The song annoyed English singer Lily Allen who penned an angry feminist response called "Hard out here". But Allen's song is exceptionally coarse. And Lily Allen herself is a staunch feminist defender of the right of women to be unrestrained in their sexuality and not to be called sluts for being so.
Which means it's difficult to take her criticism of Robin Thicke seriously. She's not interested in upholding reasonable standards. Instead, she wants women to have an absolute right to do whatever they want sexually, whilst at the same time expecting men to restrain their sexuality according to feminist demands.
|Lily Allen: not the best choice to criticise Robin Thicke|
I don't see how this can work. How can women behave coarsely and without limits, without that then affecting the behaviour of the men around them? If Lily Allen chooses to trash the standards of society, so that there is no sense of modesty when it comes to sexuality, then how can she expect men to act as if such standards existed?
There is a larger lesson here, which is that the effort of liberal society to understand freedom as autonomy doesn't work well when it comes to relationships. If the idea is to maximise our autonomous choice, then it's true that a woman can act however she likes sexually, but what she then loses is any right to ask that men don't do the same.
Lily Allen is Robin Thicke. She is his female counterpart, his twin. She is acting according to the same principles as he is. They are part of a bundle.
If he is wrong, then so is she.