10 Songs Whose Sexual Politics Are More Troubling Than “Blurred Lines”

The controversy over Robin Thicke’s odious “Blurred Lines” is going to be one of those stories that just runs and runs, by the looks of it — just when everyone had started to forget about it, there was the whole VMAs debacle to remind everyone of the song’s unpleasant lyrics and general air of rapeyness. Apparently a student union in Edinburgh has banned the song completely, a move that raises all sorts of questions over the efficacy and ethics of censorship, but whether or not you support expunging it from the airwaves entirely, there’s no doubt that its take on sexual politics is thoroughly questionable. Still, there’s a whole lot of other songs you hear almost as often that are even more troubling. Like these ones, for instance.

The Rolling Stones — “Under My Thumb”

The age-old story of shrew-taming, conveniently set to a nice, catchy tune by Jagger, et al. The Stones’ career hasn’t exactly been light on questionable lyrical treatment of women — see also “Stupid Girl,” “Brown Sugar,” and the enduringly loathsome “Some Girls” — but this is the most egregious example of flat-out misogyny in their catalog, made all the worse by the smug self-satisfaction with which Jagger sings his boasts about the song’s unfortunate subject being under his thumb.