Saturday, September 14, 2013

Your Eyes Are Blurry, Thicke; These Lines Are Clear

People have been up in arms recently about a song released from Robin Thicke called “Blurred Lines.”  And I am one of them.  The song and the video both have elements that cross sexual boundaries.  What is the extra terrible cherry on the sundae of awful is that plenty of songs cross boundaries such as these and have for years, but no one seems to protest them.  The reason this song has been protested is mainly the video, but the lyrics are poor too.  Add them together for a cocktail of douche-baggery.

The video, which I have had occasion to watch, features Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. singing while women prance around them completely naked with the exception of nude underwear.  So here’s my question, apart from the already questionable lyrics, what is the damn point?  Women prancing around naked?  Just because they want to have them.  The music video, still available on youtube, is inflammatory on its own.  In addition to the lyrics, it’s down right disgusting.  Below is the clean version, but the unrated version can still be viewed on Youtube if you verify your age.

Blurred Lines Lyrics

[Verse 1: Robin Thicke]
If you can't hear what I'm trying to say
If you can't read from the same page
Maybe I'm going deaf,
Maybe I'm going blind
Maybe I'm out of my mind
[Pharell:] Everybody get up

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
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. Hey, hey, hey
You don't need no papers. Hey, hey, hey
That man is not your maker

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl
I know you want it, I know you want it, I know you want it
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it, I know you want it, 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
[Pharell:] Everybody get up

[Verse 2: Robin Thicke]
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place
I feel so lucky
Hey, hey, hey
You wanna hug me
Hey, hey, hey
What rhymes with hug me?
Hey, hey, hey

[Pre-chorus and Chorus]

[Verse 3: T.I.]
One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain't bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it's almost unbearable
In a hundred years not dare, would I
Pull a Pharside let you pass me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don't smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn't pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin'
I'm a nice guy, but don't get it if you get with me

[Bridge: Robin Thicke]
Shake the vibe, get down, get up
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don't like work?

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me, Dakota to Decatur, uh huh
No more pretending
Hey, hey, hey
Cause now you winning
Hey, hey, hey
Here's our beginning

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]

So there are a few specific lines that stick out to me as incredibly offensive.  The first is pre-chorus in which Robin likens the girl’s last relationship as him trying to domesticate her and Robin being the one who can liberate her.  On the one hand, he is claiming that the last guy wasn’t her maker and couldn’t domesticate her, but on the other hand he’s saying he is the one who can liberate her….with his penis, I’m presuming.  Bro, I’m already liberated and I didn’t need your dick to do so.

Secondly, the repeated usage of “I know you want it” especially after saying “I hate these blurred lines.”  One of the most common rape myths or excuses used by rapists is that the victim actually wanted it.  Even though she was saying no, she really meant yes.  No means no.  “The way you grab me, must wanna get nasty.”  Because apparently women aren’t allowed to do anything sexual because it means they want sex?  No. That is like saying a woman kissing you wants to have sex with you just because she’s kissing you.  Shockingly enough, a physical relationship can happen without sex.  So which are these blurred lines exactly?  The sexual blurred lines?  Those lines aren’t blurred.  Those lines are actually very explicit.  That’s why there are laws about those lines.

The last part that really got me was T.I.’s solo in which he talks about this “bitch” he used to know, and that he can “tear your ass in two,” and “he don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that.”  Calling a woman a bitch is not endearing.  It is most certainly not going to make me want to sleep with you, but hey, these lines are blurred so you’ll probably just take it anyway right?  The use of sexual preferences here is used in a degrading manner.  Anal sex, spanking, or hair pulling are personal preferences, but when a singer tells me he can tear my ass in two, and how he’ll smack my ass and pull my hair, it isn’t a come on, it’s predatorily sexual.

