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POV: Cancel Robin Thicke’s Concert at Agganis

His lyrics promote sexual assault

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Regarding the video for his hit song “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke has said that they “tried to do…everything that is completely derogatory towards women.” This has been interpreted as everything from satire to complete seriousness, but one thing that’s certain is that Thicke has made waves among a number of people who feel that his work promotes sexual assault. Many find lyrics such as “you know you want it” to be promoting nonconsensual sex, and his videos, featuring nude women alongside clothed men, seem to reinforce male power and dominance.

In light of this, Boston University’s Humanist Society created a petition to cancel Thicke’s upcoming March 4 concert at Agganis Arena. “Having Thicke perform is a political statement that is out of touch with the realities of sexual violence and Boston University’s own history,” the members argue.

I think they’re right.

I’ve read something like 30 interviews with Thicke over the last few days, and things never fully add up when he’s talking about “Blurred Lines.” One moment, the song is about his wife; another, it’s satire. He has said that the song caused controversy only “for extra religious people.” While I am a person of faith, I can think of some Humanists who might dispute that.

I’m pretty sure what happened was that Thicke and his cowriters wrote a song with assault innuendo without thinking about it—because he doesn’t have to think about it. As a male of privilege, the fear and physical and emotional trauma of sexual assault aren’t real to him. Here, the people whose voices most deserve to be heard are those of sexual assault survivors themselves. Project Unbreakable has created a photo blog with survivors displaying what attackers told them while they were being assaulted; a haunting number of those words echo Thicke’s lyrics. When asked if “Blurred Lines” promotes rape, Thicke replied, “I can’t even dignify that with a response; that’s ridiculous.” I’m not sure Thicke can tell sexual assault survivors that his words don’t sound “rape-y,” when, frankly, they do. Sexual assault survivors deserve more.

Earlier this year, President Obama prioritized combating sexual assault. The task force he commissioned found that about 20 percent of students—one out of every five—are sexually assaulted during their college days. And BU has its own sordid history surrounding sexual assault. After two star hockey players were arrested, President Robert Brown’s commission found that a culture of nonconsensual “sexual entitlement” was indeed present on the team. Last year, the Daily Free Press got in trouble for making rather sickening light of sexual assaults after an anonymous writer at XOJane called them out. The DFP isn’t officially linked with the University and the hockey team isn’t the entire student body, but these kinds of incidents say something about BU’s culture. Sexual assault is a major problem for BU. It’s certainly poor judgment, then, to allow an artist with such public controversy about promoting nonconsensual sex to perform on our campus.

In talking to the Daily Free Press, BU spokesman Colin Riley said that this concert is just part of Thicke’s tour. It was scheduled through Agganis; BU didn’t solicit such a controversial figure. But by allowing him to rent Agganis, the University is implicitly adding its approval—a slap in the face to both survivors and those who have worked to make change a reality.

BU needs to make a clear stand and continue the conversations about sexual assault on our campus. Start by canceling the Robin Thicke show. Continue having constructive conversations about who we will be as a university. And in the future, we need to think more deeply about our decisions, respecting and seeking justice for those who have been harmed by the systems of oppression that have allowed rape to remain a part of our culture. A sexual assault survivor says it best: “Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ strikes at the core of the perpetuation of patriarchy through pop culture. It describes a scenario in which a woman becomes a sex object for a man, which is the baseline of rape culture. The song is a description of nonconsensual sex—rape. I think if BU is serious about healing its rape culture, they will cancel this concert.”

Alicia Cameron (STH’14, SSW’14) is a member of the School of Theology’s Christian Activists United for Social and Economic Justice; she can be reached at camerona@bu.edu.

POV” is an opinion page that provides timely commentaries from students, faculty, and staff on a variety of issues: on-campus, local, state, national, or international. Anyone interested in submitting a piece, which should be about 700 words long, should contact Rich Barlow at barlowr@bu.edu.

43 Comments

43 Comments on POV: Cancel Robin Thicke’s Concert at Agganis

  • Linda Adams on 02.24.2014 at 6:57 am

    It’s a serious mistake to allow Robin Thicke to perform on campus. His music condones non-consensual sex and puts BU in the unwelcome position of supporting that message.

  • . on 02.24.2014 at 7:17 am

    I swear I can’t stand my school for stuff like this. We have the worse concerts than some community colleges, the 4-5 artists that perform each year are so lame and hipster usually, in my 3 years I’ve only enjoyed 2 shows. Then we finally book a talented singer who makes good, popular music, and the students here decide to cancel him… If you don’t like his music, don’t go to his show!! Stop ruining it for everyone else who looks forward to the 1 adequate BU concert per semester..

  • Yo. on 02.24.2014 at 8:05 am

    Students here just read random s**t from the internet and form their opinion on them. The song is hardly misogynistic.

