What Rapists Say Echoes the Lyrics of “Blurred Lines”

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic descriptions of sexual assault.

Robin Thicke’s summer hit “Blurred Lines” addresses what he considers to be sounds like a grey area between consensual sex and assault. The images in this post place the song into a real-life context. They are from Project Unbreakable, an online photo essay exhibit, and feature women and men holding signs with sentences that their rapist said before, during or after their assault. Let’s begin going through the lyrics:

I know you want it.

Thicke sings “I know you want it,” a phrase that many sexual assault survivors report their rapists saying to justify their actions, as demonstrated over and over in the Project Unbreakable testimonials.

1 2

You’re a good girl.

Thicke further sings, “You’re a good girl,” suggesting that a good girl won’t show her reciprocal desire (if it exists). This becomes further proof in his mind that she wants sex: For good girls, silence is consent and “no” really means “yes.”

3 4

Calling an adult a “good girl” in this context resonates with the the virgin/whore dichotomy. The implication in Blurred Lines is that because the woman is not responding to a man’s sexual advances, which of course are irresistible, she’s hiding her true sexual desire under a facade of disinterest. Thicke is singing about forcing a woman to perform both the good girl and bad girl roles in order to satisfy the man’s desires.

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Thicke and company, as all-knowing patriarchs, will give her what he knows she wants (sex), even though she’s not actively consenting, and she may well be rejecting the man outright.

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Do it like it hurt, do it like it hurt; what, you don’t like work?

This lyric suggests that women are supposed to enjoy pain during sex or that pain is part of sex:

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The woman’s desires play no part in this scenario—except insofar as he projects whatever he pleases onto her. That’s another parallel to the act of rape: Sexual assault is generally not about sex, but rather about a physical and emotional demonstration of power.

The way you grab me.
Must wanna get nasty.

This is victim-blaming. Everybody knows that if a woman dances with a man it means she wants to sleep with him, right? And if she wears a short skirt or tight dress, she’s asking for it, right? And if she even smiles at him it means she wants it, right?  Wrong.  A dance, an outfit, a smile—sexy or not—doesn’t indicate consent.  This idea, though, is pervasive and believed by rapists.

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And women, according to “Blurred Lines,” want to be treated badly.

Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you.
He don’t smack your ass and pull your hair like that.

In this misogynistic fantasy, a woman doesn’t want a “square” who’ll treat her like a human being, with respect. She would rather be degraded and abused for a man’s gratification and amusement, like the women who dance around half-naked humping dead animals in the “Blurred Lines” music video.

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The pièce de résistance of the non-censored version of Blurred Lines is this lyric:

I’ll give you something to tear your ass in two.

What better way to show a woman who’s in charge than by perpetrating violent, non-consensual sodomy?

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Ultimately, Robin Thicke’s rape anthem is about male desire and male dominance over a woman’s personal sexual agency. The rigid definition of masculinity makes the man unable to accept the idea that sometimes his advances are not welcome. Thus, instead of treating a woman like a human being and respecting her subjectivity, she’s relegated to the role of living sex doll whose existence is naught but for his pleasure.

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In Melinda Hugh’s “Lame Lines” parody of Thicke’s song she sings, “You think I want it/ I really don’t want it/ Please get off it.”  The Law Revue Girls “Defined Lines” response has these lyrics: “Yeah we don’t want it/ It’s chauvinistic/ You’re such a bigot.” And Rosalind Peters says in her one-woman retort, “Let’s clear up something mate/ I’m here to have fun/ I’m not here to get raped.”

There are no “blurred lines.” There is only one line: consent.

And the absence of consent is a crime.

Photos from Project Unbreakable

Sezin KoehlerSezin Koehler is an informal ethnographer and novelist living in Florida. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

  1. on point.

  2. Despite what’s being said in this article he is asking her for cencent. Check out the lyrics and think about that again. Not everyone has sex the same way. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/robinthicke/blurredlines.html

    • I just clicked that link, and reread those lyrics. Nowhere did I see him “asking for consent.” Do you have a particular line in mind when you say that?

    • “So I just watch and wait for you to salute” is this the line that is asking for consent because I missed it.

    • Dawn MxcInnes says:

      How do you come to that conclusion? I’ve checked it out and her feeling are all assumed . There is no requesting , only telling.

    • I just scoured the lyrics for anything that looked like he asked for consent. This was the only thing I could find even close. It sounds like she said, “no.” …
      “So I just watch and wait for you to salute
      But you didn’t pick
      Not many women can refuse this pimpin’
      I’m a nice guy, but don’t get it if you get with me”

      As the article mentions, the song makes it sound like because she’s a good girl, she acts like she doesn’t want it, even though she does. Because no one can refuse this guy.

    • The point of the article was that the vast majority lyrics are similar to what rapists say, regardless of whether he throws in a request for consent as an afterthought.

