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Dutch Articulation

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    Looking at the text as cultuurtekst as I did in the previous paragraph, means looking at culture and language at a ‘generic’ level. But I also felt that this text displays culture at a ‘differential’ level (cf. Risager, 2007), which I referred to in Chapter 2 as ‘Dutch Articulation’. The topic of the text is clearly a global, or at least a western one; indeed students made intertextual connections, as Chapter 5 will show, with American and English soaps and films. Yet my own interpretation of this text is that particularly the gender-based discourse of women-only finding fulfilment in motherhood was more likely to have occurred in the Netherlands. Whilst I realize I am treading on dangerous ground here, keen as I am to underline the pluriformity and multicultural aspects of society and avoid an essentialist interpretation, there are nevertheless cultural and social specificities in society as a result of, at least in part, historical development. Certainly, in her history on Dutch women’s writings between 1919 and 1970, Fenoulhet (2007: 1) highlights the ‘extreme emphasis on the nuclear family’.

    Another Dutch discourse, as I saw it, was that of the semi-therapeutic one, which was quite prevalent in lifestyle publications in the Netherlands at the time (1999). On the other hand, we could surmise that ‘therapy talk’, and the discourse of ‘personal development’ is part of many lifestyle magazines in the west. It has become so ingrained that we cannot even step outside it easily; it has become taken for granted to such an extent, that, even in a men’s magazine, it does not seem out of place (at least not to me). However, I felt that a discourse which sometimes is referred to as ‘touchy-feely’, - the word already indicates a critical attitude - would be out of place in an English men’s magazine. I also interpreted this particular discourse as an indication that strongly negative stereotyping of women and brazen sexism, as expressed in the first part of the article, was not acceptable, even in a glossy male magazine (which quite likely is also read by women), and needed to be toned down and wrapped up in a semi-serious therapeutic tone. Of course, the underlying sexism is still there, even, or maybe especially in the ‘therapy-part’ of the article. But the therapy discourse seems to make the sexism in the article more acceptable because of the tone of concern and caring it adopts, even using a literal female voice.

    This page titled Dutch Articulation is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gerdi Quist (Ubiquity Press) .

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