September 8, 2013
“What Rhymes with Hug Me?” *It isn’t F*** Me.
Alright. I’ve been trying to avoid blogging about the whole Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines” song, the controversy, everything around it, because I talk about consent A LOT as it is, but since Miley breathed new life into the whole thing after their interesting VMA performance, I guess I have to give some thoughts.
Because of the way I think, it is pretty much impossible for me to listen to music, or engage in any other type of media without interpreting it through my feministy lens. I’ve been asked before how I still listen to a lot of the music that’s out there, since I’ve noted that so much of it can be so objectifying and degrading to women. It can be pretty conflicting, especially since I LOVE to dance, and I do actually enjoy moving to different songs that are problematic, whether while on my treadmill or when I’m out dancing with my friends. I usually just take the advice one of my favorite professors gave who said; “shake ya ass, but watch yourself.” Which I took to mean, you can enjoy all of this stuff, but it is still good to be cognizant of what you’re listening to.
That being said, dammit, “Blurred Lines” is a crazy catchy song. Pharrell Williams is an amazing producer and I’ve loved pretty much everything he’s been attached to. Remember when he made the sexiest song ever with Britney?? To be honest, I didn’t see what a lot of the fuss over this particular song was because it doesn’t seem anymore questionable to me than most of the songs I hear on the radio that I have a fun internal dialogue with, for example:
T-Pain– “Shawty Snappin’ (Buy U A Drink)”- “I got money in the bank, shawty what you think about that?”
Ummm. I don’t actually care, and if you feel that you need to flaunt your money you must either a)assume I’m a prostitute or b)be compensating for something. Fun.
Big Sean– “Dance (A$$)”- “You deserve a crown, bitch. Right on that ass, ass, ass. . .”
Awesome. I love being called bitch.
Robin Thicke– “Blurred Lines”- “What do we need steam for? YOU THE HOTTEST BITCH IN THIS PLACE!”
No seriously, I love when guys flatter me while calling me bitch. Seriously such a turn on. Can we go slam?
Whatever, I take all of these lyrics with a grain of salt, because I still sing along and I can (and do) enjoy a lot of this music without getting hung up about it.
When “Blurred Lines” came out, I read a lot of the critiques other feminists made about the song, and the video irritated me but I didn’t really CARE enough or get too animated until Robin Thicke decided to defend himself.
Seriously, at every turn when Thicke chose to defend his decisions and the song, he just made himself sound like a bigger asshat.
So let’s review.
When he reacted to the criticism that his song reinforced rape culture, was objectifying and degrading to women, etc., he said “I can’t even dignify that with a response, that’s ridiculous.” But, then, you know, he managed to give some responses.
*About the lyrics: “For me it’s about blurring the lines between men and women and how much we’re the same. And the other side which is the blurred lines between a good girl and a bad girl, and even very good girls all have little bad sides to them.”
See, that just irritates me. The fact that he is saying there is in fact a “line” between a “good girl” and a “bad girl,” and that line is apparently determined by whether or not we women like to have sex. So, women who want sex aren’t actually “good girls”? So, to be honest about what we want sexually is something only “bad girls” do? That just sounds so stupid! And how original, to reinforce the whole virgin-whore dichotomy. Also, in the song he says he hates the blurred lines, so doesn’t that go against his assertion about wanting to blur them?
*About how having pretty much naked women around him, T.I, and Pharrell isn’t actually sexist or degrading: “because all three [artists in the video] are happily married with children”.
I’m trying to put into words why that is a bullshit response, but all I can really
do at first is shake my head. It seems like a typical response from a racist or homophobic person who makes awful jokes, or horribly bigoted statements who then covers it up by saying, “oh don’t worry, one of my best friends is black!” Or gay, or whatever. Having a wife that you love doesn’t make your sexist actions any less sexist, bro.
* He actually tried to justify their unedited version of the video by putting it on his wife: “My initial response was I love the clothed version, I don’t think we should put out the naked version, and then I showed it to my wife and all of her girlfriends and they said ‘You have to put this out, this is so sexy and so cool.'”
Right. Because women can’t themselves ever be sexist, right? Right??
*No, guys, the video is like, totes innovative:
“We were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this. People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women,” he said.
“We just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go women and their bodies are beautiful, men are gonna want to follow them around.”
Ummm. Someone please explain to me how some FULLY CLOTHED dudes singing or rapping in a video surrounding themselves by half naked women is turning the status quo on its head. Fuuuuuck. Seriously.
*This is actually super duper feminist!!!!
“If you listen to the lyrics, it says, ‘That man is not your maker.’ It’s actually a feminist movement within itself. It’s saying that women and men are equals as animals and as power. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good girl or a bad girl, you can still have a good time.”
Yeah. The lyrics also say “I hate these blurred lines/I know you want it” and “The way you grab me/Must wanna get nasty.” Admittedly, from those I can understand why Tricia Romano said the song seemed kind of “rapey.”
I’m shaking my head again! If he thinks women are equal, they wouldn’t be more than half naked, and silent in the video. If that is his assertion, the men and women would be wearing clothing revealing the same amounts of skin, and he could have had an actual woman singing on the track (to be honest, having Miley sing it during the VMA’s made it far less predatory). More over, Thicke actually said the inspiration for the song was him and Pharrell talking about being two crotchety old men, catcalling women from their porch. As y’all know, I fucking hate catcalling, as do women in general, and it is antifeminist and serves to reduce women to merely objects.
So, trying to say that his song is actually a “feminist movement” when we straight up don’t have full autonomy over our bodies, don’t get paid equal money for equal work, represent the majority of folks in poverty, and 1 in 4 of us are raped, is just insulting bullshit. Seriously.
As for the VMA performance? People need to examine why they’re so obsessed with Miley hooching it up as if that isn’t what pop culture tells women they need to do in order to maintain fame. *I might go into her solo racist minstrel show, later though!
I was personally more creeped out by Thicke, a 36 year old man performing like that with Cyrus, a 20 year old and I’m kind of perplexed by people who acted as if she was somehow victimizing him by twerking and grinding up on him, or, best yet, using that amazing foam finger as a prop.
Don’t get it twisted, they rehearsed that shit plenty of times, they both knew what they were doing. I agree with Thicke’s mom, I too am disappointed that I can’t unsee it, but her comment about it, “I was not expecting her to be putting her butt that close to my son,” is simply naive. He’s 36. Have you seen his music video where he was chasing around naked chicks? And this upsets you? Whatever, man.
If you’d like to know more about what other folks think about the video, check out these below:
*Teens react to “Blurred Lines,” and are pretty damn smart about it
*Some Aussie feminists respond with “Defined Lines” which takes on some issues of misogyny in music culture in general, and is fairly tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing.
And there you are, my thoughts about the whole “Blurred Lines” controversy, most of which was stirred up by Thicke accidentally.
But one more little reaction:
Hug me and fuck me do NOT fucking rhyme. At all. Not even a little bit!