Blurred Lines and Pepper Spray

Last week, I was trying to be productive by keeping my Twitter account up-to-date with some food pictures and sharing happenings from the world wide web when I came upon a retweet from a user I follow.  @Juliet_Shen had retweeted the below from a @AlbanySquirrel.  With Tweets like these, I usually wish I had more than the 140 characters Twitter allows because I want to expand on my thoughts and am unsure where a Tweet like this fits into the overall food-related theme of most of my Twitter account.  Then I just give up and move on…  until now.  Some of my reasons for having started this blog and using this medium for such occasions, plus now I have unlimited text space 🙂 .  But right, so back to the referenced retweet:

I LOL’ed (I don’t really use ‘LOL’ but for this situation it seems to describe it appropriately), cracked up, had a hardy laugh, and was left with a smirk on my face for some time afterward (because I was “in” on the joke and agreed with it in concept. *to clarify: wouldn’t actually act on it willy nilly.)  I thought it was HILARIOUS.

So let me provide some context for this as some who may not know, there’s quite a backstory.  The musician Robin Thicke, and his summer single “Blurred Lines” paired with its  uncensored music video, while catchy in tune and though it has a dance-able beat, has been critiqued as having lyrics that seemed to describe/allude to acts of non-consensual touching and non-consensual sexual intercourse.  As referenced in this article from truth-out.org, ‘Robin Thicke’s Blurred Vision: A Critique of a Rape Anthem in Two Parts’, the author mentions the context in which this song snafu is occurring is in a society that perpetuates and, at times, condones the many things that contribute to ‘rape culture’.  (There is lots more to add to that discussion in a sociological conversation for another time, but meanwhile you could try to refer to this.)  In the truth-out.org article, rape culture is defined as  “the condoning and normalizing of physical, emotional and sexual terrorism against [most commonly] women and girls and marginalized subjects. It is the production and maintenance of an environment where sexual assault is so normative that people ultimately believe that rape is inevitable.”

Not to necessarily single out and “blame” a song and its lyrics for all the world’s ills, this is merely ONE example (when looked at in a more ideological sense) from many and how it can be so pervasive, subtle, and normalized that we may not take the time to stop and think about the messages that subconsciously may be absorbed and silently assumed to be okay.  There’s only so long one can say, “It’s just a song, joke, movie…. it’s supposed to be entertainment/funny/___fill in the blank____”.  When the underlying attitude or practice is brushed under the rug because we don’t want to talk about it and tackle the larger issue, and one accepts it as a normal occurrence, and such behavior or attitude is perpetuated…  it fails to be funny when what we’re really doing is demeaning another human being as an object to be devalued by exerting one’s power over the other.

The gender roles and social constructs of “boys will be boys” and how “No means Yes” is assumed when the song lyrics are, “I know you want it/ But you’re a good girl/ The way you grab me/ Must wanna get nasty”.  Does it only matter that they “know you want it”, rather than what one’s actual preference is?

And whatever the singer, Robin Thicke’s, intent was for the song and his creative inspiration for the lyrics, one has to hear those phrases being sung and the images from the music video and it gets you thinking, ‘Hmmm…’  But then again, you can always turn off your inner voices, and just bop your head along to the music.

And like the above Tweet said, if someone tries to hit on you using those lyrics, pause a moment to consider:

– are you really that lazy that you have to repeat song lyrics as your pick-up line?

– do you really think that’ll work for you, asshat?

– do I feel like I need to vigorously disinfect myself after hearing those ick-inducing words?

If yes, then by all means, use the pepper spray.  (sarcasm here.  *note: not actually condoning any such behavior.*)   😛

(P.S. – Also, check out this website which goes along with Blurred Lines lyrics and rhymes it with other amusing words.  Enjoy the beat and some humor.)

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