Dexter-it gets worse

Dexter-it gets worse

My friend was certainly right to tell me I was not going to be happy with Dexter. I’m not sure that I can keep watching this show, it upsets me so much. This time the problem isn’t with portrayal of disability, but with portrayal of devotees.

The police are looking for a devotee in connection with this serial killing. It isn’t clear to me why. One of the characters tells another that there is indeed an amputee fetish and gives the scientific name for it, then says,”but don’t let them hear you call them that, they prefer the term ‘devotee.'”

Really? I have no idea who came up with that word for it, but I think it’s stupid. I wish there were a better one. But yes, it is better than having it referred to like some kind of disease.

Some other choice quotes:

“Freaky sex stuff”
“Find these weirdos”

You know who devotees are?  They’re human beings, deserving of the same respect and compassion as every other human beings.  I wrote (W)hole in order to prove that point. Devs are not weirdos and freaks, we’re regular people and we can’t help what turns us on any more than you can.

I don’t like being referred to as a freak. You know why? Because I’m a regular, normal girl. Shy, friendly, good natured, seeing the best in people, smart, quick witted, well read. Does that sound like the description of a sexual freak? Well it is.  You don’t know whether someone is creepy or a freak based only on what turns her on.  People can be creepy regardless of what turns them on.

Knowing what turns someone on does not tell you a single other thing about him or her.  Not one.


Here’s someone with a much better perspective on devotees:

Dear Dan

I was in a chat room today, and a guy asked if he could see my belly button. Of course, my fetish alarm went off. Turns out this guy is 19, disabled, and feels like a total social/sexual outcast. Because of his physical problems and his fetish, he said he felt like he’d never have a normal relationship. I couldn’t lie to the kid and say, “Don’t worry, pumpkin, your soulmate will find you someday,” so instead I offered: “Most people are assholes—and this comes from an able-bodied vanilla girl, so yeah, your life’s gonna be tough.”

Then I thought there must be some kind of Internet group out there for disabled fetishists. It might also make him feel more normal, and he may be able to arrange an amazing you-can-fetishize-my-disability-if-I-can-jerk-off-in-your-belly-button relationship.

— Trying to Help a Kid Out

“Your reader probably feels like she is doing a good thing,” says Cory, “but she should tone down the condescension [about fetishes and disability].” Cory feels strongly that people with disabilities shouldn’t be told they must look exclusively to disability fetishists for partners. “But there are people who have a specific sexual preference for people with disabilities,” says Cory, “and they identify themselves as ‘devotees’—and, in most cases, the disabilities they prefer are people missing limbs and people in wheelchairs.” …

Now, before angry able-bodied folks take offense on behalf of the disabled and fill my inbox with angry letters about creepy devotees, please wrap your able-bodied heads around this: If you believe in equal treatment for people with disabilities—and you do, right?—then that extends to sex. We all want to be objectified from time to time, and a disabled person has just as much right to healthy objectification as any able-bodied person. There’s really not much difference between a leg man and a lack-of-leg man—well, except this: The more common a fetish is, the less likely we are to regard it as one.







  1. Melissa
    Apr 13, 2011

    Thanks, Ruth!! 🙂

  2. Carl Thompson
    Apr 13, 2011

    Great stuff as always.

  3. RuthMadison
    Apr 14, 2011

    Thanks for the support 🙂 This is the sort of stuff that makes me start hating myself

  4. Kim
    Apr 26, 2011

    My feelings on this are that a few bad apples have spoiled the bunch. I also believe if we knew truly how many “devotees” (also abhor that term) there really are in the world, it wouldn’t be so odd to everyone. I don’t however subscribe to the belief that it’s like an attraction to blonde hair or blue eyes…or at least not for me…it’s as much an emotional attraction as a physical one to me. The physical one coming first usually, as I will admit a para’s body type turns on an almost animalistic desire in me like nothing else can. Would I give anything on earth to see my husband walk away from his chair?…ABSOLUTELY!! But as that is not going to happen…why is it so bad that I am insanely attracted to his body just the way it is??

    • RuthMadison
      Apr 26, 2011

      It is more complicated than the “it’s like liking blondes” thing. But that comparison can help so much! It helps people to begin to understand it, even if they never will fully. I agree, loving the body as it is is a great thing. And it’s not like you won’t still love *him* (and he you) as you both age and change and look different.

  5. Vanessa Amateur
    Apr 26, 2011

    Life is made up of marble and mud.

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