A central theme of project is derived from an phenomena whereby contemporary idea of fetishism highly entails shifting discourse on gender identity. The term, fetishism, used to refer to the clothes and the practices that drive men’s sexual arousal, resulting in female objectification. Therefore, a representation of the fetishism, in the past years, had been all oriented from men point of view under a conservative and patriarchal society. However, the most recent trend of fetishism (especially masquerading, cos play, etc) has demonstrated that it no longer sets gender boundaries and therefore, is becoming neutral. In other words, the fetishism and its implication in the media has been changed with regards to shifting gender discourse.
Historically, fetishism has become one influencial medium that reforms and advocates for gender equality, starting from 1970’s - a period when feminism movements actively proliferated. From a wide spectrum of communication media, ranging diversely from runway performance to magazine, fashion films and even social media, the appropriation of the fetish fashion and practices first allows challenging the established norm of femininity as well as expressing sexual liberation.
Over the following years, the feminism movement has pushed the traditional notion of gender identity further to abolish the social attempts to force female and male into distinct sex roles. This phenomenon is juxtaposed with the contemporary trend of fetish practice – a role playing as the Other – which does not set a heterosexual orientation. In other words, the fetish fashion now acts as a signifier of gender neutrality, in addition to sexual liberation.
Putting altogether, contemporary idea of fetishism has moved beyond sexualizing female images and eventually pushed the traditional norm of gender identity. Consequently, the public perception towards the fetishism has been changed and fetish fashion is no longer viewed as a dominatrix clothing. This means that neutral fetishism became to a fashionable practice that now acts as a signifier of gender-non-conformativity, in addition to sexual liberation. In this regrads, the appropiration of fetishism in fashion has now been influential in speaking for gender inequality as well as neutrality. Therefore, it could be said that the idea of fetishism in fashion is responding to changing attitudes towards women or gender as a whole.