I really don’t have any idea why there appears to be so much more openly sexist behavior now than there was 20 or 30 years ago. The internet allows many people to be extremely nasty anonymously, with impunity — that’s certainly part of it. Pop culture has become more vulgar, and porn has become more widely available, and thus more influential, I think. The proliferation of everything from home video to cell phone cameras to the internet has caused us to become a more visual culture, which partly explains why women today are judged much more harshly on the basis of their looks. We’ve become a much more conservative country, politically, and the Christian right, which is explicitly anti-feminist, has become more powerful. But that can’t be the whole thing.
Sometimes I think the new misogyny is actually a sign of feminism’s success, and that most of the sexism is perpetrated by old white guys bitter about using the patriarchal power they once had, yet refuse to go gentle into that good night. But plenty of young men engage in this kind of behavior as well.... Perhaps the horrible economy and the increasingly stressful lives and economic insecurity of the 99% have made people in general a lot meaner, and specifically made men more likely to scapegoat women for the problems in their lives, financial and otherwise.
Hat tip to Rick Perlstein