An opinion piece ran in the Sept. 27 edition of The Slate that gave me pause, then distress. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” certainly was cause for discussion across the board, frequently amongst those who consider themselves feminists (or, as most feminists are, people who want equality for everyone).
What rubbed me the wrong way — across a few blurred lines, if you wil l— was the leniency awarded the song; the claim that “it is unfair to take bits and pieces of the song to argue for either side.”
Herein lies a rather sticky situation: if some bits and pieces of a song hint that less-than-consensual, or nonconsensual, sex is OK, is that not enough to fault the entire song?
Though the phrases “I know you want it” and “Go ahead, get at me” seem like an invitation, they simply are not. “I know you want it” is not a question, it is a forceful statement.
The concept of the song is that women, ashamed of their sexual desires, pretend to not want sex, wasting away in their towers of chastity until Robin Thicke swoops in and rescues them from the fire-breathing, consent-asking dragons that dare wait for their intimate partners to specifically indicate an interest in sex. How charming.
“The way you grab me, must want to get nasty” is a particularly unfortunate line wherein the thought process behind it is venomous.
Flirting and winking are not agreeing to sex. Dancing — even “twerking” — is not agreeing to sex. Kissing, fondling and oral sex are not agreeing to any other form of sex.
So why on earth does Robin Thicke transcend this principle? Why does Robin Thicke believe that the way another person grabs him is an expression of desire to copulate? Hint: He does not, and it is not.
“We ought to focus on things that truly are significant,” though an excellent way to end an argument, dismisses the main issue with Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”: It is important.
Songs that promote the blatant disregard for basic human dignities, such as consensual sex, are small but easily remedied tokens of a culture that lacks true equality. When people do not find fault in the insinuation of sexual assault, what would inspire them to find fault in the act itself?
I think it is absolutely significant to teach everyone how easy it is to un-blur the lines Robin Thicke is singing about.