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Jebb Graff
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Open letter to +Target.

I happened to notice this sweatshirt in the girls department of my local Target this evening,1/21/14, while clothes shopping with my 13 year old daughter. I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing.

I'd like to ask you, Target: What's your reasoning, here, exactly? Unless you keep your buyers under very large rocks (and I sincerely hope that is not the case, as it would mean you've got much larger problems than "just" data exposure and (with this shirt) lolitaification-by-logo of young girls), they are aware that the phrase "blurred lines" recently skyrocketed in association with the Robin Thicke song of the same name, after his now-infamous performance with Miley Cyrus.

Many people much more eloquent than I have written many opinion pieces on the song's messages of misogyny, issues of consent, abuse of power, and so on, so I won't try to restate them all here. What I will say is this: Had I stumbled upon such a shirt in, say, the Juniors section - one intended for young women who are not children - I probably wouldn't be writing to you today. Granted, marketing a shirt like this to, say, 18 year olds? It could still be considered taaaaasteless, but I do grok the entertainment of shock value enjoyed by teenagers since, best I can figure, teenagers first existed.

No, Target, I don't contest this or ANY music as art; it's a magnificent form of creative expression and Mr. Thicke/his label have every right to produce his art and make it available to be purchased by those who enjoy it. Hey, I think the song in question is catchy, myself, but I'm about to turn 40 and in those years have come to possess the necessary critical thinking skills to differentiate between smarmy singers and the realities of being a woman with the life experience to understand navigating (and avoiding) situations like those described in the song. It's this subjective nature of art which allows the term to be applied to all kinds of things from singing, painting, knitting, baking, or creating craft beer; all can be considered art forms. A big ol' "BUT" has to follow that statement, however: Art is subjective, BUT! Not all art is suitable to be appreciated by people of all ages. Pulp Fiction? Great film... just not for ten-year-olds. 50 Shades of Grey? Took the country by storm, but I haven't (yet?) managed to run across shirts for 6-year-olds bearing handcuff art and "50 SHADES OF YES PLEASE" or some such on the front.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down, Target?

Blurred Lines, the album of the same name as the song, carries a Parental Advisory label which is affixed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to audio recordings in the United States containing excessive use of profane language and/or sexual references. It's a heads up for us parents to take a look at what our kids are into, and an opportunity to talk with and help them learn to make healthy choices.

Aiming a shirt with the BLURRED LINES message - and zero frame of reference - at girls 12 and under? It's gross, to be sure, but what message does it send to these little girls, and to the people reading it on the chest of a child? The song itself refers to women as animals; as bitches. It goes so far as to suggest that women deserve something "big enough to tear that ass in two", and, just for good measure, the refrain of date rapists everywhere: "I know you want it".

These are little girls, Target. "Blurred Lines" + My Little Pony on a shirt made to fit the average 4th grader. Just... what the hell are you thinking? Are you even thinking at all?

Jennifer Bailey Bergen

For reference, the full lyrics:
"Blurred Lines"
(feat. T.I. & Pharrell Williams)

[Intro: Pharrell]
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

[Verse 1: Robin Thicke]
If you can't hear what I'm trying to say
If you can't read from the same page
Maybe I'm going deaf,
Maybe I'm going blind
Maybe I'm out of my mind
[Pharrell:] Everybody get up

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you're an animal, baby, it's in your nature
Just let me liberate you
Hey, hey, hey
You don't need no papers
Hey, hey, hey
That man is not your maker

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you're a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me
[Pharrell:] Everybody get up

[Verse 2: Robin Thicke]
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place
I feel so lucky
Hey, hey, hey
You wanna hug me
Hey, hey, hey
What rhymes with hug me?
Hey, hey, hey

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you're an animal, baby it's in your nature
Just let me liberate you
Hey, hey, hey
You don't need no papers
Hey, hey, hey
That man is not your maker
Hey, hey, hey

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]
And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
[Pharrell:] Everybody get up
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I hate them lines
I know you want it
I hate them lines
I know you want it
But you're a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

[Verse 3: T.I.]
One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain't bad as you
So hit me up when you pass through
I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it's almost unbearable
In a hundred years not dare, would I
Pull a Pharside let you pass me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don't smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn't pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin'
I'm a nice guy, but don't get it if you get with me

[Bridge: Robin Thicke]
Shake the vibe, get down, get up
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don't like work?

[Pre-chorus: Robin Thicke]
Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me, Dakota to Decatur, uh huh
No more pretending
Hey, hey, hey
Cause now you winning
Hey, hey, hey
Here's our beginning

[Chorus: Robin Thicke]
I always wanted a good girl
(Pharrell: Everybody get up)
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
(Pharrell: Everybody get up)
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you're a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

[Outro: Pharrell]
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
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