Is Robin Thicke Really a Sexist Douchebag?

robin thickeThese days, pop music tends to be a combination of  generic lyrics, catchy hooks and scantily clad women that are too good looking to actually exist. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s for blasting out of car windows, not a philosophical debate about the state of the human psyche. Perfectly harmless. Unless you’re Robin Thicke, and your new single is accused of being  a little ‘rapey.’ That’s generally a word to steer clear of.

A writer at The Daily Beast has written a lengthy article complaining that  both the lyrics and video to ‘Blurred Lines’ combine into one wholly inappropriate package that presents the “age-old problem where men think no means yes into a catchy, hummable song”. Well, it’s definitely catchy, I’ll give them that. But is it entirely shocking that an R&B song by a good looking thirty-something man features half naked women?

robin thicke blurred lines

The article also quotes another writer who is less that happy about about the repetitive use of the phrase ‘I know you want it’.

“Basically, the majority of the song (creepily named ‘Blurred Lines’) has the R&B singer murmuring ‘I know you want it’ over and over into a girl’s ear. Call me a cynic, but that phrase does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity … Seriously, this song is disgusting—though admittedly very catchy.”

Call me a cynic, but I think that’s kind of nit-picking. It’s a generic enough lyric, up there with the likes of ‘get on the floor’. A quick Google search shows that the exact same phrase, in roughly the same context, is used in ‘Your Body’ by Christina Aguilera (The chorus of which features the inspired line ‘All I wanna do is fuck your body’ and nobody says a word about it) and ‘Don’t Cha’ by Pussycat Dolls. Both songs are by women, and whilst admittedly they aren’t whispered down anyone’s ear, they were all received as exactly what they are: meaningless phrases in harmless pop songs.


Canadian model Amy Davison also weighed in on the clip in a YouTube video, saying:

“The women are clearly being used as objects to reinforce the status of the 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.”

But completely missing the fact that these women voluntarily took off their clothes and grinded against Thicke, T.I and Pharrell. It might be a little bit sleazy and great big ploy for attention, but exploitative it ain’t. Let’s be honest, if I looked liked any of them I’d want to show it off too.

The edited version of the video is below, the NSFW one can be found here.


  1. Absurdist says

    Truthfully, all feminist theorizing aside, the fact is that the girls took the jobs. They didn’t have to. There were probably other modeling/acting jobs they could have taken, but they chose this one.

  2. prw says

    85% of all music videos released in the last 10 years have the same basic plot and emphasis, so what is different about this video? Don’t be so damn melodramatic and spouting your morals. There is no serious cultural statement made in R&B and pop videos today. The Daily Beast is only trying to fabricate a controversy it can take credit for.

  3. Biscuit says

    Half clothed? No – naked but for a nude G string. This video looks and feels icky to me. Just gives me the heebs.

  4. Kris says

    I can dismiss the video as a publicity stunt, although I do love the word rapey, but I’m more offended that you referred to Thicke as “good-looking!”

  5. B. says

    As a young woman who has experienced a lot of sexism, mostly from guys who think it’s “all in fun!” (sorry, but hissing insanely dirty things as I walk down the street is NOT fun for me, and neither is coming up behind me on a dance floor and trying to hump me into submission!), this song and its video definitely makes me uncomfortable. My own boss, who once admitted he doesn’t have as much respect for female supervisors, even says this is his new favorite song, so that can’t be a good sign either.

    As my older neighbor said, “Years ago when I was a young man, I probably would have thought this song was a lot of fun. I would have even looked up to these guys as role models. Now that I work with a lot of fine, upstanding young women and have two daughters of my own, I realize what bullshit this song really is.”

  6. B. says

    Money is a powerful thing.

    When you’re an aspiring actress or model, you often don’t have a lot of job options and so you take whatever comes along. They likely only got “some nudity required” in the description.

    Even if they are completely happy that they took this job, that doesn’t mean they represent all women in their views. The female director also doesn’t excuse what I see as blatant sexism (even she admits to the misogyny).

