Blurred Lines and Social Boundaries

2013-08-01 13:06

One of my best friends once asked me for my advice concerning a woman he was interested in dating. He told me that she returned his feelings and the chemistry between them was strong. She was the ex girlfriend of  his old friend, and because of this he wasn't sure if it would be appropriate to ask her out, fearing that it would possibly violate some friendship code of conduct.

"Well how long has it been since she broke up from your friend?" I asked

"Some five years ago. He's in another country now and I haven't even spoken to him in nearly two years," was his reply.

Being one to find certain social boundaries a little silly, especially when they interfere with the actions of two people who are genuinely keen on each other, I instantly gave him my blessing to put himself out there. If the break-up had taken place a short time ago I would've cautioned him to wait it out. But come now, five years? An event so far in the past should never dictate a person's dating possibilities.

I perceive this type of social boundary, and its similar cousins as blurred lines.

A few years ago I shared a mutual attraction with a man who had just come out of a relationship.  I had first met him and his ex when they were still romantically involved, so because of this, my friends advised me to steer clear. Eventually I went against the council of my peers, and satisfied my wild passions. This of course resulted in a whirl-wind of drama. Wishing to put a stop to the social turbulence I told him we needed to end our fling......but he knew  what I really wanted for myself.

Couldn't that type of social pressure which interfered with our mutual lust also be considered a "blurred line" ?

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding Robin Thicke's hit single "Blurred Lines". As a feminist, I took the time to consider the arguments presented both in favour of and against the supposed message of the song.

Although those who have spoken out against it have done so with the best intentions, I feel that many of the critics have narrowed their view-points down to one aspect of social interaction, without really taking the thoughts and desires of female individuals into consideration.

Yes I agree that some of the lyrics are very direct and hardcore. I personally would not like something to tear my ass in two, but I have met women who are into that sort of thing.  I  think it's unfair to dismiss  that some women genuinely enjoy their bodies and sexual exploration, just because others believe such personalities to be subjected to male objectification.

I have made  conscious decisions to immerse myself in unconventional  experiences just to satisfy my curiosity. So I think it's a little arrogant to assume that all women are somehow above the raunchiness and crudity of sex. It is this belief which exalts some women as beacons of femininity and shames others as sluts.

Just yesterday I stumbled across a debate on facebook  which had resulted from an interview with Robin Thicke on the "Today" show where he attempted to set the record straight.

As expected, most of the participants damned the song as "disrespectful" and even "rapey". However there was one critical comment which hit me:

"I'm saying that women endorsing sexist behaviour doesn't make it any less sexist."

This was a bit of an insult to me, because I do not consider the demolition of unnecessary social boundaries to be sexist behaviour. Why? Because I, as a woman, do it myself.

Some may argue that social boundaries are set in place to keep men and women from invading personal space. I agree to an extent.

Male entitlement is something which is very prevalent in the world and I do believe that there are men who could use some schooling on social interaction. When a man Smacks a woman's ass before he introduces himself, he is invading her space before she has been given a fair chance to assess him as a person. Personal space should never be considered a blurred line.

There have been many occasions in my life where I had to let a man know that I was not physically attracted to him. I provided concrete evidence to support my claim (such as hooking up with someone else who I did find attractive). If he persisted in the hopes that someday he'd get lucky, I cut ties with him, end of story.

But if there is an unspoken, social rule, whether it be peer pressure or a bro code, which interferes with a genuine and mutual attraction between two people, then I say "screw that rule"!

It's all about knowing the difference between whether a person is refusing for themselves, or if there is outside pressure which is influencing the situation. Because this can not be determined until such time as a consensual union, hence the term "Blurred Lines".

Has anyone ever stopped to consider that maybe Robin Thicke is putting the message out there that he's so sick and tired of these blurred lines and would prefer to be told straight what the deal is?

I know I prefer to be told directly what a person's intentions and desires are. I've also grown frustrated with men who expressed a strong desire for me, but then flatly refused my advances on account of vague excuses. I'd rather a person tell me that I look like Shrek, rather then build me up and string me along only to turn me down later.

While everyone is busy having a piss fit about "Blurred lines" all I can hear is "That man is not your maker", which to me translates into "We are equal, think for yourself and don't let outside pressure influence your desires."

It applies to the woman who feels a strong desire to flaunt her sexuality, but is afraid of doing so because she may be perceived as a slut or a subject of male objectification.

It could also go for a woman who may feel like she owes a man her body after he relentlessly offers to buy her jewellery and pay for her drinks at a club. That man is not your maker, do whatever the hell you want, even if it means making it clear to him that you're not a trophy he can buy off!

I will not be one to speak for Robin Thicke's motives behind his song, but I too am sick and tired of these blurred lines.

Women, you have the freedom to indulge in whatever pleases you, even if others may judge your actions. If  men hit on you, and you do not share their intentions, you are well within your rights to say "no". There's no need to be concerned about their feelings because they are not a basket cases.

And men, if you feel that women may be attracted to you, but have not yet received a confirmation, then ask the blunt question. If women say "no", then you are not their makers and therefore have no right to assume what their true desires are. Those things generally have a way of revealing themselves in time.

Bottom line, I think this song could encourage more open and candid communication between men and women, if people would only learn to acknowledge the bigger picture. No one should ever be afraid to respectfully express their true desires and dispel the myths which have been created by popular stigmas and social boundaries.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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