You know you want it.
Want to domestic her…
And there is nothing about ‘Blurred Lines’ that legitimizes its place on a dancefloor.
It isn’t hard to spot the problems.
Heavy-handed misogyny, masculine domination and feminine objectification are the basis of the lyrical content. The song’s original nudie-video does little to recontextualise Thicke’s intentions and there is zero complication on the part of its producers of the tired message (hey hey hey!) espoused by the song and its accompanying media. This about the uncompromised access of men to women as sex objects. On whichever level the lyrical content is addressed, the conclusion is inevitable.
Sexual (im)morality isn’t a new issue, but ‘Blurred Lines’ ushers in a whole new microgeneration of debate – in the following order:
Miley twerks her way across the VMA stage, quite possibly tripping molly, and goes in for a grind on middle-aged Thicke’s ballsack. Shortly afterward, married Thicke is caught groping non-wife model ass. Renowned perv-voyeur Terry Richardson strips Cyrus and she fellates a hammer. Sinead O’Connor slut shames her. Local men candidly admit to widespread rape and what might be termed a rapey mentality – and Petra Collins has her Instagram account deleted for daring to let her god-given bush bristle from the edges of her bikini line.
The issue is not just sex, but gender roles and sexiness. Judith Butler, time-proven critical theorist, gives a crash introduction to her notions of performing gender here. And from what she has to say, it becomes obvious that sex is not static, gender is not static; oppression, manipulation and the top-down enforcement of biased ideologies are not static. The debate is important because the issues remain relevant. And the lines are not nearly as blurred as Thicke will have us believe.
After all this, however, there is just one reason that I cannot forgive Robin Thicke.
‘Blurred Lines’ thieves its catchy, up-beat, feel-good hook from Uncle Marvin’s seminal ‘Got to Give It Up‘. Say what you will about multiple meanings and the state of patriarchy in the 70s vs today… but I just don’t find anything rape-y, oppress-y, or misogynist-y about the everyman tale Gaye relates when he tells us,
“I used to go out to parties
and stand alone
cos I was too nervous
to really get down…
But then I got myself together, baby!
and now I’m having a ball”
Not that Gaye isn’t interested in love-making:
“As long as you’re grooving,
There’s always a chance
That somebody watching
Is gonna make romance.”
But there is something mutual, joyful and liberatory in his lyrics, in his beat, in his dancemoves.
‘Blurred Lines’ sells its themes of domination and submission as fun, simple and sexy – and in so many ways it succeeds. The beat is sunny, the lyrics are foxy; the hungry-looking girls choking on Thicke’s cigar smoke (what layered symbolism!) are enjoying it just as much as Pharrell is.
My question is, in a local climate of sexual violence and an international climate of gender discrimination, why would a reasonable man endorse any more blurring?
*For more dangerous information, follow @cocolovesdanger