    • Actually, just had a better look, could you point out where he asks for consent? All I saw was:

      “One thing I ask of you
      Let me be the one you back that ass to”

      is that what passes for a request for consent these days

    • Max Kennedy says:

      Bullshit, he’s committing rape and the writer of this song should be jailed for promoting assault on women! This isn’t art it’s assault!

    • cencent….nuff said

  3. powerful juxtaposition of his “irreverent” lyrics and the reality of his lyrics

  4. “The rigid definition of masculinity” it seems really important to clarify this article risks an old dilemma when the assumption of historic references is that a man’s domain is the external in this world.

    That sentence could e more empoweringy reframed to repeat: “the rigid assumptions of masculinity” are what keep a gender groomed by group-think caught in the narrowness of one’s own possibility.

    Next, it occurs that seeing the perpetrator in this particular example, as the victim, and languaging this reality accordingly- would serve clarity much more, where the conscious advancement of female agency is critical.

    No intention to communicate only intellectually, yet to assertively invite intellectual consideration particularly here wher this human skill can serve in separating the complexity of the dynamic of rape from the rapist and continue the evolution of building safe respectful spaces where they belong inter-among us all.

    • You used so much tech speak that I lost what you said there. I agree that the song is demeaning to women. I think is sounds like he is pressuring an innocent woman who said no into saying yes. It is not flattering to be pushed to concede to his perceived charms. My flags went up the first time I heard this and though he is dressed fashionably in his video the women are reduced to objects. I am not a prude, but I am so tired of entertainment pushing the limits of decency to the point where I have to feel insufficient because I don’t “bang” everything that thinks I should be glad they want me.
      Finally, I was raped as a 17 year old girl and he made it all better by claiming he loved me. Right. He’s still in jail because I wasn’t his only victim and I was almost 30 before I ever even told anyone it happened,

  5. Please excuse the typos!

  6. Kudos to the women who were strong enough to take these pictures.

  7. most of this article is true. however it glosses over that Robin Thick (as an artist) addresses issues and makes them public. The author of this article seemed to miss this fact along with the prominent lyric, “I hate these blurred lines”. I would advise the author listen to the song again, hearing “I hate these blurred lines” as Robin Thicke’s opinion, and “I know you want it” as an example of the “blurred lines” he so hates

  8. No, he is not asking for consent. You are trying too hard to make a bad song “good”. Did you read the article? It’s what rapist say to the women they abuse, but somehow in your mind, there is some question of consent. Nope don’t see it. This isn’t about consenting play.

  9. Are you kidding me? It’s a song. It does not suggest that you go raping women and being a monster. its a pop song. This is the most ridiculous article i have ever read. i dont deny that these women and men have been through horrific experiences, but seriously, to subjugate a pop song to having this evil message is ridiculous. Robin Thicke, congrats on your successful song. You’ve made a lot of money off of it, just like you hoped.

    • Michelle Peterson says:

      Young teens and people listen to these songs. Singers and/or bands are a huge influence in people lives and because of this they are examples to people. It is not just a song, its words to live by according to fans, an example of behavior, a code of conduct. With money and influence comes responsibility too.

      • Jc Butterfly says:

        People choose to listen to this music. People choose to make their own choices. Did the person who wrote this song research the meaning Thicke had behind this song? I don’t think so. Here is what he said.

        “If you listen to the lyrics, it says, ‘That man is not your maker.’ It’s
        actually a feminist movement within itself,” he said. “It’s saying that women
        and men are equals as animals and as power. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good
        girl or a bad girl, you can still have a good time.”

      • the problem is not that the song is being an influence. The real problem is children, teens and people who haven’t been taught anything about this. If there is someone to blame then it’s parent’s who are so afraid that their children grow up that they never dare to talk about sex and fial to teach their children how to accept rejection. I personally believe one shouldnÄt blame music industry for this, blame yourself if you do not have the balls to talk about these problems to younger people or those who just don’t know to educate them about this matter.. To tell them it’s okay to say ‘no’ and to accept another person’s ‘no’!
        if it wasn’t for music industry, I doubt these stories would be discussed as much as right now and as much as they should be discussed. Controversial stuff is always a quick starter for such discussions and even more important: it even makes super-uptight people (I hope it’s the right word used here) think and talk about it, maybe even to their children.

    • Poor Tim… So ignorant. The way our culture celebrates dancable songs like these, and passes them off as poppy and fun, is what is so insidious about victim blaming/shaming. Our culture blames the victim, plain and simple. And, our culture perpetuates the idea that men have the “right” to whatever sexual object they desire, because that’s what makes them powerful and manly. Unfortunately, you have fallen victim to the idea that none of this is real, or a big deal, and you refuse to see that songs like this are dangerous. I hope someday you change the way you think, and I truly hope you don’t have any daughters.

