Blurred Lines: The New Battle Of The Sexes

Thursday 8 May



From online abuse hurled at women in the public eye, bomb threats sent to campaigners agitating for more female heroes on bank notes, the sexually explicit portrayal of women in pop videos, to rape jokes - is there a new culture in society today in which men seem to think they have the freedom, and the right, to speak about, write about and portray women in a derogatory or even abusive way?

In Blurred Lines: The New Battle Of The Sexes, Kirsty Wark asks if women just need to 'man up', or if there is something new in the air that could have far-reaching consequences.

Misogyny is not new, but today, in our sexually explicit culture, age-old hostilities seem to be finding very contemporary forms. From pop videos to advertising, video games to TV shows - is what we’re seeing sexism, misogyny, or liberation?

Travelling across the UK meeting students, academics, campaigners, columnists and comedians, Kirsty explores the role humour can play in shaping attitudes, asks if lads mags have helped set in train the idea that sexism, even misogyny, could be rendered harmless with a knowing and ironic wink, and considers if it is a coincidence that the apparent rise of misogyny has happened in parallel with the rise of the online world.

Examining some incidents that have made headlines over the last year - from the Stirling University hockey team singing a sexually explicit and derogatory drinking song on a public bus, to the barrage of abuse Professor Mary Beard faced following an appearance on Question Time – Kirsty finds what some people consider offensive, others consider harmless fun.

What does this mean for younger generations growing up in Britain today? Kirsty joins teens in sex education class as they discuss the influence of porn, the pressures they face and the behaviour they experience. She also meets three girls who are so concerned about their generation’s understanding of consent, that they’ve launched their own campaign for it to be taught as part of the national curriculum – just a few of the many taking action and standing up to sexism and misogyny.