This summer’s most overplayed, omnipresent hit song is “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. Robin Thicke, if you didn’t know, is the super-smarmy son of Alan Thicke, best known for his role as Dr. Jason Seaver on Growing Pains.
Personally, I think Dr. Seaver would have given Mike a serious talking-to if he had come up with any of this misogynistic crap, but real-life dad Alan Thicke apparently thinks the earworm is just dandy, according to Rolling Stone.
I can’t deny that the beat is catchy, but the lyrics are flat-out horrible. The chorus of “I know you want it/But you’re a good girl/The way you grab me/Must wanna get nasty” isn’t exactly the message of self-determination I want my daughters to hear. The lowlight of the song is this verse by rapper T.I.:
One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that a** to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a b**ch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your a** in two
Gross. Making things worse is the video, available in “clean” and “unrated” versions. The “unrated” version has the singers — Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I.— fully dressed, with topless women in thong underwear gyrating around them. In one scene, a mostly naked young woman is “riding” a dog. Charming.
The “clean” version is marginally less disturbing, because the women are wearing underwear and bras, with clear plastic clothing over them. One woman is still topless, but she’s holding a lamb in front of her breasts so, you know, okay then. Both videos have the women parading past a sign that informs us that Robin Thicke believes himself to be well-endowed.
If you listen to the radio at all, the song is pretty much unavoidable. My kids have heard it, and within one five-hour road trip were already sick of it. And although they’re not music-savvy enough to hear the similarities to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” they’ve watched enough Netflix to observe that the repeated chorus of “hey, hey, hey” sounds suspiciously like Fat Albert.
My older kids are 12-year-old twin girls. We’ve talked a little bit about my main problem with the song — that the language empowers men but not women. They have not watched either of the videos. If they were just a little bit older, I’d watch the clean one with them, and talk about the imagery. At this age I think we can still skip it.
This video of teens reacting to the “clean” video is extremely interesting, because it really does show that when you ask kids thoughtful questions, they give you intelligent answers. In this video, the teens aren’t mindlessly watching garbage — they’re thoughtfully watching garbage, and that’s a big difference. My favorite comments are:
- “I think he’s trying to over-compensate a little bit.”
- “Those plastic clothes can NOT be comfortable.”
- “Ew! Feet!”
- “Is this what they call pop culture?”
- “I feel like I’ve become, like, a lesser being.”
As much as most of the teens found the song to be catchy, they definitely got that the video is “degrading,” “disrespectful,” and “not something any young girl should aspire to.”
Check out this video by The Fine Bros. and watch as these teens grow ever more disgusted with Robin Thicke:
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