A few months ago, I liked a Facebook group of the popular blog, “Boston Barstool Sports,” a sub-sect of the greater Barstool Empire, which includes the regions of New York, Philadelphia, and an array of collegiate universities. Soon after, my newsfeed became clogged with the daily “guess that a**” column and the “smoke shows of the day,” which parades college girls from across the country as sex symbols. I soon became concerned about the degradation of American society and investigated exactly what Barstool represented.
Under the Boston Barstool Sports fan page, the group is described as:
“A bunch of average Joes, who like most guys, love sports, gambling, golfing and chasing short skirts. [Who] spend [their] NFL Sunday’s worrying about [their] fantasy football teams and [their] summers worrying about the Sox.”
The writers, according to the page,
“Are guys you’ll bump into at a sports bar skipping work on the first and second days of March Madness. [They] are the guys who wait in line for Pats playoffs tickets from midnight until 1pm the next day in sub-arctic temperatures and honestly think [they] deserved a shot at being the Sox General Manager. In other words, the staff of Barstool Sports consists of a bunch of slobs, who think and care about what the average guy thinks and cares about.”
With the exception of the “short skirts” comment, none of this suggests a site which borders on pornography and objectifies women as either “smoke shows” or “cankles.” On any random day, half the site’s postings will sexualize a woman, despite the fact the website promotes itself as a home for sports. I sincerely hope that what Barstool posits is false and the average male is not interested solely in the physical attributes of a woman.
It has become a prize for girls to be featured in the Barstool Smokeshow column, despite the degrading comments posted not only by the site’s visitors but the mastermind behind the website, David Portnoy, who goes by the allias, “El Presidente.”
Controversy is not a new concept for the Barstool masterminds. Just recently, the blog caught headlines for a post that condoned the rape of a twenty four year old Australian woman, in which Portnoy wrote,
“Even though I never condone rape if you’re a size 6 and you’re wearing skinny jeans you kind of deserve to be raped right? ….So it’s almost like this guy had no choice but to teach her a lesson.”
Despite the controversy which continually surrounds the Boston blog, the Facebook page boasts over 80,000 likes and has created a second business with their “Barstool Blackout Tour” with over forty shows across the country in the coming Spring.
With the incessant rape jokes made by Barstool and its popularity, I’m joining the women who have already stood up to speak out against Barstool. In a recent post, Portnoy refers to an 86-year-old gymnast as a “slut,” apparently an endearing term. Feminists have begun rallying against Barstool’s propagated “rape culture,” especially after Portnoy wrote,
“Just to make friends with the feminists I’d like to reiterate that we don’t condone rape of any kind at our Blackout Parties…However if [a] chick passes out, that’s a grey area…”
“I don’t have time to get nagged to death by a couple fat chicks who are mad I didn’t accept them as smokeshows. You’re fat! It’s not my fault god made you gross. I can’t change that.”
If being a feminist means advocating for the preservation of American society and preserving the image of purity for younger generations, then we should go to the root of the issue. Blogs like Barstool degrade not only what women like Susan B. Anthony and Phyllis Schlafly sacrificed their lives for, but even people like President Obama, who despite his hypocrisy has always attempted to preserve the rights of his daughters and wife.
If we are going to address underage dating, teenage pregnancy, and promiscuity, we should also examine what propagates such a culture.
Caitlyn Jarvis | St. Anselm College | Manchester, New Hampshire | @CaitlynJarvis