Blurred Lines – I have something to say.

June 2, 2013

The current number one song in Australia – and I assume world-wide – is Blurred Lines by Thicke.

I am experiencing a mini-form of anxiety over this song – that I need to purge.

Here is my timeline with the song:

1. My sister played me the start of the song on her phone – it had me instantly hooked – I put it on the dock and we turned up the volume. My daughters were with us, so we were all dancing around the kitchen.

2. Then the lines – “I know you want it / I know you want it…but you’re a good giiirl – I know you want it / I know you want it” – started to echo out of the speakers and I thought, “Mmm…not sure about that for the girls.”

3. I saw a comment from a friend on her FB page – with the video embedded – saying that the feminist in her wasn’t sure about the video, but that she loved the song.
The feminist in her?
Torn moment #1: Do I really want to see it? I didn’t want to hate it.
But at that moment I didn’t have time to click on her link.

4. The following week, I saw the video on the telly. Scantily clad girls, with the fully clothed men, watching the girls walk by, leering at them, smacking their lips. Complete objectification. Still loved how the song made me want to dance, though. And dancing fills me with joy.
Yes it does.

5. I went back to my friend’s comment to tell her I agreed with her – but something she responded to me didn’t make sense, so I clicked on the video she had embedded.
In this unrated version – the women are basically naked.
Only a pair of skin-coloured g-strings (thongs) covering up the front pubic area – which in the first shot appears the girl is naked – with no pubic hair. What they are wearing, however, are a white pair of sandshoes.
The photo below is of the female ‘clothed’ version – but all the naked photos are there for the kiddies:

robin-thicke-blurred-lines-video

Look – the perfect man and woman, apparently. Sexy.

Now I am no prude.
I’m quite a fan of the naked female form, actually.
I think it’s stunning – of all shapes. What women’s bodies can do. Simply amazing.
I believe that the naked form – male and female – can communicate a myriad of beautiful messages – but we only see one: The hyper-sexualised woman or girl.

We certainly don’t see the male naked form in terms of saturation and sexual objectification.

I have two enormous problems with this song and video:

1. It’s not with the nudity itself – but the context in which it resides.

These men are fully clothed. As always.

Must we continually be subjected to the same message?
In Nelly’s song, It’s Getting Hot in Herre the chorus says:

Male: “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes”
Female: “I am, getting so hot, I’m gonna take my clothes off.”

The irony – that whilst the women in the video are scantily clad (as the song suggests) some of the men have parkas on – is staggering. And blatant. They’re taking the piss.

Same again with earlier episodes of Big Bang Theory. Leonard would be wearing shirts, long sleeve t-shirts and a jacket – indoors – while Penny would be in a shoe-string, low cut, singlet top and tiny shorts.

And who can forget the visual example of Lana del Rey on the cover of GQ – as the only ‘Woman of the Year’ 2012, amongst the other four ‘Men of the Year’ (including one being pawed by women’s hands):
lana-del-ray

My point?
That the less dressed you are – the more vulnerable you are.

It may be your (a woman’s) choice, but does it make you any less vulnerable to the eye of the beholder?

Again, I can’t believe the irony that I noticed this last summer – that some boys were wearing board shorts that had three-quarter leg lengths.
Gotta make sure the ‘package’ is well and truly hidden and secure…girls on the other hand…

The Blurred Lines video shows only objectification at its purest.

Are the men on the hunt?

It’s for sexual gratification ONLY and it’s sadly so one-dimensional – for both sexes.

The girls’ value is glorified – for the world to see – in only this one way.
They are nothing more than their sexual, perky breasts.
As nice as they are – really?

Is that it for us women? Our ultimate goal?
And to hate ourselves – actually hate ourselves – for not looking like that AND allow men and other women to make us feel bad too?

Question # 164: Do we want our boys and men to see and treat girls and women this way?

Then we have the following lyrics from the song:

One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Yo, from Malibu, to Paribu
Yeah, had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual…

There’s more, but you get the gist.

Couple the female-only (ever) nudity, with what’s being said, and you have dangerous, hyper-sexualised objectification.
The men are not vulnerable and never are.

My second problem?

2. The Arrogance of the men in the video.

So. Arrogant. (See lyrics above)

I saw a comment left by a woman about this video saying that she thought the guys looked hot and wouldn’t mind being paid to grind up against them. (Naked…to fully clothed men…)

I would respond to this woman with, “AND DON’T THEY KNOW IT!”
They know they’re top dogs and they know women will perform naked for them.
Thicke, in particular, is an attractive man (no argument) but he has balloons in the shape of letters which spell out,

‘Robin Thicke has a big dick.’
Arrogant. {Yeah, I’d fuck you, bitch.}

So here I am – liking a song I loathe at the same time – feeling completely gypped that artists who want to tap into a sexual theme, have to continue with this degrading view of women.

And that women comply – whether appearing in the video or wanting to be her.

*sigh*

Still…I really like the beat of that song.

Deep Breath.

x


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9 Responses to “Blurred Lines – I have something to say.”

