This summer I was hit with a shock; and it looks like it shocked everyone else. It was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”. Now you are probably thinking well its already been established that this song has very misogynistic tones and even say it promotes victim blaming. But, I felt so compelled to write about this topic because at the first sign of controversy I was completely baffled. For me it is not good enough to just be told these lyrics promote violence against women. It something that needs to be worked through so that I and anyone else who had problems understanding can be better prepared. So, hopefully I can put to together the pieces of this odd puzzle where we have bizarre lyrics, even weirder interviews and students who are coming together to stand against victim blaming.
I try not to feel guilty that I didn’t recognize the implications of “Blurred Lines” earlier. Maybe there was an uncomfortable feeling of dirtiness, I just assigned that to the sexual nature of the song. However, I have never been considered modest in this area, in fact on occasion I have been called a pervert. So a song about sex isn’t going to cause a blush. But what was it that made me feel so uncomfortable if it wasn’t the topic of sex? It took me awhile to grasp what i had been feeling was a sense of shame, that because I’m an animal and its in my nature that I have no control of what happens to me sexually. What is worse is that I could not recognize this immediately, it was almost as if I was numb to the implications. Not only that I tried to tell myself it was because of the raunchiness of the song, which was just a lie. And why does it even matter? Because, unfortunately songs like this help full and promote this idea that a woman wants sex even if she isn’t asking for so you need to give it to her.
Now after thinking about this I wondered if maybe there was something more to “Blurred Lines”. Maybe what Mr. Thicke is trying to get at is that in our society are not encouraged to be sexually aggressive, which seems true, therefore they are not able to express their sexual desires. In that case, something that might be more appropriate would be “if you want it let me know” as oppose to “I know you want it”. And maybe he just went with “I know you want it” because it was catchy. But in an interview, at Radio 1, in response to recent bans at UK colleges he just disappointed me again. Now i will give you a link for the website but here is the jist of what he said:
1) The lyric “that man is not your maker” is a feminist movement.
2) That the people in positions of power don’t get it but the kids get it.
3)The song is about his wife of 20 years, she is his good girl and he knows she wants it.
Here is what i have to say:
1) Yes that is somewhat empowering, but that does nullify all the other negative and violent things in this song.
2) Its student organizations that seem to making these bans and condemning. On the grounds that this song is misogynistic and violent. I’m sorry but I just don’t think it is correct to say that the kids get it because they are the one who are banning it.
3) Now I have read a few articles and listened to a few interviews where Robin mentions his wife; sometimes as a supporter of the song and as a muse. I know I was confused about the controversy so its possible that she is too. And any kind of logic or social statement that i tried to apply to it earlier doesn’t make sense with his statement.
To be honest, I’m just not quite sure what to think with this last statement. The more I think about it the more irritated I become. Just because its not about who the song is about, it is the arrangement of words that is our problem with it. And if a good girl does want wild sex it is up to her to take control of her sexuality and recognize this desire. It is not the man’s job to take control and tell her she wants it.