Blurred lines at College of Charleston

On Jan. 23, following President Obama’s announcement of a “task force” to curb the prevalence of sexual assaults on college campuses, College of Charleston’s Dean of Students sent an email to the student body addressing the issue at the local level. She announced that, as part of the College’s awareness campaign, a discussion of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” would be held Jan. 28. The pitch for the event featured a clear spin against the song:

“Are men suggesting there are ‘blurred lines’ when it comes to ‘sexual consent’?

Do women really tease?

Does this song promote the ‘rape culture’?

Join SCOPE as we discuss the most controversial song and video of 2013.”

A week later – and two days after the discussion – Dining Services, Athletics and Student Life hosted the Homecoming Pep Rally at Liberty Fresh Food Co. Music blasted through the cafeteria as students poured in to vote for their homecoming king and queen. Of the many songs played, one was “Blurred Lines.”

The contradiction reflects the underlying cultural conflict in modern American society. While a standard of ethics, morality and equality are publicly praised and sought after by institutions and individuals alike, they are also quickly put aside in favor of, in this case, what is on Billboard’s Hot 100. Such easy shrugs of belief exemplify the “culture of passivity and tolerance in this country,” as Valeria Jarett of the White House Council of Women and Girls put it – a culture that “too often allows [sexual violence] to persist.”

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