Is Robin Thicke's Nudity-Filled 'Blurred Lines' Video Exploitative, Awesome, or Both?

R&B star says he was making fun of men who are degrading to women ... by degrading women

Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

Robin Thicke continues to have the biggest, um, song in the country with "Blurred Lines," a spry and summery soul-dappled single that's stirred up a little bit of controversy on its way to the top. Thanks to the oft-repeated line, "I know you want it," a firestorm of discussion has broken out around the exact degree of the track's "rapey-ness" — is the blue-eyed R&B-ist transgressing decades of "no means no" re-education, or is this simply a dance-floor provocation betwixt two intensely flirting individuals?

The nudity-featuring "unrated" version of director Diane Martel's music video also walks a confusing line. On the one hand, it's lighthearted and not the least bit pornographic — three beautiful female models prance, frolic, and dance while Thicke and his handsome collaborators Pharrell and T.I. do their best to impress. On the other hand, the three men are entirely clothed and never exploited (minus the part where "Robin Thicke has a big dick" is spelled out in balloons on the rear wall), while the ladies are essentially props. 

In an interview with GQ, Thicke explained that the song was inspired by Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up," while the video grew out of him and Pharrell in the studio, mimicking "two old men on a porch hollering at girls like, 'Hey, where you going, girl? Come over here!' That's why, in the video, we're doing all these old men dances." That doesn't exactly seem like the kind of thing you cook up to cover your tracks. When YouTube pulled the uncensored version, his wife Paula Patton expressed solidarity on Twitter: "Nudity is Beautiful!!!"

Thicke's additional explanation in the interview proved a bit murkier: "Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, 'We're the perfect guys to make fun of this.' 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.' So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, 'Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.'"

Huh?

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