“We aren’t good girls, We are scholastic, not fucking plastic.” This line is perhaps the most vivid and clear expression of the message the Harvard Law Revue girls are trying to get across in their parody of Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke’s arguably sexist single that was released this past summer 2013.
Thicke’s music video featured nude, female models who danced and grabbed Thicke and his fellow musicians upon the command “I know you know you want it.” Ironically, Thicke’s video touches upon the Feminist conundrum of having to be either a ‘good girl’ or enjoy feminine sexuality. Lines like, “now he was close, tried to domesticate you,” “you’re far from plastic,” “you don’t need no papers, that man is not your maker” mirror the struggle girls face between being sexy, in balance so as not to be thought of as dowdy or slutty, not to mention how this dilemma reflects upon your intelligence. Unfortunately, Thicke followed these valid points with controversial conversation:
- “But you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature, just let me liberate you,”
- “Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you, He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that”
- “Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica. It always works for me, Dakota to Decatur, uh huh. No more pretending, ’cause now you winning.”
Thicke’s joke that he as a man could free a girl from the “blurred lines” which confused her, or that all girls needed was a little hair pulling to help them put themselves ‘in place,’ was not received well in the Feminist community. In fact, it sparked a strong argument across both the factions of feminism that support overt sexuality and those that claim hyper-sexuality downplays a woman’s intelligence. Feminists clamored that the video objectified women, propagated ‘slut’ behavior amongst women, and even supported rape culture. Regardless of the right or wrongs behind these claims, their counterproductive natures to each other speak to a greater wrong within Feminism: women using Feminism against other women.
The arguments against Thicke’s video devolved into verbal degradation of types of feminism by conflicting feminist opinions. Women who believed that all sexual choices should be respected were attacked by others who claimed they supported sexual behaviors that propagated ‘rape culture’ [see here]. Women who claimed that the video propagated ‘slutty’ behavior in girls were chastised as not supporting a woman’s right to sexuality. Women attacked other women on the basis that how they wanted to express their liberation was wrong, an idea so contrary to the foundation of Feminism that it could only be expressed in a satirical parody [read more here]. Enter The Harvard Law Revue Girls.
The Harvard Law Revue girls make a pleasant visual joke of this conflict between factions, creating a confusing satirical parody which encompassed all three of these main charges against Thicke. Throughout the parody, they sing that they are tired of the “exploitation,” “if you want to get nasty, just ask [me]” instead of “harassing [me]” as “that’s a sex crime,” and “don’t want you to come on my face!”
They reject the controversy that intelligent women are separate from sexual women, claiming that they “are not good girls” but are “scholastic, not fucking plastic.” While the last part of this line would seem to contribute to the ideology that scholastic women are not distinctly beautiful, the imagery along with the lines does not. Dressing in thigh highs, short skirts, and mid-drift shirts, it’s clear that their song is not a validation cry for the button-up librarian image of scholastic women. Rather the girls display that they are extremely attractive beings who value their sexuality without compromising their scholastic ingenuity. Defining the ‘lines’ between the two as they were, as the only thing wrong.
This makes me wonder if their call for “every bigot shut up” just might be intended for more than male viewers.
Also, don’t miss the HerStoria reference in the rap towards the end! Check out Kathleen’s post here to learn a little more about this interesting resource on women’s leadership and fight for equality!