Feet first? You're sick!
October 27, 2002 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Feet first? You're sick! What's this all about? Fetishism on its own is impotence. It should surely be an apéritif, an accompaniment, a starter - not the main dish. Men seem to use it as an excuse not to engage. For women it's just an item on the menu of love; not the make-or-break thing men seem to make it. What was that Adam Sandler film where he gets foot-whacked by brilliant, dreamy John Turturro? [Via very manly, ever-so-sensitive Bifurcated Rivets - I hate the way men post things and then cover themselves by saying "may offend"!]
posted by Schweppes Girl (25 comments total)

Fetish Libs!

Dear Princess Natalie, Me hated this bitchin' monkey toes! My church group maybe going to send you a pint of blood because you are so arrogant! Below is a little very scary words that will help you deal with your new found fame:
posted by gottabefunky at 2:23 PM on October 27, 2002

Scwheppes Girl, some say the word fetish comes from portuguese! And according to the same article - and to your point about fetishism for its own sake - apparently, for many, feet don't need to be involved at all, simply the shoe is enough.

Well I can kind of see people having a thing for exotic shoes and boots as a stimulant, but feet and gas pedals? Apparently this is not uncommon.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:01 PM on October 27, 2002

Madamjujujive: a twin soul, I see! You're absolutely right. But we women love shoes more than feet, surely? Anyway, you're sooooo right about the etymology. Here goes the Oxford English Dictionary definition (which fails to mention that the Portuguese feitiço, the basis for fetish, is also quite plainly spell, enchantment, witchcraft). Hey, we're kinky - so what? :) The question is how far should this be in the hierarchy of sex? Isn't this foot fetish website just silly? and typical?

Here goes the full O.E.D treatment, madamjujujive (it's your own fault for bringing it up!): very enlightening!:

"[a. F. fétiche, ad. Pg. feitiço n. charm, sorcery (from which the earliest Eng. forms are directly adopted) = Sp. hechizo in same sense; a subst. use of feitiço adj. ‘made by art, artificial, skilfully contrived’ = Sp. hechizo, It. fattizio, OF. faitis (see FEATOUS):L. factcius FACTITIOUS.]

1. a. Originally, any of the objects used by the Negroes of the Guinea coast and the neighbouring regions as amulets or means of enchantment, or regarded by them with superstitious dread. b. By writers on anthropology (following C. de Brosses, Le Culte des Dieux Fétiches, 1760) used in wider sense: An inanimate object worshipped by primitive peoples on account of its supposed inherent magical powers, or as being animated by a spirit.
A fetish (in sense 1b) differs from an idol in that it is worshipped in its own character, not as the image, symbol, or occasional residence of a deity.

1613 PURCHAS Pilgrimage VI. xv. (1614) 651 Hereon were set many strawen Rings called Fatissos or Gods. 1696 J. OVINGTON Voy. Suratt 67 They [these Africans] travel nowhere without their Fateish about them. 1723 J. ATKINS Voy. Guinea (1735) 102 There is also at Cabo Corso, a publick Fetish, the Guardian of them all; and that is the Rock Tabra. 1746 J. BARBOT Descr. Guinea 230 The..gold is..cast into sundry shapes and sizes, which some there call Fetissos, signifying in Portuguese charms. 1761 Brit. Mag. II. 294 The chief fetiche is the snake. 1803 T. WINTERBOTTOM Sierra Leone I. vii. 123 The gree-gree, or fetish, hung round their neck. Ibid. I. xiv. 228 Idols. These are called Fe-teesh. 1809-10 COLERIDGE Friend (1837) III. 84 As well might the poor African prepare for himself a fetisch by plucking out the eyes of the eagle. 1851-9 PRICHARD in Man. Sci. Enq. 265 Others..worship fetiches or visible objects in which they suppose some magical or supernatural power to be concealed. 1865 LIVINGSTONE Zambesi xxv. 523 A greegree or fetish is thrown away as useless when the consecrating nostrum is discovered to be inoperative. 1879 Encycl. Brit. IX. 118 If the wishes of the worshipper be not granted..the fetich.. is kicked, stamped on, dragged through the mud.

c. fig. Something irrationally reverenced.