  1. Harls said

    I don’t have an intelligent comment for you today Paula. (Probably actually I never did…!?) Just surprise that you would find *anything* positive to say about this song. To me the song matches the lyrics and filmclip. Dull mindless beat to dull mindless lyrics to dull mindless seen-it-a-hundred-thousand-times filmclip. *Yawn* Trash. Compare and contrast to a true musical genius, Josh Homme, who is not only one of the incredible artists of our time (or any other era) but who threw his close friend Nick Oliveri out of their band QOTSA (one of the BEST BANDS EVER) because of Oliveri’s domestic violence issues. That’s real and that’s taking a stand. Homme is a real man (and a genius), Thicke is a talentless lemming misogynist grub. *
    * The statements herein reflect the opinions of the author.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Oh I completely agree, Harley – I actually wrote ‘snore’ on my friend’s status about the video. So we are on the same page – it’s more the complete frustration at not seeing anything different – although I do like the pop beat to this one. (Unusual for me – generally loathe pop).
      Lyrics and video – shite.
      Yes, so many more amazing artists out there. I’ll check Homme out.
      I’ve missed you! It’s been a while.
      Paula x

  2. “My point?
    That the less dressed you are – the more vulnerable you are.

    It may be your (a woman’s) choice, but does it make you any less vulnerable to the eye of the beholder?

    Again, I can’t believe the irony that I noticed this last summer – that some boys were wearing board shorts that had three-quarter leg lengths.
    Gotta make sure the ‘package’ is well and truly hidden and secure…girls on the other hand…

    Is that it for us women? Our ultimate goal?
    And to hate ourselves – actually hate ourselves – for not looking like that AND allow men and other women to make us feel bad too?”

    Hi, stumbled by your blog via twitter.

    So is your problem with the misogynistic language in some songs and images in the videos, or women wearing little in ‘real life’ (reference to your comment about girls’ shorts in summer)?

    I am interested in your comment about the less dressed you are, the more vulnerable you are? Find this a very worrying concept.

    Also interested in your comment about “Is this it for women? Our ultimate goal”?

    I have a problem with a lot of the language/ messages in such songs, but I also find ‘objectification’ and ‘male gaze’ very problematic and constricting, so have found this interesting. Thank you. Look forward to any updates on this matter.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Hey there,
      I’ll tackle every question you have as best I can 🙂
      My main problem is with how women are represented – this then leads to it seeping into reality.
      Is it art imitating life or life imitating art? Who knows. I feel like they’re feeding each other now and therein lies my biggest concern.
      I have a problem with the language and the images, if they portray women as hyper-sexualised. This is not to say women aren’t sexual beings – of course we are! – but if it’s the only image we see, then that’s incredibly dangerous and it’s really pissing me off.
      I believe nudity makes one vulnerable. I would be. Why don’t we see naked men in their representation? Because it makes them feel exposed – hence the example of the shorts. They used to wear speedos, now it’s considered ‘yucky’ to see a man’s penis bulge. The shorts example was more to point out the ridiculous lengths of boys’ shorts now – juxtaposing the girls – (and their past).
      If you really look around, it’s quite a common theme – Man fully dressed; Woman under-dressed.
      And with all this comes the saddening predictability of women and their negative feelings toward themselves because of their bodies. They may fantasise about having the body of the girl in the video…although I can’t imagine what fantastic new existence would suddenly reveal itself when said body is achieved; some guy telling them they’d tap that? What an honour!
      So in terms of your last question there is a great line from the documentary, ‘Missrepresentation’ – “You can’t be what you can’t see”. So the question – “Is this it for women?” is asking what else we’ve got to strive for if this is all our girls and women are being fed.
      It’s got me SO bored – seeing the same over and over again.
      I do grapple with advice for my students in terms of what they wear. If you’re interested, here is a post I wrote about the subject.

      http://questionsforwomen.org/2013/04/02/the-fine-line-a-chat-with-teens/

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I hope I answered your queries well. 🙂

  3. I get so BORED by these songs and videos, it’s the same old sexist formula trotted out again and again and again. There’s no creativity in the industry, it simply goes:

    Step 1: Write a song about violently having sex with women (often with very questionable notions of consent)
    Step 2: Shoot a video with loads of half-naked women while men lounge around (as you say fully-clothed) acting like jerks.
    Step 3: BAM, rake in millions of dollars.

    I just want to see something interesting and different for a change!!

    • questionsforwomen said

      Oh I agree. I should take the part about being torn about the song OUT – I can’t stand it now.
      It was cool the first time I heard it because we were dancing around the kitchen with my girls…until the “you know you want it” part started. PFFT!
      I wrote the same on my friend’s post about the song – I said how bored I am with the formula. SNORE – can’t we see anything different?
      Hope things are good with you. Lovely to hear from you.
      🙂

      • Harls said

        That’s a bit fascinating Paula – you initially loved the song, but now you can’t stand it! It kind of reinforces what I think of this type of music. Hip beat, funky sounding lyrics (until you actually hear what the words are saying)… great song, right! But upon second thought, it’s actually it’s not such a great song. An *actual* good song is a good song, no matter what!

      • questionsforwomen said

        Agreed, Harley. But there are times when a song doesn’t quite grab you until you hear the words and then it blows you away. This was the opposite. Good pop beat.
        It was a good boogie around the kitchen with the girls, though.
        That was my favourite part. 🙂

  4. […] Paula at Questions For Women – Blurred Lines – I have something to say […]

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