Being considered “Exotic” | Iram
My experience being fetishised is based on both my race and religion. Over the years, I thought it was flattering at first standing out from other girls and being considered exotic. I had something naturally that others didn’t, guys would ask my ethnicity or take guesses as conversation starters. It seemed to be innocent curiosity but that slowly turned into more for some. Races and religious beliefs can be fetishised without even realising and commonly being mistaken as compliments or jokes. Fetishising someone is when they are overly fascinated with your background and looks rather than you as a person which as a result focuses on the surface and dehumanises the person itself to fulfil a fantasy.
This is the case when someone asks me about my ethnic origin and then says “oh you don’t look Pakistani”. This phrase can be taken in several different ways, but most commonly as a teenager, I considered it to be a compliment which made me happy, saying thanks as a response which I realised later was the wrong way to go about it. I was feeding into this mindset that I was happy to not look Pakistani like there was something wrong with my ethnic origin. To this day, I hear the same sentence but I still do not know how to respond as it is not something to be grateful for hearing.
Over the years, more things started to stand out to me. I was asked if I would be willing to wear a hijab (headscarf) in the bedroom to play out a sexual fantasy. I felt insulted at being asked but also intrigued by their reasoning. My first reaction was revulsion, I’m not that religious but it felt so blasphemous to even imagine it. A piece of clothing that I wear to pray and cover my body to be modest being used in bed while I lack clothing was the exact opposite of what it was for. I understand why it’s a fantasy, it’s forbidden yet thrilling for some who do not view religion in the same respect as I do. However, it turned my religious beliefs into a fetish and something unattractive to me which in return made the guy unappealing in my eyes for asking such a thing. Another example is when I was asked to speak Arabic because it sounded “sexy”. This made me feel awkward since the only Arabic I knew were passages from the Quran (Holy Book) and that again felt blasphemous to recite in a perverted manner.
I am aware this happens to multiple people from different backgrounds and religions and it shouldn’t be considered normal. As it is International Women’s Day, I want women from all over the globe to be celebrated for who they are deep down and not just be seen for their physical exterior but their personalities, achievements, and just for purely existing.
Ultimately what I am saying is that we are more than our appearance, our skin, and culture. We all have different personalities which make us different from others and shouldn’t accept people satisfying themselves with our surfaces when there is more to us deep down. Don’t just become someone’s unreasonable fantasy when you have more to offer. We should all be accepted and treated as humans, not just pretty things to look at and play with.
"Hi! My name is Iram and I’m a typical chick who loves writing all types of content from steamy romantic scenes to dystopian themed stories, along with blogs on feminism, technology, and travelling."