Blurred Lines

Quick thought on misogynist lyrics and rape porn, following a conversation with a friend who sees things (very) differently than I do:

There is a lot of disgusting shit out there – disgusting, misogynist, hateful lyrics. Grotesque, disturbing, porn. I don’t listen to that music, don’t watch that porn.

Some people think such music and porn cause violence against women. Some think it’s a symptom of societal attitudes. The most nuanced think there’s a dynamic relationship between attitudes, behavior and culture – attitudes shape culture and behavior; culture shapes attitudes and behavior; behavior shapes culture and attitudes.

There are good, solid, strong, earnest arguments to be made about the impact rape-y music or porn has on young men’s (and women’s) attitudes and behavior. And/but….

The way to change attitudes is to change attitudes, behavior, culture – not to censor (or censure) taste and desire. In the UK recently, “rape porn” was criminalized. We have a long history of banning child pornography (which is different, in that it simply can’t be made without a crime’s being committed against a child).

There’s lots of stuff that’s unclear, that, like Blurred Lines, is itself on a blurry line. Many people have denounced Robin Thicke for glorifying rape, for suggesting that consent can be a blurred line. Many others find the song, and the video, insanely hot.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s all kinda like technology or the Bible (or the Qur’an): if you come to it with a pure mind, filled with love, you can do some amazing things.

But if you are filled with hate, you can use just about anything to advance your disgusting views and behavior.

[I may follow this up with some more thoughts – this post feels unsatisfyingly incomplete to me.]


  1. I’d just written a comment… and it disappeared 🙁
    Well, I said that I’d probably be considered a feminist by most, and completely agree with what you posted once, that we, as a society, need to do something about rape.
    This said : From the moment I first heard this song, I loved it. I loved the music, it made me want to dance.
    And then I read the lyrics… and loved it even more! Somehow, it made me hot. It spoke to me, spoke of things that I’d really like to try…
    About a month ago, I read an article about the controversy surrounding Blurred Lines. It referred to an interview of the video producer, where she explained that she’d made it a point to have the women in the video look the camera straight on, giving them an air of power.
    And for the first time, I watched the video. And again, I was much more turned on than shocked by it. And I have to agree with what this lady says in her interview : the women, looking straight at the camera, seem to be the ones playing, to be the ones holding the power over the men, teasing them… far from being about to be raped, they seem to be very much in control.
    Of course, in our society, there is still a strong notion that, somehow, women have some responsibility for getting raped, so this video might trigger the thought in some people that, those women if any, are “asking” for the lines to be blurry.
    I find it sad, as a feminist and an woman, that it is still inconceivable, in our society, that women might simply have sexual wants and needs. God forbid a woman might like it rough!

  2. Pingback: reblogged from DumbDomme Part 11 Slippery Slopes | Beyond 50 Shades

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