A feminist parody of Robin Thicke’s controversial hit “Blurred Lines” has gone viral on YouTube after being briefly banned from the video-sharing website for being too raunchy.
The spoof by three Auckland University law students titled “Defined Lines” satirises Thicke’s song with a music video that uses bare-chested males in submissive poses, instead of the topless female models featured in the original version.
The clip posted by the Auckland Law Review has racked up almost 600,000 hits on YouTube and with reposts from other users is approaching the one million mark.
The number of views has almost doubled since the video was pulled from the website on Monday for “sexually inappropriate content”, then allowed back up less than 24 hours later after YouTube admitted it had made a mistake.
Thicke’s song contains the refrain “I hate these blurred lines/ I know you want it” and has been condemned by critics who say the lyrics refer to the issue of sexual consent.
It gained further notoriety when Miley Cyrus sang it with Thicke at last week’s MTV awards, accompanied by gyrating “twerking” dance moves from the former Disney child star.
The New Zealand parody takes aim at pop videos that objectify women, with students Zoe Ellwood, Olivia Lubbock and Adelaide Dunn singing: “What you see on TV/ Doesn’t speak equality/ It’s straight up misogyny.”
Rather than playing up to the air-headed female stereotypes often seen in music videos, the trio proudly declare “We are scholastic/ Smart and sarcastic” and urge listeners to “resist chauvinism”.
“The message really is just that we think that women should be treated equally, and as part of that, we’re trying to address the culture of objectifying women in music videos,” Lubbock told New Zealand Newswire.
She said she was surprised when the video was taken down.
Thicke’s video, complete with topless cavorting models, remains on the website and has more than 17 million hits, with users needing to sign in to verify their age before viewing it.
“It’s just funny that the response has been so negative when you flip it around and objectify males,” Lubbock said.
She was not the only one nonplussed at the decision to remove the video, with British author Caitlin Moran pointing out the inconsistency of banning it for alleged indecency while leaving Thicke’s video online.
“Can’t. Take. The. Irony,” she tweeted.
YouTube conceded it had made a mistake.
“With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” it said in a statement.
“When it’s brought to our attention that a video or account has been mistakenly removed or suspended, we act quickly to reinstate it.”