    Read this and let the guy perform
    http://polemiqueoccasionelle.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/blurring-the-lines-of-feminism-a-criticism-of-the-criticism-of-blurred-lines/

  • Ayana Robinson on 02.24.2014 at 8:40 am

    Thank you, Alicia for writing this piece and drawing attention to their important mistake on the part of the administration. I’m a master’s student at the School of Public Health, where I study sexual violence, and I was appalled to see our school would be hosting this concert. A group of students will be holding a protest the during the Concert if anyone is interested in joining. And even if not, readers, please join in the discussion. If you dissent, let the Dean of Students, the Arena or someone else know about it.

  • Ayusha on 02.24.2014 at 9:37 am

    Robin Thicke happens to be one of many artists who promote nonconsensual sex and misogyny in the guise of pop culture. His shock tactics just happened to garner a lot of unprecedented media attention, which have made his song ‘Blurred lines’ a smashing success. Thicke is just a pop artist who used a controversial topic as his ride to fame.
    Banning an artist from performing is in no way going to stop the BU rape culture for thriving, nor will it change BU policies regarding rape and nonconsensual sex. The song has been out for months, and in our media entangled lives students are definitely well-aware of Thicke and his music. BU is not exposing them to anything they have previously not been aware of.

    • kitty on 02.24.2014 at 10:40 am

      Come on! “The BU rape culture”??? How about the “US rape culture”?? BU has consistently taken action against anyone accused of ANY kind of assault, for years and years, long before other schools even acknowledged these assaults occurred on their campuses. The administration bravely took on the issue of the hockey team’s sense of entitlement (in many areas). The myth that they and the coach did NOT care and allowed bad behavior was perpetrated by those who are uninformed –and did not want to be informed — of the University’s long-standing intolerance of such behavior. Such myths discourage the reporting of any crimes against our students, by the victims and their friends, because they believe what they are told by people who are also just repeating the mantra of “rape culture at BU” with no first-hand experience with the University’s response. I spent 30 years assuring that ANY reports of sexual assault at BU were acted upon immediately. BU is one of only a few schools who not only take perpetrators through the judicial system but also assure they are criminally charged. Know of any other schools that have reviewed an entire athletic team as the result of two accusations? I didn’t think so.

  • Funksto on 02.24.2014 at 9:37 am

    Blurred Lines lyrics:

    The way you grab me
    Must wanna get nasty
    Go ahead, get at me

    Seems consensual to me….

    • Kevin Shoe on 02.24.2014 at 10:33 am

      This is such a false interpretation. Someone could touch another person and the one being touched could think that it has sexual intent, when there was actually none. Do you think it would be consensual if the one who was touched pushed to have sex with the other??

      • RecentGrad on 02.24.2014 at 3:15 pm

        hahahahahahahaha THIS IS SUCH A FORCE. the last line proves it’s consensual by telling the girl to make the move. soooo…?

      • Norberto R on 02.24.2014 at 3:51 pm

        Perhaps you’re reading too much into it Kevin. You’re assuming a course of action that is not implied by the lyrics. “The way you grab me”, okay there is contact. “Must wanna get nasty”, okay he is interpreting it as a sexual gesture. (This is not problematic in any way shape or way. This is neither consent nor asking for permission, just Thicke’s sexual freedom). “Go ahead get at me”, here he is telling the woman to make the move. (The way I see these combination of these lines is, Thicke believes the girl made a move and gave consent for her to advance). Nowhere do I see anything being forced by Thicke. In fact, I see a very different scenario. I see a woman making a move, and the guy giving consent and telling her to go further. Don’t demonize sexuality.

    • Ayusha on 02.24.2014 at 4:06 pm

      Which goes to enforce my view that BU sexual assault policies would not change just because they are letting a controversial pop artist perform. Perhaps I should have re-worded by sentence: “banning an artist from performing is not going to stop rape.”

      • Zachary Bos on 02.24.2014 at 9:17 pm

        “… banning an artist from performing is not going to stop rape.”

        Certainly not with that defeatist attitude.

  • Cat S on 02.24.2014 at 9:44 am

    As a woman who was sexually assaulted as a pre-teen I would like to point out the obvious. Men who have a tendency to hurt and rape women for their own gratification DO NOT NEED TO BE TOLD THEY CAN. Come on people you’re using music as a scapegoat for the evils of mankind. If any of these “Humanists” bothered to listen to the rest of his album they would hear a totally different message than that one song. Personally I purchased tickets for this concert because I love his music. I’m not letting one assault as a little girl define my life and who I am, and I feel sorry for those men and women that do, they beleive they’re empowering themselves when in fact they’re letting those abusers win. Let the man have his concert at the Agganis but request that he not sing that song, problem solved.

    • Andrew on 02.24.2014 at 10:12 am

      That’s super victim-blaming. Telling people who can’t “get over it” that they are less-than.

