|Blurred Lines was one of the most controversial songs of its time. Singer Robin Thicke used common victim-blaming jargon to create a catchy beat that only works to perpetuate the rape culture our society is known for.|
Ah, yes. Blurred Lines. One of the most controversial songs of its time, and for good reason. Beyond the catchy beat and foot-tapping lies some subtle references to the ever-popular rape culture of America. The singer makes allusions to the girl’s looks and how she must “want it.” After repeating that line a good three or four times, in case we didn't hear it the first nauseating time, he blames his reasoning on the fact that she’s grabbing him and that must mean she “wants to get nasty.” Um, no. Also, ew. Unless someone clearly and deliberately states that they want it, please don’t give it to them! Please, Robin! Yuck.
Of course, Mr. Thicke isn't the first man to perpetuate the stereotypes of a manly man in music. He isn't the only man to do so and he certainly won't be the last. Our media is filled to the brim with these unspoken rules of how to be a man. Even the movies targetted toward the impressionable minds of young children are chock full of sexist ideals. Young boys are conditioned to fawn over girls, to use brute force to get their way, to abandon all manners and morals, to prove their masculinity no matter what it takes.
In the same way, women are taught to be complacent, to be nothing more than men's playtoys, to allow and even encourage their brutish, misogynistic behavior from a very young age. A woman's place in a typical romantic-comedy film is the damsel-in-distress turned trophy-wife over the course of 2 hours. Rarely do we ever see a lone female hero in comparison to the hundreds of helpless ladies with dresses much too long and makeup much too perfect waiting for their devilishly handsome male saviors. And right when we are finally graced by the majesty of Mulan or Merida or Tiana, out comes the almighty Blurred Lines.
In this song we can see the power hegemonic masculinity gives to men. It teaches them that if you want something, go get it. If you want someone, go get ‘em! If that means writing songs about how you’ll hunt a woman down and eat her up — side-eyes Adam Levine — then so be it. There aren’t nearly as many women who objectify men in their work, so obviously this odd trait can be avoided. But this hegemonic masculinity is more than just a lifestyle: it’s a code of conduct that men are expected and encouraged to abide by, no matter their age or income or social status. And while there are some examples of hegemonic masculinity wherein the sitcom "manly man" is ridiculed rather than encouraged, there's a lot of damage still yet to be reversed.