Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Girls Don't Deserve It

“Blurred Lines” is undeniably catchy. I do a little shimmy to it in the car every damn time it comes on. But “Blurred Lines” is also undeniably sexist. I’ve only watched the video in full once, because watching dudes in suits preen while nearly naked (or in the unedited video’s case, plain-old naked) women strut for their pleasure is too much for my little feminist heart to take no matter how catchy the damn song.

Granted, a lot of music and accompanying music videos are sexist. But there’s something about the sexism of the “Blurred Lines” video – especially the orgy of objectification in the unrated version where it’s literally just topless girls bouncing around while Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams leer at them – that makes my skin crawl. Look, I love naked ladies – a lot. A LOT. But respect is at the heart of that sometimes blurry line between objectification and appreciation. And I don’t think a song where men brag about being “big enough to tear your ass in two” really respects the women it sings about. Even worse, it plays its casual sexism off as so, so cool – like objectification chic. Plus don’t get me started on all the douchey hashtags.

So over the weekend I was happy to hear about a great feminist parody response to “Blurred Lines.” About time some gals tweaked (not twerked, dear God, not twerked) the concept. And my, did they tweak. The video “Defined Lines” is by a group of University of Auckland law students - Olivia Lubbock, Zoe Ellwood and Adelaide Dunn. The parody was part of the Law Revue show, which included some 40 other comedic skits. Fantastic, no? Also, it’s good for us gals and our gay boy friends. So much beefcake in white briefs. Turnaround, fair play, all these things.

Of course, this being the man’s world the ladies sing about, the video was briefly banned from YouTube because it was deemed “inappropriate.” Never mind that both the PG-13 and R-rated versions of Thicke’s original video are up and have never been banned. Luckily, the parody video was restored and can now be viewed and enjoyed in full. I mean, how can you not love a song that includes the words “misogyny,” “chauvinistic,” “emasculate,” “vibrator,” and “castration?”

Of course, again, this isn’t the first time YouTube’s seemed blurry on the concept of a double-standard. Another gender-swapped parody of “Blurred Lines” posted back in July got slapped with an age inappropriate filter (which since has been removed, thankfully).

So now, when “Blurred Lines” comes on the radio, I’m still going to shimmy. But I just might change the lyrics. So we can fuck this man’s world, indeed.


Anonymous said...

The interesting thing is, the original video was actually made by a female director, Diane Martel (inspired by the photography of Helmut Kohl), who doesn't think there's anything wrong with it. In fact, she seems to regard the video as a parody itself:

So is something still objectifying women if it's made by a woman who doesn't think it's objectifying women?

(She also made Miley Cyrus' We Can't Stop video, though, which also has a lot of problems.)

Eva Macalpi said...

Umm, yeah “big enough to tear your ass in two” sounds quite rapey to me. Yuck, what a disgusting thing to say about a woman. The person who wrote that line does not like women.

I haven't seen "Blurred Lines" and will be sure to avoid it...

reddragonready said...

Robin Thicke reportedly also showed both versions to his wife and some of her female friends. Who all said they should use the uncensored version.
Personally i am amazed anybody can watch either video and hear the song and not see it is totally tongue in cheek.

Kristan Hoffman said...

Very clever parody!

Btw, the original uncensored Robin Thicke video was also banned temporarily: