Quite a felicitous title for Robin Thicke’s new tune Blurred Lines I thought to myself earlier. Blurred lines indeed.
And I’m talking about sexism here.
I’ve always had pretty strong feelings towards R&B musical videos. To me, it goes hand in hand with the Sun’s Page 3 controversy: women are objectified and in return are paid in money, glamour and champagne. This is nothing new. In fact this has been happening as long as the media industry has been around. Looking back even almost 100 years, 1920’s films are rife with women being simply the objects of male voyeurism, but at least most of the time they were still fully-clothed (or at least wearing tights). But here we are in 2013, and crude music videos and big boobs on Page 3 are so accessible, so mainstream, and therefore, quite scarily, pretty much ‘the norm’ in our culture today.
It has always freaked me out that these ‘slap my bitch up’ music videos are played during the day. It only takes one sunny afternoon flipping onto MTV Hits for a young girl or boy to be faced with these gender stereotypes. You don’t have to go far to be confronted with naked women grinding up and down an unfortunate looking, jewellery-wearing music mogul with Short Man Syndrome, who quite clearly has to part ways with the big bucks to get the chance to be anywhere near these beautiful models. This can unfortunately result in young girls thinking that being sexualised can lead to success, and boys to make a connection between money and women.
So the latest video to cause ‘sexist’ controversy is Robin Thicke’s new video. And to be honest, the lyrics are pretty sexist too. Don’t get me wrong, the song is catchy and the art direction of the video is cool (I will give you only that). But the ‘hook’ and ‘talkability’ of this new release is the fact that the video features three topless models roaming around the set whilst the men oggle at them. Thicke’s response to these ‘dude, your video is pretty sexist’ comments have been to laugh it off and claim that critics should ‘come up with something more original than that’. He claims that it’s ironic, he wanted it to “make a funny video like Benny Hill or something like that”. Benny Hill defenders often say that the Benny Hill Show was “non-malicious and fundamentally harmless”. Can we really say the same thing about an R&B song with frightening crude and sexual lyrics featuring models barely out of their teen years to make come-hither-eyes at the camera wearing nothing but a nude thong?
Let’s ask the artist Robin Thicke:
(According to Digital Spy):
“It is mostly throwaway fun, but naturally Pharrell and I – being in love with our wives, having kids and loving our mothers – we have a lot of respect for women.”
“If that’s sexism then so is everything inside the Louvre.”
So in short, Thicke wanted to make a video featuring naked models (in bed with him) to prove how much he loves his wife, how much he respects women and compares his cheesy American hip-hop video to the iconic paintings of a 12th century museum.
OH OK, OF COURSE. Now I’ve got you.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic