The Grammy Awards are coming up in three days, and Robin Thicke is set to be performing his song, Blurred Lines, which is also nominated for record of the year. Putting aside for a moment that the music is a complete rip-off of Marvin Gaye (and that has now apparently been settled out of court), I have to say I’m disturbed by this.
I’m no prude. I mean, I know I’m a pastor and all, but I’m a human, too, and I like to have fun, and I know how to have fun. Rape isn’t fun. That’s the bottom line.
There have been songs about sex for a long time. Some of my favorite songs are about sex. And when I say sex, I do mean sexual intercourse of various types. Please Please Me. Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Pictures of Lily. These are great songs. These are also R-rated songs. These are not songs about rape. There’s a difference.
Robin Thicke is perpetuating the idea that women really want it. We say we don’t, but we really do. No. The thing is, no means no. What’s so offensive about Thicke’s lyrics is that he’s saying a lot of the things rapists have said to their victims. He’s making a joke out of it. He’s one more white man telling women that we really wanted it.
In fact, Sezin Koehler has blogged about this already by highlighting examples of where Thicke has used taunts of rapists. You can read that here.
Why is this important? I mean, who is it hurting? I’ll tell you. It’s hurting everyone. It hurts all of us who’ve ever been victims of sexual assault and then blamed ourselves. It’s hurting everyone who’s ever been raped and then not believed. It’s hurting young men who grow up believing that women are property, or that women really don’t mean it when they say, “no” – because everything all around them is telling them the opposite.
I’m a strong middle-aged woman. I’m strong now, but I wasn’t always this strong. When I was 18 and a freshman in college, I went out on a date with a complete jackass. It was Halloween, and I had worn a sexy costume to the school Halloween party. So I must have been asking for it, right? Earlier, we’d gone to dinner, and even though he was too cheap to pay for a cab, he did pay for dinner. So later, when we got back to his room, he was able to convince me that I “owed it to him.” Finally, I performed oral sex on him to get out of there. It never occurred to me to report him to anyone, and, frankly, in 1980, I don’t think it would have done any good. But I felt trapped. And I should have known better than to wear a sexy costume, right?
NO! It doesn’t matter what I was wearing. It doesn’t matter if he bought a car to take me to dinner. It doesn’t matter if I showed up naked. I owed him nothing.
That wasn’t the only time a man took advantage of me, it was just the most egregious. The point is, the lines were NOT blurred. They are never blurred. The only thing that means yes is “yes.”
Even if a couple is role-playing and even if they’re playing rough, there are safety words. And Thicke isn’t singing, “let’s play rough” or “let’s pretend” he’s singing about rape. He can dress it up any way he likes, but he’s glorifying rape.
I don’t watch the Grammys. I haven’t watched them since the 1970’s. I think this song has already had WAY too much air play, and I’m disappointed that they’ve chosen Thicke as a performer for the awards program. I hope that they don’t compound the bad decision by giving him an award.
That’s my mite. It’s all I’ve got.