I am really tired of hearing people rave about Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
Here’s the thing: I haven’t seen the “controversial” video, and I don’t need to. The lyrics are bad enough. In fact, you don’t have to pay attention to the lyrics. Just the title is bad enough. There are no blurred lines when it comes to consent.
Robin, let me solve your terrible dilemma: If somebody seems like they might want to have sex with you, but is not making it clear, don’t “talk about getting blasted” or convince the person by repeating, “I know you want it.” Ask them if they want to bang, and if they don’t say yes, walk the fuck away.
This isn’t fucking brain science. And he knows it isn’t. This song is dangerous. It’s adding another tool to the anti-consent lexicon. Now that “Blurred Lines” is embedded in pop culture, it’s not hard to imagine a predator at a party, trying to guilt or coerce somebody into sex by saying, “I hate these blurred lines.” Or deny responsibility for a sexual assault by saying, “I didn’t know. The lines were blurred.”
Not that people aren’t already saying this to absolve themselves of responsibility for sexual assault. But now there’s a fucking catchy song about it. Just fucking great. “I’m not being creepy! Even Robin Thicke talks about blurred lines, and everyone loves Robin Thicke, amirite?” Cue supportive wink from Robin. Thumbs up, bro.
“But it has such a catchy beat!” people say. Well guess what? You can still enjoy the beat while not promoting rape culture. I’m here to free you forever. Listen to the following Marvin Gaye tune, which Robin Thicke
ripped off sampled* to make “Blurred Lines.”
This song is better in every way. First of all, while Robin Thicke is certainly a talented singer, Marvin Gaye is one of the ultimates. One of the all-time greatest. You just can’t argue with a voice like Marvin’s.
And the best part? Marvin Gaye wrote a lot of sexy music, and from what I’ve heard, most of it embraces enthusiastic consent. It’s sex-positive in the best way. Even in “Got to Give It Up,” he explicitly mentions being “chosen”:
But my body yearned to be free
I got up on the floor and thought
Somebody could choose me
No more standin’ there beside the walls
I done got myself together baby
And now I’m havin’ a ball
As long as you’re groovin’
There’s always a chance
Might wanna make romance
So he wants to get laid. But he wants somebody to “choose” him. He wants someone to “wanna make romance.” In one verse, he talks about a potential lover’s choice and want. Will he definitely get what he wants? No. There is a “chance.” And that’s good enough for him, because he does not feel entitled to sex, even at somebody else’s expense.
Boycott Robin. Choose Marvin.
*Note: While sampling is an art in itself, I think this particular example is actually very uncreative, and just sounds like a bad port of Marvin’s original song. You may disagree.