I didn’t want to end up writing about it. I tried to ignore it, I did, but since I’m being subjected to it on a pretty much HOURLY basis by the radio, tv, advertising, I don’t think I can keep quiet for much longer. I am, of course, talking about the poisonous atrocity that is Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’.
I almost don’t want to link it, to add to the views, but FYI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU
I’m fully aware that this song has been violating the top of the charts for more weeks than I care to consider and that perhaps the rhetorical backlash has already been and gone. So why has it taken me so long to get off my ass and onto the soapbox? Partly because I am, and always have been, an anti-bandwaggon-jumper. But mostly because I work two jobs and spend my spare time eating peanut butter out of a jar and staring into space.
Now, I posted a little mini-rant on Facebook regarding said atrocity and was met with a bit of a wave of confusion, some people suggesting that the video is no more sexist than, say, a video of Beyonce baring her thighs. The rant went something like this…
‘I’ve been meaning to write something about this video, but was afraid that my rage would lead me to end up throwing my laptop out the window as I tried to articulate myself… And tbh, Gladys didn’t ask for sleazy misogynistic men to be in this world making music. (Yes, Gladys is my laptop). Perhaps one day soon I’ll down some Valium and blog about it…
Oh and Pharrell, I’m disappointed in you. I thought we were friends.’
I told you it was mini. So anyway, when I was confronted with questions about the grey area between sexism and empowerment in the music industry I came up with some pretty average answers like ‘the women are naked and the men aren’t’ and ‘there are weird undertones of infantilization in the song which is icky’.
But when it comes to explaining exactly what it is *whispers* sometimes I can’t work it out either. Sometimes I need to take time to dig deep and figure out exactly what it is that gives me the rage. Perhaps that means I have a slower than average brain or need a bit more sleep, who knows.
The fact is, I’m not a feminist oracle and to be totally honest, the issue is so complex and feminism ITSELF can be so convoluted that even I, a woman who loves feminism so much I want to have squishy little babies with it, gets confused. So, in a bid to save the day, I will now lay down my own personal reasons why Robin Thicke makes me do a small sick in my mouth.
1. The women in the ‘un-rated’ version of the video have their actual boobs out and when questioned about said boobs, he suggested that this was simply women in their ‘natural state’.
To be fair, he has a point here, I WAS born gyrating in a thong.
OK so aside from the fact we now know Biology wasn’t ol’ Robbie’s forte when he was at school, what’s wrong with it? (Ironically, when I typed ‘what’s wrong with it’ I actually typed ‘tit’. Thought you should know). I honestly don’t know whether I’m more offended by the video or how STUPID he is. Where to begin. Well for starters, women don’t look like that naturally. Even aside from the fact that they undoubtedly are on strict diet and exercise regimes (very few women have metabolisms fast enough to naturally be that skinny) ermmm… I don’t mean to get all taboo on the matter but women have hair, cellulite, dimples, freckles, probably fucking SCALES for all I know. Do you know why I don’t know? BECAUSE WOMEN DON’T WALK AROUND IN THONGS APART FROM IN THEIR OWN HOMES OR MAYBE CHANGING ROOMS BUT EVEN THEN THEY DON’T LOOK LIKE THAT.
AND WHY IS THERE A SHEEP???
I knew this would happen. Ahem.
2. The main line in the song is ‘you know you want it’.
Young boys do not need any more confusion around this issue. They are growing up in a world where the biggest picture of a woman in a supposedly ‘family’ newspaper is half naked and now this is invading their eyes. Women are not ‘good girls’ that you need to turn bad. They don’t ‘want it’ because they made eye contact with you. (Also, saying ‘good girl’ in that way makes you sound a bit like you’re preying on children and that, to be honest, is pretty dark). While we’re on the subject, a line such as ‘I’ll give you something large enough to tear your ass in two’ is so vulgar and filled with violence that I geniunely can’t believe it left someone’s lips, let alone became part of a song which was the fastest selling song of the year.
When women ‘want it’, and you should feel fucking privileged if they do, they’ll make it known. And until further notice, no woman wants you, Robin Thicke, you’re a minger.
3. The ‘blurred line’ (if you please) between Beyonce’s booty and these women.
At this point someone is usually ITCHING to squeal ‘But it’s her choice! She wanted to be parading around in her thong being called a bitch!’ You know what, you’re right. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the women in that video wanted to be there (you know, the people the breasts are attached to… they are there, I promise). In fact, I would go as far as to say that there are probably thousands of (albeit misguided) women out there who would literally kill a puppy to get on that video. But I put it to you, dear reader of my rage-filled blog post, does that make it right? I could ramble on through a minefield of technicalities which separate the likes of Beyonce and these women but ultimately it comes down to this, these women do not have a voice. Beyonce’s voice is unashamedly loud and she sings of being independent and free. She is sexy because she calls the shots and the skin that she shows off is there because she chose it to be. She takes up space, she is present.
The women in this video are vacant, soul-less and their slender frames barely hold them together. They don’t say a word, they have no voice.
Oh yeah, one of them does say ‘meow’ at one point. My bad.
She may as well be the bloody sheep.
The fact of the matter is, when a woman makes a ‘choice’ she makes it for all other women. (Forgetting the fact that this choice as a result of years of social conditioning which made her think that her looks and sexuality are her only worth. Which then, ultimately, negates her will to choose freely).
She is basically choosing to perpetuate the view that women are nothing but something to be looked at, like an overtly sexualised slab of rump steak.
I could very easily go on, and maybe this will need a ‘part 2’ but already I feel like I need to go and pretend that video had never been created. And I have got a lot of staring into space to catch up on.
But one last thing, Robin, if I can grab your attention for another moment. (I know you probably switched off after you realised I do more than just wander around topless. A woman with a voice! Good Grief!) Don’t ever say you’re going to ‘liberate’ a woman, you obnoxious little troll, we’re doing just fine on our own, thanks.