1837 EMERSON Addr. Amer. Schol. Wks. (Bohn) II. 183 Some fetish of a government..is cried up by half mankind. 1867 GOLDW. SMITH Three Eng. Statesmen (1882) 192 He was a worshipper of Constitutional Monarchy. It was his fetish. 1870 LOWELL Among my Bks. Ser. I. (1873) 140 Public opinion, the fetish even of the nineteenth century.

d. Psychol. An object, a non-sexual part of the body, or a particular action which abnormally serves as the stimulus to, or the end in itself of, sexual desire.

1901 E. MORSELLI in Baldwin Dict. Philos. I. 380/2 In certain perversions of the sexual instinct, the person, part of the body, or particular object belonging to the person by whom the impulse is excited, is called the fetich of the patient. 1954 DORCUS & SHAFFER Textbk. Abnormal Psychol. (ed. 4) vii. 262 It is only when the fetish assumes the proportion that it inhibits the usual processes of the amatory desire that it belongs in the latter [abnormal] category. 1963 A. HERON Towards Quaker View of Sex 71 Fetish, some object to which special sexual significance is attached.

2. In representations of Negro language: Incantation, worship; a magical or religious rite or observance; an oath. Obs.

1705 W. BOSMAN Guinea x. (1721) 123 They cry out, Let us make Fetiche; by which they express as much, as let us perform our Religious Worship. Ibid., If they are injured by another, they make Fetiche to destroy him. 1727 W. SNELGRAVE Acc. Guinea (1734) 22 The Lord of the Place had taken his Fetiche or Oath. Ibid. 59 They have all their particular Fetiches..Some are to eat no Sheep, others no Goats. 1802 M. EDGEWORTH Grateful Negro (1832) 245 note, An old Koromantyn negro..administered the fetish, or solemn oath. 1828 G. W. BRIDGES Ann. Jamaica II. xix. 404 To take a fetiche is to take an oath, and to make a fetiche is to render worship.

3. (See quot.) Obs.

1705 W. BOSMAN Guinea vi. (1721) 65 Gold..mixed with Fetiche's, which are a sort of artificial Gold composed of several Ingredients.

4. attrib. and Comb. a. simple attrib., as fetish-bird, -ceremony, -day, -gold, -house, object, -priest, -word, -worship. b. objective, as fetish-monger, -worshipper, -worshipping; also fetish-man, -woman, (a) one who claims to have communion with and power over fetishes, a fetish-priest; (b) a fetish-worshipper.

1924 R. M. OGDEN tr. Koffka's Growth of Mind vi. 347 If a white man shoots an invulnerable *fetish-bird, this does not destroy the bird's invulnerability in their eyes.

1613 PURCHAS Pilgrimage VI. xv. (1614) 649 Causing her to eat salt with divers *Fetisso ceremonies hereafter mentioned.
1819 T. E. BOWDICH Miss. to Ashantee II. iv. 266 In Ashantee there is not a common *fetish day.
1723 J. ATKINS Voy. Guinea (1735) 183 The *Fetish-Gold is that which the Negroes cast into various Shapes and wear as Ornaments.
1819 T. E. BOWDICH Miss. to Ashantee II. iii. 254 The gold..deposited with their bones in the *fetish house..is sacred.
1723 J. ATKINS Voy. Guinea (1735) 101 The Cunning of the *Fetish-Man (or Priest). 1836 MARRYAT Midsh. Easy 9 He..went away in wrath to the fetishman, and..asked for a fetish against his rival. 1889 Dublin Rev. Jan. 134 A rude tribe of fetishmen and idol-worshippers.
1888 Scott. Leader 9 Oct. 4 The innate separatism of the Unionist *fetishmonger stands confessed.
1914 W. MCDOUGALL Introd. Soc. Psychol. Suppl. ii. 407 If woman were by nature nothing more for man than an object capable of stimulating his ‘erogenous zones’..she would be merely the chief of many ‘*fetish objects’. 1958 Spectator 1 Aug. 168/3 His favourite teddy or toy or whatever is his ‘fetish object’ should, of course, go with him.
1877 tr. Tiele's Hist. Relig. 10 The power possessed by the..*fetish priests is by no means small.
1723 J. ATKINS Voy. Guinea (1735) 104 At Accra they have *Fetish-Women..who pretend Divination. 1870 LUBBOCK Orig. Civiliz. i. (1875) 22 The Fetish women in Dahomey.
a1930 D. H. LAWRENCE Phoenix (1936) 396 To most of us today it [sc. ‘God’] is a *fetish-word.
1807 W. TAYLOR in Monthly Mag. XXIII. 539 The Veneration for the Lares was originally a *Fetiche-worship. 1860 TRISTRAM Gt. Sahara i. 16 Traces of fetish worship in Algiers.
1857 Sat. Rev. III. 345/2 Miserable *fetish-worshippers.
1860 W. G. CLARK Vac. Tour 54 One must go among *fetish-worshipping savages.

