A Feminist Defends ‘Blurred Lines’

Oh no she didn’t! ‘Clicks fingers, unfollows, dislikes, turns off computer and burns it’.

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Well hear me out peeps. As a late-comer to the whole ‘blurred lines’ phenomenon that is currently gripping charts internationally, I’m going to put it out there and say that I don’t have a massive issue with Robin Thicke, no more than I have issue with any other male artist who has chosen to shoot to fame by cleverly putting the number one most searched thing in google into his videos, naked ladies.

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I was bopping along to the song the other day, hating on those troublesome blurred lines, when one of my friends pointed out the massive controversy that surrounded the lyrics, the video, and basically everything about the record. Preparing to get my rant on, I stormed the Internet and saw some great parodies, some questionable lyrics, and a lot of breasts. In other words I had a normal day on the Internet.

Lets have a look at some songs that have been completely overseen and overshadowed before we sharpen our pitchforks shall we? Eminem for example, repeatedly gets away with incredibly sexist and objectifying lyrics in nearly all of his songs, as for being labelled as ‘rapey’, lets check out the bridge of ‘Shake That Ass For Me’ “Let me tell you how I made her leave with me”, oh wow, that sounds perfectly legit. Do Kanye and Jay-Z have anything to say? Well in the hit ‘N****s In Paris’ Jay keeps his ‘hot bitch’ at home (great for gender roles) while Kanye replies saying he ‘owns’ a lot of hot bitches, yet everyone seemed ok with this gross out-dated view of women ‘oh what a witty rap, how clever, Kim and Beyonce must be so flattered they got a mention’.

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Tasteful, but hey, the mans a role model!

Robin Thicke has claimed in an interview for the ‘Today’ show that the song is a “feminist movement” within itself, a concept I struggle with, but I don’t think his lyrics are ‘Rapey’ or particularly offensive compared to a lot of music out there. Indeed he talks about the woman grabbing him and invites her to get at him, but never eludes to forcing her to do this. I’d argue he portrays a fairly positive view of the female body, saying he feels “so lucky” and even defends the idea that women don’t need plastic surgery to be beautiful “you’re far from plastic”. Yes, the rap voices graphic content about ripping a persons ass in two (FYI guys, not a great chat-up line) but I saw nothing that said it wasn’t consensual, I didn’t read ‘Fifty Shades’ but if you could read that and not get outraged at the sexism with the dominant male and submissive female, then you really shouldn’t be looking askance at this line.

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‘Fifty Shades’ had an incredibly negative effect on gender roles, but we asked her for two more books!

As for the naked models in his video I think it was a really clever media move, look how many hits it has, getting the video removed has only increased his fame to infamy, which is one step up from ‘just a bit controversial’ and a step down from ‘redefining how women are presented in media’. The fact is he hasn’t done anything that controversial, yes he may have been a bit more straightforward and open in his marketing ploy, but to be honest I thought the video was more tasteful than most of the gyrating females which are thrust before me everyday on ‘Vimeo’.

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You’re right, the music industry doesn’t normally use sex to sell records

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Kanye was objectifying ‘bitches’ before Thicke knew one end of a mic from the other

By doing this, I feel he’s thrown a mirror up to society that we cannot ignore, objectifying women in such an obvious way has made us react, because we don’t like what we see. However surely that should call for a change in our society, as oppose to using this single manifestation of sexism in women in the media as a scape-goat. In reality it’s just a more blatant and honest approach, a symptom of what is wrong in society, as oppose to the actual problem. Therefore we should look towards our entire attitude towards how women are perceived, not just throw out this one thing we don’t like, turning a blind eye on the actual problem. So thank you Robin Thicke, this song has made people get up and think about what is and isn’t an acceptable presentation of women in the music industry, and in normal life. But is he to be penalised? That’s where I see blurred lines.

Images from:
http://www.pedroandradetv.com/en/blurred-lines-by-robin-thicke/
http://www.grrlprobs.com/
http://www.last.fm/music/Snoop+Dogg/+images/58537793
http://www.mookychick.co.uk/reviews/books/fifty-shades-of-grey-area.php

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2 thoughts on “A Feminist Defends ‘Blurred Lines’

  1. I agree that the music industry in general over-sexes women and that we can’t criticize one artist (Robin Thick) without examining others. Women’s bodies are often fought after for possession by the media most commonly by objectification/sexualisation. While it’s good to keep blowing the whistle on obvious vapid uses of the female body, I agree that there has to be a more integrated structure and consistent critique of these discourses to get to the deeper root of it all…

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Exactly, the song is undoubtably questionable, but I can’t believe how upset people have gotten over one song when so many out there are consistently as bad if not worse!

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