“We Are Fetishized”

Online dating is discouraging as a Black woman.

Melissa Alvarez
Published in
6 min readSep 23


Photo by Tnarg via Pexels.

You know what’s funny? Not funny ha ha, but funny ironic? I didn’t know what fetishization was for a very long time. I thought a fetish was a word to describe a kink. I thought it was just something you abnormally liked when engaging in adult acts. Like a foot fetish. I didn’t understand how a person could be fetishized. I didn’t understand how it functions in our society as it pertains to sexual racism.

Here is the dictionary definition of fetishize when you simply type it into Google:

  • Make (something) the object of a sexual fetish.
  • Have an excessive and irrational commitment to or obsession with (something).

Here’s the Cambridge Dictionary definition of fetishization:

  • A sexual interest in an object, a part of the body that is not a sexual organ, or a person as if they are an object.

Fetishization can also be:

The act of making someone an object of sexual desire based on some aspect of their identity.

There are many forms of fetishization, more specifically racial fetishization. You can have a preference for a specific race based on the stereotypes you believe to be true. A lot of people base their ideas of a Black woman on how she’s portrayed in popular media. Then there’s the more stealth form of fetishization. The hierarchy phenomena. I’m not seeing many people talk about this. I’ve lived it, so I’m willing to spill the beans.

This idea has been very talked about this week with Jeannie Mai’s comment from years ago, going viral again.

“Love Black guys. But for me — dark meat on the side, white meat keeps me lean and mean. That’s what I like.”

She tried to correct herself, but we all know what she means. What she’s saying is — she favors Black men. She favors them enough to sleep with them on the side, but ultimately she chooses to marry a white dude. She said this before she met and married Jeezy. At the time she was married to her white ex-husband. It’s wild she said this on daytime TV. This concept of having a Black lover in the dark is not new though.



Melissa Alvarez
Writer for

Melissa Alvarez is a 30 year old Film Industry professional living in Los Angeles. | IG: @melannealva | © Pollyanna Productions