      • RecentGrad on 02.24.2014 at 3:09 pm

        but….lol this is pretty damn factual from the physiological view point of which sexual assault victims are treated

  • John Ferraro on 02.24.2014 at 9:56 am

    Thanks Alicia for a wonderfully written article! I think a lot of people (especially the student population) are on the same page about not wanting Robin Thicke to perform here. However, one thing I’ve consistently wondered is if the University actually has the capacity to cancel the show. From what I understand, although the University owns the arena, a third-party organization (Live Nation) organizes and makes contracts with performers, and essentially manages the venue. Does this mean it would be up to Live Nation to cancel the performance?

    That is, unless the University just refused to open the area or something like that. Which, I must admit, would be pretty a badass move (excuse my French).

    • Zachary Bos on 02.24.2014 at 9:16 pm

      I suppose you could say that *to the extent that the Trustees* benefit financially from Thicke’s performance, we (members of the BU community) wish the Trustees to address the incompatibilities between the values of our campus community, and the misogyny on display in Mr. Thicke’s music and public comments.

  • Andrew on 02.24.2014 at 10:11 am

    Wonderful article, Alicia. Thanks for speaking truth.

  • Chelsea Quezergue on 02.24.2014 at 12:06 pm

    I have to agree and echo what a number of people have already posted here: There have many concerts on campus in the past where I’m sure there has been some songs performed that could be deemed “misogynistic”. So it’s important to mention that, finally, a BIG pop star is coming to campus (who I actually think is very talented, especially considering the crap in mainstream music today), and is garnering so much negative attention precisely because he his so famous and “Blurred Lines” was probably the most pervasive jam of last summer. It’s not fair to target him and cancel a whole show because he’s more famous than most other people who have come to campus.

    Secondly, as someone posted earlier, many of the lyrics of “Blurred Lines” actually make it seem like the situation is consensual, and if the only argument/segment of the whole song (and an artist’s whole repertoire, in general) that has been used to support claims of misogynistic lyrics is “I know you want it”, that’s very weak. And if it’s such a simple matter as picking five words from the whole of any pop star’s repertoire, you know what? There would probably be no pop star or mainstream artist that the BU Humanist Group should be happy to allow on campus. One person above said that viewing the lyrics as hinting to consensual is a “false interpretation”, when the same could be said of viewing the lyrics as misogynistic. Before you go trying to cancel an artist’s show because of a few lines of ONE SONG, why don’t you also quote the sweet songs that he has written over the recent years that have also been very famous. In the song “Lost Without U”, which is written for his wife, Thicke says tell me “You wanna roll with me/You wanna hold with me/You wanna stay warm and get out of the cold with me/I just love to hear you say it/It makes a man feel good baby/I need to hear it”. Here, the woman is almost in a position of power and he’s begging her to say sweet nothings to him because it admittedly makes him feel good and he feels he NEEDS it, and that is usually the type of message Robin Thicke emits through his music: this insatiable love or lust for a woman. I would argue that Thicke is actually one of the least misogynistic artists out there in mainstream, if at all.

    Furthermore, to make slanderous claims such as “this song promotes BU rape culture” is so over the top. This is exactly the kind of thinking plaguing our society today: blaming things like mainstream music on our societal issues or trying to somehow make an example of famous people by punishing them for doing or saying “bad things”. The act of raping is an ethical issue, whereas I don’t see how a song with some heavy sexual innuendoes is an ethical issue. And as I said above, I don’t find this song misogynistic anyway. Individuals all have a moral code. We can strengthen and should be teaching people to strenghten that from within instead of blaming mainstream culture for our wrongdoings or misgivings. In this case, it seems as though we are using Robin Thicke as an excuse for why people may make or be encouraged to make unethical decisions, and I just can’t agree with that.

    I’m sure many would agree that if you find Robin Thicke’s music, or anything else, for that matter, offensive, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TUNE INTO IT. Also, come on…it’s ONE SONG in his repertoire of many, which I mentioned before. It’s not like he will be performing “Blurred Lines” for two hours straight.

    I admire the gumption of BU’s Humanist Society on this, and the petition was also very well written. I just lament that the group is putting so much energy into this topic when there are actually important issues they could be writing petitions for. It’s important to note that they claim the concert would be promoting rape culture, but I’ve yet to hear or read about a victim who this would actually be helping. I can’t speak for any rape victim, and I would never try to. But I’m just wondering what canceling the concert would actually accomplish/who would it actually help. I personally do not think rape victims on BU’s campus would feel “wronged” by BU’s hosting Robin Thicke’s concert, but again, that’s just my opinion and I have no way of actually knowing this. I think what will actually end up happening is that this petition is going to garner even more attention/publicity for Robin Thicke, and we all know that be it negative or positive, publicity is publicity and it tends to end up working in the favor of the whatever famous person in question. In my opinion, this, on the whole, is just sad because mainstream things already take up too much of our time and energy as it stands when they could be used for more noble undertakings.

