Should We Be Concerned About Robin Thicke’s “Kind of Rapey” Single “Blurred Lines”?

Anyone who has heard “Blurred Lines” knows that the chorus contains some pretty questionable lyrics.
Publish date:
June 21, 2013
rape, music, lyrics, The Jane Dough

Guys, I’m torn.

Robin Thicke’s summer anthem “Blurred Lines” just unseated Macklemore from the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, as it should have since it is a jam. But anyone who has heard “Blurred Lines” knows that the chorus contains some pretty questionable lyrics:

I hate these blurred lines!

I know you want it

I know you want it

I know you want it

But you’re a good girl!

The way you grab me

Must wanna get nasty

Go ahead, get at me

If repeating “I know you want it” ad infinitum wasn’t sketchy enough, the music video features nearly-naked female models dancing around three fully clothed (and married) dudes. (Not to mention the unrated VEVO version in which the girls are actually topless [link NSFW, obvz].)

And what exactly are these “blurred lines”? The line of consent? Or alcohol-induced bluriness? Either way, things are lookin’ pretty bad here.

Thicke has even noted the objectification himself, telling GQ last month:

"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.’ So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, ‘Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.’"

But while the song and video have been dubbed “rapey” by The Daily Beast and other publications, I’m not ready to totally jump ship yet and denounce this song as the worst thing ever. Maybe it’s because I find Miguel’s “How Many Drinks” scarier and more offensive with its lyrics like “How many drinks would it take you to leave with me?/ Yeah, you look good and I’ve got money / But I don’t wanna waste my time.”

Or maybe it’s because songs and music videos are all so raunchy and blatantly sexist these days that I’m desensitized. Or maybe it’s because I find Thicke’s song slightly catchy and his eyes slightly mesmerizing.

Upon closer look, “Blurred Lines” doesn’t seem to be directed at a random “good girl” who “looks like” she wants sex -- the target of Thicke’s affection is someone who was previously stuck in a sexually unsatisfying relationship. Thicke wants to show this lady a better time:

Okay, now he was close

Tried to domesticate you

But you’re an animal

Baby it’s in your nature

Just let me liberate you

Youn don’t need no papers

That man is not your maker

That’s not so bad, right? Not that a woman needs another man to “liberate” her, of course, but to me these lyrics seem more like temptation after a lame relationship as opposed to impending sexual assault.

Of course this verse might not matter in the grand scheme of things; after all, the most memorable part of the song is Thicke whispering “I know you want it” over and over again, which could easily be said in the context of a real-life sexual assault.

What do you think? Is this simply a “new rape song,” as blogger Lisa Huynh put it, or are people too easily offended? Let us know in the comments!

Reprinted with permission from The Jane Dough.