      • Actually, HRO, I hope he DOES have daughters. I watched my now 68 y.o. brother go from being quite sexist to a strong feminist because he has two daughters who he adores. They have changed him in a way I never imagined possible! And I continue to see this happening with men. sometimes they have to have only daughters, no sons, for it to happen. But the change is coming. However, I otherwise totally agree with your comment.

    • Oh look. A man defending a rape song. Awesome.

    • It’s not just a song seeing as victims of rape are constantly confronted with these lyrics as it continues to be played on the radio. He didn’t have to be encouraging rape, the fact that the lyrics echo actual sentiments of rape and things that victims have heard and now must listen to in the form of a catchy song constantly on the radio is awful and the reason why the song is bad and being criticized, even by this, very much on point, article.

    • No, Tim, this isn’t just ‘a song.’ It represents, reflects and reinforces social attitudes about rape culture. Sexual violence is a fucking epidemic, and ideas like this only worsen the problem.

    • Gaslighting. Telling the author of the article it’s “just a song”, so why should she be upset? Media is important in how we frame the world and everyone is affected. Don’t give her the old overreacting woman two-step and add insult to injury, now.

    • Ya I think you have some what of a point, I highly HIGHLY doubt Thicke sat down and thought, “hmm. how can I make a song that has an underlying meaning of rape?” I get that…I doubt he’s a complete monster. He lives in a world , really beyond our world, and for us to judge the way he perceives life as being incorrect, is to tell him to probably ignore everything that actually happens in his existence. So, we shouldnt do that. However, neither should he.

      That is the whole point. He was inconsiderate and if he wasnt, then he was ignorant. He’s probably never read about how women are shaped by the media, but if he doesnt know or recognize that by now, well then he is a monster…or he’s just extremely slow.

    • catethulhu says:

      Yeah, totally. Songs NEVER have other meanings, or anything of the sort. And ALL pop songs are just about having a good ol’ time where no-one gets hurt.
      My Sharona: “Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind / I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.” The real Sharona was an illegal 17 at the time.
      Under My Thumb: “It’s down to me, oh that’s what I said/The way she talks when she’s spoken to” Disgustingly misogynistic. Very OBVIOUSLY misogynistic. And also a HUGE hit by one of the biggest bands in the world. He talks about like she’s a pet not a person. That’s in the lyrics. Look it up.
      The Crystals “He Hit Me” An abusive relationship.
      And have you ever listened to “Baby It’s Cold Outside”? I mean *really* listened to it. It’s like a Christmas anthem to date rape. Happy holidays.
      I’m not suggesting that everyone who writes a song about horrible subject matter is necessarily condoning it, but it’s not hard to tell the difference. A good example is Nomeansno’s “Sex is Philosophy” which demonstrates society’s sick views of sexuality. If I were just a knee-jerker who hated songs just because they’re about rape, then I wouldn’t like that song, because it’s a lot more graphic than Blurred Lines. The difference? The attitude about it.
      Thicke seems, like many of his detractors at least, to be promoting rape culture. He’s not making it a horrifying experience like other, better artists before him who talk about rape, (e.g. Tori Amos, Nirvana). He’s making it a sexy adventure. Harmless.
      And no, I am not promoting censorship, but this stuff deserves intelligent discourse. We need to talk about the effects of all aspects of society because all of these things affect all of us, individually and on the whole, whether we realize it or not. Media has the power to influence.
      Oh god. I’m arguing on the internet. Lord help me.

  10. Thank you for speaking up against injustice and oppression.

  11. The music video to this song is absolutely foul. Rape culture man.. if not rape culture, then our society suggests that we should all run around topless and act like objects. So…why does he get to wear a full suit while the woman rolls around with just underwear? What the hell, man???

  12. Dominique Marie says:

    Made me sad. It’s hard to actually look and see whats going on, it’s different when you ‘hear’ it and think you understand, I don’t think anyone will understand how much it hurts someone who was sexually assaulted. I feel horrible, I’m sorry for all these and many other people.

  13. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. Just because something reminds you of something bad that happened to you doesn’t mean it should be condemned. And how would any of you even know what the lyrics really truly mean. You didn’t write the song, so you don’t know the truth. Maybe it’s a song of how a lot of women put themselves out there and tease men into thinking they want it, but when it comes down to it, she really doesn’t she just wants the attention. You cant condemn and ridicule a song from your opinion.

    • The song clearly advocates rape. To deny that is to be blind.

    • It’s not “just because something reminds you of something bad that happened to you”, it’s an entire attitude that you’re perfectly showing of an irreverent lack of empathy, or even an attempt at caring. Does the similarity between the language of rapists and his language, and ‘lad’ language in general not concern you? Because it should, there should definitely be a difference between the attitudes of men and the attitudes of rapists. Men should be better than that.

      So what really matters are the secret lyrics that only Robin Thicke knows, not how everyone who hasn’t evolved the ability to close their ears thinks and feels about what’s spewed from his mouth?