    • Zachary Bos on 02.24.2014 at 9:14 pm

      Speaking for myself, I’ll happily object to the performance at BU of any performer whose body of work helps to sustain rape culture.

      • Kyle on 02.25.2014 at 9:49 pm

        Where were you last year when Childish Gambino was here then?

  • Student on 02.24.2014 at 12:19 pm

    Lets start with the irony of this debacle. The “humanist society” starts a petition to shut down Robin Thicke because either he and/or the song is a misogynist and promotes violence against women. If they’re so ‘humanist’ how come they don’t spend any time petitioning/speaking about problems related to men? I’ve been here at BU for 4 years and i’ve yet to see a single article/topic discussing or even questioning the validity of problems that men run into in daily life. Oh wait, the “patriarchy” grants us infinite power right?

    Alicia, its quite clear that you’re a feminist and so is the “humanist society”. Thats fine. Coming from a family primarily consisting of women, i understand there are legitimate biases in the workforce against women and as a man i believe these biases are wrong. What i find ironic but also pathetic is how feminists go around claiming wanting “equality” when they’re the last ones to ever think about anything from a male perspective. Robin Thicke isn’t the first or last music artist to create music that depicts women in a sexually objectified manner. Look at any common party song “Gas Pedal by Sage the Gemini” comes to mind. At most of the parties i’ve been to, women have gladly danced along to such music. I even bet the majority of the BU female population has this and many other “misogynistic” songs in their iTunes library.

    So i’d like to propose a counter argument to your proposition. The media, including yourself, are responsible for the demonization of male sexuality. All humans are sexual creatures, men just tend to be the outwardly ones in this regard. Women and men both acknowledge this on a deep social and psychological level. In this post-feminist-revolution world, i still hear women claiming how they want a “knight in shining armor” to pick them off their feet- in other words, initiate the relationship- and this is what still happens (the majority of the time). Men do the majority of the initiating in both sexual and non-sexual relationships between genders. This increase in risk for the man simultaneously decreases risk for the woman, as she has the ‘female privilege’ to reject such an advance. This perk of the traditional system is hardly ever mentioned in feminist ideology.

    What you and there rest of the radical feminist world are proposing is the pacification of male sexuality and indirectly the mollification of the “Patriarchy”. Now before you go on to describe how “evil” the Patriarchy is, lets quickly divulge into what this system has done for humanity- this should also ring bells to the Humanist group. The patriarchy is the system that successfully brought human kind from the caveman days to the modern era. It founded every nation, empire, and social system that governs us today. Lets not forget that one of the primary goals of the Patrichy was always to protect women and children. Do you realize that millions if not billions of “MEN” gave their lives for the female gender for millions of years? Isn’t self sacrifice the ultimate sacrifice? Henceforth, women have benefited from the Patriarchy in ways that you, and your feminist colleagues either fail to grasp or fail to acknowledge- although i firmly believe its the latter.

    Now back on the topic of Mr. Thicke. I am by no means for promoting the “rape culture”, but i also don’t believe that preventing a successful artist from performing on our campus will help nullify the effects of a song that’s easily viewable from any smartphone, laptop, or TV that exists on campus. You want to help stop the “rape culture”? Start by focusing your resources on educating women about how to prevent themselves from entering situations where rape can even become a possibility to begin with.

    • K on 02.24.2014 at 5:22 pm

      Where to begin with this one? Why in the world should a woman have to be “educated about how to prevent themselves from entering situations where rape can even become a possibly to begin with”? Men, and women for that matter, should all be educated on consent and being decent human beings who don’t rape each other. I am curious to know what exactly you consider to be a “situation where rape can even become a possibility”. Is it at a party? Is is at night? Is it when they are drunk or wearing less clothing? Are you suggesting that women avoid these things? When someone advices a man to not go outside in the evening in order to avoid rape, I’ll consider your point about the daily struggles that you face as man.
      Your understanding of the patriarchy is also severely limited. Women certainly acknowledge the sacrifices that men have made for them over the course of history, but they certainly didn’t ask for them to make those sacrifices. The patriarchy oppressed women so that they could not go to war and defend themselves. Despite these and other limitations, women still made contributions to accomplish may of the feats you attribute to the patriarchy. It is you who fails to acknowledge the role that women had in accomplishing these things. It was the work of both men and women that lead to the advancements you mentioned. The patriarchy is what oppressed women, not what achieved greatness.
      I do not believe feminists’ intent is to demonize male sexuality. Feminists wish to demonize sexuality that is harmful to others. Any non-consensual sexual act is harmful and should be demonized and fought against.
      Your argument that we should not protest Thicke because many artists have misogynistic songs is a fallacy and shows a lack of knowledge of social justice. Just because something is common and generally accepted by society does not mean that it should go unchallenged. Other celebrities abuse their spouses or significant others. Does that mean that Chris Brown should not have been condemned for his actions?
      I am curious to know what problems you face on a daily basis because you are a man in this society, because I assure you that they are not comparable to what women experience simply because they are women. The “privilege” that I have to turn down your advances is not a privilege at all but a right. The fact that you view it as a privilege reveals that you have an intense misunderstanding of consent. I hope that you and others can become educated on this issue so that women and men can one day feel safe from the threat of rape.

