OUSU’s Women’s Campaigns Officer, Lucy Delaney of Wadham, has joined several Balliol students in expressing distaste after the song ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke was played at Balliol bop on Friday.
The controversial song, banned by the college’s JCR last October, was played at the end of the evening, during which students were given free reign over song choice. The song was stopped halfway through when a second year student disconnected the cables, but not in time to prevent the distress of several students.
The individual responsible was reportedly led away by porters, and is being punished.
Delaney described the lyrics of the song as suggesting “a general disregard for sexual consent, which is very damaging. It contributes to the idea often perpetuated in the media that women are objects who can be coerced into sexual activity if harangued for long enough, and that any rejection, explicit or implicit, can be overturned with perseverance.
“In short, the song suggests that ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no’, and therefore, this song is not suitable for any environment, regardless of whether the song has been banned by the institution or not.”
The song, she explained, “almost definitely caused some people to be triggered, and made everyone extremely angry.”
However, Delaney praised the way in which the situation was handled by the Balliol JCR. Ex-Balliol Women’s Officer Emily Troup subsequently decided that there would be an “afterbop” party at 2am, to which everyone returned and the song ‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin was played.
JCR President Dan Turner told Cherwell, “The vast majority of people in Balliol were horrified by what happened at the bop. At the very least, it left a bitter taste in the mouth of many Finalists as they said farewell to Balliol.”
He remained upbeat, however, about the spirit shown by the JCR, saying, “Perhaps the best thing to come of it, though, is how our community has responded firmly in opposition to this sort of offensive behaviour. Many of those leaving have commented that what they’ll miss most is belonging to the sort of community that takes such a clear stand against this sort of action.”
Delaney further commented, “I would say that I am extremely impressed by the way the situation was dealt with, however, this does not remove the fact that a lot of damage was caused when the song was played. This song is extremely triggering for some individuals, which is simply not acceptable.
“A bop should be a safe space and so to have that violated is an extremely harrowing experience for any possible survivors. Anyone who violates this safe space should face serious consequences.”