From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Religion (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Religion, a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religion-related subjects. Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.


Hi. I actually came to this page looking for comparisons of these three versions of "fetish" (Anthro/Freud/Marx); thanks for linking them. I wonder though, about the sentence "He and other 18th century scholars used the concept to apply evolution theory to religion," especially as the page on evolution theory links to the Darwinian version, a *nineteenth century* development. I have heard that there were precedents, some 80 years before Darwin, for such a theory, but that it/they never caught on; if this is meant to refer to those, could someone cite a reference for it (or revise this statement)? Thanks. 04:27, 1 June 2006 (UTC) E.

Hmmm. Sexual fetishism and Marxist theory don't seem to belong on the same page, unless Marxist theory gets somebody hot and bothered...oooh, dialectic, show me your ruling class baby..hey .

/me retches for a moment or two...

Seriously, does anyone seriously think these two topics belong in the same article... --Robert Merkel 10:44 Jan 11, 2003 (UTC)

I think marx might have coined the word. Vera Cruz

Not according to the article. In any case, sexual fetishism is the Freudian meaning of the word, and quite a seperate concept than anything Marx used it for. Whilst the history of the term would be worth examining in a "sexual fetishism" article, they really are quite distinct IMHO. --Robert Merkel 11:05 Jan 11, 2003 (UTC)

There are three seperate meanings, "fetish" as

  • sexual (or other) obsession
  • an object of veneration (as in, for example, Voodoo)
  • in the Marxian sense

The article needs either three seperate categories with clear geadings, or to be split into three seperate pages. Tannin 11:15 Jan 11, 2003 (UTC)

Well, I've seperated out one of the three. Somebody else can wiggle out the other two. --Robert Merkel

The previous version more or less followed chronological order: studies of religion -> Marx -> Freud. Personally, I believe that it is important that people know the history of the word and the diversity of its uses, and as long as the article isn't too long, I think it should be one article (i.e. I believe the Freud stuff should go back in). IF we want three articles, they should be Fetishism (the current first paragraph or two with links to the next two); Commodity fetishism, and Sexual fetishism. Personally, there is another reason I think all three should be in one article: many contemporary especially post-structuralist theorists (e.g. the collection by Pietz and Apter) draw on both Marx and Freud. Some may think that is a strange connection, but it is no coincidence that they both appealed to the notion of fetishism to understand Western culture as it was developing/had developed in the late 19th century. Both are critics of modernity, and both believe that appearances are deceiving. These are not my observations but some observations made by a number of scholars. There are a variety of thinkers one cannot understand fully unless one sees connections between Marx and Freud: Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, and Bataille among them. Slrubenstein

Re modern influence of Marx and Freud, as Fidel's buddy Carlos himself said, “The dead hand of the past lies like a nightmare on the brains of the living.” Ortolan88
Sounds like a good motto for any encyclopedia! ;) (Slrubenstein)

NPOV Sentences[edit]

Someone deleted a couple of sentences from the intro. They did not violate NPOV, they were simply summarizing Tylor and McClennan's argument. Don't delete their views -- add the arguments of others! Slrubenstein | Talk 23:17, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Those sentences need to be attributed, if they represent Tylor and McClennan's argument. As they stood, they were phrased as statements of fact, and are very clearly POV.
I've attributed them, and qualified some of the other statements. I've also added some external links, though for now I've only found Christian ones. --Kieran 12:55, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Okay, good job. Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 16:11, 3 May 2005 (UTC)


Should be moved to the simpler word fetish? —Ashley Y 04:00, 2005 May 13 (UTC)

I don't think it should be moved, because the word fetish has another meaning - but maybe the disambiguation for fetish should be named fetishism, because it explains the different meanings of fetishism (and not fetish). (talk) 23:33, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
At least there should be an article about "fetish". Actually, this article starts by defining a fetish and not "fetishism". If one should have an article about fetishism there should definitely be one about fetish (and not just a disambiguation page). Fetish is prior to fetishism! --Oddeivind (talk) 17:20, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

replies to last two comments[edit]

I'm really glad someone edited the statements of the anthropologists to make it clear that they were putting forth theories based on inferencial observations, not finding ultimate truths! I wanted to edit it, but I was not sure how to do it; so thanks :)

As for moving this article on fetishism to a category called simply 'fetish' I think that would be a mistake, because the 'ism' implies that it is a philosophical concept, whereas the term 'fetish' simply denotes an object or refers specifically to modern fetish culture, as opposed to philosophical concepts of fetishism, especially when the term is capitalized.

There are some links in this article that do no belong here: They should be moved to the article on Sexual Fetishim. In the 'see also' and the 'external links' sections there are links to fetish sex materials, books for sale, etc. Could someone please move those links to the fetish sex article because they do not belong in the historical, philosophical section on fetishism. I do not know how to move them myself, and I have a note that says my browser is not uncode compliant, thus I should not edit any articles.

thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Katriana (talkcontribs)

Generic meaning of 'fetish'[edit]

Isn't a more generic meaning of the word fetish something like 'something that originally just symbolised something else but has come to represent it fully, even to the point that the other thing has been forgotten'? All the other meanings are then specific instances of that. For example, I've always associated it with the Golden Calf, which is an idol but also a fetish in that it was revered as if it were God. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DirkvdM (talkcontribs)

Computer Games[edit]

I question the relevance of listing in detail how the subject is (mis)interpreted in four different computer games. This is not meaningful to the average reader, and has little to to with the topic in question. Suggest this info should be moved to a different topic specifically related to computer games. Geira 19:58, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Furthermore, two of those examples aren't computer games. 21:12, 16 April 2007 (UTC)


there needs to be a section of this page dedicated to Slavoj Zizek's and Jacques Lacan's theory of the fetish. It's one of the most common modern uses of the word in last ten years of philosophy, and it's omission is disturbing. (Impaler2g19 21:34, 14 November 2006 (UTC))

Christian Fetishism[edit]

"That said, some artifacts of monotheistic religions are fetishes according to ethnography and anthropology. For example in the Christian monotheistic religion, the Holy Cross and consecrated host are examples of fetishism. However, this vision is denied by monotheist practitioners."

It needs to be made clear that this is only the case with some forms of Christianity (e.g. Catholic). Many Protestants (and others) would give no inherent significance at all to these physical objects. The cross is merely where Jesus died - it's his death that's important. In my own tradition, it is always made very clear that the bread and wine are only symbols.

I've adapted a little. However, I don't know what the final sentence in the quote above means - unclear. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:04, 17 August 2009 (UTC)


The representations of meanings of Native American fetishes is overly generic. Particular animals may have had particular meanings within particular knowledge traditions, but not all Native Americans assigned animals the same meanings. Second, I question the classification of animals themselves as fetishes. As I understand it, fetishes are objects that are almost always human-made or at the least human-handled. It would be more appropriate to link to the Zuni fetishes page and to delete or radically revise this paragraph. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tabascom (talkcontribs) 16:15, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

Clarity on anthropological meaning vrs common English (sexual) meaning[edit]

This article does mention sexual fetishism but it does not make clear that there is a significant meaning gap between Anthropological English and common (street, colloquial) English; religion versus sexual. It needs to make it clear that in colloquial English fetishism purely relates to sexual fetishism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alaricsmith (talkcontribs) 18:15, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Weird sentences?[edit]

Who added this nonsense? "In Western culture everyone agrees with Freud because they like all homosexuality and as a Western implication the fetishism of ordinary and normal sexual foot fetishism as discovering the feet is not shame even that men put on the nail polish of the toes of the feet And women can not find their buttocks in the breast."

Purge, please? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:18, 31 July 2017 (UTC)