Blurred [sexual assault] Lines

There has been a ferocious presence of attacks directed to the memorable song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. I’m sure you’ve all seen, watched and read this familiar criticism, and no doubt many of you have either agreed whole heartedly or dismissed the claims as hysterical, radicalised feminists acting out. Whether the song garnered its particular attention after Miley Cyrus’ accompaniment of ‘twerking’, or whether in and of itself it stood out as abominably disgusting is irrelevant.

A number of people would assume that one is looking too much into the lyrics and song meaning. They would suggest that perhaps society is taking it “too seriously” as Cyrus herself was reported saying after her provocative MTV performance. 

Having heard the song, but never actually read the lyrics, I decided today, after reading a fantastic article in Al-jazeera, to have a Google. I am actually appalled. Who WROTE this trash? Who in their right mind would agree to produce this, let alone market it? What artist could ever think this would get them appropriate media attention, and increased fandom? Many of you will be familiar with the ‘tried to domesticate you’/’you’re an animal, its in your nature’ line, and so I will merely address things I have not come across many other blogs or articles specifically pointing out. 

1. The repetition of ‘I know you want it’ is eerie, creepy, and ‘rapey’. The assumption of ‘knowing’ when a girl is keen for sexual intercourse is very assumptive, yet not unheard of in today’s highly sexualised culture. For those of you familiar with Project Unbreakable (PU), you will recognise it as a quote many victims report their attacker as saying to them as they were sexually assaulted. The effect this song could have on victims of sexual assault is indescribable; it was discovered in a 2005 Personal Safety Survey that 8 out of 10 women who were sexually assaulted DID NOT report it to police, and out of those that did report it, the logging and recording of said assaults is variable and inconsistent (1).  

2. Thicke talks about girls “getting blasted”, which, for many of us, would logically link to getting drunk/high/stoned, whatever. Having a good time. Getting ‘wrecked’. Whatever word you use, its one that implies getting written off, and being insensible or incoherent. After this statement, Thicke points how how he “hates these blurred lines”; I can barely believe it, but is he actually talking about date rape? Is he saying how even though he “knows you want it”, the “blurred lines” of acceptable behaviour make it questionable that he has sex with you, his incoherent, possibly semi-conscious female companion?

2. Verse 3 is a continuation of disturbing lyrics; “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”, and “he don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that”. Have you thought about that? Anal sex so rough that you will be in physical pain, and your anatomy will be “torn”. Next time your baby sister, daughter, brother or son or whoever is singing the song, point out to them the literal connotations of what they are humming along to. Having intercourse someone who is “blasted” in such a violent way that their behind is “torn”. 

3. Verse 4: “Baby can you breathe”. If you watch the official music video, the girl is wearing a mask contraption that is evidently acting as a gag of some sort. Her face is almost completely covered by it, and as she is “blasted”, and being anally “torn”, Thicke has decided to care enough to ask if she can breathe. After all, who wants to commit murder? All he wants is to have a good time. Naw, what a sweetheart. 


I had always held some skepticism for the song after listening to it intently once or twice, but actually reading the lyrics in conjunction with watching the video? Sickening. I hold an active distaste for this man now and all that this song promotes; violence against women, blurring the lines between consent and sexual assault, and taking advantage of a vulnerable women to indulge in kinky and self-serving sex act. 


2 thoughts on “Blurred [sexual assault] Lines

  1. I never really listened to the lyrics either, I heard him sing something about good girl and bad girl (a definition I also hate, “Are you a good girl or a bad girl?” It´s so condescending, I´m human, not a stupid stereotype of good or bad) and I thought the blurred lines he was singing about was between the definition of being good or bad. I need to google these lyrics now! I love the parodies made of the music video though, Bart Baker and those feminist law students. They actually made me like the song, but in their versions of course.

  2. When you read his responses to criticism and other people’s attitudes, there is a general spread of ideas about which “blurred lines” he was referring to, so you wouldn’t be entirely wrong! I possibly recognised more along the lines of assault-enabled-by-incoherency as it seems so sadly common amongst young society.

    RE: parodies; the one with the three girls singing about how its a sex crime? I LOVE that parody haha. I think its wonderful. I just hate that the tune is so catchy, as when I first heart Thicke’s song I was unable to get it out of my head for days!

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