Hence fetishized a.

1889 P. T. FORSYTH Religion in Recent Art 184 The Christian faith, not parched..or fetishised, but pervaded..with the solemn human soul. 1962 Listener 22 Mar. 512/2 Lukács's description of existentialism as a ‘permanent carnival of fetishized inwardness’ touched a raw nerve.

posted by Schweppes Girl at 3:23 PM on October 27, 2002

Schweppes Girl: I hate the way men post things and then cover themselves by saying "may offend"!

What would you prefer? Not post anything potentially offensive? Post it without warning?
posted by raygirvan at 3:36 PM on October 27, 2002

my good Lord... we've all got obsessions, but these feet, i just don't know. a friend and i once got in an aol chat room (back when i actually used that crap) and pretended we had a foot fetish just for laughs (we did lots of weird stuff for laughs) and someone ended up sending us a picture of their feet covered in cum. we nearly vomitted..

but, like i always say, whatever floats your boat...
posted by prescribed life at 3:38 PM on October 27, 2002

prescribed life: whatever floats your boat...

Exactly. People are into lots of strange things, many of them quite weird from my point of view. However, if it doesn't cause any harm and is consensually done, what's the harm in it?

One of the great things about the Internet is that it can bring together people who share an interest who normally wouldn't ever meet. F'r instance, I can buy Atari 2600 cartridges on eBay. I found a guy who modifies old toys in entertaining ways. I have made the acquaintance of (or at least read about) lots of cool people doing unusual things.

What I don't really understand is Schweppes Girl's insistence that something is "sick" or "impotent" because she doesn't share it. I mean, amputee porn doesn't excite me. I don't know anyone that it does excite. (well, that's willing to say so, at least.) There's no denying the fact that it excites some people...and really, what business of mine is it how they relate to it?

On a related note, this can extend to discussions of sexual orientation, or lots of other things. I'm a guy. I'm straight and not attracted to other guys. But that doesn't mean that gay people are "sick" -- it just means they're different, and it's really none of my business anyway what someone else does with their private life.

Just because I may not share your kink doesn't make it "sick"...just different.

Schweppes Girl: Men seem to use it as an excuse not to engage. For women it's just an item on the menu of love; not the make-or-break thing men seem to make it.

Huh? what do you mean? any support for this assertion? I'll admit that I don't know much about fetishes (and thanks for the OED cite), but I don't quite understand the generalizations being made about them.
posted by Vidiot at 3:56 PM on October 27, 2002

Good point, Vidiot - but this was about the link. Being gay or straight is a serious matter. I was questioning the way supposedly liberal websites (like Bifurcated Rivets; but not MetaFilter, thank God) find a way to post illiberal, misogynistic links with a secret, stupid "Hooray!", by saying "I'm against this, of course, but isn't it fun?".

I also wanted to debate whether men are more fetishistic than women - or less holistic. Healthily holistic (I do concede the bias in my question). This link, with its silly questionnaire, just seemed stupid and insulting, is all...
posted by Schweppes Girl at 4:14 PM on October 27, 2002

I'll admit that I didn't go to the link -- didn't seem to be work-safe. Is it? Or should I wait till I get home?

