R&B singer Robin Thicke has come under fire from critics for his portrayal of women in the song “Blurred Lines,” according to The Huffington Post.
The catchy tune is Thicke’s biggest hit to date, climbing to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and tallying 371,000 downloads last week to maintain the top position for the second week in a row, but not everyone is thrilled for the singer’s success.
The Daily Beast writer Tricia Romano, who described the lyrics in the song as “kind of rapey,” said, “The nudity might be fine if the song was called, 'Let’s All Have Some Fun,' but it’s called 'Blurred Lines,' and the subject itself is enough to make some female music fans uncomfortable. The song is about how a girl really wants crazy wild sex but doesn’t say it — positing that age-old problem where men think no means yes into a catchy, hummable song.”
Romano joins a growing number of critics voicing concern over the song’s lyrical content.
“Basically, the majority of the song (creepily named 'Blurred Lines') has the R&B singer murmuring 'I know you want it' over and over into a girl's ear. Call me a cynic, but that phrase does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity,” Lisa Huyne wrote on her blog Feminist in LA.
Detractors also point to the music video for “Blurred Lines,” which features a fully-clothed Thicke alongside rapper T.I. and singer/rapper Pharrell, as a trio of nude models writhe and dance provocatively around them. The initial, unrated version of the clip was banned from YouTube in April, but it can still be seen on Vevo. The censored version is now up on YouTube and has garnered more than 50 million views, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In an interview with GQ, Thicke addressed the controversy: “Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, ‘We're the perfect guys to make fun of this.’ People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I'm like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before. I've always respected women.’ So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, ‘Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.’”
Of course, it is more than likely that Thicke is intentionally generating controversy through the lyrics and music video for “Blurred Lines.” However, as The New York Daily News points out, he needs to be careful about how far to push the envelope. Rapper Rick Ross was dropped by Reebok in April as a result of the outrage over the lyrics in his song “U.O.E.N.O,” which made references to drugs and date rape.