Dear son, don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you

***Update, August 1: In response to the thousands of people who, after reading this entire post, decided to harp on one single phrase (“I’m no feminist”), I wrote this. If you want to know how I can say all the things I say here, yet still reject “feminism,” click the link and I’ll explain. Otherwise, carry on. Thanks for stopping by.

Our country dangles on the precipice of starting a third World War. We are on the verge of a completely unnecessary conflict where the United States will fight along side Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This, in another day and age, might earn the crown as the Most Controversial Story of the Week. But we’re in the year 2013, and this is America, so a young pop star’s dance moves on an MTV awards show have predictably overshadowed the prospect of global chaos and bloodshed. I wrote about Cyrusgate myself, simply making the rather obvious point that pornographic sexual degradation and confusion are interwoven into virtually every facet of our society, so it’s a bit absurd to randomly erupt with shock and outrage at one comparatively minor manifestation of our collective cultural rot.

Yet the backlash continues, with most of the commentary — including my own — about, or directed at, Miley Cyrus. But she was joined on stage that fateful evening by another pop star: a grown man by the name of Robin Thicke. While Cyrus twerked against his crotch, he sang his hit song “Blurred Lines.” This little ditty — along with being vapid, stupid, and incredibly grating — is an anthem to fornication and objectification. Check out a few of the poetic lines from this classy number:

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you

I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted

What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place
I feel so lucky
Hey, hey, hey
You wanna hug me

Seriously, only morons listen to garbage like this. Really.

In any case, this gives you an idea of the full scene: A 36 year old married man and father, grinding against an intoxicated 20 year old while singing about how she’s an “animal” and the “hottest bitch in this place.” And what happens the next day? We’re all boycotting the 20 year old. The grown man gets a pass.

Now I’m beginning to understand why that judge in Montana gave a teacher a 30 day jail sentence after he was convicted of raping a 14 year old girl, who later killed herself because of the psychological trauma caused by being sexually victimized by a 50 year old man. The esteemed judge actually justified giving a child rapist a punishment usually handed down to serial parking ticket violators, by saying the young child was “older than her chronological age,” and it wasn’t so bad because it wasn’t “forcible beat-up rape.”

This guy must be a Robin Thicke fan.

I’m no feminist. Miley Cyrus is an adult and should be held responsible for her actions. But where are the men in all of this? Have we so completely given up on chivalry that we don’t even see what’s troubling about a GROWN ASS MARRIED DUDE singing a song about sexual domination while dry humping a young woman on national TV? Men in this culture need to stand up and be leaders. I don’t want to talk about the Miley Cyruses of the world. Enough is said about them. I want to talk about the legions of cowardly, amoral adult men who graduate college and still carry on like frat boys well into their 60’s. The girls that behave like Miley Cyrus do so because they want to attract men. And it works.

It shouldn’t.

A few days ago a mom blogger wrote a letter to her daughter entitled “Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you.” Well, I have a daughter, and I echo this woman’s sentiments. But I also have a son, and I don’t want the boys to get off the hook here. My little man isn’t old enough to read yet, but one day he will be, and one day I’ll give him this letter. I don’t know if he’ll get the Robin Thicke reference at that point, but the message, I suspect, will still be urgent and relevant:

Dear son,

Don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you.

Don’t let any of these pigs and perverts you see on TV be a lesson to you. They treat women like garbage; they possess no chivalry, no self control; they are disloyal and dishonest; they spend all day pursuing pleasure at the expense of others, and they encourage you to do the same. You might be tempted to follow suit. In fact, you WILL be tempted. These male pop stars and celebrities, look at them, you’ll think. They take advantage of emotionally broken, self loathing, confused young women, and they are rewarded handsomely for it. Look at their nice clothes and their nice cars. Look how they are admired and loved. Look, they treat women like trash and other women fawn all over them because of it. This must be how real men behave, you’ll think.

And you’ll be wrong. You’ll be wrong about a lot of things in life — this is what it means to be human — but never will you be more wrong than when you feel the temptation to buy the lies that pop culture sells about the nature of true masculinity. Son, there is nothing glamorous or fun about being a man of low character and no integrity. What you see on TV is a facade. It’s a sales pitch. It’s poison. You see the bright lights and the sexy women, but you don’t see what happens when the cameras are off and these pop culture gods return to their lives as mere mortals. You don’t see them in their big, empty, lonely houses. You don’t see the emptiness in the pit of their souls. You don’t see all the alcohol and drugs they have to use to dull the pain of living a life devoid of real, committed relationships. You don’t see the hatred they have for themselves and for humanity. You don’t see the jealousy they have towards normal, decent men.

