Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not the stuff of dreams

I saw a post on Facebook today that bothered me and resisted the urge to leave a scathing comment. But, it has stayed with me, to the point of invading my meditation, a time when I usually have no trouble not engaging with my thoughts. I thought, "I must write about this." And so, I will. . .

One person is sent a photograph of a tattooed stump as a "gift." The recipient replies, "Wow! This is almost as good as midget porn!"

I don't know, maybe I've lost my sense of humor completely, but sending photos of people who have lost limbs to others as gifts seems sickening to me. I've tattooed these people, and their stumps (if they call them that) are part of their bodies. They're not fetish objects. But yes, they are also that, aren't they?

As far as midgets go, they have also been fetishized, and are frequently seen in movie and television dream sequences. I don't get that. I've never had a dream in which a little person comes out of nowhere wearing a top hat. I'm guessing that the only people who dream of unusually short people are those who are themselves unusually short, or those who see them as fetish objects. Either way, those dream sequences are always ridiculous, in my estimation, and I wonder if little people are offended. If you are very short and reading this, please tell me what you think. I'm most curious.

I'm very short, and I wouldn't mind if I was one person's personal fetish, but there's something sickening about fetishizing an entire group of people. I suppose I could draw this conclusion further and say that all women are objectified, and some people would agree, but I don't think that's all that bad. We all are attracted to certain characteristics, and many people like looking at that which we are attracted to. Yes, I'm skirting around the issue of pornography. It's a big subject.

I suppose I can let everyone off the hook about porn, general porn, but when it comes to drooling over that which causes others pain, and not in the sadomasochistic sense, it bothers me greatly. The broken limb, the stigma of being unusually short or tall, or deformed in some way; sexual objectification seems like adding insult to injury. But I may be wrong. For all I know, it's an added bonus, a compliment. I've never asked anyone who has a stump if they minded the jokes, and I've certainly never asked them if they minded the porn.

The first time I tattooed a person who was missing part of a limb, and tattooed what was left of it, I had to get over a certain revulsion. I admit this freely. I think it's fairly natural. But once I did, I felt a certain tenderness in me. There was something more intimate about being allowed to hold that half thigh in my hands, more intimate than an ordinary thigh. And while I felt no longing for it, I can imagine that there are people who feel that way. But I think I may be being overly generous; somehow I think the reasons for longing stem from darker emotions.

There's no conclusion here. Just an airing of my thoughts, and a desire to hear from anyone who has an opinion on these matters.

Now, to bed, where I will imagine I will not be dreaming of anything like that which I see in movies.

Photo note: From "Twin Peaks", conceived and directed by David Lynch - perhaps the "worst offender" of the dwarves-in-dream-sequence motif. For more images from this scene, go here.


BitterGrace said...

Lots to think about here. Fetishes are a curious phenomenon. There seems to be something fundamentally warped and anti-human about them, but that may just be prejudice on my part. As you point out, we all objectify people to some extent.

I have no idea what it's like for a little person or an amputee to find herself on the receiving end of someone's fetish-driven lust. I don't even have big breasts ( a near-universal fetish in this culture), so I don't get a tremendous amount of libidinal energy from total strangers. But when I was younger, I had very long, luxuriant hair, and that did seem to bring the weirdos out of the woodwork. I can remember several times when men approached me in public, practically drooling, "You have beautiful hair." Clearly, they were turned on by that alone, they weren't interested in me. That always felt completely creepy to me. I never found it flattering in any way.

Julie H. Rose said...

I thought I'd address your comment with another post, but the urge has passed. I had a numbers of thoughts:

1. It was odd that I'd never thought of the word "amputee"; while I was writing I was reaching for it, but never found it.

2. I really did not want to write about fetishes, but it just came rolling out. Before you even left your comment I was thinking that when a part of the body (or lack thereof) was turned into a fetish, it is not the person who is loved or desired, just as you wrote - you were not desired - it was your hair. But then, hair is a part of us, or why would some women weep when it's cut off? Such a big, meaty issue, this one. Some other time for it all, and probably in little pieces. . .