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Pharrell Williams doesn't think he's a feminist

He would like to see a female president of the US though

By Emma Chong Johnston | Published: 2 Jun 2014

Pharrell on feminism
Photo: Getty Images

In a far-ranging interview with the UK's Channel 4, Pharrell Williams expressed a number of interesting points. Number one: he doesn't consider himself a feminist. (Sound familiar?) Number two: he doesn't feel that his controversial hit single with Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines, was 'rapey'. If you're confused, so are we.

"I’ve been asked: Am I a feminist?" Pharrell said. "I don’t think it’s possible for me to be that…I’m a man. It makes sense up until a certain point. But I do support feminists. I do think there’s injustices. There are inequalities that need to be addressed."

That, Mr Williams, is the very definition of a feminist. Just because you're a man doesn't mean you're excluded from the party. Especially when you then go on to say: "I’d love to see a woman run the country." Which you did.

"Historically this world has been run by a man, and what would a world be like if 75 percent of our world leaders and prime ministers were female? What would that world be like? We do not know because we haven’t given it a shot. We’re too busy telling them what they can or can’t do with their bodies. Or we're too busy not allowing them to make the same amount of money as a man makes."

Our points exactly! But then the inevitable Blurred Lines fodder came up for discussion, and Pharrell's logic started getting a little shakey. He denied that the song was 'rapey', or even that the idea of a man forcing himself on a woman was explored in the song. "Is it sexually suggestive when a car salesman says to a person who’s trying to buy a car, ‘I know you want it?’", he countered. It's a bit different, the interviewer replied.
"Okay then. The overarching context is that there are good women who also have bad thoughts. If a good woman can have sexual thoughts, is it wrong for a man to have a correct guess that a woman might want something?... Never once did I say in there anything sexual to a woman."

Well, no Pharrell. There is such a thing as inference though, and context, and you did have a number of topless girls surrounding you in the music video of this song that you claimed was not sexually suggestive. And culturally and historically, the statement "I know you want it," has more to do with gendered power dynamics than knowingness of sexual desire. So it's not wrong, but it is highly unlikely.

Watch the full interview below:


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