We Take It Back: This Is the “Blurred Lines” Parody We Needed

Slate's Culture Blog
July 23 2013 1:04 PM

Wait, This Is the “Blurred Lines” Parody We Needed

If it hasn’t already made it to a course schedule, expect a gender studies class built entirely around Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” to appear very soon at a university near you. The parade of nearly naked ladies, silly props, and swaggering dudes continues to inspire critical parodies due to its objectification of women, even as it undoubtedly has those same critics tapping their toes along with its infectious hooks.

A few weeks ago, we covered gay porn company Helix Studios’ attempt at a take-down, which was essentially a light-hearted underwear party for twinks. But this week’s entry—from Seattle-based “boylesque” troupe Mod Carousel and their lady friends—is inarguably superior.


The boylesque version works so well because the gender roles are perfectly reversed. Here, the three gorgeous women—Caela Bailey, Sydni Devereux, and Dalisha Phillips, filling in for Thicke, Pharell, and T.I.—see the original boys’ swagger and raise it, treating the Mod Carousel performers with a palpably sultry gaze. Plus, the song’s lyrics are modified, but only just enough to make the switch work (e.g. “You’re the hottest dick in this place”). And thankfully, the playful spirit grasped for in the original video is better realized here—look for the push-up popsicle and lighthearted balloon wordplay to see what I mean.

On the video’s YouTube page, the performers wisely point out that most attempts at this kind of parodic gender-swapping “serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and [do] everyone a disservice.” The goal here, then, was to “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.”

If the suddenly steamy temperature of the Brow Beat office is any indication, success has been achieved.

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 2 2014 1:05 PM What's Wrong With "America's Ugliest Accent"
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 1:29 PM Want to Know What Makes David Fincher Great? Focus on What He Doesn’t Do.
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 1:22 PM If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would You Notice? What cyranoid experiments reveal about how people act.  
  Health & Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?