America: Where Men's Desires Come First

Robin Thicke performs at the 2013 BET Awards. (Mark Davis/Getty Images)
Robin Thicke performs at the 2013 BET Awards. (Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Roxane Gay's piece at Salon declares that it's wrong that American culture allows men to control and objectify women, from pop culture to legislative fights over reproductive rights. She cites Robin Thicke's latest single, "Blurred Lines," which promotes  "the age-old belief that sometimes when a woman says no, she really means yes."

In his single "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke sings soulfully about giving a good girl what she really wants — buckwild sex — even if she can't come out and admit it. It's a catchy enough song. Some might even call it this summer's anthem. But "Blurred Lines" is also a song that revisits the age-old belief that sometimes when a woman says no she really means yes.

Critics have been vocal about the sexual violence undertones in the song and they're not wrong. Robin just knows you want it, girl. He just does, so shut up and let him give it to you. Scores of men and women are, apparently, on board. "Blurred Lines" is Thicke's most popular song to date. In his latest single, "Give it 2 U," Thicke doubles down on his bad boy phase with the lyrics "I got this for you / a little Thicke for you / A big kiss for you / I got a hit for you / Big [d—k] for you / Let me give it to you." In the wake of the criticism, Thicke is fairly unapologetic, saying, "Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around."

I guess that's that. Men want what they want.

In truth, I like these songs. They make me want to dance. I want to sing along. They are delightful pop confections. But. I enjoy the songs the way I have to enjoy most music — I have to forget I am a sentient being. I have to lighten up.


Read Roxane Gay's entire piece at Salon.

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