Thursday, September 19, 2013

Blurred Lines

Yes, this blog is about what you think it's about, and if you choose to stop reading, I won't be offended. I'm on a rant. And it's long. With multiple links to look at.

Blurred Lines. Robin Thicke. Where do I start?

I never liked the song. It's not my kind of music to begin with, so I ignored it. Then it started getting played a lot. Then people started complaining. Then I started listening to see what the fuss was about.

As one post I found on Tumblr states: "'Blurred Lines' is catchy in the same way 'Ring Around The Rosie' is catchy before you learn it's about the plague..."

As if the lyrics weren't cryptically bad enough, the music video is worse. Lame dancing on a blank background with scantily clad women supposedly taking humour in having their hair tugged and smoke blown in their face. Supposedly the video director was a woman. I'm not sure what she was thinking. Maybe it was supposed to be funny somehow. But it's not really.

If it's not outwardly obvious, 'blurred lines' refers to the supposed blurred line between consent and assault. Mr. Thicke appears to "hate these blurred lines" as he and his co-stars eye up their surroundings in the music video.
One might even be tempted to say that perhaps it's the girls' fault for dressing that way. One might be tempted to say that acting like that is 'asking for it'.

And there is where you've fallen into the trap. It's always the girl's fault, right? Never the men who act on impulse..

I turn your attention to this article which I'm sure most of you have seen as it's been circulating the internet to mixed reviews. The FYI (if you're a teenage girl) post by Kim Hall started out as a 'point taken' type rant about the types of photos teenage girls are putting online. She raises good points about how you never know who is looking at your stuff. Maybe not hackers, but family members of yours and your friends. Keeping a certain online image IS important, especially at a young age.
However her post turns preachy and accusatory when she starts saying that she's had to make her sons block these girls' profiles. There are apparently 'no second chances' with behavior like that - behavior that will make her sons 'linger' over their profiles and hinder their chances of growing up to be men with a 'strong moral compass'.
My reaction is... don't you trust your sons to make good decisions? Do you REALLY think that other people's online profiles are going to change their lives that drastically? Do you have THAT LITTLE faith in the way you raised them that you don't think they might end up figuring it all out in the end?
And again, of course, it must be the girl's fault. Since clearly you've trained your sons to only see a scantily clad object, and to avert their eyes. You can't hide from the whole world. So maybe learn to see through it.

Which leads me to this post. I'm not sure if this was written as a reaction to the previous one, or if it was independent, but Seeing a Woman is an example of what more people need to be teaching their sons. The father writing this article admits that, yes, some girls dress like that, but no, that doesn't make them less of a person. "It's a women's responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being, regardless of what she is wearing".
I think, all too often, boys are let off easy because 'boys will be boys'. Which sometimes is fine, it's part of growing up, but to never have it taught that girls are human, regardless of what they look like (both drool-worthy super model and the bullied nerd) is I think where this whole system falls flat.

Back to Mr. Thicke.

The problem with his song/video is it caters to this whole culture of people who believe women are there for amusement. It sounds old-timey and backwards, but there are indeed people out there cheering this song on. It also helps along the points of those people like Mrs. Hall about badly behaved men are that way because of being egged on by scantily clad women.
 But because it's created so much controversy, it's listened to/viewed/downloaded for the simple sake of people knowing it's popular, or people like me who are finally giving in to seeing what all the fuss is about.
His music video on Youtube has over 177 Million views. The unrated (full nudity) version has over 20 million.
His performance with Miley Cyrus at the VMAs has over 3 million views.
His music video on itunes is sitting in 4th. Nicely nestled between Miley Cyrus's latest two videos.
The popularity of the song has little to do with how 'good' it is, it's simply because he's created a buzz. But because of that he's raking in the royalties every time it's heard/watched/bought.

Here's where things get even more touchy.. and here's where discretion to keep reading is up to you.

Project Unbreakable is an online project that was started in 2011 by a woman named Grace Brown. She is a young photographer who wanted to crate a public space for assault/rape victims to share quotes or stories about their attackers, as publicly or anonymously as desired, to either help get it off their chest, or let others know they're not alone. The response to what started out as a collection of poignant photographs has been massive. She now gets people emailing her letters or pictures of quotes. She goes on tours to school campuses to collect photos of those willing to share. The database is now enormous.
Which in one way is great, because so many people are being moved by it. But on the other hand... look at how many people there are...And why are there so many...

A few days ago (trigger/mature subject matter) this post showed up online. The author pulls lines from Mr. Thicke's song and pairs them to real-life attacker quotes posted on Project Unbreakable.
This is where you start to go...oh.

This is where you start to really realize that it's maybe not just a quirky little song.

In a world full of progress and equality, and songs like 'Roar', 'Same Love', 'Inner Ninja' and 'Brave', it's sometimes hard to believe that songs that feel the need to 'blur the lines' between ok and offensive are still out in the mainstream.

It's hard to protect kids from that. But maybe the trick is to just let them experience it, and then make them understand why it's not acceptable.
Don't teach them to shut the world out.
Don't tempt them by forbidding every offensive or provocative thing in their path.
Teach them to think.
Teach them to look past it.
Teach them to 'love with' instead of 'love at'.
Teach them to be their own person, as long as it's not hurting those around them.
Yes, sure, teach your girls to dress appropriate, but please also teach your boys that when they maybe don't, it's not an invitation.
Teach them that 'these blurred lines' are actually quite solid. As solid and as simple as a 'yes' or a 'no'.

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