Friday, 20 September 2013

Blurred Lines- There are better songs to sing then this

Leeds Univerity Union and several other student unions has banned the song Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke being played on their premises. This is because a lot of people think the Blurred Lines Thicke is singing about is between consentual sex and rape. Thicke denies this is what its about and I have heard other interpretations. But on the whole there's no denying the songs lyrics and video are sexist.
Even if this song was more unambigously problematic I would be against supporting bans on music, films etc even if done with the best of intentions. We live in a world full of the worst most horrific injustices and crimes including rape and domestic violence. This is often reflected and re-inforced in the cultural commodities thrown at us daily.
Our role as socialists and feminists is to attack these horrors directly, point out their root causes and propose the way to make an new world out of the old. We cannot nor should we seek to hold back the tide of crap through bans. It will not work, it could work against us, and their is a real danger of being seen as Mary Whitehouse's of the left rather then fighters for human emancipation.

Whitehouse became the butt of jokes and sexist abuse partly because of her bizarre obsessions with blashpemy, her homophobia and victorian attitude towards sex but her insistance on bans meant that when in the main she objected to violent pornography and the kind of crap misogynist sit-coms the 70s seem to be full off her concerns where equally written off even when some of her criticisms in hindsight seem fair enough.
Rather then the bans, would not it be better to talk about the music we listen too or hear,  produce and promote alternative music that fights back against this shit. It can be turned round. Country music was turned into a genre defined by female singer song writers singing about their experiences rather then the dinosaur attitudes of Nashville by artists like Kitty Wells, Lorretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and K.D. Laing. Punk was transformed by the "riot girl" bands. Even in pop artists are fighting back. Check out the Micklemore song Same Love supporting gay marriage thats in the top 5 right now. Our answer to Robin Thicke and all those like him should not be to be to ban the song  but to tell people there are better songs to sing then this.

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