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Leg Fetish  Written by: Mistress Tracy, 07/12/2007

Legs and female fetish

"Okay. If they want legs, I'll give 'em legs."
-- Marlene Dietrich

I adore women's legs. I'm somewhat scopophilic in my interest, and ultimately my interest is erotic in nature. I've written a dozen short stories, all with different themes, and yet, in retrospect, almost every story I write has at least one lengthy description of legs. I sigh at the shape of legs, their proportions, smoothness and especially their eternally fantastic length. I take a deep lingering breath at statuesque poses of women's legs and exhale pleasured excitement from chorographical movements, the soft strain of the muscles, their flex and bend. I don't simply love legs, I adore them.

Still, I sometimes feel as if I must be the only woman in the world with such a passion for legs. I'm not so vain as to think that I am the only one, but I've never met another woman with a leg fetish and as I search for articles, research, discussions or even general information regarding leg fetish or even female fetish in general, I hit roadblocks. There is little to no information on leg fetishism, and the material on fetish itself refers to heterosexual men. Many women are just as involved in fetishes as men, and yet, Freudian theory, especially, discounts the possibility of the existence of female fetishism.

It's not so much that classical definitions of fetish are completely invalid, but rather that classical psychoanalytic perspectives on fetish in relation to women in contemporary Western culture, seem outmoded according to Edward Shorter in his book Written in the Flesh, A History of Desire. Even the mainstream Wikipedia more recently altered their definition of sexual fetishism to include the notion of an alternative sexuality for a man or a woman. "Sexual fetishism is the personal or cultural attribution of attractive sexual qualities to inanimate objects." [1] The definition also leaves out the psychological need of the fetish object/body part to facilitate orgasm and adds that only in the most extreme cases does anyone have a fetish to the extent that it would impede on their normative sexual or social behaviour/relationships.

Indeed, to think that I could not achieve an orgasm without the presence of my fetish would seem more than a little preposterous to me. Still, whether we are discussing shoes, nylons, corsets, panties, or any other fetish, I doubt that I am alone in the thought that the presence of the object can significantly, almost transcendentally enhance our pleasure on some sexual, psychological and/or spiritual level.

Still, it's not enough to simply say that I have a fetish and then discuss why I love legs - women's legs - so much. After all, practically the whole history of sexology proposes that women just don't have fetishes. Until, and even after the advent of feminism at the turn of the 20th century, it was conventionally believed that women didn't even possess desire or passion, let alone fetish. Freud, Krafft-Ebing, and others all similarly expressed that, in Havelock Ellis's words, "sexual anaesthesia is considered natural in women." [2]

It's obvious that women do desire, at least I know for certain that I do, and as I look around FetishFish and other fetish forums, I find that many women also fetishize. However, I don’t believe that my fetish or even female fetishism on the whole is a Xerox of male fetish, although there may be some similarities.

Legs have a particularly aesthetic appeal for me, and my sense of sexual excitement and awe in regards to the beauty of legs is specifically geared toward women and not to men. I'm not sure that I will blame my mother or father for my fetish, although she did indeed have one hell of a set of beautiful legs and he had one hell of a set of hairy ones. Incidentally, I'm not fond of hairy legs on women, nor am I especially keen on large pores that highlight the slightest hint of coarse hair. I love the thought of a sophisticated and elegant pair of legs rather than the athletic legs of a speed-skater, for example. It's a personal preference and in this way I acknowledge that like men who prefer white cotton panties to lace thongs, super-sized women to the rubenesque, or 32DDDs to 32As, I do have preferences in regards to my fetish. However, this is where, as a woman, my fetish diverges in similarity to male fetish.

In an essay from her book Space, Time, and Perversion, Elizabeth Grosz points out that disavowel, the prime defence mechanism in fetish, is not unique to men and that it is available to women. However, rather than function as a form of protection against the threat of castration, which is a threat that women never face, disavowel operates as a form of protection against her personal degradation, against her cultural "transformation from subject to object, active to passive, phallic to castrated." [3]

So, if male fetish is the substitute for the missing phallus or the power and authority of the mother, which in our current discussion would be represented by female legs, what is female fetishism? Obviously it is not the result of seeing her castrated mother, for as far as the female is concerned there is nothing particularly horrifying about the mother's powerful feminity. Rather, her fetish is transformative. Her fetish is for femininity or the fantasy of an empowered and autonomous self as represented by her own phallic status. [4]

In considering my own fetish for legs, it is not simply the legs that I enjoy, but rather everything that surrounds them. Unlike many male fetishists I have talked to, I am not solely fixated on one object. I acknowledge the relationship between the foot and the leg in much the same way I acknowledge the relationship between the leg and the vagina or buttocks - they have a symbiotic relationship enabling me to completely immerse in the beauty of my fetish. Anything like high heels or strappy stilettos, garters, corsets and panties that accentuate the legs or direct my gaze to their statuesque length is a more than welcome adornment to me. Any movement or gesture in respect to the legs, from the subtle to the sexually charged, can send me spinning. In the right circumstance, I truly feel a sexual and spiritual turn-on that I can only describe as transcending. In April 2007 I watched the cabaret review Le Crazy Horse in Lisbon, and one particular performance, called 'Teasing', was the epitome of what I consider my perfect fetish moment.

However, I don't just adore the endless perfection of Nicole Kidman's legs or the exhilarating power and sexy beauty of Anne Reinking's legs as she elegantly struts through Bob Fosse's All That Jazz (1981). I love the magic of my own legs. I adore a pair of heels extending the length of my legs, I love the confident stature I feel towering over everyone else in a room. Indeed, my fetish is a kind of transformation in this sense, and while other women's fetishes may be different than my own, I am not alone in the transformative qualities surrounding female fetish.

In her book, Burlesque and the Art of the Teese, Dita Von Teese writes about the transformative effect of fetish when referring to herself and her own fetish for the image of the damsel in distress. [5] Yet, she adds something else that I believe is a uniquely feminine perspective on fetish that women often acknowledge more than men. Indeed, men seem more objective about fetish than women. Men concern themselves with size, weight and length, yet women appear to have a more rounded and subjective experience: "John Willie, Betty Page, Irving and Paula Klaw - these are my heroes," writes Von Teese. "I have always been inspired by the gorgeous girls they depict in their work, the hourglass figures, the classic fashions, the lingerie (corsets, stockings, girdles), and second skins (furs, satins, silks, latex), the high-heeled shoes. I love those images because they are - above all - beautiful."

References

[1] Sexual Fetishism. Wikipedia, 2007. Answers.com GuruNet Corp. 08 Jul. 2007.

[2] Fernbach, Amanda. Fantasies of Fetishism: From decadence to the post-human. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2002. p. 60.

[3] Grosz, Elizabeth. Space, Time, and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Body. 'Lesbian Fetishism?' Routledge, New York, 1995. p. 151.

[4] Fernbach, Amanda. Fantasies of Fetishism: From decadence to the post-human. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2002. p. 63

[5] Von Teese, Dita, with Bronwyn Garrity. Burlesque and the Art of the Teese. Harper Collins, New York, 2006. p. xv.




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