Robin Thicke's "Burred Lines" video has been called sexist by many for it's scantily clad ladies and objectification of the female form; but talk is cheap. Finally, there is a little bit of action behind all the criticism. Seattle-based boylesque troupe, Mod Carousel, did the "Blurred Lines" dance, but switched the gender roles. Instead of half naked women, we now have half naked men.
The music video for Robin Thicke's hit is one of the most popular of the summer, but it is also one of the most controversial. The video — featuring Thicke and artists Pharell and T.I. dancing fully-dressed around three nearly-nude women (they wear sneakers and flesh-colored thongs), has gotten slack from those who claim that Thicke is objectifying women rather than creating art.
Many have denounced Thicke's video for being overtly sexist and even demeaning. It is not the nude content but the way in which the naked models are portrayed — like mere objects without agency or voices — that has offended opponents and caused people to go so far as to call the video "rapey." The video has been criticized for reinforcing a status quo where men are the actors who dominate the scene, whereas women are passive objects to be admired.
Mod Carousel's parody video, which the Huffington Post called "clever, thought-provoking and very sexy," is making quite a statement. The video features three female stand-ins for Thicke, Pharell, and T.I, clad in suits singing the vocals while the three original Mod Carousel actors, naked except for their nude-colored thongs, take the place of the female models.
The boylesque group even changed some of Thicke's original lyrics: "I'm going to take a good boy," says one of the singers.
Mod Carousel issued a statement to accompany their YouTube parody:
"It's our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and does everyone a disservice," the group explains. "We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions."
Lindy West from the feminist blog Jezebel praised the spoof, calling it "pretty amazing" and commending Mod Carousel's philosophy behind their creation. "Love it," she added.
At the same time, the parody has received some unfavorable reviews. The members of Mod Carousel wear full makeup and prance gleefully, which has lead some to claim that "there's a big difference between looking ridiculous and looking utterly powerless."
Mod Carousel deserves praise for their bold attempt to overturn gender stereotypes and recreate the balance of power between male and females. Rather than joining the ensemble of those who vapidly criticize Thicke's music video, Mod Carousel has taken action. Two days after the parody was posted on July 21, Mod Carousel has already reeled in over 30,000 viewers and plenty of attention from the media. Actions speak louder than words, after all.