‘Blurred Lines’ Director Diane Martel Defends Banned Robin Thicke Video
Diane Martel, director of Robin Thicke’s controversial music video for Blurred Lines, has come forward to defend the video against claims of misogyny.
Blurred Lines features models dancing and walking around naked, and being grabbed forcefully by Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I. The explicit version of the video has been banned on YouTube – watch the unrated video here. The YouTube-approved version shows the models wearing barely anything more.
Many people have said that the video is inappropriate – it also suggests drug use and bestiality – and misogynistic, and Thicke has done little to alleviate that concern. “People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I'm like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before. I've always respected women,’” Thicke told GQ. “So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, 'Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.'"
Martel came more to the defense of the video than Thicke. She claimed that it was meant to be playful and taboo, but not degrading – in fact, she saw the women as the powerful ones in the video. “I wanted to deal with the misogynist, funny lyrics in a way where the girls were going to overpower the men. Look at Emily Ratajkowski’s performance; it’s very, very funny and subtly ridiculing. That’s what is fresh to me,” Martel said. It also forces the men to feel playful and not at all like predators. I directed the girls to look into the camera, this is very intentional and they do it most of the time; they are in the power position. I don’t think the video is sexist. The lyrics are ridiculous, the guys are silly as f***. That said, I respect women who are watching out for negative images in pop culture and who find the nudity offensive, but I find [the video] meta and playful.”
When told of Thicke’s comment that the video was intended to be derogatory, Martel dismissed it. “That’s crazy. Maybe he wasn’t thinking when he said that,” she said.
When it came to the video concept, Martel said that she was inspired by Helmut Newton’s work to create a bold music video with the white background Thicke wanted. “I love Helmut Newton and as I sat and thought about the ideas for what the girls could wear in the video, some images of his work came to mind. I realized they could wear … shoes. This would get some attention for the song and the artist,” she said. “The hashtag was a pretty obvious idea. I like that it’s hard to see what’s going on behind the graphics and a bit awkward. It sells Robin nicely. His [last] name is strong and I suppose it has subconscious connotations.”
Martel also recently directed Miley Cyrus’s bizarre new music video for her single We Can’t Stop. “Miley and I wanted to make a trippy, f***ed-up video that was like a giant selfie,” she said. “She and I loved the idea of her being over the top. Her ‘modeling’ is crazy, like what the f*** is she doing in this video?”
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