After looking over the list of English expressions that include the word “Dutch,” I feel like I have to give the Dutch a little leeway when they use English. At least, that’s what I decided after I saw a post that Dutch site Style Today did about my swear rings (and Topshop’s similar design).
“Alleen voor stoere ghetto chicks of voor elke fashionista een musthave?”
According to Google Translate, the sentence means, “Only for tough ghetto chicks or a must-have for every fashionista?” I read “ghetto” as racist at first, but it’s nothing compared to “niggabitch,” which is what Dutch magazine Jackie called pop star Rihanna last year. (Rihanna didn’t appreciate that language and Jackie’s editor resigned over the incident.) “Tough ghetto chicks” is keeping it classy, relatively speaking. So, even though I grew up on the mean streets of Mahwah, N.J., I’m not going to ask y’all to “hold my earrings, please” while I give some Dutch person a Jersey Shore-style beatdown.
When I see tacky/offensive fashion, it would never occur to me to call it “ghetto.” To me, it’s “very Jersey Shore” or “Jersey mall-rat,” but I’m from New Jersey, so I can say those things. Don’t go there if you haven’t lived my pain.
The Style Today post reminded me that although I tweeted and Facebooked my thanks last week, but I didn’t blog that InStyle contributing editor Marion Fasel featured my swear rings in the “We’re Obsessed” section of InStyle.com.
I bet Marion is now kicking herself for calling the rings “fun and funky” instead of “ghetto”!
UPDATED TO ADD: Maybe this story originated with the Dutch version of Grazia. Its post, dated the day before Style Today’s, asks if the rings are “hip or horror” and whether they’re best suited to what Google Translate says are “the tough chicks from the street.” Both stories use the photo of gorgeous blogger Queen Michelle’s hand, but Grazia doesn’t use the word “ghetto.” All I know for sure is that the bad bitches in the Netherlands are going to be desperate for these rings thanks to all this coverage. Not to worry, Dutch wimmins! I do ship internationally. Email me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com to discuss international shipping options.
sulky kitten says
This is why I don’t wear earrings!
You fight that much?!?
Patti @ NotDeadYet Style says
Maybe that word means “rainbow” or “kitten” in Dutch! Then all the proper ladies will want some.
That’s such an awesome theory.
American style gets emulated in other countries so often… especially hip hop culture. Asian fashion especially with their bad translations and use of American slang… sometimes I think they know not what they do.
That reminds me that I haven’t looked at Engrish.com in forever! http://www.engrish.com/
Excellent Jersey Shore clip!
Hi my dear!! Congratulations on the InStyle article and how fabulous that your rings are being so deservedly recognised worldwide now!! I remember when you bought the Ossie jacket, it was the day before we met up, you tried it on for me in your room!! It was a gorgeous buy and looks amazing!! xxx
That was such a fun day!
As a Dutch woman, not a girl, and slightly out of touch with hip and young Holland I read it as a compliment. Is it only for tough ladies – and tough is good – or is it for everyone – everyone who reads the site is a fashionista ( another old Dutch word) – .The trend in the Netherlands is to write everything in English. I don’t know where this comes from, but if it is not in English it isn’t true. The problem is that people do not understand the subtle differences of the English/American language, let alone use it properly.
So, I apologize for my fellow countrywomen, if it comes across as an insult, but please do take it as a compliment.
Thanks for chiming in, Hilde! I appreciate it! Also this gave me a laugh: “but if it is not in English it isn’t true.” I guess it’s like English speakers getting tattoos in Chinese or Japanese characters. They always want it to say something like “special” but it turns out to say “stupid.”
I always hope the tattoes mean something like fried rice and spring rolls.
Hilde, this made me laugh…and then it made me hungry.
LOL, “keeping it classy!”
Dutch women are big… I wouldn’t want to fight them.
I love that you’re so world-wide, WendyB. Doesn’t surprise me one bit.
Taking over the world, one Dutch ghetto girl at a time 😉
And the swear rings saga continues! I think they see them as a girl on the street warning people to stay away, but I when I first thought of it, I saw it as a girl expressing her frustrations on her hands. Hmmm…
The runway show they were originally produced for had kind of a “naughty schoolgirl” theme. That’s how I still think of them! Like, “Ha ha! Aren’t you scandalized by my badness?” 🙂
Wendy, On a later post, if it isn’t too presonal, can you talk about how you switched careers? I am retiring from one profession (at 44) and am searching for my next big thing- what motivated you? What helped you make a BIG change? If this is too personal, please excuse me.
This essay from a few years ago tells some of the story — let me know if you have any questions: http://www.marieclaire.com/career-money/jobs/secrets-and-lies-business-partner-betrayal
I bet there are many lost style translations of your swear rings. But, there’s nothing’s like the real McCoy! I wouldn’t describe them by the loosely used word as “ghetto” though … My, my, your swear rings have gone global dear!
Someone in Germany asked me about them today!
I think people in other countries just don’t know what words mean or if it’s slang and/or how it’s being used like with the Rhianna comment.
I’m sure that’s it — that’s why I don’t throw random Russian/Dutch/German/Spanish words into my posts!
Susan Partlan says
Why does the word ‘ghetto’ always make me think of Fiddler on the Roof? Glad to see Hidle’s comment. I had a feeling it was actually a compliment.
Funny how it’s so trendy to use English there!