      • Student on 02.24.2014 at 6:41 pm

        Your argument on consent is as per typical philosophy based solutions is impractical. You work off the assumption that education about “consent” will somehow cause incidents of rape to decrease or be exterminated. I don’t think its that simple. Rape, as much as many articles try to say is only about power, is also about sex, or access to it. The sexual market for men and women is vastly different. The majority of woman can obtain sex (make note of the distinction, only sex, not a relationship) fairly easily in contexts involving alcohol and not involving it. For men, particularly young men, don’t have access to sex in such a simple manner. Why? Male sexuality is fairly clearly defined through physical appearance. A woman that’s attractive in North America is also attractive in China, India, Japan, etc. Women on the other hand seem to have a much more complex idea of attraction that often involves social proof (in the college scene this involves sports, fraternity involvement, etc.), finances, and physical appearance. Given this, its quite common that the majority of the sex in college is given to a minority of the men that possess these elements, leaving the majority of the young male population in the dark. Now i’m not questioning the morality of any of this, quite frankly, i’m ambivalent. I am simply attempting to view this from an objective perspective

        Now how does this relate to your idea of education of consent? I’m all for it, but like i said, I’m cynical of its actual practical application in reality. Since women act as the gatekeepers to sex, it makes logical sense for the gatekeepers to guard the “gate” with diligence. This means acting under the assumption that anyone untrusted, especially males in situations that involve alcohol, will not abide by implicit rules set forth by you or by society. Now this may sound like some type of “oppression” by the patriarchy, but instead view it as common sense. If you were a rich man/woman, would you walk around with thousands of dollars in your pockets in a crime ridden area? No. Sure, you may get robbed walking around a safe area too, but the probability of this happening is lower. The same goes for rape. Women need to protect themselves and quit working off the assumption that society is inherently “good” and nothing will happen to them even when they’re in an alcohol induced state. Despite what feminism preaches, there isn’t and never will be equivalence between genders in a sexual context until access to sex becomes equal for both genders. Will this ever happen? I don’t think so- at least not for a while. Why? The qualities that men and women find attractive in a potential mate are as i stated above, vastly different.

        Now onto your next comment. I never stated that women did not have a role in the advancement of human kind. In fact, human kind would have never gone anywhere without the childbearing and nurturing qualities of women. The same qualities that feminists like to downplay the importance of. Who besides women can create a child? Men surely can’t. The patriarchy did not impose restrictions on women and their role, they simply realized over the course of time that men are the physically superior sex, and therefore it makes more logical sense for the men to be employed in the aspects of society that involve physical exertion. This means hard labor, war, etc. As a consequence of this, men inherited the power to make governing decisions in most of the world’s societies. As with most things in life, the majority of the world followed such Patriarchal systems and therefore thats what took root for the long haul. So no, i don’t believe the Patriarchy oppressed women in the same way feminists claim they did/still do now. Equal pay, equal opportunity? Sure. I’m all for it. Equal judgement and elimination of gender differences? Yeah how about we just forgo the concept of gender duality and the importance of each gender in particular aspects of life and create a synthetic unigender. That way we can all undergo self replication much in the way bacteria do. Utopia right? Wrong. Men and Women are both equally important and both have equal and respectable roles to play in all parts of society.

        The simple existence of the word “feminist” leaks the bias present in their philosophy. If such a group exists to further the equality between genders, shouldn’t they be called “humanists” instead? After all, aren’t both men and women human? According to radical feminists, thats not the case. The SCUM manifesto (1967) preaches the need to eliminate the male gender. Yeah, we have feminists claiming that they want to commit genocide against 50% of the human population, purely for their existence. So i leave you with this. I believe in pacifism and have a deep love for the human race, but i will not be naive enough to not teach my children, either male or female, the common sense and reasoning they need to get through life safely.

        • Tom Crane on 02.25.2014 at 6:32 pm

          Student, I think you’re backpedaling in your logic. First, you wanted women to be educated on “how to prevent themselves from entering situations where rape can even become a possibility to begin with,” an incredibly vague sentiment that does not elaborate on what these situations are. I think you’re also missing the point that any situation can be a situation in which a woman is at risk to be raped—dressing provocatively and drinking at parties only scrapes the surface of the issue. It’s common sense for a woman to be on guard while consuming excess amounts of alcohol or what have you, but unfortunately rape is not limited to these instances. And even if it is, anyone should be obligated to do the right thing (ie not rape people), and I don’t see how you could possibly take issue with the idea of teaching people that concept. Teaching people to not rape or to restrain themselves from taking advantage of easy opportunities seems like common sense to me. It won’t end rapes tomorrow or anytime soon, but cynicism isn’t an excuse to not do one’s best to reduce these instances.

