Banning Blurred Lines: Why Censorship shouldn’t come into it

 

THE ARGUMENT surrounding a Blurred Lines referendum will not be on the backwards chauvinism of the song itself, which is the most tragic thing about the news of a coming Guild vote on it.

I think anyone with half a brain can see that the video is degrading – the women are valued purely for their bodies whilst the men are in suits. This, combined with rapey (and frankly unimaginative) lyrics, leaves us with a tone so indefensible it has been parodied and openly mocked in the media with great success.

What separates ‘Blurred Lines’ from the run of the mill sexism we see in other genres (yes, I’m looking at you 90’s rap) is the staying power of the song. The infectious beat has kept the song in our heads and in the charts for months, fuelled by a media storm over the sexism. Ironically, the storm probably only alerted pubescent teens to the existence of near-pornography on YouTube, ensuring a longer chart run.

I think everyone can agree that the beat and bassline are great, but the song and video are too disgusting to tolerate in this day and age. Therefore the song is sexist and banning it from campus is a logical statement about chauvinists – more important than the Lemmy playlist. That’s that, then.

Sadly it isn’t, because as with any debate involving a media of any kind being banned, the debate will turn into one of censorship vs no censorship, blurring the lines the debate started on (I’m sorry, it was there, I had to). People will be divided by the issue of free speech, rather than encouraged to vote in line with the argument the referendum hopes to explore. I implore any of you reading this article to vote according to your views on the sexism of the song (or otherwise), and remember that we are a student union.

Student unions have been a fantastic vehicle for change for decades, as votes like this remain one of the best ways to have our demographic heard. Do we really want to be known as the University that heard the song and thought “Yeah, that seems like a healthy attitude” ? Because that’s how we’ll seem, politicians and the music industry won’t look at the debate, only the outcome. Besides, even if ‘Blurred Lines’ is banned on campus, I’m relatively certain it won’t be banned nationwide. The fun police won’t come and stomp on your iPod for jogging to it in the gym.

The fact of the matter is, no one outside campus is going to give a shit whether we ban it from Guild venues or not, so bringing a freedom of speech argument into this debate is ridiculous. So please, ban the song, stand against shallow gender portrayals and don’t start to think you’re in Westminster – it’s just the Lemmy.

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Author: Louis Doré

Freelance Journalist studying at City University, London on MA Newspaper Journalism.

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