Article I wrote for The Exeposé (University of Exeter’s newspaper). A bit of a done topic even at the time of writing (three weeks ago) but I felt the need to reinforce the message considering a referendum was proposed to vote for a banning of Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’.
Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ has been around the news a lot recently, with various universities, including Exeter, considering or outright banning the song from campuses, so please do forgive me if this reads as a rehash of many other articles. But I think that this should be talked about and the point repeated as much as possible: This song is damaging. I’ve heard many blithely state that this song is harmless; that banning it would be absurd. It’s just a catchy pop song, right?
Well, no. Not really. When people sing and dance to this song, they’re singing and dancing along to a song that worsens attitudes towards women and contributes to rape culture: the practice of our society accepting and being apologists for rape by blaming the victim as the one at fault or making apologies for the attacker. When was the last time you heard a “she was asking for it” remark or “she was dressed like a slut” comment? That is rape culture. The victim is never to blame for rape. But songs like this distort this fact, with the hazy definitions of consent: “I know you want it”. The inspiring Project Unbreakable (http://project-unbreakable.org/), founded by a rape victim, Grace Brown, displays victims of rape holding a board with the words of their attacker on. Does the picture below seem familiar?
Picture: [from project-unbreakable]
Should we be encouraging these casual and damaging opinions towards non-consent, the dehumanization and degradation of women as pure sex objects? Thicke states himself “what a pleasure it is to degrade women”. It might come as a shock to some, but women are humans, too. Such misogynistic songs like this cannot be helping the attitudes towards rape . According to studies by the charity Rape Crisis, 400,000 women are sexually assaulted and 85,000 raped every year in England.
One in five women reading this article will have experienced some form of sexual abuse in their lives. I don’t claim to speak for them, but imagine being the victim of abuse, enjoying a night out with friends and then hearing the lyrics “I know you want it. You’re a good girl”. Quite the trigger, especially considering that that phrase is commonly quoted as said to be used by the abusers on Project Unbreakable. There are no blurred intentions behind the meaning of this song. It is misogynistic trash. Which is why I would call you all to lobby for a line to be drawn over this casual attitude towards sexual abuse and have this song banned from the campus.
Tempestuous life, bear me no more
Upon your wallowing waters.
Let me lounge upon the shore. Change
Depth for the shallows.
Pour the coarseness of stability into every part of me.
Bring the muse of my youth. Clueless. Naive.
Speech in platitudes. Senseless smiles.
Vacuous life – better than none at all.
Drain my cup, even the dregs. Contain me:
Confined. Coffined. Capitulated.
Leave me without the swaying
And the rhythm of it all.
The despot’s dance.
Watch him go on the gallows.
The final jig. A crack of the neck.
Level the zeniths and nadirs.
Brave new world, give me only the flat
Good and grounded. Prosperous. Complacent. Vacant.
For I fear I am going mad again.
The waves did come. And the peasants and plebs
Were swept away. Disposed. Despised. Clinging
To the remnants. Coal and flotsam, choking
On salt. A high sodium diet; low carbon.
Drowned out of their pits, as the rain poured down
From Olympus. And the enlightened ones sat
Feasting on milk and honey. Consumed with wrath.
Blessed heritage. The vacant guiding
Hand, trickled down its excrement. Pissing
From opened pores, down from the glass ceiling
That they had made their floor. The proles pleaded.
And Atrahasis grinned from his solitary ship.
And the saviours sighed, nailed to their lonely wooden towers.
And a dog danced on the telly. Leonard Cohen sang.
And The Mail was angry about something. Atlas shrugged.
And the weather man said it’d be nice tomorrow.
And someone scored. A soldier was shot somewhere.
God was busy that day, fixing the fence.
There is a man in me. Aged greater than
My twenty three. He took to ship; traversed
Ocean, country and orient with comrades.
Immersed in book and news, past and future.
But love was forever in the present.
Stared tragedy in the face. Marched onwards.
Resolute. Warm. Eccentric. Wonderful Lakeland lover.
But here I am: a new shoot sprung forth from the family tree.
Eyes to the stars. Hands holding leaves. Feet in
The earth. But there is a man in me.
Passed doubly down. Two epitomes.
Sofu and Patriarch; shoulder to shoulder.
Living on through brown eye and smile askew.
Heredity shall see you live, anew.
It’s been two months.
The maggots and flies swarm over our hearts and minds.
Feasting, thieving plague. Flawless destruction.
Hollow out those hallowed hearts.
Empty vessels, filled with dust.
It’s only been two months.
She gave me his medals today.
Three. One bore the regent. The
Others from Korea, Malaya.
Far off nations.
But all I could think of
Was that chapel and
Him. Cold. Him. Vacant. Him: At “rest”:
That euphemism for
So, too, have the others sought rest.
One by one they fell
From the family tree.
Felled at youth, at prime,
And at decline.
I still hear the screams of grief
And find in life. No relief.
Taking my inheritance I, too, will fall.
I long for the autumn;
To be loosed from the tree
In one final fit of ecstasy, then
And be lost in the arms of Winter.
I know I will not join him, or him, or
him. Or even Him.
But I still long for this,
For life has grown dim
Without the trinity of him.
You are just another stanza, waiting
To be ended.
Should we move to the summer,
To lovely and temperate ever-days?
No. We float to an early fall,
Bereft of feeling, yet
Hearts thudding along to pentameter.
Stressed to masculine;
Unstressed to feminine.
Wrapping tongues round sighs and syllables.
It doesn’t matter, now.
There is nothing to see or hear.
We’ve no rhymes any more, my dear.
I smell the opium incense, alone.
smoke spewing to the ether,
and I am taken back
to a time
When my Dad and I
Smelled the same smells
Heard the same sounds
Of Essex and The Stones
Breathing the same opium-infused air;
Sat in our chairs.
my Dad & I
when life was fair.
this thing will kill me.
self serving sadists.
they are not my salvation.
except for the ones
who are, too, tainted.