          Your notions of sexuality are also narrow, because you’re taking in a Western view, but even that is distorted. Sex is fairly accessible for anyone, especially in a college campus in which men and women are looking for it. Male sexuality is not defined through appearance only, and is definitely not the same across cultures (although you only cited a few Asian countries, not nearly representative of the entire world). For example, many rural Jamaicans find “obese” women attractive, and I don’t believe I have to cite anything to prove that’s not quite the case in the United States. I don’t believe a majority of college men are “in the dark” about sex, or that a select minority are having sex. If anything, it would be the opposite for both, but if you have any hard evidence supporting your claim I’d love to see it. Sexuality is not universal, not even among a singular culture. Female choice goes deeper than physical attractiveness, and the same is even true for male choice. Based on my studies in anthropology, I have seen this data firsthand. Your argument on the other hand reads like an argument from authority in which you have none. To think sexuality is consistent across seven billion people, even at a general level, shows your naivete. On the subject of male hardship from your earlier post, I don’t think initiating a sexual encounter with a desired person is a hardship. For starters, one initiating the encounter most likely has a reason for initiating the encounter. Second, it’s not limited to men, and you’ll find plenty of feminists not wanting passivity among women (ie making the first move). Third, your views on sexuality seem to be focused unilaterally on heterosexual relationships, which narrows your view even further. As for your comment on men/the patriarchy creating protection and so on for women and children, I’ll take K’s viewpoint and say that nobody asked for it.

          I don’t think one of the main tenets of feminism is to necessarily remove gender roles from a biological standpoint. Your comparison to self-replication of bacteria is hyperbolic, but does a good job diluting your point. Gender roles in biology, such as child bearing are ingrained. Gender roles in society, like women being subservient to men, are not.

          On your final point, you’ve already discredited yourself by referring to “radical” feminists—a term which most feminists do not identify with. Your citation of a manifesto written over 45 years ago is obviously not going to be a representation of the modern feminist movement on a large scale. Even at the time, the manifesto was heavily scrutinized, which makes your promotion of it as some sort of feminist bible highly questionable. Most feminists, in fact, are not in favor of killing all men. As a man myself, I know I’m not.

          But with that aside, let’s discuss Robin Thicke. Student, I’m actually on your side in that I don’t mind Thicke performing, but that is due to my views on artistic expression, and not some notions about men facing hardship or that his lyrics are not misogynistic. To me, both sides can have reasonable and unreasonable arguments, but I don’t think pointing out potential fallacies in feminism is one of them. It seems like you’re sidestepping the issue to promote your views as some universal all men believe in.

    • Zachary Bos on 02.24.2014 at 9:13 pm

      Come on out to a meeting of the Humanists, unnamed student. If there’s a social justice issue on campus involving the systemic mistreatment of men, we certainly would wish to know about it, and support any effort to ameliorate the problem.

  • Student on 02.24.2014 at 1:42 pm

    Get off your high horse, no one gives a s**t

  • sally on 02.24.2014 at 4:37 pm

    Dear “Student” at 12:19pm. You made some good points but then you just ruined it. Maybe we all benefited from your gender’s noble “self-sacrifice” because nobody gave us the opportunity to help “bring humankind from the caveman days,” but just told us to sit down shut up and pop out babies. Or just torture, demoralize and kill us if we didn’t. And “educating women about how to prevent themselves from entering situations where rape can even become a possibility?” ARE YOU SERIOUS. I can’t.

  • Anthony on 02.24.2014 at 5:08 pm

    It is utterly ridiculous that some women and whoever else actually believe “Blurred Lines” is about raping women. Thicke himself has said it was about him getting consensually kinky with his own wife. This kind of sexuality has been par for the course in R&B and dance music since the 1970′s and even before then. Let’s use some logic here and stop trying to manufacture a controversy so a blog could score Internet hits and take down a singer that you may not happen to personally like for whatever the reason may be. The music video was directed by Diane Martel, a woman, and Thicke himself was iffy on the uncensored topless version even coming out. I don’t condone any kind of sexual assault or rape on any woman and every woman should have the right to feel safe at all times, but if you believe Thicke wrote and sang this with the intent of promoting a “rape culture”. than you are just irrational and not using your brain.

