Robin Thicke (feat. T.I. & Pharrell Williams) - Blurred Lines
First, let me start off by saying that what I’m about to say in no way dismisses the valid points made about gender equality or consent. There’s no question about it, consent is sexy.
Anyone who knows this song probably knows about the controversy over the lyrics and what the song does or does not promote. I’m all for social debate and constructive discussion about things, which is why I’m hoping what I’m about to argue is welcomed as a part of that discussion. Ready?
Okay. What if the blurred lines that “Blurred Lines” is about is not about consent? What if the song is really about the blurred lines of femininity? What if the song is really commenting on the lines society has drawn for women and their appropriate roles? When I read or listen to these lyrics, while consent definitely comes into play, the key theme for me is the archetypal distinction between the ‘Madonna’ and the ‘Whore’.
I think the consent argument stems from the assumption that the subject of the song (arguably ‘the hottest bitch in this place’) doesn’t want it. This song is highly misogynistic if she really doesn’t want it and there is no consent.
But what if she does really want it? The blurred lines come from the idea that a “good girl” doesn’t want sex – she shouldn’t want sex. A good girl wants to settle down and be domestic (see also: Carrie Underwood – Good Girl). Mr. Thicke then immediately calls her an animal and says “it’s in your nature,” which is problematic on several levels. First, likening women to animals and telling them what their “nature” is or is not is bad. Stop. There is a ton of literature on these topics and I highly recommend reading up on that if you haven’t already.
Some other key lyrics that I think convey positive meanings are “this man is not your maker” and “you’re far from plastic.” You are more than what society tells you to be. You are more than just the conventional “good girl.” You have dreams. You have desires. Maybe you lust after a life that doesn’t involve you being a domestic diva. If you do want that, that’s okay, as long as you choose it for yourself.
This song speaks to a great internal conflict: the subject of the song must choose between who society tells her she should be and the way she wants to be. She must act like a good girl, but on the inside, she wants to get nasty. This girl quite possibly wants to get a little kinky in the bedroom. She’s been missing something key in her sexual life let domestication just couldn’t fulfill. She may not know what it is because her last guy was too square for her and Mr. Thicke wants to be the guy to help her find her true sexual passion.
Some of the lyrics suggest that he actually is asking for consent:
“One thing I ask of you, let me be the one you back that ass into” AND
“So I just watch and wait for you to salute.”
This doesn’t sound like a guy who doesn’t care about consent. He’s asking and waiting.
These blurred lines don’t seem to be those drawn between consent and non-consent. These lines are the ones drawn by society, telling women how they should behave. Women then internalize this and are put into a position of feeling like they need to act like good girls, even if they want to step outside of that narrowly defined box.