      Let’s say it is a song about women “teasing”. Why do you think they do that? Could it be because videos like that reinforce the belief that if you aren’t a) sexy and b) willing to sleep with every man who buys you a drink, you’re not worth attention? It’s a horrible feeling to feel unattractive in a culture, reinforced by songs like this, that places a human being’s value on being attractive and sexually available. It’s horrible to go out for a good night, and for no-one to even talk to you, yet to go out dressed up and get men being nice. When men stop being sharks, women will stop being skanks. We should all be better than the absolute rubbish in that video.

      p.s. if we can’t ridicule a song from our opinion, what gives you the right to ridicule an article from yours?

    • “Maybe it’s a song of how a lot of women put themselves out there and tease men into thinking they want it ”

      That’s right ladies. It’s OUR fault.
      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      We dress nice because we want to convey that we would love to sleep with you. Not because we feel pressured to find happiness in our appearance. …this comment makes me sick

    • catethulhu says:

      “You cant condemn and ridicule a song from your opinion.”
      Yeah. I totally can. And I will. That’s kind of part of having an opinion?
      Especially because of this:
      “Maybe it’s a song of how a lot of women put themselves out there and tease men into thinking they want it, but when it comes down to it, she really doesn’t she just wants the attention.”
      REALLY? Please read and re-read what you just wrote and think about it a while. Go ahead. If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with that mindset on your own, then I can’t make you understand why it’s so terribly, terribly wrong.
      Also, why are you on here? Do you just go around reading feminist blogs looking to argue with us? Is that a hobby now? Are you gonna set us straight because our lady parts make us all crazy and unreasonable? If your’re not even going to try to understand where we’re coming from, which obviously you aren’t, then why would we listen to you? I’m not trying to be mean, because I don’t think you’re a malicious misogynist, I think you honestly just don’t get it. I’m really just trying to encourage you to think about it more than a little. If you’re posting, then obviously it’s something you care about, and deserves more than a little thought. And if I’m wrong and you don’t care, why are you posting?
      If I come off as snarky, that’s just my personality. (Women have those too).

  14. I’m a little confused about the controversy. There are so many songs out there that are openly mysoginistic. Where violence against women is flippantly talked about and women are referred to as bitches and hoes. We don’t talk about those. Instead we “interpret” what the blurred lines lyrics are really saying.
    I didn’t know what to think until I heard an interview with Robin Thicke and found his explanation very reasonable. He said that he’s been married a while and that the song speaks to his wife being ” a good girl, in fact, she’s the best….but sometimes, you know, she wants to be bad…and I’m happy to be there for her when she does.”
    That made sense to me.
    Sure, let’s be vigilant about the messages we put out there. But can we also be vigilant in making sure we’re not putting our own meaning in somebody else’s mouth. Maybe focus on language that was MEANT to demean and start our fight there.

    • Thank you for being a reasonable voice in all this silliness. Yes, we live in a misogynistic world where women are marginalized into sex objects, and rape culture runs rampant. I interpreted this song as being a man flirting with a married woman (ie “that man is not your maker, you don’t need no papers) and trying to provoke her into expressing her sexuality. Which, let’s be honest, even a feminist like myself enjoys some rough sex now and again.

  15. Angel Martin says:

    When will media grow up? When will Hollywood make brains, attractive? Sorry … but the political machine behind disgusting Hollywood, is what you support. Stand up, stop the duplicity.

  16. “One thing I ask of you
    Let me be the one you back that ass to”

    Yeah, that sounds awfully rapey. Also, T.I. is bragging about just how big his dick is, not how happy he is that he’s going to sodomize a girl against her will. He asks her to let him do it!

    “I know you want it” is not just shorthand for “I’m going to rape you against your will.” I say this frequently to my boyfriend while we have consensual sex. Also, spanking and hair pulling aren’t exactly out of the norm for kinky relationships/sex.

  17. I can’t turn the radio stations fast enough when that song comes on. I wish swapping radio stations had more power though.

  18. I never got “rapey” nature of this song…i think it’s sexual. i think it’s casual. I think some can be viewed to reach the goal that you want. I don’t see it the way this song does.

    I think any song can be “rapey” if you manipulate it enough…i enjoy the song

  19. This is stupid. I love this song. Stop spreading the rape culture.

    • Rape is culture, now? Interesting.

    • Irony here.

    • What you don’t seem to understand, Jane, is that this song is what is perpetuating rape culture, which is the issue here. The fact that there are people like you that fail to see how this actually does perpetuate such violence show’s an internalization of such violence toward woman. So with your comment I would say that rather then going on the defense for liking a song that is violent toward women, you stop for a moment, check yourself, and acknowledge the role that you and others play in rape culture by dismissing shit like this for a stupid justification like “I love this song.”

