Video creators, who often show up in their private lives, aren’t spared by foot fetishists.It was May 16, 2016. Claire, from the blog and the channel “Le Monde according to Claire”, uploads a video about a product for the foot and offers the title “It’s very weird … But j ‘ have baby feet! ” . “In this video, I was testing a product supposed to give baby skin on the feet ,” she explains to Slate.fr by phone. I told myself that this medium was more interesting than a post on my blog. ” In the introduction of this video, she dares a little joke: “I think, and I am even certain that, if you watch this video, it is either because the title dumbfounded you, or because you subscribed to my channel. or because you are a foot fetishist. “
Despite her doubts about the appeal of her video, Claire was unaware that it would become the second biggest hit on her channel, now totaling almost 50,000 views. She was also unaware that it was largely thanks to foot fetishists, who then inundated her with sometimes disturbing comments and messages. “I remember an email I received, with a photo of a naked man watching my video paused on a moment when my feet are seen.”
Claire is obviously not the only one to receive this kind of message. The foot fetish community is much bigger than you might think, on the internet in general, and on YouTube in particular.
“Frankly, without socks it was the best”
One of the specificities of videographers on YouTube is to film themselves in the privacy of a home, often in a bedroom. It is therefore not uncommon to come across videos of (very) young women barefoot or in socks. Something that happens more rarely with movie stars, whom we meet more on the red carpets. In addition, these web celebrities often have more activity on social networks, where they post photos and stories of themselves at the beach or by the pool. This is an endless pool of images for anyone with a passion for feet.
In a few clicks, you can find “best-of” videos dedicated to EnjoyPhoenix, Léa Choue, and especially Chelxie. A 21-year-old man, who maintains the YouTube channel and the @Lefetichist Twitter account, tells us that he first made compilations about people like EnjoyPhoenix “to attract clicks, since she is a very famous YouTuber” . “I watch a lot of videos from her YouTube channel and as soon as I see feet I upload the video and when I have enough videos I edit it all.”
The most striking example comes from Chelxie, a 27-year-old videographer, who shares her passion for video games, her dog Moshie and jokes with her playmates every week. As early as February 2015 , Google search suggestions offered “foot” behind its name. On Instagram, some comments on the subject gradually emerge as soon as she lets glimpse her legs .
Contacted via Twitter, the person who manages this account introduced himself to Slate.fr as a 26-year-old woman living in Paris. “I admire the female foot, it’s not a sexual fantasy either, but I appreciate the sight of pretty female feet,” she wrote . I realized that a lot of people were following Chelxie and dreamed of seeing her feet because at the time we didn’t have any pictures. ” She began to accumulate images where every tip of Chelxie’s foot was visible and started the count in stride. His subscribers quickly allowed him to expand his “collection”. “Since my account has grown, she [Chelxie] has been making ‘dedications’ to this account via social media and as I follow her I see it quickly.My main concern is not to make Chelxie feel embarrassed or harassed. She takes it as a joke because she doesn’t know much about fetishism. But I try to keep limits in the words. “
Film yourself peeling a banana with your feet
Julia Gameuse and Chelxie, who take it all as a joke, are still exceptions on YouTube. Most videographers often find it difficult to hide their embarrassment with fetishists.
With her educational and taboo-free channel dedicated to love and sexuality, videographer Léa Choue ( and author of a book published at the end of June, Dear Me ) is regularly confronted with fetishists.
I put it there. But, as long as the guy wants to touch himself on it, intimate part or not, you keep your desires to yourself. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/187HP5hDYi
— LeaChoue (@LeaChouee) May 24, 2017
“The problem is not being a fetishist, ” Léa Choue explained to us by phone . The problem is, asking someone for a part of their body that turns you on. I am often told that it is not the same as if I was asked for a picture of my chest or my buttocks, but it is the same thing. ” The pedious soles, or soles of the feet, are often the most popular. Since then, she has paid even more attention to the way she shows off on the internet. “On Snapchat, my photos of my feet are screened as much [screenshot, editor’s note] as my photos where I have a cleavage. Now I pay attention to everything I post on Instagram and Snapchat, whether it’s the cleavage or the feet. I try not to show my bare feet or even in socks. “
“Everyone is free to lead their life as they see fit, but my subscribers are between 15 and 20 years old and that can be a problem, adds Claire, from Le Monde according to Claire. For example, I had subscribers who had posted comments to say that they wanted to test the cream, and other anonymous accounts replied to them asking them to send their feet in photos for a hundred euros. I found that completely out of place. ”
The blogger and videographer points out here an underlying problem that we don’t talk about too much. Because if these creators are adults and able to fight against abuses themselves, teenagers or very young girls take a risk by showing themselves on YouTube. From the end of 2013, the Vocativ site noted that a certain number of foot fetish Internet users launched challenges to these young videographers . A young girl, “sdioo3”, then accepted a request from a certain “Albert Einstein” who asked her to show the soles of her feet for five minutes. Another teenage girl even agreed to peel a banana with her feet. These methods illustrate another side of the exploitation of children’s videos by malicious people on YouTube., which we told you about a few months ago. Nonetheless, when it comes to the foot fetish community, it’s important to distinguish between this type of perversion and what fetishism actually is.
Foot fetish is not a perversion
On the internet, research on fetishism immediately takes us to pornographic sites. This corresponds to the cliché established around this subject: fantasizing on feet is necessarily associated with sexuality, submission and, by extension, a form of perversion.
However, many sites have explained in recent years that this attraction, more “normal” than one thinks, has existed since Antiquity , that Freud had studied it and found there a phallic symbolism, and that Tarantino made it. a recurring motif in his films . On his site , Pingoo, himself a fetishist, also details in 2012 that being a foot fetishist is first of all “to experience an emotion or a disorder in front of a bare foot.” Some even take it very seriously. WikiFeetis a site for foot fetishists whose goal is to rank celebrity feet using a sophisticated voting system. There are many YouTubers there, including EnjoyPhoenix or Andy tells. Its creator, Israeli Eli Ozer, recently claimed in an interview with Haaretz to have more than three million monthly users . He too wanted to defend this attraction which worries some:“Foot fetishists are often seen as freaks or perverts. We are talking about men of all ages and from all strata of the population, who have stable jobs, people who contribute, who are productive and whose feet it turns out to like. When you understand that, it’s not necessarily worrying, and then you can look at it differently. ”
The different definitions of the word, proposed by the Larousse , summarize well the tension which reigns around the meanings to be given to fetishism: it is as much a question of a “deviation of the sexual impulses” as a “scrupulous respect, an admiration without reserve for something for someone ” .
This is what makes the position of videographers on YouTube so difficult: it is about understanding the attraction of fetishists for their feet, without judging it, while doing the necessary pedagogy to avoid the sexualization of their body. A balance difficult to find when we know that these young women necessarily create a semblance of proximity with Internet users. Léa Choue made a video to address the subject, both to justify her refusal to send photos to those who request her, but also to deconstruct the stereotypes that surround them.