“Blurred Lines” is a hot song. It’s catchy, has a good beat, and people (with rhythm) can dance to it. The accompanying video is also hot in a weird sort of way. Throughout the video Robin Thicke oozes sex (especially when he licks that ice cream cone) as attractive, bare-chested women dance around him, sometimes flirting and sometimes ignoring him. Add to the mix Pharrell, T.I., and farm animals (I told you it was weird), and the finished product is fun and pretty provocative.
Some feminists take issue with the fact that the women in the video are half-naked while the men are fully clothed. Some feminists see attractive women expressing their sexuality in front of men and instantly cry sexism and exploitation. They are quick to label these women as victims of a rape culture that sees women as sexual objects solely for the pleasure of men. It is easy to agree with these feminists by assuming that women can never control their sexuality and are always in a position susceptible to exploitation and objectification. Of course, this is a false assumption, but it is an assumption many feminists seemingly adopt when approaching “Blurred Lines.”
“Blurred Lines” isn’t the best example of female empowerment, but critics completely fail to understand the type of woman being referenced in the song. The Blurred Lines Woman (BLW) isn’t some helpless victim, and her nudity in the video isn’t sexist and demeaning. If feminist actually understood the BLW, they would realize that the nudity in the video is a sign of independence, confidence, and sexual liberation. Below are four reasons women should listen to the song and the modern feminists should embrace the BLW.
- The BLW is fiercely independent and not afraid of challenging societal gender roles. By refusing to be domesticated, the BLW challenges the outdated idea that a woman’s primary purpose in life is to get married and raise a family. While not opposed to marriage (remember she was close to being domesticated), she demonstrates that she is perfectly happy being single, sexual, and free. She is also more than capable of taking care of herself and views a man as her equal and “not her maker.”
- The BLW is confident. When she walks into a room, people notice her. She is the girl with “swag.” Guys want her, girls want to be her, and she knows it. Physically, she may or may not be the hottest woman in the place, but she is self-assured and that shines through no matter what she is wearing. She is “far from plastic” because her confidence is real, which comes from her knowing her worth as a person, knowing what she wants, and not being afraid to express herself.
- The BLW understands that she can be sexually free and a good girl. Blurred Lines can be seen as commentary on the mixed messages our culture sends to women about their sexuality, and a woman’s struggle against internalizing those messages. As soon as a woman tries to embrace her sexuality, society attempts to shame her by calling her a slut or whore. The BLW breaks the ridiculous connection between a sexually aware women and the whore label. She gives the finger to society by showing that there is nothing bad about a woman enjoying sex, and she refuses to let society shame her into ignoring her desires and foregoing sexual gratification. The BLW is a sexual warrior, proclaiming that woman can express their sexuality in any way they please and still be good girls.
- A BLW controls her sexual experience. The BLW does not place a man’s sexual needs above her own. The BLW is not alienated from her sexual experience and, in fact, initiates and controls it. The BLW has liberated herself from society’s view that women should be a passive participant during sex. In this case, the BLW made her desires known by adopting the male tactic of getting grabby, which demonstrates that the BLW has no problem being the sexual aggressor and turning the tables on men. The BLW is a sexual conqueror who takes control of her experience and makes choices based on her needs and wants.
With this understanding of the BLW, Thicke’s song and video become much less sexist, demeaning, and offensive. In fact, it becomes an example of a woman reclaiming and asserting her own sexual agency. Some feminists will disagree with me, but there is ample evidence in the song and video to support the conclusion that “Blurred Lines” is about a strong woman who does what she wants regardless of what a man or feminist may think.