Stephen Estes

It’s Not Blurry.

I’ve heard the name “Blurred Lines” thrown around lately, and seeing that it has topped Billboard charts for a while, I looked it up and, unfortunately, listened to it. It does have an extremely catchy beat, and made me want to bust a move right there in my room.

But, then I read the lyrics . . .

This song could be the first thing I want to guard the entire public from more than Nicki Minaj (besides the entire genre of screamo music – sorry, personal opinion). However, given it’s place on the top music charts, I think that goal is a little hopeless.

The title itself is enough to make me uncomfortable. It sets the stage for the entire song which blatantly “blurs the lines” (yes, pun intended) between loving someone and using someone.

The track is about a girl who the singer apparently “knows” wants to have sex, but she won’t say it – so he tells her that’s what she wants and he goes on to call her an animal and portrays her as a thing to be used.

And we all know Miley Cyrus played right into the role of the woman in this song as she and Robin Thicke (the song’s artist) performed together at the VMA’s. To be honest, in the midst of this spectacle called a “music performance,” I felt bad for Miley. You see, people there were rejoicing . . . clapping, cheering, and waving their hands in the air . . . and when someone rejoices because of you, you feel good!

Yet, not a single person in the crowd, let alone the “men” on stage, were rejoicing in her dignity as a person. They weren’t rejoicing in her beauty as a daughter of God. They weren’t rejoicing in her as a woman to be respected and encouraged in living out holy femininity.

People were rejoicing because they saw her as an object to fulfill their disturbing desires for entertainment. Perhaps the mindset for this kind of rejoicing is reflected in a quote straight from Thicke about the song:

“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.’”

Wow . . . and this is the song that was nominated for Video of the Year, Best Male Video, Best Collaboration, and Best Song of the Summer.

Perhaps the saddest thing about this song is it simply makes explicit what is implicit in so many other songs in our culture. Beneath catchy beats that can make you bob your head in the car (or dance in front of a mirror while no one else is home), is a message that can make us want to throw up . . . if only we would actually pay attention.

So, if you’ve heard the song, we can learn valuable lessons about ourselves by correcting some of its errors; but, if you haven’t, don’t worry! These points can apply to most of music we hear on the radio.

1. Person or Animal?

The song says “you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature” but . . . you are a person! Not an animal!

To be a human is to be “someone” not just “something.” The word “person” actually exists because humans couldn’t simply be understood as a member of a species. Persons are distinct from even the most complex animals because of an inner, spiritual life.

When God created man, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). You do not just have a body, you have a soul connected with your body, and no other creature has this! (Not to mention God gave Adam dominion over the animals.) Mere animals only communicate with the physical world, but humans communicate with the physical and spiritual worlds – you are in a special relationship with God and have the honor of being in His image and likeness.

This means you were made with a tremendous amount of dignity! Every other creature is good only in relation to what they can provide persons, but persons are good in themselves. You were created out of love and deserve to be loved, nothing and no one can take that away.

2. Persons shouldn’t be used!

To “use” something means that object simply becomes a help in achieving a goal. For example, if I want toast, I use a toaster; but my goal is not the toaster’s good, it is for me to eat – the toaster is simply something I use to accomplish the goal of satisfying my hunger.

Our culture often encourages using others sexually to satisfy our own desires – but persons can never be treated as objects to be “used.” Using another degrades them to the level of a “thing.”

Love is the only acceptable response to a person. To “love” someone means to act for their good in the relationship, not using them for one’s own desires. You are a person who deserves to be loved and respected above the desires of anyone else.

3. Degrading Women is Degrading Men

Pope John Paul II said, “The dignity of every woman is the duty of every man.” It’s degrading to a man as well if he doesn’t uphold the dignity of women – that she is a person to be respected for her own sake, not simply for her “use” to him sexually.

When you treat a person as if they are simply an object for use, that means you are also saying that you, as a person, are also an object that can be used for someone else’s pleasure.

God created all people equal and commanded that we love others as ourselves (Luke 10:27). Loving another as oneself excludes the possibility of degrading them to the level of an object to be used, and upholds the idea that both persons should be loved for their own sake.

As I said before, this song does openly what so many popular songs do subtly – it tells us we are animals and that it’s okay to use each other for our own pleasure. But you aren’t merely an animal. You’re a person with dignity! You are a person who deserves to be loved, never used, and it is your duty never to use another. It’s our duty to love each other selflessly and purely.

But don’t look to MTV for an example of that kind of love.

Stephen Estes

About the Author

In middle school, people thought I would play baseball for the rest of my life. In high school, people thought I would be in detention for the rest of my life. In undergrad, no one had any clue what I would do for the rest of my life. Then I fell in love with Jesus and now I will try and make Him famous for the rest of my life. I speak, I write, and I make weird faces at people in public – they generally all get the same response. I come from St. Louis, but I now live in Steubenville and study theology at Franciscan University. I love reading, the outdoors, biking, playing music, and staring at the stars or water while thinking for abnormal amounts of time.