Parodying “Blurred Lines” in the Feminist Blogosphere

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After nearly two decades of the (apparent) cultural dominance of a highly conservative and divisive ‘postfeminist sensibility’ in the US and the UK, the starting point for my Contemporary Theatre Review article, ‘Post- Postfeminism? Amelia Bullmore’s Di and Viv and Rose, April de Angelis’s Jumpy and Karin Young’s The Awkward Squad’, was signs of a resurgence of feminist activism in general as reflected through a revival of interest in exploring feminist issues within the theatre in particular.

Since I researched this essay evidence for this revival has continued to mount; in the UK, the past year has seen, amongst others, events such as the ‘Calm Down, Dear’ Feminist Theatre Festival at Camden People’s Theatre (2013); touring productions such as The Ugly Sister’s Rash Dash (2013), Victoria Melody’s Major Tom (2013), and Bryony Kimmings’ Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model (2013−4); and new works such as Abi Morgan’s The Mistress Contract at the Royal Court (2014), Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn at the Hampstead Theatre (2014), and Nick Payne and Carrie Cracknell’s Blurred Lines at the National Theatre’s Shed (2014).

Described as a blistering journey through contemporary gender politics’, the National’s website confirms that this latter show was ‘inspired’ by Robin Thicke’s controversial single ‘Blurred Lines’. In fact, especially considering its publicity declares this show’s interest in women’s lives in relation to ‘cyberspace’, it is as likely to have been inspired by the responses to this song produced by what has been referred to as the ‘feminist blogosphere’, as by Thicke’s original. Bearing this in mind, this article offers a brief (and inconclusive) overview of some of these responses, first placing them in context of ‘cyberspace’ as a venue for popular feminist performance.