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OpEd: Robin Thicke’s bizarre duet with Miley Cyrus does little to redeem Blurred Lines

The addition of a writhing Miley Cyrus is not helping distil criticism of the misogynistic hit.
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Karen Green, August 26, 2013 11:40:28 AM

If there was still any question over whether or not the song Blurred Lines fetishizes and infantilizes women, Robin Thicke’s bizarre duet with Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards did very little to help distil the controversy over the summer’s catchiest – and possibly most misogynist – hit.

Dressed in a gold bikini, 20-year-old Cyrus, who herself has been plagued with heavy criticism surrounding her latest single and some questionable behaviour, strutted around Thicke on stage, sticking her tongue out and pointing an inexplicable foam finger at the audience and her crotch. That, of course, is when she wasn’t using Thicke as a stripper pole, or bending over in front of him, “twerking.” (You can look that one up, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Did Robin Thicke’s people think the performance with Cyrus would help temper the criticism levied at the tune? After all, one might say, the performance portrayed a young woman, very much in control of her sexuality, strong and invulnerable to victimization. She was the song’s “good girl,” and when Robin Thicke insists, “I know you want it,” Cyrus nods, agreeing, because even good girls can like sex, right?

And maybe Miley Cyrus’s people jumped at the chance to have her associated with Thicke’s gigantic hit, thinking it could elevate her from former Disney princess/girl-gone-wild, to bonafide grown-up star.

Too bad neither one of those things panned out.

Instead, we saw a very young woman – the epitome of the virgin/whore archetype – thrust straight into the firing line of a much older male insisting that he knows what his good girl wants.

Miley Cyrus looked ridiculous. But she is 20, and 20-year-olds don’t always make good decisions. Robin Thicke is almost twice her age, and looked like a pimp who favoured young, easy-to-manipulate girls.

Cyrus is already getting huge flack online for her raunchy moves, but let’s not act like Robin Thicke is innocent, or that Miley ruined his song. Miley Cyrus personified the messed up message in Blurred Lines – that good girls can be cajoled into doing just about anything for approval and attention, and that the manipulator doesn’t want to have to work too hard to get her to do it.

The only good thing that will come out of last night’s performance is that we might finally agree that we have reached the saturation level for the song, and it will fade away. Too bad it will have taken the humiliation of a 20-year-old girl to facilitate it.

What rhymes with hug me?

Image credit: Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic/Getty Images

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Karen Green

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