  20. I think the main “point” of this song was slightly missed. This guy is filthy-rich and completely disassociated from the rest of society. IMO this song is about a “high-society” woman of sorts being seduced by this rich artist who is promising “wild” sex of the kind she could never get in her current “high-society” relationship. The most probale reason I can think for such disassociated artists sell SO MUCH to the public is:

    a. There are men who glorify them and want to be like them
    b. There are women willing to take their crap for the money and find them desirable

    Being completely extranged from the rest of the world, this guy can´t even start to grasp the damage this type of lyrics can have. He is not a profound artist seeking to influence his fans. He´s a cheap entrepeneur looking to make a song that will play in clubs. Since he lacks imagination and talent, he just writes about his wealthy life and how “any” woman falls at his feet because his wealth, fame, etc.

    The only hope is that people are better educated and start rejecting this crap. That´s the only way we can stop such guys from having the resources to produce and distribute their garbage.

  21. bitter pill says:

    Every time this awful song plays is RAPE in my ear.

  22. I notice how most of the people saying this song isn’t rapey are men. I find that incredibly disturbing yet telling. I read an article once written by a young woman that started off with the sentence, “My rapist doesn’t know he’s a rapist”. And therein lies the problem. We raise men and to some extent women to not understand boundaries. No means no, no matter what someone is wearing, or if they consented to a date with you, or were dancing with you, or you paid for their dinner, or they drank too much. No is still no.

  23. Love the rift. Uncomfortable with the lyrics. Now that I have actually read them – really disturbed by them. Like Robin Thicke and apreciate his justification BUT without over-analysing or paying too much attention to the lyrics, there’s a disturbing subliminal message common to much of the R&B output. Whether intended or not – that’s not the point. The point is that how we hear and react to songs is totally subjective. Hence, a greater burden of responsibility on the songwriter and artist. The content is so prevalent that not only are most young people no longer shocked, they don’t even register the lyrics – the content of everything being so highly sexualised that it could be considered brainwashing.
    I can’t even begin to imagine the distress of listening to such lyrics by someone with experience of sexual grooming and violence.

  24. Someone once told me that a love song should interchangeably be addressing either one’s love for another or one’s love for a higher power – that it works both ways. Well, these lyrics are no where near sacred in either context, as are so many, reflecting a culture in a state of distress and dismantling. They are a blatant disregard for all that is sacred in love and representative of oppression and expected submission – a clear and ongoing sign of the gradual crumbling of a civilization. Destruction before creation. And hopefully, out of the ashes of the old will come a new, better understanding of love and respect, and the implicitness of dignity in all relationship.

  25. this is a waste of space and mental effort. its a stupid song. and being from the generation, it has nothing to do with rape or sexual assault. the entire song just implies that he likes a girl that looks innocent but is really a “badd bitch”. a dirty girl that looks respectable on the outside but likes getting kinky. stop reading into stupid bullshit because you have time to pick apart a stupid rap song that sucks anyways. spend your time picking apart the Syria issue or something that will effect someone seriously. well written, but horrible topic…

  26. its called confidence. guys have it when they are stupid rich, and can back up what they talk about. if a dude is rich, he’ll attract the kind of girls he talks about in the song.

  27. I think what’s prominent in the comments section here ,and everywhere the discussion is taking place, is that no one is taking time to consider the feelings of people who are offended by it. ‘It’s got a good beat, who cares what it’s about’, seems to be the attitude. Obviously, Robin Thicke didn’t write a song about rape, but the attitudes that are being portrayed are those of a man taking a superior placement over a woman. If you want to do that, under the consent of your partner, that’s fine. This is a song being sung to the wives, or consenting partners, of the singers. This is a HUGE societal issue that falls under the umbrella of slut-shaming, and gender stereotypes. It’s the 21st Century and we should be better than this.

    Great article. The irony is that some of these comments are pointing out “interpretations” and such, well their interpretation of the focus of this article is askew. Equality. Consent. Respect.

  28. This is REALLY Stupid. As someone that has been violated more than once, I would think u know such stupidity could really trigger someone for no reason. If u don’t like the song, turn it off. We all have triggers but if this is yours you may need to stop listening to the radio altogether and make up songs of your own that soothe you. You might consider anger management, therapy, or talking to a trusted friend. This song is a HIT!

  29. I have a lot to say about this. I will try to keep it short. Calling it a “rape anthem” is just embarrassing yourself and grounds for libel. It’s NOT about rape. It’s actually a feminist song. It’s very interesting how you chose to ignore parts of the song that demonstrate this.
    “OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
    But you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature
    Just let me liberate you
    You don’t need no papers
    That man is not your maker.”
    It’s about how in this society, women are told that they have to be married to have sex but of course it’s “in our nature” because we are human and humans desire sex. And we shouldn’t let society dictate what we do with our bodies. Many “good girls” struggle with their desire to feel pleasure and their desire to NOT be seen as a slut. Saying “I know you want it” is not a phrase exclusive to rape. It’s like you’ve never heard of people who like to talk dirty. She could be replying “Yeah baby, I want it, give it to me”
    The blurred lines come in when the woman is trying to justify sleeping with him. She very well could be sending mixed signals to the man. We’ve all flirted and not gone through with it, which is frustrating to men. That doesn’t mean he’s going to rape you anyway.

