So we all heard the news. Ben Affleck will play the new Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequal. Affleck is obviously getting a lot of heat about it. My problem is not so much with Affleck as much as it is about the break in continuity.

I am a huge Ben Affleck fan. I have followed him since his "Mallrats" days and his spew of Kevin Smith films. He didn't stand out to me as a major talent though, until he stepped into the Director's chair. His film "Gone Baby Gone" is one of my favorites and most brilliantly directed. Affleck excels when he is behind the camera. "Argo" is his masterpiece, his "Beautiful Mind". Now, Affleck joins the ranks of West, Kilmer, Bale and his good friend Clooney as Batman. Is this is a wise move? Affleck should be moving forward not backwards. Clooney was Batman long before he started directing amazing pieces like "Good Night and Good Luck".

Superhero roles are not new to Affleck. He has played Superman and Daredevil in the past. 

The two challenges I forsee in this film for Affleck is that he is not going to be behind the camera and his last superhero film flopped. Affleck as Daredevil was a huge mistake and the film was poorly written and directed. Daredevil didn't fit Affleck as much as Bruce Wayne will. Especially if the goal for this next Superman/Batman film is to have an older and wiser Wayne to mentor Henry Cavill's Superman character.

While I don't think that Affleck would make a great Batman, my major concern is the break of continuity in DC's attempt to build the Justice League on screen. After eight years of Christian Bale, it throws a monkey wrench in the story structure. Bale probably wanted out due to typecasting, but I'm sure they could have worked a new contract for a few more films. With Marvel's success at casting the perfect superheroes for the Avengers, DC keeps falling short. Ryan Reynolds couldn't cut it as Green Lantern, Brandon Routh couldn't hold together Superman Returns, and let's not discuss Catwoman.

I appreciate the attempt, but continuity is key to a successful Justice League film. Why? Here is my theory...Television. Yup, the key is television. We are living in a generation of amazing television characters who capture and maintain our attention season after season. Most of these shows are shot like short films each episode. Walking Dead anyone?
The continuity of television characters like Don Draper from Mad Men and Walter White from Breaking Bad have given the audience a chance to experience a character's life in full spectrum over time.

Film sequels must step up and do the same now. Otherwise they risk flopping at the box office. We as an audience are expecting to see the same actor, but a transformation in character. We cannot handle the same character constantly changing its actor. (James Bond is an exception because each new actor creates a new series of 007 films creating their own trilogys per say) It breaks continuity and makes us not care about the character or film. I believe Affleck will do a good job as Bruce Wayne, Im  not so sure as Batman. The success of this film is going to be in the script and the continuity of the characters already created in Man of Steel. They have to make Batman a side character in this new film and not a lead. If Batman is in the film as a side character it will give us time to adjust to Affleck, but if they throw him in as a lead I can almost guarantee a flop.

My other suggestion would be to let Affleck direct. There would be a major shift in the story, for the better.

The "Blurred Lines" of Misogyny

The Song

There is no disputing that Robin Thicke's hit song "Blurred Lines" is catchy. You will find yourself repeating the phrases "Hey Hey Hey" and "You know you want it" all day long. It gets stuck in your head like a TV jingle. Easily, it has become the 2013 summer anthem. Whether you're grooving to the bass line or singing along, you have to agree it's simply a fun song and there's nothing wrong with fun right?...not the band, the noun (not that there is anything wrong with the band either). 

However, if a song is simply fun and catchy, is it okay to ignore it's content? 

"Blurred Lines" makes a bold statement when it comes to female objectification. A statement that almost gets ignored because of the musical intrigue of the song.
CHALLENGE: Read these lyrics to your mother!
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain't bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two

Did you get slapped?

The song is called "Blurred Lines" referring to the apparent miss-read signals that women give off to men.
"I know you want it!"
The "blurred lines" however, are not about miss-communication, but about the frequently crossed line between feminine dignity and misogyny. Throughout the song, women are degraded; referred to as bitches and animals who need to be unleashed. The song represents complete male domination over women. Why is this acceptable? Because it's fun to sing? I'm not as surprised by the song's content as much as I am surprised by public's embrace of it.

The Song has been listed on 19 worldwide music charts for  a total of 317 weeks and reached its peak as number 1 on 15 of them.

If you're thinking, "It's just a song, come on" then let me tell you a story.

During our honeymoon in 2010 my wife, Laura Brennan, and I went to an all-inclusive Resort. I will never forget the one night they hosted Karaoke. We arrived, signed up for a few songs (my wife did...I cannot sing) and waited. These two little girls, probably 10 years old, got up to sing a song before her. We thought how cute of a duet this was going to be. The song started and out came the lyrics from their mouths:

"With a taste of your lips, I'm on a ride
You're toxic, I'm slippin' under
With a taste of a poison paradise
I'm addicted to you, don't you know that you're toxic?
Intoxicate me now
With your lovin' now
I think I'm ready now"

We just stared in shock. I never really paid attention to the lyrics of Britney Spears' "Toxic" until I heard it sung by two 10 year old girls. Songs are powerful, they act as time machines to happy moments in you life. They can also bring up painful memories, as seen in my short film Eventually Ends, when a young kid is haunted by the song playing on the radio the day he witnessed his mother's murder. Songs have meaning and purpose. Thicke told the Today Show that his intentions were pure when writing the song.

