Blurred Lines is a song recorded by Canadian-American R&B recording artist Robin Thicke for his 2013 album of the same name. The song features guest vocals from American rapper T.I. and American singer and producer Pharrell.
The single has peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, as well as topping the Billboard R&B Songs chart. It has also become Thicke's most successful song on the Billboard Hot 100, being his first to reach
number one. The song has been a worldwide hit, topping the charts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom.
The music video was released on March 20, 2013, and was made in two versions; the first video features models Emily Ratajkowski, Jessi M'Bengue, and Elle Evans being topless, the second features them covered. The topless version of the video was
removed from YouTube on March 30, 2013, for violating the site's terms of service regarding nudity, though it was later restored, but flagged as restricted to adults.
Critics such as Tricia Romano of The Daily Beast suggested that the song and the music video trivialize sexual consent. She charges that many female fans were uncomfortable with both the song and the video. Her article quoted feminists who
interpreted the song's message as being promotion of rape culture because the title Blurred Lines and portions of the lyrics like I know you want it encourage the idea no doesn't always mean no and that some women who are raped are
asking for it. Criticism was also leveled at the song's video, which has been labelled eye-poppingly misogynist . Thicke said that the Diane Martel--directed video was tongue-in-cheek.
Three Auckland law students have made a parody version of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines . The parody replaces the topless female models with topless men and changes the lyrics to voice their frustration at the claimed
sexualisation and subjection of women in the original. Example lines from Adelaide Dunn, Olivia Lubbock and Zoe Ellwood are: We're feeling the frustration, from all the exploitation...what you see on TV, doesn't speak equality, it's straight
The well made tongue-in-cheek satire, entitled Defined Lines , immediately went viral, but the irony of the message was clearly lost on some, as it was removed by YouTube after being reported for indecency and featuring inappropriate
content. It was later restored.
Its got a fair way to go to overhaul the original though, that has now racked up 17 million views.
The ad featured Robin Thicke, performing his single Blurred Lines , and three female models. Throughout the ad, the song was played with the lyrics Everybody get up ... Good girl, I know you want it, I know you want it, I know you want
it, you're a good girl, can't let it get past me, you're far from plastic, talk about getting blasted, I hate these blurred lines.
The ad opened with a close-up shot of one of the women holding the Beats Pill against her chin as she mimed to the words Everybody get up . Throughout the ad, the women were shown wearing crop tops and hot pants as they danced and
interacted with Robin Thicke and the product. In one scene they were shown lifting Beats Pills as if they were dumbbells and in another, one of the women was shown holding a Beats Pill in a hotdog bun. Another shot showed all the women dressed in
see-through nurses' uniforms over their hot pants and crop tops. The following shot showed one model looking through two Beats Pills as if they were binoculars. Towards the end, a woman was shown kneeling on her hands and knees with a Beats Pill
laid on her back.
The ASA received 97 complaints about the ad.
A number of the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was sexist, objectified women and was degrading to women.
A number of the complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriate to be broadcast at a time when children would be watching TV, because they believed it was overtly sexual.
Some complainants challenged whether the models featured were irresponsibly thin.
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that the ad was intended to be playful and comic, and its content was based on the Blurred Lines music video and served to show the portable and convenient nature of the Beats Pill product.
We considered that a number of scenes, such as those in which the women were dressed as nurses, were holding the Pill in a hotdog roll and using the product as dumbbells, were sexually suggestive. We also noted that, in comparison to a fully
clothed Robin Thicke, the women were shown in crop tops and hot pants, dancing and interacting with the product, and that the ad included a number of shots of their bottoms and exposed midriffs, with their heads obscured. In addition we noted
that the women were often looking directly at the camera, pouting or putting their fingers near, or to, their mouths. We also noted the final scene, when one of the women was shown on all fours, in what we considered to be a provocative position,
with the product on her back.
However, while we accepted that some viewers might find elements of the ad distasteful, particularly the shots of the women's bodies with their heads obscured and the shot of the woman on all fours, we considered that those shots were brief, and
when taken as a whole, the ad did not show sustained, overtly sexual or provocative behaviour. We also considered that most viewers would recognise the stylised nature of the ad and understand that it was reflective of a music video. Therefore,
whilst we acknowledged a number of viewers might find the content of the ad distasteful, we did not consider that the ad was likely to result in widespread or serious offence and concluded that it was not in breach of the Code.
On that point, we investigated the under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.
The ASA noted that both Beats and Clearcast believed that the ad was only mildly sexual in nature, playful and comical, and that children would not understand the mild innuendo associated with the shape and use of the product in the ad. We noted
that the ad did not contain any explicit nudity or intimate interaction between the characters, but did include shots focusing on the women's headless bodies and a number of sexually suggestive scenes. Therefore, we considered the overall tone of
the ad was sexual, and concluded that the ad was not suitable for broadcast before 7.30 pm.
On that point, the ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Under-16s).
3. Not upheld
We noted that all the women featured in the ad were slim, and that the outfits they were wearing, along with the shots of their bodies and of them dancing and working out using the product, emphasised their body shape. We considered,
however, that the ad was stylised and reflective of the characters and images generally seen in music videos, and that the models did not look underweight. We therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.
On that point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising), and 4.2 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach. Action
The ad must not be broadcast again before 7.30 pm.
All that grinding with topless ladies, twerking with Miley Cyrus has earnt US singer Robin Thicke a shiny new accolade, that of sexist of the year .
The Blurred Lines chart-topper received the title from the End Violence Against Women Coalition after the lyrics to his worldwide number one were deemed rapey by some critics.
More than 60 member groups of the coalition voted in the sexist of the year poll, which saw Prime Minister David Cameron come second -- the same slot he landed in last year.
Thicke's controversial video and sexist lyrics led to last summer's Blurred Lines being banned in more than 20 universities up and down the UK , with students' unions acting in an effort to end rape culture and lad banter on campus .
The End Violence Against Women Coalition's Sarah Green extended her heartfelt congratulations to a worthy winner .
But with so many organisations generously raising awareness for the single, then perhaps it was inevitable that Thicke's Blurred Lines would be a hit. In fact it was named this week as iTunes' best-selling single of 2013.