Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines [Feminist Parody] “Defined Lines”

In “Small Change:  Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted,” Malcolm Gladwell supposes that social media is not an effective platform for real activism.  The social media may make activism easier in some respects, but as he argues, in the end, it is less impactful than “traditional” forms of activism.  But with YouTube videos like this “Blurred Lines” parody (now at over 3,336,000 views), it is easy to refute Gladwell’s argument.  This parody is a feminist take on Robin Thicke’s recent hit, which has been criticized for its in-your-face sexism and celebration of what some might call “rape culture.”  The video “Defined Lines,” created by several Auckland University students, reverses the gender roles set up in the original video by objectifying the male background dancers.  By reversing such gender roles, the video highlights how American culture objectifies women.  According to an article in The Huffington Post(”> ), the parody was briefly removed from YouTube for its explicit sexual content, even though the original video arguably contains more sexualized images.  More importantly, the parody, and public response to it, exemplifies just how impactful something as seemingly trivial as a student project posted to YouTube can be.  Would Gladwell call this “real” activism?  Probably not.  But it is difficult to argue with the fact that a video like this–viewed by millions–can be an important first step in not only highlighting gender inequality, but also in calling people to publically protest the potentially dangerous images spread by the media.  It may not be an example of what Gladwell calls “high-risk” activism, but impactful?  A definite yes!
STUDENTS: Do you agree or disagree with Gladwell’s point that social media cannot lead to real change?  Provide at least one example, and a 250-500 word analysis, to support your point. Please categorize your post under “The Media and Social Activism.” DUE: Mon, May 07

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