  30. Oh my god. Stop reading so much into things. The song is not about rape. It’s a fun song. A lot of people like it. INCLUDING GIRLS.

  31. Yeah, somehow I doubt those in these comments stating this is just a song and to get over it, have never been held down and told they “want it”

  32. We have to recognize that sentences in isolation are just words put together in a logical order. You have to consider context when you look at what people say, to determine if they are being sarcastic or angry etc. It’s quite obvious that what rapists say is a form of euphemism to justify their actions, but in Robin Thicke’s case it seems like the other way around, to exaggerate the male and female roles in the dating game to make the “chase” appear to be more animalistic. It does sometimes seem to “respectable males” that females tend to choose the more aggressive men when it comes to dating, and this form of sexual selection is at odds with the social etiquette that is being pushed in modern day dating, which is undeniably a very confusing matter. These are confusing times and I’m sure we can do better than to force ourselves and others to be offended over of all things, a song. There are problems here and questions to be answered, not simply targets to be shot at.

    Many of these quote can be used in other contexts, such as a father speaking to his daughter. Do we then suppose that there is rape culture among the father-daughter relationship? Pop culture and music’s effects on impressionable young minds is yet again to blame, just as it has for the past centuries.

    • In Agreement says:

      Possibly the best said message on this forum. I agree with a lot of points in the article, but my main question is what is the goal?

      Is it to stop Thicke from producing such songs? Is it to stop radio stations from playing these songs? Because in either case, the negative backlash only seems to reinforce the song’s popularity, and ignoring it altogether seems to be the best option.

      Finally, I agree most with Jason because it’s no secret that the”good girl” “bad boy” theme of dating and relationships can be confusing when paired with today’s societal etiquette. I mean, Elvis made an entire career off of that theme. And it’s still around in more innocent forms. So what is the boundary?

      Pop culture and music’s effect is to blame, but that’s part of human nature. That’s like saying food is to blame for obesity; it feeds a necessary human craving. Pop culture will always be pop culture, and I feel that over analysis will only feed its popularity.

  33. This article and illustrative pictures are right on point. Some of the comments below it blow my mind. Bringing awareness to the rape culture is not “spreading it” – use your head. And some of you would enjoy a reading of Mein Kampf to a good beat.

    I cringe every single time I hear this song particularly because it’s so mainstream and accepted as no big deal by so many. I’m inspired by these women who call attention to the ugliness through their own painful experiences. Should we all have such courage.

  34. Lest we forget:

    When someone is offended by something, and you respect where it is they have come from, then you say sorry. The, ” I didn’t mean it that way” response doesn’t really apply.

    You cannot escape the similarities between what has been said to the unfortunate people who have been raped and what this song says. Is he openly talking about rape, no. But rapists seldom say, ” I am going to rape you now”

    This song engenders disrespect because the wording doesn’t skirt around that point and the music deliberately covers it up with rhythm and sound . It belittles with a back beat. Sure—it doesn’t come across that way; the song is masked and caked in modern pop sounds, so of course it doesn’t give that impression. That is why this message is so subversive.

    As a male, I am offended that this is what has become acceptable as an “alpha” male. The need for status (or other phallic obsessions) and diminution of others is NOT what a man is and should be modeling himself after. Be successful, just don’t be a dick—essentially.

    Lets move on as a gender and a species. This shit is trivial.

  35. The phrase “you know you want it” is the most dangerous one out there–it tells men that no matter what a woman says or does, underneath her “No,” her pushing away, her tears, her telling him to get lost, she actually “wants it.” Even if Thicke had no intention of promoting that idea, just by putting that phrase out there and suggesting “good girls” only act uninterested for appearance’s sake when they really “want it” he’s adding to the idea that what a woman says about sex doesn’t matter. If men and boys hear this and think it’s real or true, then no matter how catchy the song is, it’s doing harm.

    It’s exactly because people DON’T think about this stuff that it gets into our culture and people don’t notice the underlying meaning that this kind of thinking persists. I like pop music, I like men, I don’t want to spend my life feeling angry any more than anyone else. But it’s not “stupid” to point out these songs or lyrics or videos that make women look like brainless sex toys instead of people who are allowed to find a man unappealing and say “No, actually, I DON’T want it. Shove off.” If we don’t challenge them, nothing will ever change. But of course, that’s exactly what some people want, unfortunately.

