Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" lyrics seem less ambiguous — and 100x more disturbing — when juxtaposed with verified rapist rhetoric.
Confession: sometimes I issue media blackouts to my own brain. There's so much to read, care about and feel outraged over that I have to filter some of it out; past examples include Skrillex (although I educated myself after Spring Breakers) and Today Show drama. (I think Ann Curry cried?)
Until today, I didn't know or care much about "Blurred Lines." I listened to the song and watched the video and 100% understood why people were upset, but didn't feel like it was notably egregious. There are so many songs with problematic sexual politics — Flavorwire has a great breakdown, from Snoop Dogg's ”Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None)” to The Crystals' ”He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" — "Blurred Lines" seemed like just another example.
But then I read this Sociological Images post that contrasts Thicke's lyrics with images from Project Unbreakable, a project that features sexual assault survivors holding handwritten posters with their attackers' most memorably abhorrent words. (It's also founded by Jezebel 25er Grace Brown!) It's next to impossible to tell the difference between catchy lyrics and rapist one-liners.
"Do it like it hurt, do it like it hurt, what you don’t like work?"
"The way you grab me/Must wanna get nasty"
"I’ll give you something to tear your ass in two."
"Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you/He don’t smack your ass and pull your hair like that."
The post is proof (as if we needed more) that rape culture is insidious and a good reminder that rapists use scarily commonplace phrases to pressure their victims and justify their actions. Show it to anyone who think Thicke's critics are overreacting.