'Dirty Girl' and the Pornization of Dutch Society
We've all heard the debates the last couple of years over the way women are depicted in popular culture, and especially in rap. In the Netherlands, as in the United States, especially rappers have been criticized for depicting women as sex objects, instead of human beings who should be treated with respect.
Two rappers from Amsterdam had enough of the debate and decided to make a statement: they wrote a song about a girl, better: 'een vieze meid,' meaning 'a dirty girl.' The dirty girl enjoys life and especially sex. After writing the song, the two rappers contacted Amber-Elisa, a Dutch porn star to appear in two music videos, shot for the same song. She agreed, they put the two videos on the Internet and a mild controversy was born.
Why a controversy you ask? Didn't Lenny Kravitz use an American porn star for the video of 'American Woman'?
Yes, but there's a difference: the porn star in Kravitz' video isn't exactly having sex in the video. Everybody knows she's a porn star, but that's where the controversy ends. In the censored video of 'vieze meid' however, we see Amber's face as she's getting friendly with a vibrator, and we realize that she's masturbating, but we don't actually see it.
In its censored version, the video is already controversial -- it's not often that music networks air videos like that: but it's really just one step further than the normal, over-sexed music video we see on a daily basis.
BUT....then there's the uncensored explicit version of the video - which leaves nothing to the imagination. (Warning: video is highly explicit)
When asked about the two videos and what kind of impact it would have on youngsters, the two rappers Kiddo Cee and Ren Vega responded that society was hypocritical: the uncensored video received three times as many hits as the censored one.
Furthermore, the Netherlands' biggest music network, TMF (the Dutch MTV), decided to air not just the censored version, but also the uncensored video. (Warning: video is highly explicit)
In other words, the two rappers argue, society should look at itself and its hypocrisy first. If society believes that there's too much sex on display everywhere, perhaps the public should change its own behavior and stop responding to it.
Sex sells. Artists will stop producing sexual video clips at the moment the public stops buying sex, they argue.
Now, I wrote at the start of this article that the video created a mild controversy. The controversy is mild because, although people will talk, the Netherlands has a culture of live and let live.
The Dutch are extremely tolerant, or liberal as Americans would say, about sex. Prostitution is legal.
Having said that, although we're 'tolerant' in this regard, it's also important to point out that the Netherlands has historically been a Protestant nation. And quite strictly Protestant at that. This means that although the general rule is 'live and let live,' the Dutch also always say that 'just because something can be done, doesn't mean you should do it.'
For many years, most Dutch lived by those two rules: be tolerant towards everything but don't do everything.
But in recent years Dutch society has dramatically changed. The second rule seems to have been forgotten by many. Nowadays, everything isn't just allowed, everything is done. Several years ago, this development caused a debate in the Netherlands which carries on to this day. Back in 2003, the Christian Democratic party (CDA) even won the elections on a theme about moral values. Our Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende continues to talk about it, hoping to influence the way Dutch behave.
Until now, not much has changed. Except for, of course, that there's actually a debate taking place.
The video and song of "Vieze Meid" is a reaction to this debate. The debate focuses on how our youth behave, but also on what message adults send.
Logically, the focus is on TV networks and programs Dutch youths watch. TMF, The Music Factory, is one of those networks. As I said, TMF is the Dutch MTV. It is a 24-hour music channel featuring videos by both Dutch and American artists.
Kiddo Cee and Wen Regal, the rappers told the Dutch newspaper De Pers that they consider themselves to be the new warriors for the freedom of speech - the defenders of freedom.
But against whom are they protecting freedom, since most people aren't talking about outlawing videos like the one of "Vieze Meid" (there's no use in doing so anyway).
They also told De Pers that the current government coalition gives them plenty to rebel against. What? The fact that the current ministers actually dare to wonder out loud whether it's good for our children that they can watch a porn star masturbating when they switch on their favorite channel?
Kiddo Cee and Wen Regal aren't defending freedom of speech against the government, they are trying to shut up the people who criticize the lack of moral values in Dutch society today.
They're not protecting the freedom of speech against an intrusive government, they're 'defending' a lifestyle that completely delegitimizes any form of morality whatsoever.
They don't defend anything, they oppose. They are not angry because the government forces them to behave in a certain way, they're angry because individuals want to hold them responsible for their own behavior.
They are, in the end, nothing but a joke, and a bad one at that. They may pretend that they're 'heroes' but they're not. They're pimps exploiting Dutch society to line their own pockets.