If you're setting it up as a fetishistic-holistic continuum, I'm still not sure that one end is any "healthier" than the other.
posted by Vidiot at 4:18 PM on October 27, 2002

whatever floats your boat and tickles your pickle.

i think weird things go through people's heads all the times, sometimes they act on them and sometimes they don't. sometimes they share them, and sometimes they don't.

i've always kinda thought that people that are very strict and close minded about what excites other people have secret fetishes that they are ashamed of. i say that because when i stand up for someone and their weird things, i think about what weird stuff i like and how i would feel if i was made an outcast of it. (i know i keep a lot of things in my head, maybe not amputee porn, but i know it's stuff that my friends don't know i think about) how's that for honestly and bluntness. it is also my 2 cents
posted by prescribed life at 4:29 PM on October 27, 2002

Foot fetish is easy to explain. The brain maps diffrent parts of the body to diffrent parts of the brain. The feet and genitalia are maped right next to each other. For some people stimulating one can stimulate the other in a "mysterious" way. Its just blood flow and neurons. There are case historys of people who can have orgasms solely (heh) with the feet.
posted by stbalbach at 4:37 PM on October 27, 2002

debate whether men are more fetishistic than women

Everyone has the capacity for fetish, its a human trait not a gender one. Men and women tend to have diffrent fetishes. This fetish map shows one persons attempt at maping it out.

If there was a debate I would say more men than women admit to a fetish.
posted by stbalbach at 4:48 PM on October 27, 2002

Good point, stbalbach. I hadn't considered the I'd-guess-sizable gap between those who have fetishes and those who say they do.
posted by Vidiot at 5:09 PM on October 27, 2002

vidiot: I'll admit that I didn't go to the link

It's a satire on naff amateur porn sites, which soon becomes apparent if you go beyond the quoted link (e.g. try its Boss Coming: Panic Button). Accessing it via its front page - Planet Egomania - makes it pretty obvious it's a humour site.
posted by raygirvan at 6:18 PM on October 27, 2002

stbalbach, that is an awesome map! Really funny/interesting /well done /? I dunno, I just thought it was cool. Surpised latex/rubber was so far away from leather somehow though...

yeah, i didn't get the women v. men set up on fetishes either, or the 'sicko' attitude toward it. Whatever, people do what they do, as long as they stay within the consenting partners circle. i can't see getting totally obsessed on one element, but then, I can't even make a choice about a career direction. Some people are a lot more focused than I am and that's a good thing :).

Really interesting about the feet / genital connection in the brain. Do you have any links about that? man, I should have gone into neurology. it's so amazing.
posted by mdn at 6:36 PM on October 27, 2002

i've always kinda thought that people that are very strict and close minded about what excites other people have secret fetishes that they are ashamed of.

Some of them are simply not very imaginative.
posted by kindall at 7:08 PM on October 27, 2002

Really interesting about the feet / genital connection in the brain. Do you have any links about that?

You might try V. Ramanchandran's book Phantoms in the Brain for starters.
posted by iceberg273 at 7:37 PM on October 27, 2002

Also, there's a bit about the sensory cortex here.
posted by iceberg273 at 7:44 PM on October 27, 2002

may offend!
posted by quonsar at 7:49 PM on October 27, 2002

Thanks stbalbach, that's the first explanation for foot fetish that's made sense to me. All that stuff about "avoiding intimacy" is pure bunk...at least where I'm concerned!
posted by black8 at 9:21 PM on October 27, 2002

Just as an aside just realised Bifurcated Rivets is my old Comp Sci professors weblog, recognized the domain name (the box sits on his desk).. who'd a thunk..
posted by zeoslap at 10:17 PM on October 27, 2002

"The thing with shoes is that no other piece of clothing can look so good in the absence of someone to wear it. "
posted by geekhorde at 10:43 PM on October 27, 2002

I hate the way men post things and then cover themselves by saying "may offend"!

On Metafilter, both men and women do that, and it's considered basic good manners.
posted by sennoma at 11:06 PM on October 27, 2002

I've always considered myself to be fairly sensory.
posted by cortex at 12:15 AM on October 28, 2002

All I'm looking for is a pair of shoes that don't hurt my feet.
Yeah, right.
posted by konolia at 3:32 AM on October 28, 2002

I hate the way men post things and then cover themselves by saying "may offend"!

I hate that some women hate the way men do everything.
posted by furious-d at 12:56 PM on October 28, 2002

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