    I normally just shrug off all the sexism in music videos and song lyrics today, but I have to admit that I’m really bothered by this. I love men, but I’m not okay with the the men in this video and all who think like them.

  7. J says

    Really? Why are people getting so worked up about this? Yes they’re objectifying beautiful models, but do they think this is this a startling new trend? Have any of these people ever seen any rap video on the planet in the past couple of decades?

  8. F. B. says

    Yes, it’s very easy for men who make Millions to throw a girl 150$ for a 14 hr shoot to cover food for the week (that’s usually what it is for music videos- sometimes you see big JZ etc. projects saying “no pay” – assholes) promising her “exposure”.
    Exposure the models got , yet every person with half a brain is disgusted by the lyrics once they are fully recognized.
    Really Thicke ? Would you like to recieve it in your ass till it hurts?
    It’s a disgrace what those greedy men do for profit in the face of children and teenagers being forced into pornography and prostitution all around the world- this video desenitises the subject and blurres the lines. No, you won’t succeed making abuse cool. Oh wow how tough you are to break yet another tabu. Boo hoo. What’s next raping infants?

  9. ithoughtweweregettingbetterwtf? says

    All this promotes is more dog dung for superficial vain girls to propaganda and prostitute themselves for fame.

    I HATE looking at that ugly tom sawyer dude with no socks and high water pants he’s gross.

  10. Nika says

    Reaching much with this article. I mean c’mon really with “I know your want it” – that is what is considered “rapey” – GTFOHWTBS American society. Oh how sensitive we have gotten.

  11. Autumn says

    Not to mention this song was shitty in all regards. Some girls don’t care about themselves. That’s just life. Some women are too stupid to see the “bigger picture” and only care that they are “hot”.

  12. John says

    You people get butt hurt too much. Feminism is the worst thing since the Holocaust. You feminists complain so damn much and when things don’t go your way you’re quick to pull the gender card.

    This song is catchy and I love it. It’s a great sex song. Women love it. Tell me, which R&B song doesn’t talk about women? And how many R&B/Hip-Hop/Pop videos don’t have half naked women in them?

    Stop taking things so damn serious and have fun. This song is a great sex song and women that love to have fun love it! Whoo!

  13. Rebecca says

    You clearly don’t know what feminism is all about if you think it’s just a bunch of girls “getting butt-hurt” and “playing the gender card”. It’s about equal rights and equal representation. This video in particular does not have equal representation (fully clothed men and half naked ladies). It’s offensive and it objectifies women. The fact that the models agreed to be in the video is irrelevant. It’s just a job for them.

    The song in general is VERY rapey. The title in itself suggests so. People like it because it has a current beat and they’re not looking into the meaning of the lyrics.

    If you think we’re all just getting butt-hurt over the words, what if Robin Thicke was a gay guy and he was talking about other dudes? What if the girls in the video were glittery guys in little speedos and platform heels? Would you not be offended that Robin is suggesting that “no means yes” in regards to consent? Would you not be angry if your complaints on the video were seen as you getting “butt-hurt”?

    Sometimes you have to empathize to know how it feels to always be objectified and dismissed. Just because we don’t like songs about girls getting raped doesn’t mean we are no fun. And just because there are other R&B/Hip-Hop/Pop songs that have the same “rapey” nature, doesn’t make this one okay.

    And I’m not even going to address your quote “Feminism is the worst thing since the Holocaust”. That’s just ignorant.

