Friday, September 27, 2013

No blurred lines in censorship

You can't call yourself a defender of free speech until you've defended speech you feverishly disagree with.

Or in this case can't stand. Oh boy, can I not stand this song.

Students - not faculty members but students - at five universities in the United Kingdom have banned Robin Thicke's unbearable song Blurred Lines from public venues because they find it degrading to women.

Personally, I think the song degrades music but that doesn't mean fussy monocle-poppers are justified in their idiot crusade.

They aren't alone, sadly. There are plenty of interchangeable autopilot feminist pieces criticizing the song's lyrics and music videos where everything is twisted into a pro-rape nether world.

The best take-down of these pearl-clutching reaction came from, of course, a self-described lowercase-f feminist:

Everyone seems to think it’s about a guy slinging a helpless girl over his shoulder or dragging her home by her hair. Not so. It is, in essence, about a guy trying to steal a girl away from her boyfriend/current love interest for some hanky-panky... 
If you picture the scene, it seems that the male is making his initial offer to open a sexual relationship with a woman. I don’t know why we assume that the woman is a damsel in distress, incapable of making a decision about whether or not she wants to partake. Of course our mind can run through a hundred scenarios in which a woman says no and a man pursues anyway, and this is wrong. But given that neither the song nor the music video indicates any rejection, there is no reason to believe that the woman in question has ever said no. There is no reason to believe that she doesn’t “want it”. In fact, people who are offended by this song clearly think it is SO UNBELIEVABLE that a woman might actually enjoy being treated like this, that they are in essence limiting the scope of what is considered acceptable sexual behavior for a woman.

We've come to the point where any expression of male sexuality is assumed to be about rape. Is there any line people won't cross to find excuses to be upset?

The answer to speech one doesn't like should always, always, be more speech. Treating a pop song like its nuclear waste doesn't do these college students any favors. In fact, it does something very destructive. It tells them that they should empower other people to decide what messages they should be allowed to hear. That's a vile line as bold and clear as day and it should never be crossed.

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