Robin Thicke may claim that Blurred Lines is “a feminist movement”, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the music video is kinda sexist.
Spurred on by a publicity trifecta of mild controversy, socially acceptable misogyny, and Miley Cyrus’ uncomfortable performance at the VMAs, the viral hit has already inspired several parodies. Often poking fun at the gender roles in Thicke’s original video, at least two of the most popular YouTube covers feature fully-dressed women singing while guys shimmy around in their underwear.
And one, a feminist parody called “Defined Lines,” has already been removed from YouTube for being too sexually explicit, despite the fact that Thicke’s own video is still online.
The original NSFW Blurred Lines video is technically no longer hosted on YouTube because Thicke’s backing dancers were basically naked, but you can still easily find it on the singer’s VEVO account. However, “Defined Lines” is a parody of the “clean” version, where all the models are at least partially clothed.
In Thicke’s video, the singer stands around looking smug while girls wander around in their underwear. In “Defined Lines”, the exact same thing happens, except the singers are women, and the semi-naked models are men. But only one of these videos was removed from YouTube for containing sexually explicit content and violating the site’s terms of service.
The video includes lines like “If you want to get nasty, just don’t harass me. You can’t just grab me. It’s a sex crime,” and is a near shot-for-shot remake of the “clean” version of Blurred Lines. So what made it bad enough to warrant being flagged as unsafe for YouTube? Perhaps it was reported by men who didn’t like its message?
The students who made the parody video appealed against YouTube’s decision to remove it, and it remains up on YouTube at press time.
Screengrab via Law Revue/YouTube