  • Anon on 02.24.2014 at 5:53 pm

    I think everyone agrees that Blurred Lines is a controversial song, but to cancel his concert at Agganis? Come on. Guy has a nation wide tour and wants to hit up Boston. His tour manager probably decided to go with Agganis than HOB because it’s a better venue for him. Agganis said yeah of course, we’ll take your money. Just because Agganis is hosting him doesn’t mean that BU is promoting his one song that’ll last 4 minutes during the show.

    I don’t agree with the song’s meaning – or implied meaning for that matter – but if you don’t like it, just don’t go to the show. Let those who enjoy his music go to the show, and you can do your own thing that night.

  • Another Student on 02.24.2014 at 6:32 pm

    This song is not about non-consensual sex. He explicitly asks a few times and notes that he is waiting for her to say yes or no:

    “Just let me liberate you”

    “One thing I ask of you”

    “So hit me up when you pass through”

    “So I just watch and wait for you to salute
    But you didn’t pick”

    This song is not promoting rape culture because there is no rape culture in the US. The only place where there is rape culture in the US is prisons.

    Rapists rape people. Music doesn’t make people rape.

    I think this is just using a white guy as a scapegoat, because Humanists of Boston University knew that denouncing the lyrics of an artist of any other race or gender would be either racist or sexist. Who will argue against them if it’s an evil white man that they’re fighting?

    And what about all the songs talking about gangsters shooting and killing other people? Considering that most victims of gun violence are men, I don’t see people getting up in arms about those songs promoting “shooting culture”.

  • Lindsey on 02.24.2014 at 6:35 pm

    Oh the irony: Robin Thicke and his wife, Paula announced their separation today.

    Also, even if the song IS about his (soon to be former) wife…marital rape is a thing. Not saying that necessarily happened, just that the argument that “the song is about his wife!!!!” isn’t a valid argument to say this song isn’t about nonconsensual sex.

  • Michael on 02.24.2014 at 7:38 pm

    Here’s an idea – don’t go to the concert if you are offended by Robin Thicke. But please refrain from not allowing others to enjoy the entertainment.

  • .. on 02.24.2014 at 7:49 pm

    This concert is for everyone, not just for BU students. If you have a problem, then don’t go. Stop trying to shove your beliefs down other people’s throat. It’s just a song. Don’t act like you haven’t jammed to it before.

  • bystander on 02.24.2014 at 9:02 pm

    oh please, it’s just a concert, no need to fight a gender war

    • CG on 02.25.2014 at 12:52 pm

      I totally agree… if you don’t like his music or are offended by it, DON”T BUY A TICKET.

      “It describes a scenario in which a woman becomes a sex object for a man” Charlie Sheen performed there, where was the uproar then? No one thought his performance was promoting a “rape culture”. Did sexual assaults on campus increase after he performed? I’m guessing not.

    • Kyle on 02.25.2014 at 9:46 pm

      This guy nailed it

  • Ewizobeth Juniper on 02.25.2014 at 4:08 am

    Okay, I’m going to post some new comments and then cut/paste a comment I wrote a week ago. I’m not trying to spam, but I did put a lot of thought into that statement, so if you haven’t read it, please do. Also, if readers are anything like me, they just read random things, so the only chance that they’ll hear my opinion is if I put my comments directly below the article they have read.

    New comments: regarding nudity–haven’t you ever heard a man say “why would anyone want to see a naked man?” I’ve heard it many times. They think they’re too hairy, too rough etc. They tend to have a negative self-image of their bodies. Naked women, on the other hand, have their own genre in art. They are stunningly beautiful without clothes, and men acknowledge that this gives women an unfair advantage, because the male viewer is dazed by their beauty. This includes all women and all body types. The general consensus among people everywhere, is that women’s bodies are beautiful, and most men are in awe of this. Even gay men enjoy dressing women up (in the fashion industry). Even these men appreciate women’s beauty.

    Regarding rape: I’ve read some of the interviews with Robin, and he is quite down-to-earth. He’s not this evil pervert as portrayed in the feminist press. Don’t you understand how harmful rape accusations are to a man’s reputation? He’s going to be tagged now, for the rest of his life.

    Everyone knows that “crying rape” when it’s not true, is terrible. But this tortured, convoluted interpretation of Thick’s lyrics is equally irresponsible. You (meaning everyone’s whose comments I have read) don’t seem to understand how powerful your words are. Please don’t release such torrents of vitriol on someone you don’t even know. The effects can be devastating in that person’s life.

    Now I only hope Robin Thicke will be able to overcome this experience and produce more delightfully energetic songs. You aren’t just taking away from Robin personally, you are also taking away from his “body of work,” which fans like me value highly. Please don’t do that.

    I have been out of the loop until about a month ago, when I came across “Blurred Lines.” It had so much fun energy, that I made my husband listen also. We love it! WE love it.

    And regarding that article showing rape victims holding placards with phrases from “Blurred Lines,” here are a few more lines that could become fodder for the anti-rape activist: “I can’t wait to get you alone,” “I think about you all day,” “we are so right together.” Basically, any comment made by a besotted male could be characterized as “rapey.” Do you see the over-generalization?

