A Good Time To Get Angry...
My take on the Blurred Lines debate
Now, I dont think any of you would be massively surprised to
know that I dont really pay a lot of attention to chart music.
Up until the recent articles on LTW commenting on Edinburgh Universitys
decision to ban Robin Thickes controversial Blurred Lines,
it could have quite easily passed me by but it hadnt. Anything
this nasty is going to stick in my head the moment I come across it.
I first came across this song on a music tv station, fully subtitled,
on one of the television screens in the gym, whilst I was weightlifting
and fully fired up a good time to get angry
There seems to be a bit of a trend at the moment for sexual violence
to be treated as less of a crime and more of a fulfilment of women's
desires (Thickes chorus runs You know you want it
The sexual side is dwelt on more than the assault
side. This is hugely offensive. In my recent article on pornography
I confessed to having been sexually assaulted, but this
is probably a bit euphemistic; I was gang raped by three strangers and
thus am always going to find any debate on the issue somewhat emotive.
First things first; regardless of how Thicke portrays it, rape isnt
sexy. God forbid impressionable young listeners could think so. In fact,
the far reaching impact on the victim is as sexless as it gets. I (temporarily)
took to dressing in an unfeminine, dull way which wasnt me. I
needed a minor operation on my cervix to repair the damage in order
to enable a normal sex life, plus dental surgery to repair the effects
caused by the physical attack pretty sexy stuff, eh, Thicke?
Id like to hear this dealt with in the follow up song.
So no, I didnt want it. And as for claiming to explore
a grey area between consensual sex and rape is it really THAT
much of a grey area? Surely it all boils down to the word no
You probably all think then, that I fully support the decision of Edinburgh
University to ban this song. But I cant help but think that just
banning things can create more problems than it solves. Yes, of course
I dont ever want to hear this song again (especially that vile
line about tearing your ass in two, which really does express
some bizarre ideas about what women want). But banning things fulfils
ideas about old fashioned censorship being the way forward and
once we start, were do we stop? If you ban one thing, it could then
lead onto more and more until we get a bit over the top.
Also, banning things simply serves to make them stronger, and brings
them more attention, especially if the ban is well publicised like this
one has been. The last thing we want is to see Thicke and his collaborator
and co-writer Pharrell Williams (who seems to be getting off scot-free
in the midst of all this controversy) strengthened.
Because when it boils down to it, I actually think Blurred Lines
is a really weak and forgettable song. The fact that Thicke is categorised
as Soul in music stores really is an insult to soul singers!
So it may well be the controversial subject matter which has elevated
him into public consciousness (or, granted, it could be the presence
of a superstar like Williams.)
89% of rapes are never reported, 38% of victims never tell anyone, and
there is a growing culture in which the victim is blamed or disbelieved.
If ideas are being reinforced that we want it, that cant
be helping. This isnt about politically correct feminism, its
about acknowledging something as a serious, life-ruining crime, which
for me is less about sex and more about exertion of power.
Not that I let my life be ruined in the long run. In fact, I could sound
almost smug when I talk about how absolutely perfect everything is for
me right now. But it was hard work reaching this point. If women wanted
to be raped then there would be no such phrase as rape victim.
But lets not just throw the blanket of censorship over Thicke.
Lets get talking instead. Lets turn this on its head; its time
to open the door to more debate about not only rape, but the responsibilities
that pop culture, a powerful thing, can hold