Has anyone had the chance to watch the feminist version of Robin Thicke's song, Blurred Lines? If not, (where have you BEEN?!) please go and look it up now. Or scroll to the bottom of this blog - it'll be there in all its glory.
The original song, Blurred Lines is, while wonderfully catchy and upbeat, being accused of blurring the lines between consensual sex and rape which, to be fair, is pretty likely if you've seen the unrated version of the video. The earlier version of the music video, (the unrated one), was released in March and featured models Emily Ratajkowski, Jessi M'Benhue and Ella Evans who are all naked, (sorry, they do wear flesh coloured thongs and high heels), dancing around, flicking their hair and pouting for the camera. Initially, it was removed from YouTube for violating its terms of service. However, it was later restored but has been flagged up as 'inappropriate.'
If you've heard the song and seen the video, then you've probably had the same conversations that I've had about it. Is it sexist or is it empowering women?
As I've said, the tune is cracking, but the words and deeper meaning are offensive. To me, the song is pretty much about 'liberating' a good girl by proving to her that, actually, what she really wants is the wild sex that she isn't asking for.
If you're still in any doubt as to whether or not this song is derogatory against women, Robin Thicke has actually confirmed it. In an interview with GQ, he said,
"We tried to everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory toward women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, "We're the perfect guys to make fun of this."'
So, as we can see, there's nothing 'blurry' about the male artist's derogatory intentions, but what about the naked, (sorry, pretty shoes and thong wearing), models involved in the project? Emily Ratajkowski, the beautiful brunet, Anne Hathaway lookalike model in the video (who I wouldn't recommend looking at if you don't want to spark off a spectacular drop in your self esteem) , dismissed Thicke's comments. In an interview with Esquire, she said that the models were told to have a 'sort of confidence' and a 'sarcastic attitude about the whole situation.' According to Ratajkowski, the eye contact with the camera and the attitude that they expel puts them in a 'position of power.'
When we think about it, she makes an interesting point really. Women, (and men alike) have had pressure to look a certain way thrown at them by the media for years now and, personally, that makes me feel like I am not able to enjoy the way I look without comparing my body to those images of women with an hour glass body, blonde hair and big boobs. But men and women should be proud of their bodies. According to Ratajkowski, semi-naked female bodies on television can be empowering.
What happens when the half naked women on screen in high heels is being objectified by viewers, but doesn't herself feel objectified?
That's a tricky one, isn't it?
It's feasible that the models in Thicke's video felt empowered and that their performance could have instilled confidence in many women, but does that really outweigh the negative impacts? Many people may have watched the video and seen it as a joke, but what about those who didn't? What about the people who might have watched the video and took in the idea that women can be treated like objects, without consent?
Personally, I don't find anything revolutionary about a video in which men and women partake in time old stereotypes. It's getting boring now, surely I'm not the only one who thinks that. If you want some rebellion, look at the video below. Now that's empowerment.
The video is, without a doubt, absolutely brilliant. What baffled me about the whole thing was that it was removed (very briefly) from YouTube some weeks ago for unknown reasons. I can't see why the site had any reason to take that sort of action in regards to the remake, 'Defined lines', because all I can see when I watch it is a bunch of University of Auckland students having a bit of fun and putting across a positive message. The video shows how men would react to being objectified as women are thought to have been in the original. It has been watched more than 450,000 times since being posted on August 30th and, as I've said, it's brilliant. Far better, far more positive and far funnier than the original.
Women can be just as bad as men sometimes, I know that. As this remake proves, sexism isn't all about the degradation and objectification of women. It's about society trying to define us based on our gender. Women are portrayed as overemotional and are objectified. Men are portrayed as unemotional and sexually obsessed. So when a women grabs some guys arse in a club, it's ok, because society says that's the kind of things that men like. Right? No. Wrong. Completely wrong.
Ending sexism isn't about empowering women or empowering men. It's about giving everyone the right to be who they want to be without the judgement of society telling them who they should be, how they should act and how they should look because of what's between (or not between) their legs. Simple.