Creepy lyrics + naked girls = sketchy as hell song

Robin Thicke even tried to defend his song, saying the lyrics were misinterpreted and how it is supposed to be a feminist movement.  Which is why the women were naked in the video, right Robin?  All three artists that contributed to the song are married with kids, do any of them have daughters?  Did any of them think for one second how one of their kids would view this?  More can be read about Robin’s perception of the misinterpretation at Huff Post, along with pictures from the music video.  Whatever you want to claim, Robin, your song is not a feminist movement.

I mentioned at the very beginning of the post that many people have been up in arms about the song lyrics and video.  One group in Auckland, New Zealand made a reply video called “Defined Lines.” Read more here at Huff Post.

Defined Lines Lyrics

Every bigot shut up (x 2)
Hey hey hey (x 3)

Boy you'd better quit all your sexist ways
So hear our manifesto of the modern age.
It's time to undermine
The masculine confines
Coz we don't wanna grind,

You think that you're so slick,
Let me emasculate ya!
Because your precious dick
Can't beat my vibrator.
We're feelin' the frustration
From all the exploitation.
Prepare for your castration.

So we can fuck this man's world,
With all its bullshit,
Girls don't deserve it.
We ain't good girls:
We are scholastic,
Smart and sarcastic,
Not fucking plastic.
Listen mankind!
If you wanna get nasty,
Just don't harass me:
You can't just grab me.
That's a sex crime!
Yeah we don't want it -
It's chauvinistic.
You're such a bigot!

What you see on tv
Doesn't speak equality,
It's straight up misogyny.
Don't want you to come on my face!

You think you're hunky (hey hey hey)
You wanna hug me (hey hey hey)
Don't you mean fuck me?

One thing I ask of you:
Don't assume that we all just wanna screw.
Gotta respect me for me to be your boo.
We don't want no scrubs, no we don't approve.
Need a universal role reversal,
In real life not a dress rehearsal.
Gotta resist all the gender roles,
Time to put misogyny on parole,
Put exploitation on probation,
Time for you to witness our liberation!
There's more to life than penetration,
And sexual discrimination.
So tonight we ignite our civil rights,
Resist chauvinism,
Win the fight,
Coz you're livin large just like a montage
Of you and your friends actin' out Entourage.
But we ain't whores to do your household chores,
To make you a sandwich when we're on all fours.
From history to herstory.
Know you got some opinions that we don't agree.
Need to call my sister Joan of A-R-C,
Bake a feminist cake, Antoinette Marie.
Yeah, guys, we got spies,
Know all you wanna do is fertilise,
But avert your eyes from my thighs,
Never tell a bitch that she gotta drop a size.
You wanna box gap? Show me your six pack.
Wanna landing strip? You'd better get ripped.
I apologise if you think my lines are crass,
Tell me how it feels to get verbally harassed.


This video is getting a lot of controversy and criticism as well.  Here’s my take.  As a feminist, I believe in equality between the sexes.  Does this video represent that idea?  No.  Because if that were the case, they wouldn’t need men being scantily clad.  That being said, I think this video is still spot on about how women are represented.  

Men are not and have never been treated the same in media or life as women.  Catcalling seems innocent enough to men.  But as a woman, I can’t stand it.  I used to think it was flattering because I had low self esteem and thought a guy paying me any attention at all was nice.  But now, I think it’s degrading and humiliating.  You aren’t paying me a compliment to who I am, you’re paying me a compliment to what you see.  Men have likely never felt wary of meeting the opposite sex at bars.  Do I think all men are evil and prey on women?  Absolutely not.  But do I have enough evidence at my disposal to be wary of men I meet?  Absolutely yes.  Men have always been considered the stronger sex, because they are the ones who have always dictated how things go.  I don’t believe that personally, but I’m short and know by physical averages most men are taller than me.  I could probably fight a guy off long enough to get away, but I also don’t want to be put into that situation.

I’m not saying “Blurred Lines” is an evil song.  I’m not saying you should boycott it.  I’m not saying “Defined Lines” is perfect.

What I am saying is that women are not treated the same way in the world as men, and that before people blindly listen to music, think about what it is saying and if this is a song you’d want to hear your children singing along to some day.

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