Justin Bieber's New Song Doesn't Promote Rape Culture -- Sorry, Lena Dunham!

I never thought I'd ever find myself defending Justin Bieber -- especially against Lena Dunham. But here I am. Dunham just tweeted her disapproval of Bieber's new single, "What Do You Mean." And now I'm asking her the same question: Lena, what the heck do you mean?



Dunham appears to have a problem with Bieber's song because she believes it promotes rape culture. Remember the phrase "no means no"? It's a response to that myth/wish that when women say "no" to sex they're just trying to look like good girls, and really, they mean "yes." Many a titillating romance novel and movie has been built around this premise.

But seriously? In real life, when a woman says "no," you should assume that's what she really means. And that's what Dunham is referring to in her tweet.

But hold on, is that what Bieber is really saying in his song? The offending lyrics in the chorus go:

What do you mean?/When you nod your head yes/But you wanna say no / What do you mean?

Well, hold on, isn't this really about asking for clarification? And isn't that something we'd prefer guys to do?

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It kind of sounds like this woman is agreeing to something she's not actually down with, and Bieber is encouraging her to speak her truth. Like, maybe she doesn't want to have sex with him, but she's saying she does, because she's afraid of losing him, or because she's scared? He's encouraging her not to go along with something against her will.

As much as it pains me to say it -- because I find both Bieber's music and his past behavior completely awful -- I think this is cool. So don't discourage him, Lena!

I am 100 percent against rape culture, too. But if anything, I think these lyrics are anti-rape. Guys, if you're ever unsure that we're giving consent, by all means: Ask for clarification. Better to do that than to assume you've got a green light only to find out later we didn't mean it. This is the smart thing to do.

Anyway, it sounds like the song isn't even really about sex (despite the steamy video). As Bieber explained to Ryan Seacrest, it's about miscommunication in relationships: "Girls are often just flip-floppy," he says. (Ahem, so are boys!) "They say something and they mean something else. So ... what do you mean? I don't really know, that's why I'm asking."

Well, good for you, Bieber. Keep asking, and keep promoting better communication between couples. Am I really writing these words? Man, things sure have changed for us, Biebs.


Image via Image Press/Splash News

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