Music Monday: Robin Thicke - “Blurred Lines”
July 8, 2013
Today I opened up my email to get the latest updates from the Billboard Top 40 (yes, that’s a thing I do), and was disheartened to see that Rob Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, a repulsively sexist, and somewhat rape-y song, is now sitting at the Number 1 spot on the charts. The song went from fourth to first place (a gain that good hasn’t happened since 2009) suggesting that this song with its awful lyrics and even worse video is seriously enjoyed by many.
People will be quick to point out that sexism in popular music is nothing new, not that this is an excuse. My own music collection is hardly an example of progressive, forward-thinking, anti-sexist, ideals (Hi, Kanye!). What gets me about “Blurred Lines” is how obvious the sexism is and how it still got to be so popular.
How obvious is it? Well, let’s start with this verse:
You’re a good girl…
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it (x3)
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty.
Hey girl, I know what you want! Never mind what you actually want. You want to get nasty with me, #Thicke! To hell with consent!
The video is the next problem. The objectification of women is full-throttle here as they stand topless next to fully-clothed men. I was out a dance club last week and they had this video projected on the screen. Rather than thinking, “hell ya, topless girls, lets party!”, I felt my vibe being killed. It was just uncomfortable.
Before you think this is a case of feminists finding objectification under every rock, I give you the words of Thicke himself:
“Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women.” If you’re not already offended, he added, “What a pleasure it is to degrade women.” (Source)
Advice to musicians: You create your image through the words in your music, the images in your videos, and what you say in interviews. Follow Thicke’s example if you want to come off as someone who gets pleasure from degrading women.
Ah, that’s about all I can say on this piece of garbage. If you want a Billboard song to groove along to and isn’t 100% in-your-face misogyny go check out “Clarity” by Zedd or “Crazy Kids” by Ke$ha. Yes, Ke$ha (but not the version of the song with will.i.am).
About the Author: Chris BurkeChris Burke holds a Bachelors in Environmental Studies: Honours Environment and Business from the University of Waterloo. Next he will be working towards a Masters of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management. He's an active member of the Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers of Waterloo student group. In his spare time he enjoys reading and playing music.
#1 ehaaland on Monday July 08, 2013 at 1:54pm
I'm pretty sure that most people who have listened to the song haven't engaged in thought about it beyond hearing it on their medium of choice. I think it's likely that most people don't much care about the lyrical content of the song at all. I don't think one can conflate voluntarily listening to the song with supporting any message in the lyrics.
It's a catchy song and I'm sure that's all there is to it.
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