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Pretty Girl Bullshit

Calling Bullshit On Robin Thicke's Misogynist Apologists

It's time for a lesson in not being a dick.

by Bertie Brandes
14 June 2013, 7:00am

Hi I'm Bertie, this column is basically a place for me to call bullshit on girl related things I think are stupid.

Last week, I wrote an article calling bullshit on the explicit version of Robin Thicke’s music video for “Blurred Lines”. The video, in all its HQ glory, is a celebration of the exploitative sexualisation that women have been campaigning to dispel for decades, and pointing out how creepy it is was as easy as finding a pair of kitten heels in LK Bennett. Which is to say: Easy.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of people disagreed. Being told I’m whiny and pedantic doesn’t bother me, because by this point it’s pretty clear that I am indeed both whiny and pedantic. What did worry me about the response to the article, though, was the amount of people who didn't understand how the video could be seen as sexist. When relatively sane people can't recognise the media being used as a weapon against women, they need a lesson in not being dicks.

So, let me just put on my sexy glasses, loosely buttoned white shirt and mini skirt, and give you naughty boys a lesson. (Did you at least get it that time?)
 

STUPID IDEA #1: ALL FEMALE NUDITY IS THE OPPOSITE OF SEXISM

So, according to some of you people who read my article, a woman’s naked body (bar the flesh coloured thong, duh) is the ultimate symbol of liberation. Ughhh. Please explain to me what is liberating about saturating the media with images of overtly sexualised naked girls who are entirely vulnerable to the older, 100 percent less-naked men around them? (Well, 99 percent if we count the socklessness). The suggestion that we should feel empowered by being reduced to sex objects is weird. Of course female bodies are celebrated in art and photography, they always have been and always will be, because generally female bodies look great. But reducing the female body to a gooey-eyed, glib, dancing sex dolly is a massive comment on the vulnerability of women, and to dismiss any debate it provokes as unfounded is dumb.
 

STUPID IDEA #2: WE’RE LUCKY TO LIVE IN AN ENLIGHTENED SOCIETY. SEXISM IN THE MEDIA? HARDLY.

So, sexism doesn't exist in the media today? Oh right, 'cos when I watched Bridalplasty on Netflix last week, and 12 women were fighting each other to win 12 hardcore plastic surgery procedures, that wasn’t an example of women being encouraged to wage war against their own sex in order to crown themselves most attractive and validated? No, of course not. It was just so they could look “perfect” for the “most important day of their lives”. It was just a bit of fun!
 

STUPID IDEA #3: IF THEY WANT TO DO IT, AND THEY GET PAID, IT’S FINE

To an extent, this is the most convincing reason, and it’s a popular argument for lots of dedicated feminists the world over. Why shouldn’t women own their bodies and use them however they please, if they’re benefitting directly from it? The problem is, while that stands up as a capitalist argument, it has very little to do with gender equality in the media. The girls in Thicke’s video are not representative of a wide demographic of women. Not everyone is Emily Ratajkowski, and that's fine, but let's not pretend that women of all shapes and sizes have the same opportunities to exploit their bodies for $$$. Because Emily Ratajkowski and her mates are basically the Illuminati of commercial female nudity. Saying that those guys getting paid for stripping off is good for the feminist cause is like saying that Philip Green not paying his taxes is good for British society. Just because people are getting paid, doesn't mean society as a whole is better off.
 

STUPID IDEA #4: IT MUST BE A PARODY

IDK, I guess Robin Thicke could merely have been taking this opportunity to suddenly announce himself as a critic of the unbalanced and eroticised representation of women in mainstream America. But let's face it, he wasn't was he? He was singing a song which contains the lyrics: "I know you want it / I know you want it / I know you want it / You're a good girl," for fuck's sake. Traditionally, this isn't the kind of language feminist iconoclasts use when they speak. Which isn't to say that I'm asking Robin Thicke to be a feminist iconoclast – I'm just asking him not to be a weird creep.
 

STUPID IDEA #5: COMPLANING ABOUT A STUPID MUSIC VIDEO ISN’T GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD

No, it’s not going to rid the world of genital mutilation or domestic abuse, and maybe I should lighten up, have a Woo Woo, get my nails done and wax my entire body (so relaxing). But until I'm getting paid as much as all the male Fashion Editors/in-house feminist complainants out there, and until I don't feel patronised and mocked by dickheads like Robin Thicke, it's a lot more fun and cathartic for me to call Pretty Girl Bullshit. Sorry, Haters.

Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes

Previously – Robin Thicke's New Video is Horrible, Misogynist Bullshit