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Fetishism and Gender

Fetishism is the psychological tendency to attribute inordinate significance to a target. The target, also called the fetish, can be an idea, an event, or an object, among other things. Characteristically, the fetish is not only highly valued but also perceived in especially simple and concrete terms. Consequently, complex or nuanced aspects of the fetish are downplayed in the person’s awareness, as are those features that are abstract and difficult or impossible to grasp with the senses, such as the target’s history or inner workings. In short, fetishism involves separating a target from its context and injecting it with undue significance, such that the target becomes a focal point of attention and desire.

Social scientists have noted the importance of fetishism for a range of behaviors ...

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