“Blurred Lines” sparks controversy with degrading underlying message

Alex Kontopanos, Photo Editor

Rape culture.
It’s a word, trust me. And it’s a part of our culture.
But how is that possible? Around Johnson County, we often aren’t exposed to crime such as rape.
But rape culture is not what surrounds your neighborhood. It’s in the magazines, it’s in books, it’s on TV and it’s playing on the radio.
Consider the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thick ft. T.I. and Pharrell. When I first heard the song, I was instantly hooked to the tune. I was completely oblivious to what the lyrics actually stood for. And once I understood what the hottest song on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop charts (for 12 consecutive weeks) actually implied, I was flabbergasted to say the least.
The song’s title instantly hints at what the song is about — the blurred lines about what is considered rape and what is considered consensual sex.
I’m sure Robin Thicke doesn’t endorse rape, but that does not mollify the controversy. If anything, it confuses me. In a “GQ Magazine” interview discussing the recent fuss, Thicke said, “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.’”
Not only does the song degrade women, it also brings into question how women are consistently blamed when they are victims of rape. In general cases, the woman was “asking for it”, whether by wearing provocative attire, or under the influence and acting in a manner that would give a man the impression that she consents to sex.
When Thicke sings “I know you want it,” he only promotes the distorted image society has of rape. What the man thinks the woman wants is not what the woman actually wants. Especially in the circumstances when a woman is under the influence. That should send flashing signals to any male in the room that she is not giving any consent.
I agree that music is meant to feel good — it’s purpose is to entertain. Nevertheless, music is a simple way to spread a message. The messages that music holds have shifted over the years. The Beatles spread messages of peace, Bob Marley advocated love and unity through his music and Michael Jackson peeled off the bandaid to expose social and global issues such as racism, world hunger and the media’s invasion of privacy.
And now, most songs played on the hip-hop/ pop radio stations support binge drinking, sex, drug use, the degradation of women and violence. That isn’t to say that all popular songs as of now are evil and that isn’t to say that rape culture is only present in rap and hip-hop.
So next time you turn on the radio, really listen to what is playing.