Like most people not who aren’t living under a rock, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the last few weeks grooving out to Blurred Lines, American singer/songwriter Robin Thicke’s apparent breakthrough single which has been hailed as this summer’s anthem.
However, this week several articles appeared online telling women they should basically be boycotting the song, calling it “rapey” due to the lyrics “I know you want it” featured in the bridge. They also took issue with the unrated version of the accompanying video, which features three models strutting their stuff in just nude-coloured thongs and some lipgloss.
Now, there’s several things wrong with this apparent call to arms. Let me begin by saying I’m an absolute feminist; I’ve spent many a (drunken) conversation defending the use of the term itself, saying a true feminist doesn’t think women are better than men, or that we should be treated as superior citizens, but just want equal treatment. I could list the ways in which we’re currently not treated equally, but sure I’ll save that for later.
I’m sick to the back teeth of being told that, as a woman, I should be offended by something. The song is basically Thicke telling a woman he thinks she’s a damn fine specimen of a human being and he’d quite like to have relations of an intimate nature with her. Having studied the lyrics (and singing along, obvs), at no point does Thicke say or infer that her consent is a non-issue and that he’ll be having his way with her regardless. There’s issue one sorted: it’s not “rapey”.
Incidentally, throwing that word around is more offensive in my view- let’s save it for the millions of cases of actual rape that occur every year around the world, shall we? Oh look, there’s something actual feminists need bother themselves about. Lord knows it bothers me.
Now the issue of the almost naked ladies featured in the video. Some mentions were made about the fact that Thicke, TI and Pharrell are all fully-clothed, while the ladies are naked throughout. Now, as a straight female, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing slightly more of Thicke (although even with his clothes on I still got lost in those eyes… right, back to work) but Pharrell’s over the top fashion choices are so LOL-inducing it’d be a waste of an opportunity to make him strip.
The three ladies involved are all professional models, all over 18 and certainly look like they’re having fun (if they weren’t, then they’re damn fine actors too). Why patronise them by saying that their decision to take the gig is “unfeminist”? I assume they were paid for their work, and unless it transpires that Thicke, TI and Pharrell held guns to their heads to make them sign the contract, people can shag off with their complaints. Girlfriend gotta pay rent, you know?
The video has already been pulled from YouTube, so it’s not as if kids are at risk of seeing it (and having their pure little minds warped by something as unnatural as, say, I don’t know, a pair of knockers?).
As I mentioned earlier there are, sadly, so many topics more important and relevant than this to get het up about when it comes to feminist issues in the world today. It’s still illegal in India to find out the sex of an unborn baby, as female foetuses are so undesirable they would be routinely aborted in favour of male babies. Rape is still happening, be it in India to an innocent young woman on a bus, or in Ohio to a 16 year old girl at a party. Of course there is still the gender pay gap (13.9% in Ireland as of this year) and the Glass Ceiling to contend with too.
Are these not enough to be getting on with for now? Let’s sort these out first, shall we?