"The idea was when we made this song, we had nothing but the most respect for women. I mean, I've been with the same woman since I was a teenager. For us, we were just trying to make a funny song and sometimes the lyrics can get misconstrued when you're just trying to put people on the dance floor and have a good time. We had no idea that it would stir this much controversy. We only had the best intentions."
Yet, someone wrote the lyrics. These images came to mind when writing them and misogyny is what has been passed "to put people on the dance floor". Lyrical content is what it is, but we don't have to settle for it because it's a fun song.  

The Video

Now the "Blurred Lines" music video is it's own misogynistic monster that all women should be inspired to ban, especially the unrated version which features three attractive models prancing around topless.Nudity is natural and beautiful, but when promoted to arouse lust rather than love it can actually be very damaging, especially to the women objectified --Yes, even if the woman has consented to it.
(For the record, Thicke did mention that he never wanted to release the unrated video, but his wife convinced him to, yet he admitted to being drunk while filming the video.)

"'I showed up, I drank some vodka and I left,' Robin, 36, told Nick Grimshaw, 33, and Greg James, 27, on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. 'I was absolutely drunk."
There are only a few short points I will make about the music video: The Models and the Good Girl Fantasy

The Models

Models Emily Ratajkowski, Jessi M,Benque, and Elle Evans all stated that they were happy to be a part of the video. It sure has been a stepping stone for them since there twitter followers have increased tremendously since the launch of the video and I'm sure has brought in more modeling business for them. At what cost? Look at some of the images from the video that these women have agreed to do. You will see a strong case for objectification.

Emily Ratajkowski's "doggy style" sex position screams of disrespect. Her head thrusted down and her butt pushed up with a model car rolling down her back is like a male fantasy. The expensive car and the hot woman doing whatever the man pleases...The idea is that men have the right to ride women, control them, and use them. They are seen as objects, just like the car. 
Female Objectifcation Case #1 

Elle Evans poses with a lamb as Pharell and Thicke sing "You're the hottest bitch in this place." Elle is treated as an animal, but more importantly a lamb. Lambs are known to be submissive, allowing themselves to be slaughtered without putting up a fight. This is another visual statement about women allowing themselves to be dominated by men, "I'ts in your nature."
Female Objectifcation Case #2

Model Jessi M,Benque nude on the bicycle with Pharell tugging at her hair like she is his pet. The entire video showcases women as sexual objects by focusing on their bodies, not on their personalities, character, or feminine dignity.
Female Objectifcation Case #3

The Good Girl Fantasy

The song's chorus says "And that's why I'm gon' take a good girl. I know you want it." The Good Girl Fantasy is one of those fantasy's men have about "liberating" a "good girl" who has been sexually repressed. Turning a good girl into a bad girl, per say. Let's look at the two different kinds of "good girls" men obsess over.

Good Girl #1 A girl who has been told that sex is bad and she should never engage in it or think about it because she is going to hell. A girl who had to repress all of her sexual feelings because she was forced to do so by her parents, who were probably active in a Christian church. This is the good girl men fantasy's about "liberating" them from their repressed religious life, the Catholic school girl who needs to be turned bad to become her true self.

Good Girl #2  A woman who recognizes her self worth, holds her dignity higher than any job, friendship, or relationship. A woman who understands sex and is not afraid to talk about it. A woman who loves and respects herself. A woman who is comfortable with her body and understands that it is sacred, life-giving, and much more than an object.

The Good Girl Fantasy is really aimed at the second, but cannot win over these women because they know they hold the true power in teaching men about their own dignity. Men will go as far as women let them. The Good Girl fantasy, unfortunately is a reality that men use to win over uneducated girls who are confused about their own worth and beauty.

The "Blurred Lines" video attempts to take a Good Girl in the eyes of the media, Emily Ratajkowski, who played Tasha from the kid's show iCarly and sexualize her. The risk is that many teen boys who watched iCarly may no longer look at this actress with purity again, unless they have been educated in authentic love and not use. (This is not a commentary on nude modeling, it's a commentary on nudity that objectifies women and strips them of their own womanhood.)

Yes, "Blurred Lines" is a musically intriguing song with an entrancing base line to groove too, but it is filled with objectifying lyrics. The video is no better. It degrades women with subtle visuals that pass by the casual observer and it destroys the dignity of three beautiful women who pose nude for no apparent or artistic reason.

Despite how catchy a song is, we cannot give it praise if it's content destroys the dignity of the human person. 

What the song represents should be a wake up call for all men and women. Men, we cannot allow the dignity of any woman to be destroyed by our own lust for domination and power of gender. Women, your dignity is everything, it encapsulates your gravitating beauty. You need to remind every man of that by the boundaries and expectations you set.

Actress/Comedienne, Melinda Hughes, shot a parody video of "Blurred Lines" from the feminist perspective. It's a great response and her full article on the music video itself is linked below. Enjoy!

Melinda Hughes - Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' Gets Feminist Response It Deserves
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