It’s impossible to escape the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell. It plays constantly at my work, likely upwards of 3 to 4 times an hour, not to mention everywhere else. It’s definitely catchy, but there are many issues that have been raised in regards to the content of the lyrics themselves. An interview with Robin Thicke that he did with GQ has been shared widely. In this interview he is quoted saying “What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.” Thicke claims that they are the perfect people to make fun of women as they are all happily married with children. This seems to imply a level of irony, but the way Thicke seems to fully appreciate and understand what he claims to be making fun of casts a problematic shadow.
What many have found problematic about the video and song is the juxtaposition of carnal and derogatory imagery towards women while the lyrics respond to discussions of consensual, sexual relationships. The “I hate these blurred lines,” is especially an issue because it is said as if the right to say yes or no to sex is ultimately a game in which the male must figure out to win in order to get what he wants. This theme has always been too common in media culture, but songs of this past summer have flirted greatly with the boundaries of good times going bad, and glorifying them for it. Thicke claims that he is “making fun” of this, but is a song that is just a giant, implicated rape joke something that is actually funny? Thicke blurs many lines in this song, and they are much more harmful than he seems to believe.
What are your thoughts? How great of an influence is the media in our sexual and reproductive health messaging? For information on where to find sexual assault services in your area, text SEXT to 74574.