Friday, 6 September 2013

Blurred Lines

The girls pretend to be enjoying themselves, some of the time. At other times they just stare into space while the men in suits point out the camera to them. They are given toys and animals to 'play' with. They are told to walk in front of the camera, displaying their bodies.

Guess what I'm talking about.

I know this issue has been talked about to death, but I still feel angry about it. There's black bile running through my body instead of blood, starting in the pit of my stomach and then burning through the rest of me, spreading outwards, spilling into words and rants and rage that I need to write down.

The first time I saw the video I was at my au pair job, cooking tea while the nine year old girl watched television in the kitchen. Suddenly I looked up and saw what she was seeing- a very young model sitting on a stool and looking vacuous, wearing underwear that looked as though she was wrapped in plastic, having her hair brushed by a man in a suit.

The nine year old looked confused, not sure of what she was watching. We discussed what a rubbish song- and what an even weirder video- it was and turned it over. I didn't realise at the time that we'd been watching the censored version...

I know there's been a lot of criticism of 'Blurred Lines' and a couple of parodies that highlight the sexism of the video, but I can't believe there hasn't been a more serious backlash.

The video is offensive and the song is dangerous.

It's easy to mistake 'Blurred Lines' for a standard song about enjoying rape with lyrics like: I know you want it, I'll tear your ass in two... even when you dress casual etc. Ok, fine, nothing wrong with singing about how women secretly want to be raped :)

(Although I would say, maybe think about changing the song title? 'Blurred Lines' implies that there are, well, blurred lines between consensual and non-consensual sex when in fact there's just one very clearly-marked line [#thicke line?] and if you cross it, it's rape.)

But if you read the lyrics online (nobody can be expected to suffer actually listening to the song), the plot thickens (#thickens?) and takes a darker turn:

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
Hey, hey, hey

Woah, woah, woah. Forget the whole offensive, sexist 'domesticate' thing, what most concerns me here is this man that she needs liberating from. Why does she need liberating? Why are you telling her she doesn't need papers, is this a problem for her? Has she been brought over from Eastern Europe under false pretences?

The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

I don't think she wants to get nasty, I think she's grabbing onto you, begging you to rescue her from a life of rape and forced drug addiction. It's all starting to make sense! Why else would three fully-dressed men be dancing around with three girls wearing nothing but thongs? Because they've bought them, they own the girls.

T.I brushing the hair of his real life sex doll.

Pharrell standing next to a girl in a thong, holding a live goat.
They've doped them up on heroin (see the girl being chased with giant needle) and now the girls are so docile that the men can brush their hair, make them do stuff to each other (at one point the blonde girl is on all fours and one of the other girls is resting a foot on her back), to stuffed dogs and to live goats.

Shake the vibe, get down, get up
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don't like work?

Thicke blowing smoke in the face of his drugged-up sex slave.

What does this Robin Thicke (sorry, #thicke) character have to say about my accusations? I sent him my questions telepathically and he responded in an interview with GQ by saying:

"People say, 'Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?' I'm like, 'Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before."

Well I think that's reasonable.

I'm off out now, I'm dressed casual but I still hope somebody comes along and breaks my ass in two, even if I say no. Especially if I say no ;)


  1. I have heard the song and some of the controversy, but haven't actually seen any of the vids or read the lyrics before cos I secretly live in 1952 (where attitudes towards women are much the same, I'm happy to report). Sounds like you're on to something here.

    1. Well I'm sorry for you if you've now endure a viewing of the video as a result of my blog post, but you should know what's out there in 2013. Or is it best not to know? Euw.

  2. I'm so glad you have written this LBM. I also can't believe that this video is viewed as 'entertaining'. As usual anyone who objects to it is accused of being uptight or overreacting. I didn't realise taking a stance against the objectification of women was uptight ?
    The sad thing is the director of this video is a woman. Why does she think this is acceptable?
    You are so right to question the title and wonder why the lyrics from this song have not been picked over and discussed. Why is it that films that contain consensual sex scenes or images of normal healthy relationships are given 18 ratings and yet this video freely circulates music channels. We as a society should be questioning why we don't worry about the images our children see and how that might influence the way young girls view themselves and in turn, young men go on to view women.
    This video is the an example of the grass roots of misogyny, sexism and exploitation. Just because everyone in this video is attractive and well paid we are willing to turn a blind eye and class it as entertainment.
    Yes, I am a woman and yes I want to be attractive and viewed in a certain way in certain situations but there sadly now seems to be 'blurred lines' about about what is an empowered independent sexual woman and what is simply an object to be viewed, judged and demeaned.
    I think this is beyond sad and as a woman I want more for myself and more for the generation coming up behind me.....
    More people should be writing pieces like this that condemn this song and this video for the ridiculous piece of publicity seeking misogyny that it is.
    Keep writing LBM.

    1. Good point about the attractive, rich thing- they should remake the video using ill-looking, impoverished girls and sweaty, hairy, old men. Then I think the original video would be called into serious question! Thanks for commenting, keep reading x

  3. Ah I miss you and your wise words left bank Manc. I almost liked this song for about a day and then listened to the lyrics and saw that vile video... what a douche. Keep writing please. Thanks. Love. xxx

    1. Thanks Florence! Just remembering when we first met at Maisie's party... about three years ago! Glad you still read my blog from time to time x