Letter: Knockout Barstool on the Blackout Tour

“PS – 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 in mid-January. However if a chick passes out that’s a grey area though.”

No, that isn’t going to cut it. This winter, popular men’s blog Barstool Sports is hosting a party tour of Blackout parties around the country teaming up with different colleges along the way, including Northeastern. Hey, it sounds like a good time until you realize that the blog is riddled with writing that perpetuates negative ideas of what it means to be a “man” through degrading women and normalizing rape culture, a term to describe when a group excuses, tolerates or glorifies sex crimes. Barstool’s writers may claim they don’t condone rape, but they certainly believe some people deserve it.

Barstool Sports covers sports but also features repeating segments like “Guess that Ass” and “Grade the Newest Sex Scandal Teacher” which analyzes how hot female sex offenders are. More shocking statements are found in the blog posts that cover the everyday Internet buzz, where it is not uncommon to find “Stoolies” mocking women’s appearance and intelligence. Women are frequently referred to as “bitches” and “sluts” and consistently sexually objectified. This is where we cross the line from immature, hurtful words to the glorification of rape culture.

When is rape actually funny? How about here: “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? I mean skinny jeans don’t look good on size 0 and 2 chicks, nevermind size 6′s.” Or here: “Like it’s one thing to stick your dick in random chick’s assholes and them buy them off, but it’s a different game altogether when they are famous.”

Here’s a reality check: one out of every four women and one out of every 33 men in this country will experience an attempted or completed rape in her or his lifetime, according to a Rape, Abuse And Incest Nation Network (RAINN) study. Most of these acts of violence will go unreported.

It’s not a crime out of lust or passion or always about mental illness, but instead a violent act about control and domination. The use of rape as humor normalizes the idea of the act. Your laughter is acceptance of it. Women at Northeastern that you know have been sexually assaulted or raped. It’s happening on our campus. And it is not funny.

We demand Northeastern University and its administration stand for women and denounce Barstool Sports and the NU Blackout Party. These organizations do not represent the values of our community nor our institution. As President Joseph Aoun said in a recent email to the university: “While we should actively engage different opinions and points of view — and this may result in strong and intense discussions—we will not tolerate any conduct that creates a hostile or intimidating environment for members of our community.” Barstool Sports and their blackout party creates a hostile and intimidating environment for women. We must demand an equal and safe university culture.

Northeastern students – stand up for your campus. Stand up for equal rights. Stand with us and knock out Barstool!

– Written by Knockout Barstool members and Northeastern students:  junior international affairs and human services major Frank Marino, senior communications and cultural studies major Erin McIver, senior English major Kimika Ross and junior English and linguistics major Anna Siembor.

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