Feminist parody of Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' removed from YouTube for being 'inappropriate'

 

A feminist parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” – a song that has been accused of blurring the lines between consensual sex and rape – was briefly removed from YouTube yesterday, leaving its creators mystified.

“Defined Lines”, created by a bunch of University of Auckland law students, features three fully dressed women responding to the attentions of scantily clad men as they sing about sexism.

The video, which has been watched more than 450,000 times since it was posted three days ago, was removed from YouTube yesterday having been flagged by users as containing “inappropriate content”, but has now been restored.

The video’s creators, Olivia Lubbock, Zoe Ellwood and Adelaide Dunn, who call themselves the Law Revue girls, have described their efforts as “a bit of fun” with a positive message.

"We think that women should be treated equally, and as part of that, we're trying to address the culture of objectifying women in music videos," Lubbock told APP.

"It's just funny that the response has been so negative when you flip it around and objectify males," she added.

Lyrics from "Defined Lines" include “What you see on TV, doesn't speak equality, it's straight up misogyny" and the video shows men in their underwear with dog leashes around their necks being squirted with cream and having dollar bills stuffed into their pants.

Speaking of the YouTube ban, Lubbock said: “It’s been flagged by users as inappropriate because of sexual content and stuff like that, but the fact it’s been taken down is a massive double standard.

“My opinion is that people don’t like the message behind it. It was meant to be a comedic sketch, but we’re trying to address the culture of objectifying women in music videos. We think that women should be  treated equally.”

A screengrab from the 'Distinct Lines' video on YouTube A screengrab from the 'Distinct Lines' video on YouTube The video has now been restored to YouTube after the Law Revue girls appealed.

“Blurred Lines”, a single from R&B artist Robin Thicke’s album of the same name, has topped the charts across the globe, selling more than a million copies in the UK alone and spending more than 10 consecutive weeks at number one in America.

An early version of music video, released in March, featuring models Emily Ratajkowski, Jessi M'Bengue and Elle Evans topless, was removed from YouTube for violating its terms of service. Like the Law Revue video it was later restored but has been flagged as “inappropriate”.

Thicke has come into serious criticism from rape lobby groups over the lyrical content on “Blurred Lines” as well as for the video which shows Thicke and co-collaborators Pharrell Williams and T.I. (fully clothed) being attended by near-naked women (there are two versions, one topless – another with models in nude colour underwear).

The song, which includes the lyric “Nothing like your last guy/ He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that,” has been accused by Rape Crisis, a charity that raises awareness and understanding of sexual violence, of "reinforcing rape myths".

Rape Crisis spokeswoman Katie Russell said: "Both the lyrics and the video seem to objectify and degrade women, using misogynistic language and imagery that many people would find not only distasteful or offensive but also really quite old fashioned.

"More disturbingly, certain lyrics are explicitly sexually violent and appear to reinforce victim-blaming rape myths, for example about women giving 'mixed signals' through their dress or behaviour, saying 'no' when they really mean 'yes' and so on."

Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape Feminist blog The Vagenda branded the video “generally an orgy of female objectification”, while The Daily Beast’s Tricia Romano criticised the single as “kind of rapey”.

Referring to the song’s refrain, “I know you want it”, Romano said: “Call me a cynic, but that phrase does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity…Seriously, this song is disgusting- though admittedly very catchy.” 

In July Thicke, 36, called the criticism “ridiculous”, stating: “I can’t even dignify that with a response, that’s ridiculous."

In an interview with GQ magazine he claimed the video did not denigrate women “because all three [artists in the video] are happily married with children”.

“We were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this. 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,” he said.

“We just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go women and their bodies are beautiful, men are gonna want to follow them around.”

The New Zealand parody "Defined Lines" follows another take-off of "Blurred Lines" in July by Seattle’s Mod Carousel, which deliberately avoided a straight inversion of gender roles.

“It’s our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice," Mod Carousel said.

“We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light.”

A request for comment from YouTube's owner Google had not been returned at press time.

So why was the Blurred Lines feminist parody removed from YouTube?

Arts and Entertainment
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project