  14. sara says

    “if I looked liked any of them I’d want to show it off too.” so, good, at least we know what you are, now all you are haggling about is the price.

    sorry to ruin your sleaze fantasy, but, yes, his video is clearly demonstrating who has the power (fully clothed men) compared to the vacuous naked models- this is what it is “portraying.” you see, you have to stop getting reality and fantasy mixed up. yes, the models took the job (that’s reality, they had free will an chose to exercise their free will by taking a job- that’s reality). just like one can choose NOT TO BUY THEIR ALBUM- that is reality. now, do we have that clear? now back to “fantasy,” the video portrays an imbalance of power- men have it, women are just dumb animals with boobs- ok “portray,” again, that is not reality, but it is a VERY clear message. ok? got it? you have got to stop doing mixing reality with “portrayal,” because it makes your argument (re: the video does not portray women as powerless because these models took the job out of their own free will) as leaky as swiss cheese. again, the fact that they took the job HAS NOTHING TO DO with the PROTRAYAL of these “women” in the video. TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. f$ck, take an advanced philosophy course so you can get your arguments straight. on a different front, how the hell did we get from 90’s “alternative/ intellectual” (or at least it aimed to be introspective in some way) music to this? wtf!?

  15. Joseph says

    As a gay man I find this song offensive to women! It’s really disgusting actually. Not to mention this song is crap anyways. It was ok te first few times but not it’s just overplayed. And really the guys defending this song really just show how sexist and one-sided out society really is. It’s disgusting and the message is horrible! There needs to be more songs like macklemore’s same
    Love. It has a beautiful message while being current unlike this crap!

  16. A says

    “But completely missing the fact that these women voluntarily took off their clothes and grinded against Thicke, T.I and Pharrell. It might be a little bit sleazy and great big ploy for attention, but exploitative it ain’t. Let’s be honest, if I looked liked any of them I’d want to show it off too.”

    But this, is where you are wrong. Are you really going to take 3 half-naked women in a video when there are over 3.4 billion females in the world today and say “well these girls chose to be naked, that MUST mean every girl would for money!”? You couldn’t pay me every cent you have to do so.

    Plus, have you actually read/listened to the lyrics? Thicke sings about “liberating” good girls by having sex with them when they are not asking for it. There is an actual line saying “I’ll tear that ass in two.” Women do not need sex to be liberated. Women do not need cis men to be ‘liberated.’ Furthermore, Thicke is a married man AND a father, why is he singing about something as disgusting as this? How has his wife not yet divorced him?

    I’d also like to point out the STOP SIGN on the woman’s body during the music video. It disgusts me to no end to hear and know that men don’t understand the simple concept of the word no and rejection. Women are constantly being put down/harassed/accused when they reject someone and/or something. She is suddenly this “ugly bitch” [when that cannot be possible in seconds] and is either still taken advantage of, or gets insulted, shamed, or abused. Hell, women are raised to be known as burdens. They have to apologize solely for speaking out or even asking a question, which they’re still considered a bitch afterwards for talking/expressing an opinion, but whenever a man says something he is praised. I would know growing up with 5 brothers.

    And to all the idiots who simply respond with “ugh, feminists” or “ew, feminazis”, I advise you cut this shit out immediately. If you had a brain, you would know that feminists want EQUALITY, not superiority. You can look the definition up. For the feminazi phrases, just stop. Don’t ever use that term if you are a heterosexual man. The only women that will love you are women [like the girls in the video] that are uneducated, conservative, and shallow. You will bore of them quickly, unless you too, are as stupid as them.

    I am in no way shape or form a misandrist. I am a misanthropist. It just happens to be men who are not educated.

  17. deano ward says

    hes a thin streak of piss who has to rape women cuz none of them would touch him with a bargepole. yuk

  18. ThomasMeadow says

    That video is dirty, in a good way. That video portrays woman in the way they should be. It’s good to know there are good girls out there to satisfy the needs of men.

  19. Thomasmeadow says

    Then as a gay man you probably shouldn’t have an opinion since you clearly don’t understand or appreciate women.

  20. Thomasmeadow says

    Then you probably shouldn’t comment at all since you clearly cannot understand or appreciate women.

  21. someguy you don't know says

    Okay well, some pretty pathetic comments. To the feminists, you really don’t need to give 2 shits about what happens in this video. It doesn’t affect you in anyway. I’m just saying.