Do You Really Know I Want It? Controversy in Popular Culture.

Unless you have been living underneath a rock for the past few months you will have undoubtedly encountered Robin Thicke’s devilishly catchy new song Blurred Lines. Drawing from the same well of irresistibly memorable dark magic that spawned Call Me Maybe and Glee’s rendition of Don’t Stop Believing, you will almost certainly find yourself tapping your foot and humming Blurred Lines for hours on end until you’re sick of the damn thing.

(And the overexposure on the radio doesn’t help either!) Never the less beneath the slick and infectious surface of the song there’s a grotesque nature that is disturbingly commonplace within current pop music.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that pop hasn’t been the most politically correct genre and probably never will be whilst we live in a patriarchal society where women still can’t be assured in knowing that if they come forward about their rapist he will be put behind bars. However, the lyrics ”m gon’ take a good girl / I know you want it’ – almost a rapists mantra, blasting across the airways makes me shudder.

Furthermore Thicke doesn’t improve on this disturbing lyrical content with his video in which he, Pharrell and T.I parade around in suits amongst a group of naked women who are disturbingly dead behind the eyes and seem to exist entirely for male pleasure whilst listlessly playing with dead animals. Thankfully there has already been a degree of controversy around the song and video, however quite frankly Thicke’s response to his critics only further emphasises the problematic attitudes that exist in the current musical/art scene.

'Girl with car on back' - popular culture? Photo: Blurred Lines still, Robin Thicke & Diane Martel.
‘Girl with car on back’ – popular culture? Photo: Blurred Lines still, Robin Thicke & Diane Martel.

In a GQ interview Thicke said, “We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.’ 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.’” In deeming his treatment of women in his music as ‘ironic’ Thicke seems to feel absolved of his guilt when people find his work offensive. Yet in the next breath he revels in the ‘taboo’ of degrading women.

Misogyny for Thicke is apparently a ‘pleasure’ – the sweetest of nectars that his artistry allows him to drink. The assertion that good men who ‘always’ respect women deserve to taste this forbidden fruit just once (or twice or three times or) just to see what it’s like is disgusting and the masses that consume this song and its video on a day to day basis are slowly being deceived into thinking that this dangerous mindset is ok.

Obviously tackling issues like this is really tricky. We can’t ban songs left right and centre because of racy or offensive content as we live in a free society where we are allowed to upset each other and say what we think.

However as time goes by I find myself increasingly disappointed when I turn on the music channel and see Lana Del Rey gallivanting around in native American headgear, Kanye putting fists in people like civil rights signs, and Robin Thicke smiling cockily as we all mumble along with him and his friends describing how they’re gonna ‘tear your ass in two.’ I mean… come on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *