Blurred Lines Banned at University of Edinburgh

The college's student union claims the catchy "song of summer" glorifies sexual violence

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Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke perform "Blurred Lines" during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in New York August 25, 2013.

The student union at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland has done what many who are sick of the song would like to do: ban Robin Thicke’s hit song Blurred Lines.

While the song by Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell was the undisputed song of summer and, as such, was played incessantly, the reason the song was banned isn’t its omnipresence, but rather its content. Kirsty Haigh, Vice President of the University of Edinburgh’s Student Union, told NME: “The decision to ban Blurred Lines from our venues has been taken as it promotes an unhealthy attitude towards sex and consent.”

Specifically at issue are the song’s lyrics — including, “I hate these blurred lines, I know you want it” and “must wanna get nasty” — which some feel glorify sexual violence, non-consensual sex and promote rape culture. The ban falls in line with an Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) policy, entitled End Rape Culture and Lad Banter on Campus, which student newspaper the Tab reports, was instated to tackle “myths and stereotypes around sexual violence”. Haigh noted, “There is a zero tolerance towards sexual harassment, a policy to end lad culture on campus and a safe space policy – all of which this song violates.”

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When asked in July about the criticism over the song’s “rape-y” lyrics, Thicke said, in an interview with TIME:

It’s natural. Art is supposed to create conversation so we knew there would be conversation and that I don’t mind. It was only the one article that the lady wrote where she was implying that the lyrics of the song suggested rape or something, and I was like now wait a second, that’s not fair. I thought that that was irresponsible. But what art is supposed to do is make us talk about what’s going on in the world, and where we are as men and women and all those kinds of the things. I don’t mind having that conversation.

However, in an earlier interview with GQ, he was less tactful, “People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.'” Thicke added that since he and his collaborators Pharrell and T.I. are all “happily married with children, we were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of [taboos].'” Thicke also recently claimed that the song’s lyrics were a “feminist movement within itself”.

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