    • Thank you Rhonda! “It’s exactly because people DON’T think about this stuff…” that we need to keep talking about it. One addition. From the forum, I learned that the accompanying video to the song show Thicke fully clothed and several women “in their underwear.” Again, the norm in our culture is simply not to notice what that communicates to both male & female about their respective places in our culture.

  36. I think we as independent forward thinking women need to be careful as to how we admonish not only pop culture but the analyses of literature in general. I think as critical thinkers we risk over censorship of basic rights to speech.

  37. The pressure is on, ladies. This man believes that he is irresistible, and just cannot figure why a woman wouldn’t think so, too. Maybe if he says the right things (yeah, the “right” things), she’ll finally fall into his bed and spread her legs so he can get his rocks off and “make it hurt”. Cuz, ya know, don’t you like work? The way he speaks, these “blurred lines” of his are only so unclear because he’s stupid or blind. Doesn’t he say it at the beginning? “Maybe I’m going blind, maybe I’m going deaf, maybe I’m losing my mind.”

    It really isn’t difficult to figure out, ladies’ man. If you don’t hear “Yes.” It’s no. And if it’s “No.” it doesn’t mean, “I want or need to be convinced.” It means that the woman is not interested, and you should move along. Sorry, tonight wasn’t your lucky night. There is no blurred line. There is a clear and concise line drawn. We have a right to our own bodies. We have a right to say “No,” and we have the right to expect that it WILL BE respected. No, “But baby…”. No “God, you’re such a tease…” No insults, no pressure, no entitlement to anything.

    You bought us a drink? Well, goody. You came over and talked to us for the night? Thanks for the company. You were a friend when we needed it? You’re an awesome friend. Now don’t think we owe you anything but a thanks. If I was bartering myself or my sexuality for a price, I’d let a man know. Otherwise, I am not. And I sure as hell expect that he won’t treat me as such. Dinner and a movie does not equal sex. A drink does not equal sex. Sex equals sex. And I’ll let you know when.

    Misogyny needs to stop. These pervasive messages talking to those listening to it, telling male and female alike that this attitude is acceptable, they need to stop. The perpetuation of women as objects, to be used, to be bartered and sold, to be convenient, to be silent, to be only receptive and acquiescent, needs to change.

    Perpetrators are not only the men that commit the crime physically, but those that commit the crime in song, in speech, in written word and in captured imagery. You commit the message to medium and then you show it. It’s just one more obscenity leveled on the head of what is the picture of woman’s own worth in collective society. Which is to say, not much. Lyrics like his are redundant graffiti on an image that’s already unrecognizable. And the only way to fix it, to wash it away, is to stop laying, stop believing these things, and stop repeating them. See the crime, and don’t do it. Even old dogs learn new tricks. Is it so much to ask that this kind of man do so?

  38. First off, all of those who are victims of sexual abuse and rape, I am sorry that you had to go through such a horrific situation. God bless you.
    Ok, now onto the song. The song is catchy. I love this song (and I am a female). I honestly cannot see where Thicke’s lyrics are proclaiming rape. Everyone has different opinions and with all music, books, movies etc, everyone will not react the same. I personally believe it is about a girl playing hard-to-get. The phrase “I know you want it” does not necessary mean he is about to rape her. Hasn’t anyone heard of “talking dirty”?
    I really believe we are wasting our valuable time on decoding a song that needs no decoding. We should focus our time and energy on what really matters, such as the Syria situation and the natural disasters affecting countries around the world. Those are the ones that deserve the attention….not a song

    • catethulhu says:

      Here’s the thing, liking or not liking the song has nothing to do with it. Heck, I’ve dropped bands altogether after finding out that they were disgusting. The singer of the Casualties for example has sexually assaulted girls before. (Look it up, it’s messed up). I’ve since boycotted them.
      Here’s the other thing; as said before, yes it deserves discourse; it all deserves discourse. To say it isn’t important is misguided. It’s all important because media sways social thinking.
      You don’t have to agree with us on the meaning, and you can like the song all you like, but to pretend that media has no affect on our thinking is blatantly erroneous.
      Also, most people don’t care in a vacuum. You see, I can care about Syria, and I can care about this. Both at the same time even. I can care about all sorts of things at once. In fact, I’m caring about everything. Even you. How is your day? (I’m not being facetious. Really. You seem nice.)
      It’s fun being a multi-dimensional being.
      This isn’t a waste of time to us. We really want people to think about these things.

  39. I have mixed feelings about this song. I think the video is what makes this much worse. The song itself is misogynistic and insulting to women, but I don’t think all the lyrics referenced in the comments section are “rapey.” I have been raped once and sexually assaulted two other times, so I do have some context for what “rapey” looks and sounds like. In any case – one issue I take with the article is this line: “In this misogynistic fantasy, a woman doesn’t want a “square” who’ll treat her like a human being, with respect. She would rather be degraded and abused for a man’s gratification and amusement.” That’s suggesting that the only kind of acceptable, loving sex is “vanilla” sex and that smacking someone’s ass or pulling her hair is an act of degradation and abuse. It excludes a whole subset of people who engage in kinky lifestyles, e.g. dominant/submissive. People who like their hair pulled (which I think is a pretty large segment of the population) are not asking to be degraded. Maybe some – but there are plenty of people who engage in kinky sex is respectful and safe ways.

