Whose Blurred Line Is It Anyway?

RobinThicke_DailyBeatEarlier in the week I posted a blog entry about Miley Cyrus. Sorry about that.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that the song that Miley was “twerking” to was a massive hit called “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. I never listen to the radio and I hardly ever pay attention to pop music, so I had no idea this song existed.

An alert blog reader suggested I watch the Blurred Lines video and look into the controversy surrounding the song, and it’s been on my mind a lot the last couple of days for several reasons:

  1. Have you seen the unrated video? Enough said.
  2. It’s a very catchy song. Almost too catchy…
  3. I couldn’t figure out why it was so controversial.

So I asked the reader to explain the controversy to me. I had read a few articles online that said that the song was “rapey,” but I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about.

From my perspective, the song is about flirtation and desire before something happens with a woman, not convincing a woman after the act that she had consented all along. It’s a song about foreplay.

However, the reader had a really great point: She suggested that the song perpetuated a potentially damaging mindset. And she’s totally right. The song’s lyrics repeats the following phrase over and over again:

You know you want it

You know you want it

You know you want it

It’s one thing to see an attractive woman and think, “Golly, I sure hope she wants it!” But it’s quite another to tell yourself over and over (as if to convince yourself it’s true, giving yourself unauthorized permission to do what you think she wants), “She wants it, she definitely wants it. She hasn’t told me she wants it, but she does, she totally does.”

Perhaps, given the popularity of the song, this is an opportunity for both males and females to be more aware of damaging mindsets like that. It’s a reminder to men that even if you’re attracted to someone and they seem attracted to  you, it’s really, really wrong for you to impose what you think they want upon them. Without sober, verbalized consent–to do anything, even just to continue the conversation you’re having with her–you have no right to decide what she wants or act on it. And women, it’s a good reminder for you to know that men can think this way sometimes–even good, decent men. Be aware of our delusions and be blunt about what you want or don’t want.

I’m talking about this along gender lines (and heterosexual ones at that), but I’m sure there are many different versions of this happening. Back in my bar-hopping days, there were absolutely a few times when women were way too aggressive in a way that made me very uncomfortable.

What do you think? Is this a dangerous song? Or is it just a harmless, catchy tune?