Blurred Lines: Exposure of Nudity and Emphasized Femininity

Cultural Hegemony refers to an influence or a power that gives dominance to a specific group of people or country who manipulates the culture of the society. In this case, cultural hegemony would refer to a dominant and influential group on others. The media that I want to concentrate on is Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, a hit song on Billboard Hot 100 that received harsh criticisms after the music video hovered around due to its hints of male dominance and sexual objectification of women, which I have identified from its lyrics and music video.

Image

(http://cdn.idolator.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/21/robin-thicke-pharrell-ti-blurred-lines-600×337.jpg)

Click to view: Unrated Version / Official Music Video

Blurred Lines’ music video by Robin Thicke includes a lot of sexual representations and nudity of women. I reviewed both unrated and the official music video, for I thought it was important to look at both music videos because it was both published on YouTube, which means that it was already exposed to the audience. In this technology advanced generation where pornography is easily accessible to teenagers and even children, it is highly likely that their audience will include viewers that are under the age of eighteen. Thus, it is important to reassure what is being presented and perceived by the audience.

 The unrated version of the music video includes a number of women dancing in nude tone thongs. The womens’ breasts are fully shown and the ‘nude’ tone thong gives an effect that implies nakedness to the audience. I think it is important to look at the silky spotless and hairless body that are being presented here. In media, it is interesting to question that, even if they had not worn their thongs, would they have shown the pubic hair on women’s body? Or would they wax it? I would go with the latter choice because the majority of our society thinks that body hair could give a manly and unsanitary image of a person, specifically for a woman. The publicity of pubic hair or body hair in general was mentioned in the second posting of our blogs. According to Gothamist, American Apparel Mannequins are presenting pubic hair to the whole public. It is depressing to see that this image is seen as abnormal. And so, if this was the case in this music video, I would highly raise a hypothesis that to give a sense of emphasized femininity, their pubic hair would be waxed. Also, due to the music video’s excessive nudity, it is easily observable that women are being extremely objectified and sexualized. It also displays male dominance over women because the men, fully dressed in suits, are in the position of choosing the naked, ‘attractive’ women, who seem to be putting much effort to sexually seduce the men in the video. Furthermore, the only yet a major difference that is observable between the unrated and the official video is the added piece clothing of the women in the official music video. Why are men dressed in suits when women are barely wearing any clothes? It is important to question if this is an acceptable imagery to be shown to the audience of various age groups and gender, because it leads to a significant misconception about gender roles and the superiority of a specific gender to another.

Women who were chosen to cast in this music video are highly attractive according to the society’s beauty standards. They are beautiful bright skin toned, tall, have a perfect body shape and are overall very attractive. However, one thing to notice is that women in the music video are trying to appeal to the men, which as mentioned in lecture, is described to be the emphasized femininity. Emphasized femininity is a term that refers to form of idea and femininity that women must comply with the needs and desires of men. Therefore, in order to meet the needs and desires of men, women are being sexualized. Being in the position that emphasized feminism must be diminished for there is no need for women to live their lives for the men’s standards of beauty and satisfaction, I contend that this image portrayed in the video is highly misguiding. Emphasized femininity itself is highly rooted to male dominance, and since the audience for this music video varies in age, this music video is not acceptable to be presented, especially to audiences in the younger age group.

            In conclusion, various portrayals of men and women in the media are socially constructing the gender roles, as well as the standards of how women should act and look like in front of men. In the beauty aspect, this is why TV programs like the Swan is appearing to change the women’s faces in order to fit into today’s society. Also, due to the frequent exposure in the media in regards to the ideal body shape of women, many women become sensitive to how they look and strive to lose weight in order to be considered attractive.  As mentioned in lecture, Killing Us Softly portrays a good image of how we are blind to the process of women being sexualized in media. It is despondent to see that these sexualized, unreal imagery of women is being standardized by the society. Moreover, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines arises a major issue of such illustrations, where women are being chosen rather than being able to choose. In this process, women are being sexualized with bare minimum clothing. This is an aspect of cultural hegemony since the sense of male dominance and the sexualisation of women is strongly appealed in the music video.

Carlson, Jen. “Photo: American Apparel Mannequins Now Sporting Full Bush.”Gothamist. Gothamist, 26 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Thicke, Robin. “Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines Ft. T.I., Pharrell.” YouTube. YouTube, 20 Mar. 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Thicke, Robin. “Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (Unrated Version) Ft. T.I., Pharrell.”YouTube. YouTube, 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2014

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2 Comments

  1. I really liked how you addressed the original video when discussing this problem. When people address this song many talk about how the lyrics are insensitive and are in the ideals of men dominance, but many skip over the fact that the video itself is disrespectful to women. The question you brought up about men in suits is true as well, why is it that women are always used as sexual iteams whereas men arnt? why can’t it be the women in the suits or atleast why arnt both genders portrayed the same way? When you look at these examples it is very upsetting because us as women feel that we have to live up to these ideas that society puts out for us, and men believe that is the way we should act aswell and if we do not then we are abnormal and against the norm.

  2. As catchy as this song is, I can’t stand to listen to it simply because of the lyrics. After seeing the video, I felt like I’d been exploited and I’m not even in the video! The patriarchy and misogyny displayed in this song and video is almost disgusting. As you pointed out, it is interesting that the men are wearing full suits while the women are barely wearing anything. These men are treating women as a commodity, which is a major trend within a lot of hip hop music. Society’s commoditization of women’s bodies is not only degrading for women, but also brings us backwards in terms of achieving gender equality. I really think that people don’t look at music in a critical enough way. While some songs, such as this, are so blatant in terms of their misogyny, many are more subtle about it. I really believe that we could have spent this entire semester focusing on only one aspect of media, music, and still had a ton of content to look at. Great analysis of this video and song!

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