Fuck Your Blurred Lines

According to Habermas, the public sphere is the “virtual space where citizens… exchange ideas and discuss issues, in order to reach agreement about matter of general interest” (2005, p. 4). In a modern sense, the debate taking place in the public sphere often touches on issues that that occur in the realm of popular culture, for example song ‘Blurred Lines’.

‘Blurred Lines’, performed by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I., was released on March 20, 2013 and was instantaneously popular. It topped the charts in the US and in Australia and was even nominated for two Grammys.


(Photo source)

However, it was not popular with all listeners. The song quickly became a hot topic of conversation, fuelled by heated controversy. It sparked international debate about misogynistic messages and even the justification of rape when people began to look further into the lyrics of the song.

It is the title of the song that has gained a lot of attention. ‘Blurred lines’ has been interpreted as meaning the line between consented sex and rape is murky and unclear, and that this isn’t a serious problem at all:

I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it 


(Photo source)

The debate also surrounded the content of the music video. The uncensored video (which you can view here) featured three models/actresses topless, almost bearing all in g-strings and high heels. They were paraded around and (in my opinion) sexually objectified while the ‘liberating’ song played lyrics such as:

“So hit me up when you pass through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”

These two aspects paired together seriously contributed to debate in a mediated public sphere. Feminist bloggers all around the world attacked and analysed the song. It sparked protests against the idea of ‘blurred lines’ …

Anti-Robin Thicke protesters

(Photo source)

and was the subject of many youtube parodies retaliating through satire, beautifully emphasising all that was wrong with the song:


It provoked a conversation about sexualisation of women, rape, misogyny and treatment of women in the music industry. I would say this is the epitome of popular texts being debated in many different public spheres, and a modern example of what Habermas first attempted to understand.  


Lynskey, D 2013, ‘Blurred Lines: the most controversial song of the decade’, The Guardian 14 November, viewed 10 April 2013, 

< http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/13/blurred-lines-most-controversial-song-decade

McKee, A 2005, ‘Introduction: the public sphere:an introduction’, Public Sphere:An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp1-31.

Wikipedia 2013, Blurred Lines, Wikipedia, viewed 10 April 2013,
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blurred_Lines>


4 thoughts on “Fuck Your Blurred Lines

  1. Love this post, hate that song, what more could I want from the past few minutes I spent reading this! Educated, enlightened insight put much more eloquently than I ever could, well done 🙂

  2. Wow I’ve heard this song over and over again and never even considered the lyrics. This has completely changed my view of the song. It especially didn’t help when Thicke and Cyrus pulled the VMA’s stunt

    1. Yeah I know it’s crazy how subtly it’s played off Isn’t it! It kinda annoyed my how much shit Miley got for that performance and Thicke got off pretty easily, considering he was a grown and married man!

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