Is Fetishization a problem?

I’ve been thinking about the problem of fetishization for some time now and have been trying to think of why it’s frowned upon when it comes to dating. Is it actually something bad or is it something that’s just looked down upon when actively acknowledged? Maybe fetishization is more prevalent than one might think, like when a guy says he only likes blondes or exclusively dates black girls. Are those forms of fetishization, and if they are, is everyone collectively deciding to dismiss their own bouts of fetishization as something else? To explore more of this concept I’ll do what I always do — get my definitions in order. It’s hard to make an argument when both sides aren’t on the same page about the subject matter at hand.
Google describes fetishization as “a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.”. I’m interpreting this definition to mean an individual getting a disproportionate amount of sexual gratification from one quality or trait compared to a collective set of traits. I also want to note that when it comes to dating, someone with a fetish for one quality doesn’t necessarily have to limit themselves to liking that one quality (so personality, etc can play a part as well).
As a straight male I had a funny thought conceptualizing every straight person as having a fetish with the opposite gender. A lot of people find relationship candidates based on the other person’s gender, and a gender is all but one trait. Seeing how much importance we as humans put on biological gender, you’d think we’d all be considered fetishizers!
To focus on trying to dissect when/how fetishization is a problem, I decided to include arguments from someone who has written a blog post on fetishization and their supposed problems with it. Specifically the post discusses the fetishization of asian women. The post can be found here:
Reading the first part of the article, it seems that her main gripes of asian fetishization lies with men liking asian women based on false presumptions/stereotypes. This also encourages a level of unwarranted familiarization amongst the guys because they feel like they’re closer to asian women due to their “understanding” of their culture.
This fetishization and false understanding of culture that comes along with an asian fetishes is what distinguishes asian fetishes from something like a blonde fetish in her opinion. This accompanying fetishization of culture links those who have the fetish to possibly assume incorrect things about the asians they meet, and may end up liking asian women for the “wrong” reasons. “Wrong” reasons being when a fetishizer likes qualities that are not existent on the person. She elaborates on this point by expanding on this idea of the “Geisha” package.
Then the author goes on to question whether all interracial love involving those who can’t understand each other are all forms of fetishization. I’d like to analyze that statement and ask whether it makes sense to have a problem with this in the first place. Fetishization of culture is bad when the qualities generally assumed to be within a culture are assigned to a random individual of a race associated with said culture. Fetishizing a culture that someone does practice doesn’t seem inherently bad as long as it’s not a presumed observance of a culture.
Finally she asks “How do people fall in love if they can’t even communicate in the first place? It must have been fetishism that started everything, no?” before ending with her “halfass proposal”. To the first question I ask, why does a line need to be drawn? Drawing a line assumes there can only be one or the other when in fact these categories are *not* mutually exclusive and an individual can have any subset of these 2 traits (have fetish with no romance, have romance with no fetish, and have a fetish and real romance). To her expansion of “her halfass proposal” she pretty much says she’ll deal with these moral ambiguities of fetishization by recognizing it’s okay for people to have types, understanding people fetishize and generalize traits after seeing a societal standard of beautify exemplifying those traits, and setting boundaries on those who have fetishes that make her uncomfortable.
In the end she questioned whether her problem with “fetishes” is really a problem with “misogynistically objectifying someone’s culture” and understands that the discomfort she feels may not exist in the raw definitions of the word. With that, I think she gave a pretty good treatment to the concept of fetishization and addressed her exact problems that came with her own personal experiences of fetishization.
I personally came away learning something about why some people may frown on fetishizers (due to other accompanying aspects) and hope to learn more people’s perspectives on fringe topics in the future. I don’t think this knowledge will necessarily dispel any active opponents of fetishizers (like people who hate foot fetishizers because they think liking feet is gross), but maybe someone who’s open to tackling why they see things how they do will come along to sympathizing with those fetishizers and in the process accept that they may be fetishizers in their own ways.