In Defense of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Why I Hate the Word “Rapey”
There's been a lot of back and forth over the "Blurred Lines" song by Robin Thicke. I had kind of heard the chatter, but wasn't really sure what the problem was. Recently I read a comment by someone who said the lyrics promoted rape and behavior like that of Ariel Castro's crimes against his victims and was floored.
But before I move forward, let me first address the complaint that the song is “rapey”.
Rapey is not a word and I am shocked that self-proclaimed feminists would even use it. Why the attempt to make the word rape seem cute? Is it because women are afraid to use the word in association with a hit song of the summer? Is it to make the general media comfortable with talking about rape by making it sound less offensive?
Let’s be clear, the word and action is rape, not “rapey” and the attempt to make it cutesy is counterintuitive to any discussion about the crime, especially when coming from a feminist platform.
That being sad, when it comes to sex and women, I am going to drop a bomb on you...ready?
Women - even moms and grandmas and even best friends, like sex...and role playing...and not being the one "in control" all the time. And let's be clear - the problem is not that a woman would enjoy the role-playing suggested in the song, because many women do enjoy it and do participate in such things regularly.
Sometimes these same women end up marrying the guy they role play with and have kids with them and live happily ever after - or not.
The problem for many women is not a naked model in a video or a song that suggests role playing and sexual submission. The problem is when a guy can't respect the fact that a woman can be sexual. These two things are different topics.
When women analyze a song like "Blurred Lines" and say the lyrics promote rape, it is them, not the artist or the song, that is truly "blurring the lines" because they are assuming that women who enjoy this type of behavior lack control or will and aren’t capable enough to make smart decisions or to protect themselves.
I am not justifying rape or the devaluation of women in society, or the labeling of women as sluts for being proud of their sexuality. That being said, the song sounds like the games many women play (myself included at one time) with men.
Many of us are comfortable with our own sexuality and rather enjoy role-playing in sexual encounters and society should allow us the freedom to do so. If we like being "domesticated" during sex, we should be able to do so without herds of women criticizing us for relinquishing our power or supporting "rape”. If we allow a man to talk dirty to us and call us "an animal" - something which many of us often do when in sexual conversation with our partners - we are not giving in to some form of disgusting, repressive, backwards behavior.
The truth is that part of being sexual and sexually motivated is to role play, to be submissive at times, to give up control or to take it. It means to talk dirty or be inappropriate. Some women like their hair pulled, some women like getting "smacked on the ass", as the song suggests, during sex. To assume that women should be insulted and enraged when a man they are sexually attracted to speaks to them this way is to lack an understanding of what women want, like, and the behavior that they often willingly participate in. Not because of lack of self-esteem or bad upbringing but because they are in tune with their sexuality and in control of it.
Yes, a woman "like this" support the stereotype that "she asked for it" - an argument used in many rape cases. But we all know that even if she asks for it and wants it (the sex, that is) she also has the right to change her mind and her behavior doesn't mean it can be forced on her -- none of which this song promotes.
We as women have a responsibility to clarify these misconceptions. It makes women feel bad for being sexual and it in turn convinces them that they might be to blame for anything bad that may happen to them because of their natural instinct as sexual beings. Be careful feminists of the world - your overzealous attitude can be more damaging to a woman's self esteem than any lyrics in a song.