Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blurred Lines? (Or Just Plain Crossed?)

Before the nation started getting jittery over possible drumbeats for war in Syria, we were dealing with a very different kind of crisis. All over the media, pundits were aghast. There were cries of horror. And there was plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth. And it was all over Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs.

Sure, there was plenty about Ms. Cyrus' twerking that was disturbing. However, what also disturbed me was the sexist "slut shaming" she had to endure afterwards. Why was she condemned for her suggestive dancing on stage... But not Robin Thicke for his alarming song? Perhaps the New Zealand law students shown below were also thinking about this, as their parody of Thicke's "Blurred Lines" music video (which is also the same song Thicke & Cyrus danced to at the VMAs) aims to highlight the degradation of women in using them as naked props while suggesting rape can sometimes be "excused".

(The video below may not be safe for work, but Thicke's actual video most definitely is not.)

So why are we talking about Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus today? Simple: The "Blurred Lines"/VMAs controversy is emblematic of the larger problem of sexism in our society.

And the sexism isn't limited to the entertainment industry and pop culture. Just this week, Rep. Joe Heck's (R-TEA Curious) campaign manager flippantly dismissed criticism of Heck's own voting record on (disrespecting) women's rights. Also this week, Senator Mitch McConnell and the national Republicans backing him caught a whole lot of heat over their misogynistic attacks on McConnell's Democratic opponent. And on top of that, a Washington Post columnist (Richard Cohen) even tried to blame Miley Cyrus for the increasingly infamous Steubenville rape!

How can we ever achieve true equality when we stomp on women's rights and treat them as mere sexual toys? America, we have a problem. And no, the problem is not the feminists pointing out the problem.

Robin Thicke may sing/rap about "Blurred Lines", but I'm concerned about him and so many other men flagrantly crossing the line on degrading women. When did it become OK to do this in Hollywood and Washington? Think about it.

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