There’s not much of Blurred Lines that’s new to those charting the rise in sexism and misogyny in pop culture – whether through gaming, or music videos, or comedy shows, or the reaction to any woman who takes the public stage – yet put it all together and it makes for depressing viewing. It doesn’t provide any proof that the internet itself is to blame, largely because such evidence is difficult to come by.
Instead, it stacks up the experiences of women today in a way that at the very least makes us think that very old views are finding new outlets; the teenager who counts three rape jokes during an average day at school, the classroom where teenagers repeat views of sexuality (girls are slags if they’re keen on sex, whereas boys are “just boys” ) that wouldn’t have seemed out of place when chastity belts were still for sale on street corners, or the esteemed professor whose thoughts are deemed less noteworthy than the size and shape of her vagina.
Germaine Greer, interviewed in front of a bookcase full of The Female Eunuch in its multilingual translations, says men are “even less tolerant of women” than they were 45 years ago when she wrote her seminal feminist tract. She blames the media and its “grabbag of loathing for women”. Yet Blurred Lines suggests that blaming one part of the cultural landscape won’t do – the message of the mainstream media is exacerbated by social media, which in turn informs mainstream media, as well as popular culture, in an often non-virtuous circle.