Why the union was right to ban ‘blurred lines’

FREYA POTTER, member of FemSoc, tells The Tab why it’s a good thing we won’t be be hearing Robin Thicke’s no.1 in the Union

The first controversy of the semester is underway even before Freshers starts, and despite the blurry particulars around whether LUU have actually banned Blurred Lines or just politely requested that its venues don’t play it, it’s thrown a massive question into the middle of campus – one about consent and sexual assault.

Whichever way you interpret Blurred Lines, its core messages about female sexuality are seriously problematic. 1. That attention from a woman automatically implies consent to sex: “The way you grab me/Must wanna get nasty”, and 2. That when women say ‘No’ they mean ‘Yes’, “I know you want it” is repeated almost 20 times.


Both beliefs are used to justify non-consensual sex. The bizarre video where women strut about in uncomfortable looking underwear and hump stuffed animals reinforces the idea of women as mindless sex toys for heterosexual men. Despite Thicke’s insistence that he’s ‘liberating’ women, it feels awfully oppressive.

Some argue that the ‘ban’ is futile due to the sheer amount of misogynistic pop music out there anyway. But that’s the point! Rape culture is insidious, why didn’t we have a problem before ‘Blurred Lines’ came out? Unfortunately Robin Thicke and his fellow musical misogynists don’t exist within a vacuum, the message they perpetuate – that objectifying women is acceptable and worthy of praise – has a real effect on people’s behaviour.

This semester the Union are planning to enforce their ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy against Sexual Assault, objectors to this presumably believe that most victims are liars and that sexual assault either isn’t that common, or isn’t a big deal. What a shame that none of that is true. Will the ban stop sexual assault in the Union? Maybe not, but normalising the message of the song and the video goes entirely against what LUU should stand for.

You can believe in freedom of expression and not defend misogynists, and I’m glad LUU is standing up for victims of sexual assault.