I have to be honest: I don’t entirely disagree with the points made in this open letter to Justin Timberlake about his problematic song lyrics. A glance at some of them show him playing fast and loose with the idea of consent and valuing women based on how much they satisfy him sexually. That may not have been his intention, but they don’t go unnoticed.
What amuses me, however, is the fact that a lengthy critique of his lyrics was written by a representative of Focus on the Family, the ultra-conservative organization whose founder, James Dobson, gleefully endorsed Donald Trump for president: a man who makes the sexual content of Timberlake’s lyrics as titillating as Doctor Seuss.
On Focus’ entertainment blog, Jake Roberson writes,
I’d like to think that you’d want your son to grow up to be a man who respects women. We’ve seen and heard such raw, tragic, inexcusable stories in this age of #MeToo, as women like Rachael Denhollander, Alyssa Milano, and so many more have come forward. We’ve seen the fruits of what happens when men (and societies) denigrate women and withhold from them their inherent right to be treated with respect.
I’d be more inclined to take Roberson seriously if his brand of Christianity didn’t subscribe to complementarianism: the belief that women are subordinate to men in a “separate but equal” kind of way.
Roberson blasts the song “Filthy” for being “only superficially… concerned with the idea of consent” and says “Pusher Lover Girl” treats women as “little more than the sexual drug with which you get your high.”
While I’m inclined to agree with Roberson, there is a huge — huge! — difference between singing about sexually immoral behavior versus actually doing it. As far as I know, there are no reports of Timberlake taking advantage of his wife — or any other woman, for that matter.
And that’s the difference between Timberlake and Trump: the former just sings about sexual degradation whereas the “Christian” president endorsed by many evangelical Christians actually did it — and bragged about it.
The points made in this article are well taken, but Focus on the Family was the wrong platform for them. Even if Roberson isn’t a fan of Trump personally, the political arm of the organization he works for has been in the tank for Trump since he took office, and they have very little criticism of his words and actions.
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