Your dad is no celebrity. He’s just an average, boring guy. But he’s got something that every famous and non-famous womanizer envies: He’s got the love and commitment of ONE beautiful, smart, faithful woman. He’s got your mom, and he’ll only have your mom until the day he dies. He ought to be waking up every day shouting praises to the Lord because of that.

Listen, son, don’t let the world tell you how to be a man. They don’t know anything about the subject.

Men are loyal. Men are honest. Men respect and honor women. A man goes out and finds one woman, and he vows to protect and love her for the rest of his life. A man would never betray that vow. Even the weakest and most cowardly man — if he is a man at all — would die for the woman he loves. Your dad is no hero, but let someone try to hurt your mom and watch him suddenly turn into Superman (or Batman, whichever you prefer).

See, son, you don’t have to be big and strong to be a man, although I think you will be one day. You don’t have to be “cool” or athletic. You don’t have to play guitar or fix cars. These are all fine things, but they don’t define a man. A man is defined by how he treats women, by how he keeps his promises, and by how he protects and serves the ones he loves. That’s what makes a man a man. My dad taught me that, he taught it by example. I pray I can do the same for you.

Oh, and by the way, if I ever catch you disrespecting women, I will sit you down and talk to you about it. But first I’ll kick your butt up and down the street. That’s a promise.


Your old man

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2,880 Responses to Dear son, don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you

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  3. Ric Fuentez says:

    Problem is you are basically saying sex is a bad thing, (how do you think all of us got here?) and we live in an age of sexual freedom. but what really creates this? If being nice and chivalrous actually attracted women then you would not have songs like this, this song was created because guys like thicke actually do get all the girls, he has a rich dad and is not a bad looking guy, is it any wonder he would make a song like this? it was most likely how he lived before he got married.
    And his wife is most likely cool with this video as long as it brings home the paychecks and finances her trips to the spa. there are many nice respectful guys out there, they just usually end up in the dreaded “friendzone” so if niceness and respect were more rewarded you would see much more of it.

    • EG says:

      So in other words life in the modern age is about men chasing women due to the notion of ‘sexual freedom’? You, Ric, are what they call a beta male… In conquest for multiple sexual partners all while accomplishing nothing. If only those Fist bumps you receive from your loser male friends were worth anything.

      • Ric Fuentez says:

        no actually I have been with the same woman foe going on 3 years, and most of my relationships last for years at least. But yes I may get wild after a relationship but I am faithful when I am in one. And high fiveing my bro’s after a conquest was something I did in the 80’s, not my thing now. I am no beta, in 20+ years of being a bouncer I lost maybe 2 fights. And if you actually read what I typed you would see that I was saying men should be rewarded for treating a woman with respect, but actually its the pump and dump guys that usually get the girl. Those betas you refer to. The biggest assholes I know have no trouble getting women, the nicest guys I know go home to a dog and a nuked hotpocket crying themselves to sleep. I am not one or the other.

    • robinsmelody says:

      I didn’t read a word in there that said sex is bad. In fact, reading about his relationship with his wife makes me think they have some special stuff going on.
      I don’t know Robin Thicke’s wife but I can almost guarantee that her husbands antics do not thrill her. If you don’t get that you probably don’t know much about women. She might enjoy the money but no woman would feel special when her husband is known for having some bizarre need to expose his infantile sex issues with the world, let alone knowing that your children will one day get to be exposed to all of it.
      Oh, and just in case you feel like being educated, there ARE some women who like to be abused, but most of us really do end up marrying someone that started out in the “friendzone” because we actually LIKE that person. Makes a great start to an awesome relationship.

      • Ric Fuentez says:

        You are correct, and that is sad, why put the good guy in the “friendzone” in the first place? you see most men dont do that(I know some stupid ones do), one of the reasons that its hard to find a good woman is because they get snatched off the market fast, as soon as a man recognizes he has a beautiful, respectful and kind woman he will put a ring on her finger as soon as he can thats why you dont have as many women complaining about the friendzone, a woman can get out of the friendzone by her deeds. I ws not attracted to my exwife at first but her actions won me over.. And I dont buy that the majority of women like being abused, but I do think many women will put up with abuse if the guy is successful enough, and lets face it most successful guys are jerks, thats how they became successful they did not mind stabbing others in the back to climb the social ladder. again bad people are rewarded in this age,

    • R Quentin says:

      Ric can you read? I don’t mean that faceitiously – seriously, can you read? Nothing about this post is anti-sex. It is anti-sexism and pro-men who respect themselves and others. How you could possibly reduce it to a message about sex being a bad thing is beyond me. FYI Thicke’s wife has had a more successful career than him over the years and she was (according to him) the first girl he ever dated. It’s guys like you that create the ‘stupid male’ stereotype the rest of us have to cop.

