I Don't Want Your Blurred Lines {or any song where the woman is a "bitch"}

robinthickeThe other day I was out  out driving somewhere with the kids and Robin Thicke's song, Blurred Lines, came on. It's inescapable this summer, really, it is on the radio ALL THE TIME. We were listening to one of the more "family friendly" stations, one that is usually safe for the kids to listen to, and it came on. Now, they've heard it before, more than once. And I never really paid THAT much attention to it, and I have to admit, it's pretty catchy. I would even say I liked it. I even posted a video of Jimmy Fallon singing the song with Robin Thicke and the Roots using classroom instruments, I was like "Oh how fun!". (That's Robin in the photo above, charmingly blowing smoke in that model's face). That was until Finn asked me what Robin Thicke was saying in the line "You the hottest ***** in this place". They bleeped out the part where he says "bitch", but Finn wanted to know what he was saying. Now, he's six. I don't have to answer every question he has, especially when it might be inappropriate, but I try to answer him as honestly as I find fit, and this one really got me thinking. I wasn't sure what to say, so I told a while lie. I said I didn't know. But what I really was thinking is, "How would I explain this to a child?".

Imaginary conversation between my six year old and I about "Blurred Lines":

Finn: Mommy what is he saying when they bleep it out?

Me: Well, he's saying 'You the hottest BITCH in this place".

Finn: What does bitch mean? Is that a bad word?

Me: Well, yes. I guess. But he's using it in a positive way I think? I guess what I mean is that in this instance it's a compliment, not an insult? It's still technically wrong to call a woman a bitch though, so..." This is where I would trail off, not really sure how to explain this in any sort of useful way.

Now, before I go any further, let me just clarify one thing. If you don't already read this website, let me tell you I am pretty tolerant of just about anything and anyone. To each their own. And before you get all eye rolly about this, I realize "bitch" isnt' the WORST thing he could have said. But it's also not nice. Plain and simple. Why call her a bitch? Why not just say "You the hottest ONE in this place"? {Ed. note: those grammatical errors are true to the lyrics, not my doing} Why CHOOSE to call the woman a bitch? Would I want my six year old to call his teacher a bitch? Or to call his grandmother a bitch? I think you know the answer to that. But whatevs, Robin Thicke, you can call that woman a bitch and have it be the number one song of the summer. No big.

What really got me thinking too was, what if, god forbid, they did a Kidz Bop version of this song?? You know Kidz Bop. We ALL know Kidz Bop. They record kids singing "kid friendly" versions of popular songs. They make them all squeaky clean and then record a rather painfully irritating rendition that is about 1,000 times worse than any original. BUT, kid friendly. So your children don't have to hear women being called bitches or hos or any of that stuff. You only hear that on the radio. Or on television. Or movies. Or everywhere. Because even if you try to escape it, you can't. They will hear about it. They will hear it in a store, or from friends, somewhere. It will get in. And that makes me angry.

Moving past that, there are about a zillion other things wrong with this song. First of all, we've all heard the controversy around the very date rape-y "Blurred Lines" lyrics. There should be NO blurred lines when it is involving sexual consent. Actually it should be the opposite. My sons listening to this, do I want them to think that there are blurred lines when it comes to adults and their relationships? And "You know you want it"? No. Just NO. If she DOES really "want it", she should make that clear, not the other way around. Just a heads up to you, Robin.

When asked about the song by GQ, Robin Thicke said this:

"People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.’ So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, ‘Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.’"

Um, excuse me? What is THAT all about? "Oh gee I'm so tired of RESPECTING these women, let's try degrading them, you know, for fun". Pretty disgusting if you ask me. And Robin, methinks you might not technically understand what "degrade" means, because how else could you make such a boneheaded statement? And if you truly want to get the message across that "women and their bodies are beautiful" is degrading them the only way to do that? I'm sorry but saying "I'll give you something big enough to tear your a** in two" doesn't exactly make me think "Oh he's singing about how beautiful women and their bodies are!!" But hey! Let's make this guy the most popular singer of the summer! What is wrong with this picture folks? {ed. note: I do realize that there was some sort of sarcasm/”joking” involved in Robin Thicke's above statement, but being sarcastic about degrading women classifies as a jerk move in my book. If you’re going to joke about being degrading to women that doesn’t make me feel like he takes it very seriously, which he clearly doesn’t.}

Having a daughter terrifies me sometimes. Especially with stuff like this. I see her running around with her little chubby five year old belly sticking out at the pool, totally oblivious to what her body looks like, mostly just pleased with the fact that by using it she can swim to the deep end. The idea of her ever, EVER feeling bad about that body, or having some idiot boy make her feel bad about it kills me inside. I want her to grow up respecting other people, but mostly respecting herself. Having her own source of healthy self esteem that can't be undermined by some moronic Canadian American pop singer who is out to make a buck and get famous for something other than being the son of the dad on Growing Pains. Maybe some people wouldn't mind having Robin Thicke call them a "hot bitch", but would you mind if it was your daughter, old enough to give consent that he was calling a hot bitch? And according to Thicke, that consent might not even be necessary anyway?

Furthermore, I don't want either of my sons growing up thinking that it is okay to call a woman a bitch and I ESPECIALLY do not want them thinking that sexual consent is something that is somehow fluid, or unimportant. I also don't want them to think that it is something so trivial that it's part of a catchy song on the radio. Am I over thinking this? No. I'm not.

So IS there anywhere that we can draw the line (pun completely intended). What about if he was talking about dating young girls, high school aged girls? Would that be offensive? What if the blurred line was between statutory rape and non-statutory rape? After all, he knows she wants it. He doesn't have to ask. Because he knows it already.

Sadly, I don't have a solution for this, and I pretty much just wanted/needed to rant a little bit about it. And I wanted to know what you guys think. I've turned off the radio when my kids are around. I monitor what they watch on tv, what they see on the internet, and what they listen to, even more so now. And if you don't think it's a big deal, you are wrong. As parents, we need to stand up for our children, for our sons and daughters, to prevent rape culture garbage like this from being mainstream and okay, because it is only going to get worse. And this isn't the worst example, this just happens to be one that is SO mainstream you can't get away from it. Look around you though. Sadly, it is everywhere. Shame on you Robin Thicke. You could have used slightly different lyrics and that song would have been just as catchy. You could have said "girl" instead of "bitch" and it would still have worked. As for my family, I'm going to stick to singers and musicians who don't think degrading women is a pleasure.