Call Robin Thicke’s #GetHerBack Campaign What It Is: Stalking

Screen shot 2014-06-26 at 3.04.00 PM“The most controversial song of the decade.” That was the name given by UK’s The Guardian to Robin Thicke’s “rapey” single “Blurred Lines.”

But that’s old news. What has people talking now is his twisted new single, “Get Her Back.” Yes, despite dozens of schools banning his music, countless bloggers condemning his last hit and rape survivors speaking out against his lyrics, Thicke has managed to record a song possibly even more warped.

On Monday, Thicke released the music video for “Get Her Back,” purportedly his way of pining for his estranged wife, Paula Patton, who left him after his rumored infidelity. In fact, his new album’s title is Paula, in case she didn’t pick up on the fact that “Still Madly Crazy,” “You’re My Fantasy,” “Lock the Door” and “Love Can Grow Back,” to name a few of the song titles, seem centered on their split-up. You may be thinking, “Hmm, the names of these sound like some kind of abuser’s checklist.” And you’re not the only one.

But the first single from the album has enough stalkerish-ness in it to predict what we’ll hear on the rest of the album, to be released July 1. The song’s lyrics are relatively mild, by Thicke’s standards, but still seem to allude to acts of sexual aggression. A fair assumption, since it’s not like he hasn’t sung words of a similar theme before.

The U.S. Department of Justice defines stalking as “a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person” and says that it can include “Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth,” “Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents or flowers” and “Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim”.

Let’s see here. Naming an album blatantly after your estranged wife? Making public alleged text messages between the split-up couple in a music video? Giving songs aggressive names like “Whatever I Want”? Indicating that he won’t stop his antics until she’s his again? Check, check, check and check.

But in case that weren’t enough, the video itself is quite telling. Thicke spends half the time staring into the camera with his attempt at the puppy-dog face, switching it up with blood and sweat decorating his cheeks. What does this allude to, exactly? Does this mean you’re going to put blood, sweat and tears into bringing your ex-wife back, Mr. Thicke? Surely Winston Churchill did not intend his words as a metaphor for misogyny when delivering his famous speech.

The video also features a naked woman, her body shown in parts to objectify her further, and switches for split seconds to frightening images of Thicke contorting his hands into a gun pointed at his head, a black edifice with an eye peering out of it, a creepy Transformers-like mask and a bloody brain. Are these supposed to be subliminal threats?

Not so subliminal is the text conversation plastered on the screen throughout. Patton—if the messages are, indeed, from her—says things like, “How could you do that to me?” and “You’re reckless.” Meanwhile, Thicke repeatedly pleads for her attention, asking if he can talk to her, if he can see her and telling her he has written an entire album just for her.

Finally, Patton’s supposed text says, “I have to go”, to which Thicke replies, “This is just the beginning”. This is just the beginning? Um, cue the evil villain laugh. In all seriousness, if that’s not a threat, I don’t know what is.

In just a few days, Thicke has already managed to receive a slew of condemnation for his video, song and album. Even one of the more lighthearted and hilarious commentaries, YouTuber DionYorkie’s parody of the song (skip to 1:30), reveals the obvious desperation/creepiness of it all.

In conclusion, a message to Robin Thicke on behalf of Paula Patton and feminists everywhere: Enough already.

Screenshot taken from Robin Thicke’s “Get Her Back” music video

 

Sarah Collins headshot

 

Sarah Collins is a sophomore at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. She will be interning for Ms. in the fall.  

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Cynthia Neal says:

    Those who believe crimes against women are ‘Art’ ~ are despicable.

  2. Look at all the romantic comedy movies that portray stalking as a perfectly acceptable and efficacious way of making someone fall in love with you. Examples include “The Graduate” and “Barney’s Version”. Both of these films won rave reviews and won awards.

  3. Kathleen says:

    As if one song, and one video isn’t enough, then arrives part two with similar themes that are violent and abusive from Thicke. My suggestion to Thicke: Please STOP the violent-themed music, lyrics and music videos; instead, become an ally to women, and join http://www.voicesofmen.com.

  4. Do you hate Robin Thicke? Better still why do you hate Robin Thicke? What did he do to you? I guess as a journalist, (haha) you can twist anything, any way you want. it’s a love song about a man missing his woman and saying he’s going to try to get it right, if she’ll only give him a chance.He made a mistake. Everyone deserves a chance to make things right.

    • Ichiban says:

      No, you are wrong. Not everyone is entitled to a second chance. Women are made to feel guilty for not doing so. This is bullshit. You got one chance, buddy. That’s it; you are history. You don’t get to screw it up twice at my expense.

    • Codi Michel Johnson says:

      Do you love Robin Thicke? Better still why do you love Robin Thicke? What did he do for you? I guess as a commenter, (haha) you can twist anything, any way you want. It’s a creepy song about a man stalking his woman and trying to convince her that it’s best for her to let him have his way. He made a mistake. But if you just stalk long enough, you can get her back.

  5. Darlene says:

    He is just creepy. I thought so even before this. If he loves her so much then why did he cheat on her.

  6. Duke didn’t bother to read this article because he believes men have right to publicly state women are men’s sexual property. Duke also said this ‘it’s a love song about a man missing his woman.’ Really??? Read the article Duke before you mansplane your lies.

  7. It is a terrible video. The lyrics aren’t horrible. The video is creepy. I don’t know what blood and drowning a woman has to do with love. What the hell is up with the skull. If I were Paula and saw this video, I’d probably get the heck out of Dodge. Thicke needs to grow up and realize that there is nothing complimentary about stalking. And that this video is one more misogynistic portrayal of his views about women. His mindset is blurred, seems he doesn’t know right from wrong. What will he teach his son?

  8. Her Breckness says:

    Annnnd Duke FTW! It only took 4 comments for him to show up with the “B-b-but, he just luuuurvs her! Is that so wrong?” mansplaining comment. Again, someone with no understanding of rape culture and the use of violence by the patriarchy to control women. The only twisted thing in the article is Thicke’s lyrics and video imagery. And no, not everyone deserves a second chance.

  9. BayAreaLadyPerson says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels Robin’s “get paula back” campaign is stalker-like. That last text in the video, “this is only the beginning”, felt creepy. He’s clearly not taking no for an answer. And if she doesn’t want to get back with him, she doesn’t have to. She has a right to move on from him.

  10. He has the right to try and make it right, but he needs to stop using violent, mysoginistic images to do so. Only an abuser would think he is doing a good thing by making a video that ends with the phrase “this is just the beginning” in order to win back a partner. I hope she resists him as he is obviously a scumbag.

  11. Una Rose says:

    If you can ignore the fact that if a woman is murdered its most likely by a partner or ex partner then no the song and Robin Thickes repotoire isn’t at all creepy. Women live in fear of being stalked and fear and abuse should not be sold as entertainment.

  12. Donna Decker says:

    Most excellent calling out of Robin Thicke, Sarah. The man is a menace, and you — a sophomore — are so on the money. I am impressed!

Speak Your Mind

*