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A Dutch feminist magazine speculates on the Obama’s sexlife

20140428_143141(1)The Dutch feminist magazine Opzij wrote an article on how the more equal the partners are the less sex their having. To accompany the article they used the formerly most retweeted picture in history of Michelle and Barack Obama hugging after he won the US presidential election for the second time. It’s like Niggabitch all over again only with the Obama’s. 

No, it’s not okay to try to and bump up magazine sales by using Barack & Michelle Obama likeness for a generic article. The rest of the magazine is filled with dime a dozen stories in which Opzij once again exposes itself as not having its finger on the pulse of transformative feminism as it once did. Another was when the founder and then editor in chief banned headscarved women from working for the magazine.

And that’s the problem with a lot of proponents of Dutch feminism: it’s been hijacked to preserve conservative idea’s on society. An event was recently organized by the internationally renowned women’s archive ATRIA and cultural venue De Balie in which the night was kicked off by insulting the two feminists who have rightly shaken up this country the most in the last six months. They feminists in question Asha Ten Broeke and Sunny Bergman weren’t even invited to the event. Feminism in the Netherlands has become complacent, complicit and toothless.

No, it’s not okay to call this feminist journalism when it’s clearly patriarchal heteronormative tabloid fodder.

Hij poetst en zuigt, maar de opwinding is ver te zoeken. Doodt emancipatie de lust?
He scrubs and vacuums, but the excitement is nowhere to be found. Has emancipation killed the lust?

What did I just read? Is this really the best we can do in the Netherlands when it comes to feminist publishing? Emancipation isn’t just about men cleaning up around the house. It’s about regarding care work as valuable. It’s putting a halt to workplace discrimination. It’s about making sure that the gender wage gap is closed. It’s about ending rape culture. It’s about breaking cultural conventions on femininity and masculinity.

To even think of emancipation, or in their words men helping out around the house, as something that is making men less attractive to the women that they’re in a relationship with is bizarre. And what’s up with still reverting back to thinking that a couple consists of a man and a woman. It’s feminist logic defying.

And last but not least, no, it’s not okay to speculate on Barack & Michelle Obama’s sex life. The fact alone that you want your readers to imagine them having sex speaks to racist assumptions of black sexuality. Has there ever been a proper article in the Opzij that speaks on race and sex? That talks specifically about black intimacy? Not to my knowledge.

The original context of the picture, a celebration of collective triumph and black intimacy, is turned on its head and the picture because a visual pun. Specifically putting this black couple front and center and using a picture that shows them being openly intimate with one another is a fetishization of intimacy between black people. Intimacy between black people isn’t normal to white people in the Netherlands and this cover by being the aberration supports the norm of the white cover and white intimacy.

Not just that, how many readers of Opzij actually recognize them as the Obama’s and not just a random black couple. Because if we’re honest, sometimes this is a backward ass country when it comes to distinguishing black people.

Opzij was put up for sale recently. Let’s hope that the next owners actually know a thing or two about feminism.




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