Calling Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” a “rape song” is offensive. “I know you want it,” does not suggest “I’m going to have sex with you without consent” in anything but the most malicious and uncharitable reading of the line. Based on this reading, I can’t imagine a song written by a heterosexual man about sex that you wouldn’t consider a “rape song.” The song is admittedly not a feminist anthem, but the point of the song seems to be the agony of the ambiguity of sexual attraction between two people. “I just watch and wait for you to salute,” “let me liberate you,” “One thing I ask of you/Let me be the one you back that ass to,” and similar lines all suggest a man waiting for a woman to “Go ahead, get at me,” hardly a rapist. Rape is a serious thing, and attaching such a charge to any sexually suggestive song or video is dangerous and wrong.
As for the video, the women are confident and playful, and they are not being objectified in this video. What is so offensive about bared breasts? This objection is puritanical, and way off base. The outrage here is itself outrageous. These models, one of whom is a former Playboy playmate, make a career out of baring their bodies, and this is hardly more objectionable than the rest of the work they do, willingly. There is hardly more bared here than in a typical Victoria’s Secret advertisement, much less than in a typical Playboy layout, and the baring of their bodies is done in a nonchalant and, frankly, silly fashion. The misogyny of the video is satirical, if you couldn’t get that, and the concept for the video came from the female director, Diane Martel. But maybe she’s just a sexist pig, too?
If an exposed nipple offends you, if women playfully being sexy offends you, then you are no kind of feminist at all. And here I thought we were living in the 21st century, not the 18th. Stop calling things rape that clearly are not, simply to wield a weapon to shame a person’s creative expression. It is offensive.