fetishes are sexual interests in inanimate objects.)
…(And please… nobody throw transvestic fetishism into the equation because crossdreaming is not the same as crossdressing.)
Secondly, while there are some people for whom fetish is a benign word and a harmless reference to alternative sexual stimuli… it is undeniable that a substantial portion of the population see the word as synonymous with kinky, not normal, perverted.
Therefore, it is patently absurd to claim that the following phrase ‘crossdreaming is a fetish’ is a harmless statement when it is …1) scientifically, medically and sexologically inaccurate… and 2) well known that ‘fetish’ is synonymous with ‘perversion’ and ‘stigma’ in the public imagination.
But not only is it patently absurd… it is patently unacceptable to bring such language to a reddit described as…
a safe place for discussion and support for Crossdreamers…. Our goal is to foster a community that helps people to find what they’re looking for. We promote the exploration of gender, without stigmatizing your sexual interests.
THE WORST THING ABOUT THIS IS THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO COME TO REDDIT LOOKING FOR ADVICE… PEOPLE IN CRISIS… and their whole experience gets hijacked by obsessive fetishists projecting their humiliation fantasies onto the rest of the community.
The final argument of the fetishists: “Sexologists, academics, doctors and the general public are wrong… our meaning is the correct one. The word ‘fetish’ shouldn’t be stigmatised…”
Sorry, but you cant go back in linguistic time. Yes, for some people it’s not stigmatised, but for many it is, it always will be, and therefore the term will never be clean. It’s contaminated… and trying to hold onto it when there are so many alternative words makes no fucking sense. So give it up! Or at least… take it the fuck out of your crossdreamer discourse!
Peeople who try to say the word fetish and paraphilia are harmless just don’t know their history. The words were clearly invented by early sexologists to distinguish certain types of sexual behavior as errant and others as correct. Even now, if you enter paraphilia into google this is what you see… ABNORMAL, EXTREME, DANGEROUS!
An olive branch to the fetishists
At the end of the day we’re all just trying to understand our lives. The majority of the fetishists – people like interbeung – are not trolls, they have a sincere belief in their theory, and we shouldn’t attack them.
Let’s also remember that we have no problem with the argument that crossdreaming is just a sexual phenomena and that all that transgender stuff is nonsense… All we ask is that you refrain from using the word fetish and paraphilia when talking about crossdreamer sexuality; maybe you have no problem talking that way, but we do.
Maybe the difference between us comes down to a different experience of crossdreaming. It maybe that the fetishists only fantasize about domination and humiliation and therefore see it through that prism. For many crossdreamers, though, domination is not their turn on; many have classic romantic fantasies, many dream about being in a lesbian relationship, some are genuinely attracted to men and have loved/are in love with men.
Crossdreaming is, therefore, a general term for an enormous swathe of sexual, emotional and psychic behavior that occurs in the context of gender variant psychology. You simply can not come in, guns blazing, saying everyone has a ‘fetish’.
So let’s all chill the fuck out… and let’s not criticise anyone (not even WXLUP – whose Reddit I visited yesterday and found some interesting stuff in). But please… no more use of the word fetish with respect to crossdreaming… it’s factually incorrect and considered by many as offensive.