Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines: A bit of fun or offensive?

17 Jun 2013

So, to the Robin Thicke conundrum. His insanely catchy summer anthem, Blurred Lines, featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I, is No.1 for the third week. And it's pretty likely that you, like us, can't stop singing 'hey hey hey' in an earwormy, not-really-meditating-on-the-lyrics sort of a way. But then someone said there was a Not Safe For Work video, and of course we immediately wanted to have a look. Because that's the whole point of NSFW videos. They're a bit rude and sweary and have the letters 'NSFW' in front of them, so you think they're going to be better.

And then we saw it. And were creeped out. In a nutshell: three male, multi-millionaire pop stars stare as three topless women in their knickers repeatedly walk past them and dance about a bit. Meanwhile, Thicke, Pharrell and T.I remain fully clothed and just keep looking at them. For four and half minutes.

And when you see it in the context of the video (even the safe for work one), the 'I know you want it' lyrics, just seem sinister. It's all about how these ladies are 'nice girls' so would never come out and say they're up for a night of hot loving (presumably because nice girls can't enjoy sex, lest the world falls off its axis) but we three chaps are going to labour under the premise that they are and continue with our bump and grind campaign regardless. Besides, they wouldn't be half naked if they weren't up for it, ammaright lads? Anyone? George Galloway - what about you?

Some fans have accused critics of being over-sensitive, and Thicke himself has been quoted as saying, "'Cause for me, nudity is the least offensive thing in the whole world. Guns, violence, war? That's offensive. A woman's body has been painted and sculpted and talked about since the beginning of man. What I enjoy about the video is that we're not ogling and degrading them, we're laughing and being silly with them."

But as GLAMOUR's News & Features Writer Hannah Lyons Powell put it, "Love the song. But there's something really predatory and disconcerting about fully clothed men gyrating against women wearing barely a stitch of clothing. There's a vulnerability about naked people next to the fully clothed anyway, without gender coming into it."

And we KNOW half-naked girls gyrating in music videos against fully-clothed men is nothing new - but that doesn't make it OK. Meanwhile, Robin Thicke's response to all the controversy was thus: "It's art. It was the director's idea and she's a woman. She picked the girls, it was her idea to take their clothes off. And let's not forget, everybody - they got paid handsomely to take their clothes off". He continued, "The only reason to hate it is because you don't understand why that is funny or fun."

Well obviously the girls should have been paid handsomely - they were starring in a major music video for a bunch of multi-million selling recording artists. And the fact that a woman directed it doesn't make the scenario in the video any less creepy. Thicke reportedly had to ask his wife, Paula Patton, for permission to film the video - so he knew there was something in the video concept that was going to offend.

Then there's T.I. rapping that he'll give 'you something to tear your ass in two'. Based on that delicate verse, we're under no doubt that a night with T.I. would be a tryst of unending pleasure with a grand master of lovemaking, but here it seems (and it's subtle, so you might have missed it) he's implying that he's well endowed. Plus, the writing on the wall, (literally, it's spelt out in helium balloons) states that 'Robin Thicke has a big dick'. Interesting. What if in the interests of balance they stripped down to their briefs so we can be the judge of that, because right now we feel like it's only the be-thonged women in the video that are being leered at.

The very fact that it's got us riled up shows that the whole NSFW video was most likely a cynical publicity stunt - the naked video was pulled from Youtube, but allowed on their video partner, Vimeo. And whilst the unrated video has certainly gained headlines, the 'clean' version has racked up over 50 million views on YouTube whereas the nudey version is yet to reach 500,000 on Vevo.

Yesterday, Caitlin Moran tweeted: "I think the only solution to the Robin Thicke problem (AMAZING song, INFURIATING TITTY VIDEO) is for women to make an alternative one. Five fuck off famous women should shoot one that's really funny & better than the original and then let RATINGS WAR commence."

But we're still disappointed artists are resorting to these kind of stunts to rack up views and create an online buzz.

'What's disappointing is that the tune is so amazing, it could have been written about anything. Why this vaguely 'rapey' vibe?' Says GLAMOUR editor Jo Elvin.

It really didn't need that video - but maybe we're not smart enough to 'understand why it's funny or fun'.

So is it a bit of fun, or a bit offensive? Tell us what you think @Glamourmaguk + #blurredlines

[Html##<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/66658956" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/66658956">Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I. Pharrell UNRATED</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/chozen">Glen Samuels</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> ##]

хочу стать суррогатной мамой