Pharell Williams has come to terms with the fact that his controversial hit “Blurred Lines” featuring Robin Thicke and T.I contains lyrics that are sexually aggressive and offends women. He had previously been distancing himself from all the rumours and uproar surrounding the song and has now openly admitted that the song offends women with its lyrics and innuendos.
The ‘Happy’ singer explained that he initially did not understand the buzz around the release of the song. “I didn’t get it at first. Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, ‘Wow.’ They would have me blushing.
Many feminists and critics were of the opinion that the songs title, lyrics and music video were normalizing sexual violence and predatory male behaviour. The song was claimed to be a cheap shot that would reflect on Pharell’s legacy in music. The act of Thicke whispering “you know you want it” repeatedly to a woman who denies wanting to have sexual intercourse with him raised many gender-based discredit and trolling by the female gender.
“So when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was, like, ‘What are you talking about?’ There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up. And ‘I know you want it’ — women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, what’s rapey about that?”
Although he had a tough time understanding the kind of reception the song received, he points out at that the lyrics ‘You know you want it’ actually is sensitive for the opposite gender. The song became a hit and was peaking at Number One among the charts in over 25 countries. The debate leading to whether the lyric ‘You know you want it’ ended up in many labelling it as ‘chauvinistic’ and ‘sexually aggressive’.
He further explains that, “Then I realised that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behaviour,” Pharrell explained. “Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, ‘Got it. I get it. Cool.’ My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel.
“Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too. I realised that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn’t realised that. Didn’t realise that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind.”
We don’t normally come across many such artists who admit to have been sexually aggressive, especially with their songs! Though late, Williams’ act of coming out in the open to admit to his mistake is a step towards taking accountability and bringing about a difference in the changing notion of masculinity in the society.