No other song has caused as much controversy recently as Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines (ft. T.I and Pharrell). The song is hugely popular, despite the fact that it glorifies the dangerous notion that a woman’s consent is only a fuzzy guideline which a man can choose to abide by when he feels like it.
Then there is the music video, with the three fully dressed male singers surrounded by nearly naked female models who proceed to parade around them, acting as an accessory for the men. As if this isn’t enough, the second, unrated version features completely topless models in nude thongs. And finally, most recently were the 2013 VMA’s, where Miley Cyrus’s performance made headlines across the country.
Selection of Lyrics:
….OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you…..
…You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted….
…I hate them lines
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me…
(Further lyrics posted elsewhere)
In an interview with GQ magazine Thicke says when referring to writing the song with Pharrell, “We started acting like we were two old men on a porch hollering at girls like, “Hey, where you going, girl? Come over here!”” The anecdote is told with a laugh, something women who have dealt with sexual harassment from find far from humorous.
When questioned about the videos portrayal of women in the same GQ article, Thicke proceeds to give what he thinks is a defense of his video, but instead proves his own lack of understanding of this social issue.
“We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, “We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.”
So being “happily married” absolves these three men of the responsibility to respect the women around them and not take into account the larger social issues, specifically street harassment and rape culture, that are brought to attention with videos like these?
Thicke continued: “People say, “Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?” I’m like, “Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.”
…. really? Thicke goes on to add to this preposterous argument:
“So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, “Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.” After the video got banned on YouTube, my wife tweeted, “Violence is ugly. Nudity is beautiful…”
So if that is the case, then why is it that the men are fully clothed? Where is this video showing the beauty in nudity or the female body? Instead of accentuating the positive attributes of a woman in a respectful and artistic way, the creators of this video have made the women purely accessories, objects to the men who can to stand around and have their egos boosted at the expense of the women.
Instead of calling out on the bullshit that is this attitude many in our society have by making fun of these men, Thicke, Pharrell and T.I instead succeeded in encouraging this culture. Perhaps this is something these married fathers can think about when their wives and daughters face street harassment and the pervasive fear of rape.
THE MUSIC VIDEO:
There are two versions of the music video, one being the “clean” version, and one being the unrated version. And thus I link you to two other interpretations of the music video:
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines [Feminist Parody] “Defined Lines”
See comments on this youtube video for further reasons as to why this video needs to exist.
Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines” Sexy Boys Parody by Mod Carousel
“It’s our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions.” – Mod Carousel
MILEY CYRUS AND THE CONTROVERSIAL VMA’S:
Right after the VMA’s, Miley’s scandalous performance, which involved barely there clothing and a foam finger,was the main topic of discussion. But within all this buzz, the fact that Robin Thicke performed as well was hardly mentioned. Before watching the video, I was under the impression that Cyrus had performed the song alone.
Rising to fame as a Disney star, it makes sense that the now twenty year old actress gets harsh criticism with her sexually provocative choices, but why isn’t the media talking about the thirty-six year old man who wrote the song to begin with? Is our society so comfortable with grown men objectifying women that we no longer address the issue?
I’m not excusing Cyrus’s performance or saying that it was appropriate, but why is she the only one being attacked by the media? When did we stop holding grown men accountable for their actions?
So when people ask why this video is still being discussed by the media, or say they just “don’t get why this song is such an issue”, they should take a moment to educate themselves about how constantly our culture disregards dangerous issues and the effect it has on the mindset of future generations.