Ugh. I know that It should now be expected that “artists” are going to keep pushing the envelope while also simplifying production to create music videos, which were, before 1980 more or less promotional films. Cut to Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell parading around with three topless models in thongs. Let me also remind you that Thicke is 36, T.I. is 32, and Pharrell, well he just turned 40! Meanwhile the girls, Emily Ratajkowski, Elle Evens, and Jessi M’Bengue are 21, 23, and 23, respectively. The video has potential to be a fun, quirky, raunchy-in-an-ironic way three minute montage. However, it’s rather disturbing. I wouldn’t say it’s rapey like others have claimed but I’m sure Gloria Steinem is PISSED.
Here are my issues:
1. Tacky innuendoes. See: the stop sign on Emily’s butt. The not so subtle balloon wall of “Robin Thicke has a big dick.” Even the slow transitions just kill me. If you’re gonna make it skanky, at least execute it immaculately.
2. BOOBIES EVERYWHERE. Oh but they have nude thongs on so it’s cool? Not really. The men are fully clothed. It’s like they’re in a strip club, and again, not in a good way.
3. The girls are acting like idiotic zombies. Just because you’re hot doesn’t mean your job is to just stand there, dance, and shake your tits.
4. It’s too vague. If you’re going for something, specify. Otherwise you end up with Miley Cyrus syndrome aka a bunch of kitschy crap strung together with some industry a-hole’s vision of “something new.” This ties into my second point, I’m just not convinced they need to be shirtless. Dare I say it’s…unsexy?
5. It’s poorly done. Let’s be real, it’s a post recession economy so simplifying to cut costs make sense. It’s a white background. With a few props. They obviously didn’t have to spend more than $100 on underwear (nice thongs are expensive, you know) and I’m sure they didn’t pay the girls too too too much because being in a video with those dudes works as bait for stardom, but what irks me is how it’s a sort of ripoff of a Terry Richardson shoot. And a bad one at that.
6. Oh yeah, that whole feminism thing. As my mom said when we watched the video together, “Women should be PISSED about this,” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s basically a giant f*** you to everything our mothers fought for. By throwing ourselves back into helpless, sexual dolls (not the empowered, power-houses a la Rita, Betty, Pam, and Liz, hell I guess I’ll throw in Angelina, Sharon, and Halle too), we’re saying thanks but no thanks to the huge gains achieved by women to become equals over the last century. There is always a way to be a bombshell and a threat; didn’t the helpless, prepubescent waif thing die in 1999 with the discovery of Britney and Beyonce? Not that they didn’t work the whole sexual teenager angle but it was at least with a power-wielding, pseudo-feminist attitude and they both grew up to stand as icons rather than (just) objects.
Basically, I’m just grossed out by the video. And listen, I love me some boobies. I modeled. I get it. It just made me really uncomfortable for them. Probably because I’ve been on so many shoots that I can visualize how many people are standing around behind the camera instructing these girls like puppets. Again it’s not that it’s rapey, but it borders on porny. The only way it could be worse is if they didn’t have their thongs, but that’s not saying much. I wish Paula Patton was pissed. Thicke’s mom contradictorily said, “You don’t live with Paula Patton if you don’t respect women, ’cause you won’t keep a woman like Paula Patton!” in response to the video backlash, which really makes me wonder why Paula seems passive by supporting the garbage her husband partakes in. Like the VMA’s…but let’s not go there. Ever. Again.