    And I saw Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus’s performance at the MTV VMW awards show. Robin appeared excruciatingly uncomfortable, and kept taking steps back. The music industry pushes these musicians into extreme and untenable situations, promising they will be regarded as “cool” by the public. Perhaps you will remember Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.” Oops.

    Miley is following a long tradition of shaking off the child star’s image for a more adult one. Many have tried and failed.

    Miley’s recent makeover is awkward. She looks like a young Joan Crawford, and not in a good way. Her tongue thing is kind of creepy. Her music, however, totally rocks. Based on record sales, I think she is going to survive this incident.

    “Twerking” has been the hottest topic this season. Seeing twerkimg first hand though, has made a lot of people cringe.

    My husband and I think both Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber are at the age where their hormones are raging, and they can be quite reckless and unmanageable. Were you an angelic teenager? I doubt it. Also, both Cyrus and Bieber are getting advice from the wrong people about how to show that they’re all grown up now.

    The rest of this comment is a repost of my earlier comment, so if you’ve read it, skip it.

    /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\……..

    OMG I can’t believe how people have misconstrued the lyrics to “Blurred Lines.” First question–why in a million years would a rising music star write a song bragging about rape??? Come on.

    The song is playful and goofy (with genius syncopation). You can’t now reinvent the lyrics to mean something sinister.

    The first part of the song is talking about how electric their chemistry is. He’s saying, “maybe I’m wrong, but it sure seems like you are as attracted to me as I am to you.”

    He’s also saying that the guy she’s with is a loser and a prude. It’s not the madonna-wh*re dichotomy. She is being given permission to let loose and have fun without everyone judging her (kinda how you guys are doing now). His complaint is that a woman should not have a bad reputation based on her sex life. She’s a good (girl) person and she has earned a good reputation. She deserves it.

    Also, when guys have sex they “score” but when women have sex they are sl*ts. That’s the double standard people should be i okay.”

    “You’re far from plastic” reinforces his position that she is a classy lady and an interesting person.

    The “blurred lines” refer to the unclear progression from friend to lover. What’s a “girl” to do? She doesn’t want to be crass, but she wants to get sexual. How do you navigate these waters? It can get really awkward at times.

    So much of the sex talk is just that– talk. Both men and women use this language today. Both sexes try to convince the other person that they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Of course there is going to be big talk. Again, if the language is too coarse for you, either you take things too seriously, or maybe you are the prude.

    And the use of the term “b*tch” is not politically incorrect (or it shouldn’t be). In the words of Whoppi Goldberg (in a segment of “Best of Jimmy Fallon” last week, where she is transported back in time to Downton Abbey), “B*tch, please.” It has become like the expression, “fugetaboutit” (forget about it) as explained in the movie, “Donny Brasco,” where the expression has so many different uses and meanings that it can’t be categorized as meaning only one thing.

    Examples: (1) Look at these b*tchin’ jeans I just bought; (2) That math problem was a real b*tch; (3) Stop b*tching about it and just do it; (4) I got my b*tches (girl’s girlfriends) with me; (5) What up b*tch? (greeting between friends); (6) Quit being such a little b*tch about it (said by both men and women to either men or women); (7) Ain’t that a b*tch (how unfortunate).

    And lastly, this song is not describing a rape. I think some people are sensitized by bad experiences, to the point where they can’t be entirely objective. They are projecting their own feelings when reading situations. I feel for them, and I’ve been there too, but you have to adjust your perspective to take into account that you have become somewhat radicalized.

    Both the man and the woman in the song are jumping off a cliff together. They are transitioning from friends to lovers. This is an exciting, amazing time, usually involving joy and fun, because the two of them belong to their own private club from now on. They don’t have to front anymore. Now they are “partners in crime,” very sexy.

    I hope I hit all the points. Generally, I have dead-on accuracy when interpreting social context. I would be really surprised if I were wrong. By the way, I am female.

  • Tony on 02.25.2014 at 10:22 am

    YYYeeeahhhh!!! we’re talking about (it). Artist like Robin, Chris, Jammie to name some of the pop artist have given us permission to have these difficult and uneasy conversations. Through these conversations, ideas and solutions are developed, many will be educated and many will take this opportunity (men and women) to work together as allies for a better and safer community. Boston Safe is Boston Strong
    Be resilient, Be responsible, Be remarkable BU…

  • anonymous on 02.25.2014 at 7:21 pm

    Does anyone seriously like robin thicke? Y’all need to go listen to “got to give it up” by marvin gaye. RT ripped it off to make “blurred lines” and it’s about a million times better. Do your ears a favor.

  • Hey Ya'll on 02.26.2014 at 1:50 am

    Say what you want, its still all art to me

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