  4. johnsonljoseph says:

    I want to say, I respect you objective in this blog and enjoy hearing a man try and define manhood in a modern day where few men have the courage to. Furthermose, I am by far no Robin Thicke fan, but I am a huge fan of accuracy. The song was not made to be supporting infidelity or anything of the like, and in regards to degrading their wives, their wives were open (some even gave the suggestion to) have the models dancing around negative. Here’s one of the many interviews on the subject by one of the performers:

    And in fact, Robin Thicke was with the same girl since Highschool. A diminishing few couples – especially famous ones have achieved such a feat. Wouldn’t that be something powerful to explain to one’s son, and not a video he made once for fun that’s no reflection of his life nor lifestyle at all?

    • R Quentin says:

      There has been – and always will be – women willing to prostitute themselves (both literally and figuratively) denigrate themselves or make decisions that don’t foster respect for their gender. That doesn’t mean its ok. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have the guts to stand up and speak out when we think it is all heading in the wrong direction. Johnson if you love accuracy, check out the broad spectrum of research available that shows conclusive links between the overly sexualised portrayal of women in media (yes, even sometimes BY women) and the affect on social perceptions of women, the neurological consequences of objectification (especially on the developing teen’s brain), mental health, body image and links to rape, violence against women, discrimination and sexism.

      • johnsonljoseph says:


        Yes, that is a good point. It is very important for men to stand up for women’s dignity whether they do or don’t themselves. In my own life I have had to speak out against hyper-sexualized ways women close to me were acting, even if I lost a few friends in the process.

        Also, I have studied the broad spectrum of research available that shows that objectifying women can lead to somewhatly skew views of women and hence how they are treated in day to day life. In fact, I wrote a term paper last spring about just that (with 14 references as well). And what I concluded was, 2 primary things: 1) our biggest problem as a society is are inability to talk about sex or sexual desires openly, especially one’s own sexual desires in fear of diminishing our status. So: Miley Cyrus’ dad privately watches pornography, and so does his friends. But one of his friends has powerful media influences and allows for these desires to be displayed publicly on TV. This leads to Miley Cyrus eventually finding it socially acceptable (to a degree) to exploit herself in this way, though it is diametrically opposed to the teachings of her father in words. 2) Because we are too prude to speak openly about our true daily activities, we have a “throwing under the bus” process, where the first person who can be blamed as a major influencer in a negative social behavior will be. These people often are not the main problem in any significant way. Instead they are pinatas to remove the attention from our own personal flaws.

        Robin Thicke who, to my knowledge, has no history of exploiting women in songs or personal life is a terrible point of focus in addressing how women are displayed in the media, in fact it is almost a foolish choice. Heads of MTV, companies who constantly bring women into pornography, our individualized way of approaching children since the 60s – these are the bigger points that will actually make a significant change in how men grow up seeing women, and women group up seeing themselves. Oh yea, and again our inability to develop an honorable way to discuss male and female natural human sexual natures. Which is the reason why I gave my initial comment to this blog, because I commend his goal and direction. But if we try and fix a problem too far away from its source, then its quite possible that the problem can not be fixed at all.

  5. johnsonljoseph says:

    Reblogged this on The American Dream Movement.

  6. I thought it was the mother writing the letter until I read the signature.

  7. R Quentin says:

    Thanks for posting this. And thanks for the message you are raising your young man with. I saw a wonderful Indian professor speak recently about potential solutions to the ‘sexual assault crisis’ in India and he said beyond government and legislative intervention, by far the greatest way of arming a society against sexual violence of any kind is to create family environments that openly promote respect for women and place the onus on men to treat every woman (irrespective of what she is wearing or how she is acting) with the same dignity they would wish to be treated with. Disrespect for women is often intergenerational unless some brave man stands up and chooses to stop the cycle. You father’s wisdom clearly had a profound impact on your life, and you are now a role model for other men. With the direction and guidance you show in your letter, no doubt your son will continue this wonderful tradition.

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