Devotee-ism: Attraction to Diversity, or an Attraction to Inability?

Post date: Jun 28, 2011 5:19:15 AM

Love, what is love? Can it be described as a chemical reaction in the brain? Is it a contractual agreement between two parties to create an association with each other that is mutually beneficial? Or is it simply a deep connection that one shares with another due to romantic reasons? Whatever the reason may be, it would be very difficult to argue that the emotion of love arises without or in the absence of an initial sexual attraction to the other member of the prospective couple.

There are several categories and criteria that one may use as the basis for a sexual attraction, perhaps for a heterosexual male criteria may be large eyes, a beautiful smile, nice hair, a round firm buttocks, a big firm chest, an hourglass figure, a well proportioned waist hip ratio and so on. The aforementioned criteria may signal to the male on the most basic primordial level that the female in question is fertile and able to bear his young. On the other hand, for a heterosexual female the criteria may be the same in some areas but very different in others such as muscular builds, well defined abdominal muscles, well-developed pictorials, biceps, triceps, and the like; signaling to the female than male's ability to be a provider and to his ability to provide a sense of security for the female.

This schema may work well in the primordial sense, but what happens when social norms are introduced? Such as social expectations, identity, desires, and social acceptance. The scenario described above is Ideal, in other words a hypothetical description of sexual attraction without confounding factors, but what if an unanticipated factor that is not part of the deal such as a disability is introduced into the mix? What then? How will the laws of attraction change? Or do they?

Devotee-ism is a phenomenon that claims to bridge the disparity between sexual attraction and disability. People who identify themselves as devotees claim to principally be attracted to physically challenge people due to their disability. They argue that it fits within the same category as the phenotypic attributes described above. They describe that a disability can be just as attractive as anything else, by being attracted to physically challenged people they reason that in some way they give the physically challenged some sort of sexual equality that the rest of society tends to shy away from.

For those of you that don't know, I am physically challenged myself, it's something that I rarely talk about simply because I don't see it as a part of who I am. Yes, it is a part of me but it's not a defining factor in my identity. I do agree that physically challenged people are just like any other human beings; we are sexual beings and we are often not seen as such. However, I question the argument that devotees give me back the humanity that is stripped away by the rest of society.

By focusing on my physical condition or lack thereof as the initial reason for their attraction devotees in fact strip us of the equality they so desperately want to give, I use a wheelchair, but first and foremost, I am a man, in some weird irony of poetic justice I want to be objectified, I want to be objectified for the same reasons as anyone else. I want to be attractive to a female because I have a nice buttocks, a beautiful smile, a sense a humor, and things of that nature; not because of the fact that I use a wheelchair, for me the wheelchair is just an assistive tool, not necessary a part of who I am in my identity. Which begs me to question, are devotees attracted to physical diversity that the physically challenged bring to the table, or are they attracted to the inability of the physically challenged? They are attracted to the specific condition or disability whatever that may be, if that is the initial attraction and they do indeed want to create a connection with that person, why then bring the disability to the forefront? They seem to be focusing our perceived inequality rather than focusing on the person who just happens to be physically challenged. To me, that is counterintuitive; why try to isolate and separate something that in most cases for people with physical challenges we try to integrate seamlessly into our lives? Devotees say they want the world to see us as the same as anyone else, why then do they insist on focusing on the very thing that is perceived to be different?

I have been using a wheelchair since birth so for me, my condition is something that I do try to integrate in every aspect of my life, but I purposely choose not to focus on it because I don't want to be viewed as the other, to think that someone is sexually attracted to me simply because I am perceived to be the other, is unsettling.

I hope to further explore the issue of devotee-ism and possibly incorporate it into my own research on dehumanization, disability and society. I can already tell that this particular entry is the first incarnation and things would change as soon as I researched the subject more. But for now, I just I would share my thoughts and get some feedback on what people think about this fascinating subject. Below is a description of devotee-ism is, from this perspective of a devotee. I don't want to misinterpret their ideas, so I am sharing their ideas in tandem with my ideas. I urge you to draw your own conclusions.