  40. Barb Dailey says:

    All in the name of art……..bullshit.

  41. First of all, I consider myself as a feminist. Its obvius that those girl where victims of a terrible situation, that no one, both men, or women should go trough ever. But I still dont find congruency with satanizing Roberth Thicke, and basically asumme that he, and many other pop singers, are a sort of “spiritual leaders” of rappists freaks. In that case, so it is Pitbull, Robert Palmer, Chris Issak, and so many others that used this so wasted visual code, or even better, Fergie in its song, “My humps”. Obviusly in the other hand, a rappist its a person with some sort of mental disorder or neurological damage, no mention a with a very fucked up past or family, if he ever had one.

  42. I wonder how many of these comments saying how despicable the song is read and raved about 50 Shades of Grey? I bet more than a few, and that sorry excuse for “literature” is decidedly misogynistic and promotes “rape culture.” The song is a tad sexually explicit for radio IMHO, but the lyrics seem to be about a man flirting with a married woman who has an unfulfilled sex life, not a rapist and his unwilling victim.
    “He was close, Tried to domesticate you” “that man is not your maker, you don’t need no papers,” obviously referring to marriage. She’s a “good girl” because she doesn’t want to cheat, he’s trying to brag about his sexual prowess, blah blah blah…a women can happily consent to hair pulling and ass smacking, it’s not degrading or demoralizing, simply a fun, kinky twist on sex.

    • Teri Kiger says:

      I am glad to see that at least some of us can be objective to Robin Thicke song Blurred lines. And I totally agree with your view on the lyrics. Thank you. What it really comes down to is perspective and perception.

  43. Thanks for posting this. The main concern isn’t about Robin Thicke himself but the lyrics and how they very much echo that of a rapist’s thoughts. All the researchers of gender violence/domestic violence/sexual assault will agree that the lyrics are practically justifying a rapist’s movements onto a woman and how silence means consent but really means “no.” I have been in several classes that study gender violence and many of the lyrics above support the fact that rape is a form of power for men (even used as a weapon of war in several other countries to the East). This isn’t an attack necessarily on Robin Thicke but on the lyrics of this crude song. Women who have listened to this are disgusted by the words and I am sure even appalled that it is popular. Forget the hair pulling, domesticating part – it’s the lyrics that say she wanted it, she asked for it, she wants to be controlled…take a course on gender violence and you will learn all about the psychological effects of rape. The lyrics of Blurred Lines echo indeed but the truth is in the hand-written words on the papers each individual/victim is holding. None of the individuals above wanted it…none. Many can’t even fight back or are afraid to do so in fear of being killed. That is why so many women don’t even report it (and the reasons for avoiding report may be because they were threatened, want to avoid humiliation or don’t believe law enforcement will find and convict the rapist. Again, take a course, learn from the course then you will be educated about sexual assault and understand why so many women (like the ones above) hate these lyrics.

  44. Teri Kiger says:

    So really what is the issue here ? I have seen video games, cartoons, movies, and heard other songs as well as the music videos to these other songs that promote violence towards woman, kids and/or people in general. If you all would take the time to watch ‘Saturday cartoons’ sometime you would see acts of murder, abduction, imprisonment and the list goes on to the violent acts that are demonstrated, and I personally have never heard and /or seen this kind of a fuss made. Have you that have children ever taken the time to sit down and view the graphics in the video games your children are playing everyday, well maybe you should because your children are getting step by step instructions on how to commit violent crimes against others and are actually committing the act them selves as they play. So why are you all throwing a fit over words to a song ? yes they are suggestive but not anymore so than the few examples I have given in my opinion on this topic. Take Eminem for example, he has songs out that talk about killing a little girls Mommy because he caught her cheating, and it goes on to say how he put her in the trunk of his car and threw her off a bridge after killing her, and the whole time he is apologizing to this little girl and explaining to her why he had to kill her Mommy, so really come on get off. It appears to me your all targeting and singling out.

  45. joseph boyce says:

    The song Blurred Lines is a glorification of a violent ass-raping of a virgin woman, all while the rapist is whispering in the ear of the victim how much she wants it. Period. Why it is not being condemmed outright is beyond me. To me, there are no blurred lines when it comes to this trash, and why current culture not only accepts, but actually rewards this mind set boggles my mind. Just goes to show that you can put a danceable beat to any lyric and a certain amount of people will buy it. What bothers me is that so many people accept it off hand – even defend it. To me, the lyrics are depraved. Are there limits to what people will accept now? You tell me. Personally I’m sick of it.

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