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Blurred Lines Controversy: Is Robin Thicke's Popular Song Anti Woman?

Updated on August 2, 2013
Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" has stirred up controversy.
Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" has stirred up controversy. | Source

One of the most popular songs of summer 2013 is Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines."

This catchy dance hit is being played in clubs, cars and homes all across the country.

But the suggestive lyrics and intimations of the chorus have some questioning whether the hit song is really promoting male dominance of women.

An examination of the lyrics, critic's responses and Thicke's own interpretation prove that the truth is as blurry as the lines.

Problematic Lyrics

The very title of the song itself, "Blurred Lines" seems to suggest that the singer isn't sure when he's crossing the line and when he's not. Is it suggesting that this confusion makes it okay to push things further than the female he is pursuing wants to go?

The chorus says "I know you want it....But you're a good girl" implying that the female in question is in fact demurring but the male is still pursuing her anyway.

Critics of the song believe that the "blurred lines" excuses the male's pursuits past the point that is comfortable for the woman. He is trying to talk her into something despite the fact that she may be a "good girl" who already has a boyfriend.

The song claims to see the animal in her when the indication in the lyrics is that he is the one with the primal nature, unable to understand the signals she is giving and the lines he is crossing.

The song seems to suggest objectification of women (not as controversial given how prevalent this is in modern music) but also pushing the woman further, physically, than she has the intention of going.

Do you like the song "Blurred Lines?"

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The Critics

Numerous blogs as well as feminist publications have decried the song and its suggestive lyrics.

The uncensored version of the video with undressed women dancing around fully clothed men only helped to fuel the controversy flames.

But as the old saying goes, no publicity is bad publicity and as the controversy rose, so did the chart placement of the song, shooting it up to a nice long stay at the top.

But even as the critics were decrying its suggestive lyrics, others were coming to the song's defense saying that it was about female empowerment, about the right to be alluring and to choose how you dress, how you act and what men to entice.

LInes such as "Ok, now he was close/Tried to domesticate you/But you're an animal" do not seem to indicate so much that he is the animal and she is the innocent one. He claims to see her true nature and that her current man doesn't appreciate her wild side, a side that is obviously coming out on the dance floor.

Thicke seems genuinely surprised by the backlash.
Thicke seems genuinely surprised by the backlash. | Source

Allie Renison of The Telegraph takes exception to the controversy over the song, noting that one of the key components of the feminist movement was liberation to express themselves seductively and to choose who they want to be with and how they want their physical, intimate relationships to happen.

Renison indicates that the controversy is more about women's own confusion and society's forced dichotomy--either to be chaste and demure or flaunt your wants and needs openly.

Acceptance that Thicke's song may be exposing that dichotomy seems to be growing.

Robin Thicke's Response

Thicke has granted interviews since the controversy started, noting that he was looking for a fun, dance song and is a bit surprised by the level of controversy.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Thicke notes that his controversial video was meant to be tongue-and-cheek as well as "funny and silly."

Thicke went on to contend that the song was actually a "feminist movement" and that lines like "that man is not your maker" are meant to show the equality of males and females, both on the dance floor and in their pursuits of love and relationships.

Spoofs of "Blurred Lines" Because of and Despite the Controversy

A quick internet search will reveal many spoofs and alternate versions of the song.

In one particularly viral version, the roles are reversed as a woman sings the song and scantily or unclad men dance around her.

In another the Muppets do an abbreviated version of the song. The video was created by splicing parts of old Muppets shows and Sesame Street together.

Jimmy Fallon even recently got in on creating his own version. He, Robin Thicke and The Roots created a cleaner version of the controversial song with a touch of comedy, using common kid instruments and toys to make the music.

Lines Are Drawn

It seems that the sides have been chosen and that "Blurred Lines" can either be seen as a fun dance song about a guy trying to get a "good girl" to notice him or it is a song about a man pushing it too far, crossing lines that only he sees as blurry.

Sexist or not, the song has definitely gained huge popularity with dance remixes already being played in clubs everywhere and patrons belting out the lyrics to the catchy chorus.

Do popular song lyrics shape the culture or are they just a reflection? How you interpret the lyrics, the video and Thicke's intentions may tell you more about yourself than it does about the song.

Jimmy Fallon, Robin Thicke and The Roots Sing a Less Controversial Version of Blurred Lines on Fallon's Late Night Show

What do you think about Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines?"

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What do you think? Great song? Fun song? Too far?

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