Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” was not only the iTunes best selling single of 2013, it was also one of the most talked about songs around for a long time. Critics have slammed its lyrics for inciting sexual violence towards women. 21 student unions including University College London student union (UCLU) have banned the song. “Feminist in LA” blogger Lisa Huyne called it “Robin Thicke’s rape song” :
“Basically, the majority of the song…has the R&B singer murmuring ‘I know you want it’ over and over into a girl’s ear. Call me a cynic, but that phrase does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity … Seriously, this song is disgusting — though admittedly very catchy.”
Indeed the song’s title “Blurred Lines” is alleged by critics to be a reference to the supposed ‘mixed signals’ for sexual consent- which takes us to the vile argument that a rape victim is to blame for the attack, that they in any way “asked for it” because they were immodestly dressed or that they behaved in any way suggestively.
I am still often astonished when “Blurred Lines” comes on the radio. Despite all that’s been said in the media about this song’s quite ugly nature, it still gets airtime. Do the radio bosses not have ears?
And then I realise. Its us. The listeners. The music buying public that want this song played.I asked a friend who I knew was a fan of the song, what she thought of “Blurred Lines.” I could see she was struggling to find anything wrong with it. She claims to never have heard any offensive or sexist lyrics. As a fan of both the song and of Robin Thicke she actually defended it by saying “oh its just a song”. I could tell she thought I was taking life all too seriously.
So it seems we simply accept this song, with its catchy melody, its funky “everybody get up” and lets not forget “hey hey hey” and choose to ignore that some victim of domestic or sexual violence somewhere quite possibly had “I know you want it” whispered into their ear before they were attacked.
We have turned a blind eye (or indeed deaf ear) to these offensive and potentially dangerous lyrics simply because we like its melody. Radio bosses keep these awful words “I know you want it” on our airwaves because we want them there. We accept them, but worse still, choose not to hear the message behind them simply because we like the song.