The Normophilic Privilege Checklist
[March 2016 note: I’ve decided to keep this because I feel like it’s the beginning of some important work that needs to be done, even though I have a much more nuanced understanding of the concept of “privilege” than I did when writing it, and that I’m now critical of a lot of SJW-framed discourse and identity politics. I don’t think I would have written this now, but it’s still worth keeping and maybe someone else might pick up where this leaves off. ]
Are you from Tumblr? Kindly read this too then, please. I wrote it just for you. Because you’re just so awesome.
1. I don’t have to worry about my sexuality being described as dangerous, criminal, or linked to mental illness.
2. My sexuality isn’t thought of as something that needs fixing.
3. Generally speaking, Freudian psychology is considered to be an outdated model of analysis where my sexuality is concerned.
4. My idea of attractiveness won’t likely be written off as having originated from “mommy” or “daddy” issues.
5. If I fail at something, my sexual interests won’t be called into question.
6. I can be assured that virtually all media everywhere will cater to me and my model of sexuality.
7. If I have trouble with relationships, my sexuality probably won’t be called into question.
8. I am not likely at risk of losing friends or family members if I come out about my sexuality.
9. If I have personal shortcomings, it won’t be seen as a black mark against the community of people who share my sexual interests.
10. I am not at risk of losing my job or my children if others found out about my sexuality.
11. If I have personal troubles stemming from my sex life, I can be sure that there is a wide social safety net available to help me overcome my problems without pathologizing me.
12. Under most circumstances, expressing some enthusiasm about my sexuality won’t be seen as gratuitous, irritating, or inappropriate.
13. If I am socially awkward, my sexuality won’t be held accountable.
14. I have a much greater chance of finding porn and other erotic material that suits my needs.
15. I don’t have to worry about being dehumanized or Othered by media seeking to “educate” audiences about people like me.
16. I don’t have to worry about being depicted as a danger to partners or society on the rare occasions that I do get representation in popular media.
17. I am free to depict my sexuality and orientation through creative outlets without it being deemed weird, disgusting, or gratuitously self-indulgent, even if it isn’t explicit or graphic.
18. My sexuality won’t potentially force me to lead a double-life.
19. My sexuality probably won’t cause my tangentially related hobbies and interests to be the subject of ridicule.
20. I don’t have to worry about everything I do being viewed by others through the lens of my sexuality.
21. My sexuality probably won’t be seen as innately deceitful or sinister.
22. My sexuality is rarely, if ever, compared to addiction or substance abuse.
23. If my partner goes out of their way to sexually indulge me, I probably won’t be seen as selfish or insensitive to their preferences.
24. I don’t have to worry about being viewed as a “high maintenance” partner because of my sexuality.
25. I probably don’t have to think twice about telling a mental health practitioner about my sexuality, for fear of discrimination or pathologizing.
26. The chances of me struggling with feelings of loneliness or isolation due to my sexuality are slim.
27. I could probably go my entire life without fear of facing ridicule or harassment based on my sexuality.
28. Others probably don’t see my sexuality as something that I can willfully turn on and off, or that it’s “just a phase”.
29. Chances are, my sexuality isn’t something that is seen as being something I “subject” my normophilic partner to.
30. I can be certain that my sexuality won’t overshadow my accomplishments, and should I be out in the public sphere, I won’t be defined by it.
Okay, so that list is short. That’s because fetishists usually aren’t “out” and about, and we’re good at separating our personal lives with our public lives, so the instances of blatant privilege are few and far between and rather specific. Most of us are very, very good at passing as normophilic because we have to in order to survive. Some of these probably sound similar to the way LGBT* folks are treated by the mainstream culture, but that’s because I believe that kind backlash we’re getting is bigotry based on the idea that our sex lives are not in fact, capable of being normophilic. Normophilic is defined here as being whatever the wider culture defines it as, whether that “culture” is a radical feminist space, a strip club, a Presbyterian congregation, the entire western world, and so on.
I’d also like to add that I wrote this several years ago, before being in a position where I could address my asexuality as well, so it also makes the assumption that paraphilia is goes hand in hand with sexuality and libidinousness, when in fact it is a wholly separate thing (though often manifests through sexual outlets).
And finally, two disclaimers: 1. all of the above is assuming that you desire to engage in healthy, consensual practices, and 2. “sexuality” as I use it here refers to an individual’s set of preferences and practices that constitute the majority of what they would consider an ideal sex life, or simply the means by which they would prefer to engage in a/sexual intimate relations with themselves or others.