Pharrell said the “Blurred Lines” backlash opened his eyes to our chauvinist culture

If you’ve listened to the radio or been on the dance floor at a wedding since 2013, you’ve likely bopped along to “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell Williams. But the hit song (and its suggestive music video) has been mired in controversy ever since its release. Beneath the catchy beat lie some lyrics that are questionable at best and misogynistic at worst.

In a new interview with GQ, Pharrell revealed that he’s “embarrassed” by “Blurred Lines,” and that he would “never write or sing” the song today.

When discussing our culture of toxic masculinity, the producer talked about some of his old songs that “objectify women,” telling GQ, “Some of my old songs, I would never write or sing today. I get embarrassed by some of that stuff. It just took a lot of time and growth to get to that place.”

"I think 'Blurred Lines' opened me up," he told the magazine. "I didn't get it at first. Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, wow. They would have me blushing. So when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was, like, What are you talking about? There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up."

He then directly addressed the song’s problematic lyrics and said that what matters is how those lyrics affect women.

“And ‘I know you want it’—women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, What’s ‘rapey’ about that?” he said. “And then I realized that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behavior. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women.”

He added, “My mind opened up to what was actually being said in the song and how it could make someone feel. Even though it wasn’t the majority, it didn’t matter. I cared what they were feeling too. I realized that we live in a chauvinist culture in our country. Hadn’t realized that. Didn’t realize that some of my songs catered to that. So that blew my mind.”

We’re glad to see that Pharrell learned exactly why song lyrics such as those in “Blurred Lines” can be troubling and help contribute to a culture that demeans and objectifies women, and we’re happy to hear that he has spoken out against it. Here’s hoping that his words (and future music!) help move the needle in a better direction.

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