If you’ve been even remotely close to a radio this summer, you’ve probably heard Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines.”
The song, which also features rappers T.I. and Pharrell, was at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 consecutive weeks during the summer, the longest stint for any song since 2010. It also topped the charts in over eight other countries.
The song has, however, blurred the line between fame and infamy. The UCA Feminist Union hosted a discussion about “Blurred Lines” yesterday, promoting the event with a poster that read “Robin Thicke is a big dick.”
Critics of the song point to lyrics like “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two,” “I know you want it” and “Nothin’ like your last guy, he too square for you; He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that” — lines they say bear a striking resemblance to sexual assault.
For example, a Sociological Images blog post titled “From the Mouths of Rapists: The Lyrics of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines” compares the lyrics to unsettling sentences uttered during actual sexual assaults. The quotes are taken from Project Unbreakable, a Tumblr blog depicting self-identified victims of sexual assault holding signs with quotes from their attackers.
Lyrics aside, the song’s music video — included above — has also drawn a significant amount of heat for depicting women in a way critics say is objectifying.
Canadian model Aimee Davison posted a YouTube video in which she says women in the “Blurred Lines” video “are clearly being used as objects to reinforce the status of men in the video. The men have all the control and status because they are not vulnerable—they are completely covered. Whereas the women have no status and are totally open to be exploited ogled and used.”
Tre Sandlin, Feminist Union co-president, said the goal of the event was to raise awareness of “rape culture,” a concept defined by Force as “images, language, laws, and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate, rape.”
“We want people to be more aware of rape culture and ways to prevent it in today’s world,” Feminist Union co-president Tre Sandlin said. “We have programs such as the Vagina Monologues, Take Back the Night and other women’s rights events to help further that cause.”
Thicke defended himself in an interview with GQ Magazine, saying “Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of 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.'”
The Feminist Union meets at 5 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month in Harrin Hall, and meetings are open to everyone.