“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. A song that took the world by storm in 2013. A song that was banned by several universities in the UK, with a music video that caused even more controversy. 8 years later, the song that effectively launched and buried Robin Thicke’s career, is making a comeback for all the wrong reasons.
Emily Ratajkowski, whose career skyrocketed after being featured in that music video, recently had an excerpt leaked from her book (to be released next month), making sexual assault allegations against Robin Thicke. He allegedly grabbed her breasts without her consent while they were filming the music video. This is just the cherry on top of the plethora of issues this song has and all the misogyny it represents.
8 years ago, this song was played in clubs, restaurants, bars – anywhere you could play music really, this song was there. I would listen to it with my parents, my friends, and on the radio without knowing what the song meant or even implied. As an adult woman, listening to this song is a whole different experience. I watched the music video for the first time in 8 years today, after reading about Emrata’s experience, and felt nothing but disgust. “I know you want it, you’re a good girl” and “I hate these blurred lines” – who approved these lyrics? Who thought it was a good idea? The inherent misogyny in what makes a girl a ‘good girl’ or ‘bad girl,’ the assumption that she wants it and the idea of ‘blurred lines,’ all send a horrible message to men, almost encouraging them to test the blurred lines, instead of waiting or asking for clear consent.
It’s a small win that today, a song like that would never succeed. Even in 2013, its success, although massive, was controversial, short-lived, and thankfully shut down Robin Thicke’s career. The music industry has historically been a male-dominated space, with a lot of music written for and from the point of view of the male gaze. Today, although not entirely extinct, examples of such music are dwindling, and it’s hopeful to see women reclaiming their sexuality, with bangers like “WAP,” “Thot Shit,” “Rumors” and so many more. I hope that we continue on this path of female empowerment to level the playing field and leave misogynistic songs that objectify and demean women like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” in the past.