Rhythmn and Soul: Robin Thicke's Morals
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 00:10
It was both the song of the summer and the song that made women across the nation cringe. Yup, that’s right, I’m talking about “Blurred Lines.”
If you haven’t heard this song, be grateful. It’s catchy, hip, but irrevocably sexist and vulgar. It’s a hard juxtaposition to make sense of and it’s an even harder song to hate. Well, maybe it doesn’t take that much effort.
As a disclaimer, I have nothing against vulgarity and obscenity in music. It’s all free speech to me and if you don’t like something, don’t listen to it. What I take objection with in “Blurred Lines” is how easily accepted the vulgarity was.
My first point is to draw your attention to the fact that Robin Thicke’s infectious – in more ways than one – tune sat on the top of Billboard’s Top 100 list for over 12 weeks. It was the most played song on the radio and it’s already made appearances in trailers for movies like “The Best Man Holiday.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with a great song being played over and over on the radio, I happily jammed out to “Get Lucky” whenever it came on. But what makes this so wrong in the case of “Blurred Lines” is how accepted and unquestioned his message went.
With lyrics like “But you’re a good girl/ the way you grab me/ must wanna get nasty/ go ahead, get at me” the image of consent the song portrays is dangerous. Consent does not exist in this song. The woman’s actions are taken as a “yes,” while the woman’s desires are not expressly voiced. For all we know, the woman could not want what Robin Thicke has to give. This, in my opinion, propagates rape culture and sends the message that non-verbal cues are equal to consent. This is absolutely not the case. Not to mention how unbelievably sexist it is that the woman’s voice in this song is unrepresented. How does the woman feel? We don’t know if she’s a willing participant or too inebriated to know what’s happening to her. Were people not upset by this? I know most of my female friends won’t listen to “Blurred Lines” because of this.
My second point is to address the explicit instances of sexual violence in the tune. According to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, an act of sexual violence occurs every two minutes in the United States. That means that during the four minute duration of Robin Thicke’s songs, two people fall victim to exactly what his song describes. One grouping of lines, sung by Pharell Williams goes as far to describe acts of violence that might hit home a little too hard for victims of sexual abuse. “Had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you/ So, hit me up when you pass through/I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two…Nothin’ like your last guy, he too square for you/He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that.”
Granted, if consensual, some women enjoy a little pain with their pleasure, but again, the woman’s voice isn’t heard. It’s assumed that she’ll be okay being roughed up and hurt. The violence in these lyrics is horrifying and frankly I feel disappointed at how popular they’ve become.
My last point is that women are displayed merely as props in the “Blurred Lines” music video. Robin Thicke, flanked by naked women who do nothing but act sexy, gets away with portraying women as accessories to his act. It’s an archaic idea that is insulting to independent women everywhere.
My goal with this column was to shed light on a vulgar and violent song that is far too popular. Perhaps people are desensitized to sexual violence, but it’s an issue that is faced by over 200,000 people in the United States. I encourage all my readers to think about the music they support and whether it aligns with their morals.