You probably have heard the song “Blurred Lines,” but it’s a good chance you haven’t heard that it’s sexist, or for that matter, taken the time to learn why it’s sexist. It’s hard to believe that a song so widely played and so frustratingly catchy, a song named the Billboard song of the summer, and also the official theme song of the recent NBA playoffs, could be so blatantly offensive, but alas, Robin Thicke and Pharrell have achieved a new low.
Let’s start with the title. “Blurred Lines.” A simple metaphor for the “blurred lines of consent,” or in simpler terms, an allusion to rape. The lyrics, also, are borderline horrific. For example; “And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl, I know you want it,” “The way you grab me, must wanna get nasty,” “Do it like it hurt, like it hurt, what you don’t like work?” How is it okay to playfully joke about consent? How is it okay to make assumptions like “I know you want it” based on how a girl acts or dresses. It is not. A girl/woman should be able to be whomever she wants around boys/men without being treated as a sexual object in everyday circumstances.
I could go on and on about “Blurred Lines,” but unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg. This song is a placeholder for “rape culture” (according to Wikipedia; a term used within women’s studies and feminism, describing a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.) Even the fact that I had to put the definition of “rape culture” into this article is sad, mainly because the word “feminism” is so frequently used as a curse word.
Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
Yes, women fought for the right to vote and won it, yes, women fought their way into offices and leadership positions and won them (well, not all of them, but that’s a different discussion), but many people’s views of feminism stops there. The modern feminist is almost always described in negative connotations. Sometimes these connotations are narrow enough to describe how a feminist looks, whom she/he are attracted to, or how she/he act. Sometimes women/men are afraid of calling themselves Feminists because of one of two reasons;
1. Said woman/man has only ever met Feminists who have shamed women who do things considered oppressive. For example; being a stay-at-home mother, or dressing/acting a certain way according to a religion. (i.e. first wave feminism)
2. Said women/man has only ever met Feminists who have had a self-proclaimed burning hatred for men. (i.e. misandrists, who are apart of feminism and should not be discounted.)
We are not one to dismiss entire factions of movements as large and diverse as feminism, but the current most popular faction for the younger generations and like-minded adult generations (with representatives such as feminist online magazine Rookie, or the the online newspaper Jezebel) is Intersectional Feminism: “…the view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity.” Or, every woman, no matter color, religion, background, identification, occupation, country, or gender preference, all deal with the same crap.
Although “the same crap” is varied, it all connects to sexism in one way or another. Whether it be being paid less, being blamed for being raped, being objectified, or being shamed for looking or acting a certain way, it is all sexism. All of it.
So, hopefully you’re asking what you can do to better the situation.
1. Do not be afraid to call yourself a feminist. Feminism is the belief of the equality of the sexes, and we all believe in that, right?
2. Stop using slurs such as “sl*t” or “b*tch.” The word “sl*t” implies that women wearing what they want, are dressing for the male gaze, and are some how to blame if men talk about them like objects, or treat them as such. The word “b*tch” implies that women are on the level of your household pet (obviously, not that great of a position).
3. Talk about it. Don’t be afraid to educate other people. Don’t be afraid that other people won’t want to be friends with you if you’re a feminist. If they don’t want the equality of the sexes, they probably weren’t great friend material in the first place.
4. Don’t limit the definition of a feminist. Everyone, no matter gender identity or walk of life can consider themselves a feminist.
A feminist is a person who stands up for gender equality and speaks against sexism whether in the office, at school, or major national/international problems on a grand scale.The future of equality is in our generation’s hands. It is up to you to ensure that women have a voice in their futures, from their reproductive rights, to just being able to have fun without being judged. Will you take a stand?
The Corner Editorial Board
~Art by Cassie Coale