By Sarah Choate
According to Billboard’s 2013 Songs of the Summer Chart, “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke and featuring T.I. and Pharell, maintained the number one spot on the charts across all genres for 12 weeks straight.
Though this was the most popular song of the summer, I hadn’t heard it until the first week of August. I missed the phenomenon by opting for my trusted iTunes collection over the radio mix.
When I first heard “Blurred Lines,” I wasn’t a huge fan. Soon, however, it started getting stuck in my head. I started singing it in the car, under my breath and in the shower. It’s catchy.
I noticed that the lyrics were less than appropriate, but I brushed that off in exchange for the memorable chorus and fun beat that the song provides.
However, after reading an article on thesocietypages.org entitled, “From the mouths of rapists: Lyric’s from Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines,’” I realized just how sickening the message of this song is.
“Blurred Lines” is a gross exercise in misogyny. The lyrics are not only extremely derogatory toward women, but they are also completely sexually explicit.
Despite this fact, during an interview this summer on the talk-show “The View,” Robin Thicke defended “Blurred Lines” saying that it was a “feminist” song because the lyrics boast “that man is not your maker.”
Thicke may sing that men didn’t make women, but he does imply that men should make the decisions for women—especially when it comes to sex.
In this song, the woman being sung to has not consented to sexual intercourse. She never said yes, yet the song (particularly the unedited version) goes on to make assumptions about the woman’s desire, and goes into detail about the sexual acts the singer will perform on the woman, whether she likes it or not.
Over and over again the song repeats, “I know you want it,”—Thicke’s sung justification to commit any explicit act with any woman he rightly or wrongly perceives to desire him.
This song is advertising rape and perpetuating rape culture, which is the idea that if someone wants sex, they are entitled to it.
Rape culture blames the victim for being raped, instead of the rapist for committing a grotesque crime against a fellow human. Rape culture puts victims on trial and asks ridiculous questions like, “What were you wearing when you were assaulted?” These types of questions reflect the general assumption that if someone dresses in a scandalous way, or acts particularly flirtatious, that he or she is asking for sex and should expect to be raped.
To put this in perspective, imagine that you just got a brand new iPhone. You carry your iPhone around and talk on it because it is your phone and you have every right to use it. Then, say somebody steals your phone and you go to the police.
Instead of searching for the thief, the police ask you, “Well, were you flaunting your phone around? Because if that’s the case, they had every right to steal it.”
You can see the poor logic represented by the rape culture we live in—the mindset that victims could have prevented attacks or tried harder.
This is flawed. We should not attack the victim, who has already survived a traumatic experience for both the body and the mind. We should defend victims of sexual assault, fight for justice and work to change the culture’s idea of rape and consent.
We can start by turning off sexually explicit, rape-culture endorsing songs such as this one. We can explain to friends why it’s not right to sing along to the chorus of “I know you want it,” (a common phrase used by rapists to their victims according to thesocietypages.org). We can counter rape culture by explaining it to one person at a time.
There are no “blurred lines” when it comes to sexual consent. No means no.