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August 24, 2016

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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217 Responses to “Letter: Knockout Barstool on the Blackout Tour”
  1. Anna says:

    Also, Nick: Rape means sexual assault. When it is used in a context about beating a sports team, that is appropriation and normalization of sexual assault. Redefining the word rape would only hurt victims of rape and sexual assault.

  2. Anna says:

    Nick- The skinny jeans quote is from here:

    Every one of the quotes in this article come from Barstool writers and NOT commenters. We at KO Barstool are all for Barstool Sports’ right to free speech, and are exercising our own right to free speech in disagreeing with them. We want Northeastern to come out against Barstool, not for Barstool to shut down.

  3. Nick Beek says:

    I think it says something that I’m the only other person, other than the authors, to put their name to this.

    Normally, I don’t throw around the word rape. I do not condone people using “rape” to mean anything other than what we normally think the meaning is — sexual assault, but I do want to ask –is it time to give a new definition to the word rape? Many people use the word simply, to mean “beat” or “badly beat” as in lets say you beat someone in a game 10 to 0 –someone might say you “raped” the other. So this begs the question –Is it time to admit, or to conclude, that there is a new definition for the word rape?

    The author quotes, this — “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.: — Where is this from? We have NO CLUE as readers. Is it a comment on an article? Is it by someone who was hired by Barstool? Who knows? We don’t know. Does not knowing the author of the comment make it any better? No. But it does lead to more questions than convictions.

    In addition, I think it is possible that people are using “rape” to mean something other than what it traditionally means. Not everyone is educated or as considerate as us Huskys who I would hope try not to use the term inappropriately. Maybe if they were more articulate than they would have other words in their lexicon to describe how they feel. Is this a reflection on the education system that we all reside in or society? Is it simply the fault of the individual or society at large?

    To scrutinize the article, I would ask –are the authors of this article pulling the quotations from the actual articles or from comments on the articles in Barstool Sports? If they’re pulling comments, they might as well indict CNN, BBC, Fox News, Politico, Roll Call, Daily Kos, and numerous other news pages that allow people to comment. These comments never reflect the views of the mother organization and these charges would not be upheld in the court of law.

    Look, simply, if we’re going to censor people for even the mere idea that their words might hurt someone then we would end up as a totalitarian society and no one wants that. If you’re hurt by someones words then take it as a chance to reflect on it rather than to try to stop people from using certain words or phrases all together. Often there is an underlying cause or reason of these type of actions that is often overlooked.

    The last point I want to make is that even though something makes you uncomfortable, or if you don’t like something that someone has to say –does it mean that they don’t have the right to say it? My personal legal opinion is that the Supreme Court would uphold the comments, regardless of source, on Barstool Sports.

    Finally, Voiltaire once said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I will defend these person’s right to say these things even if I would not personally use the same language.

  4. You stand alone says:

    This actually is funnier then reading the stool. Keep it up this is gold. I asked a bunch of girls if they knew what rape culture is. Almost all of them said no, the ones who did are the ones who guys wouldn’t go near n.e. women studies majors. Any male that’s stands with these idiots makes all men look bad and make the ones who disagree sound like they encourage rape which is not true. So men who stand with them God called he would like you to return the balls you were born with

  5. Joe says:

    What does it matter what the percentage is if it’s still happening? Not women nor men should be raped. We need to do all we can to ensure its NOT occurring, not, even in a small way, contributing to the problem.

  6. Anna says:

    It’s important to remember that a majority of rapes and sexual assault are NOT reported. Rates of reported rape are vastly smaller than rates of actual rape.

  7. Knucker3 says:

    Wow, you literally just made shit up.

    I clicked that RAINN link, and while it does say that 1 in 33 men will be raped, it doesn’t say 1 in 4 women. It says 1 in 9.

    Sure, let’s just more than double the number of rapes that your source actually cites. No problem there.

    So I checked the footnote. It’s from 1998. And it’s a CDC study. I haven’t seen the 1998 survey the CDC did (because I don’t live in that millennium) but the more recent studies I’ve seen by the CDC seem to include any instance of drinking and having sex as rape. Frankly I’m shocked they could only get it as high as 1 in 9. They must not have been as corrupt a decade and a half ago.

    Here’s an independent peer reviewed study for anyone who wants reliable information from the right century:

    Thankfully, only 2.3% of women reported experiencing forced sex from their partner. The same number as men. So we can stop telling women to be afraid of every dark corner now.

  8. Anon says:

    Yeah we just make up rape statistics for fun

  9. bobsutan says:

    “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.”

    WRONG! Its only that high when you craft the study to get a desired result.

  10. Rob says:

    I’ve noticed something… the people supporting the knockout barstool movement are extremely rational and respectful in their arguments, while the barstool supporters in this thread are not commenting on legitimate issues of rape culture and instead making use of mockery and personal attacks to avoid having to defend their asinine points of view… Just an interesting observation

  11. Food For Thought says:

    To all the people arguing that it’s “just a joke”, you understand the difference between a joke that mocks the teller and one that targets a specific group of people that the teller does not belong to, right? You understand that to someone in that targeted group, this feels exactly the same as defending dudes who tell racist jokes, right? Only it’s way scarier because when you think about it, it’s more like defending dudes making “jokes” about lynching. “Humor” centered around violence against groups who have a history of being victimized is kinda a touchy subject, particularly when the “jokes” are coming from the very people who have historically been the victimizers.

    This isn’t to say that the BSS crowd are a bunch of rape-happy knuckle-draggers. It’s just kind of astounding to me that people are stepping up to defend men making jokes about raping women in 2012.

  12. The 99% says:

    The people that wrote this ARE the problem with today’s society. And believe it or not, the blog is actually very popular with women.

    It is mean’t to be funny, not serious. If you can’t take a joke, then don’t read it.

    It’s these 1% that would try to ruin a great time for the other 99%. It is people like you that are destroying America.

    -NU Alum

  13. Knockout "Knockout Barstool" says:

    Damn feminists have no sense of humor. I love Barstool, I think it is hilarious. And, despite what you may think, I have never, and I never will rape anybody. It’s called freedom of speech. If you don’t like it, move to North Korea.

    Get over yourselves, you pretentious assholes. People like you make me ashamed to go to NU.

    Viva La Stool!!

  14. Mike Hunt says:

    If you don’t like what you’re reading/watching/listening to, then don’t. Easy enough, right?

  15. Rob says:

    Who ever wrote as El Pres (if not the actual Dave Portnoy) should be ashamed of themselves… rape is not something to be joked about, it is a horrible and real occurrence that should not be made light of in any sense. It is people like this, that make this country a less peaceful and equal place.

  16. Moby says:

    TL;DR but blogs like Barstool write to an audience and you’re clearly not it.

  17. STOOLIE says:


  18. Sonia says:

    I challenge all Northeastern students (and especially Barstool readers) unfamiliar with the term “rape culture” to educate themselves – the Wiki page is a pretty good start –

    Joking about rape allows rape to happen. Being intelligent students, take a moment to question the things you hear and find yourselves saying, and how it might be contributing to the proliferation of rape. If you ever hear someone saying “she was asking for it”, “she shouldn’t have been drunk/wearing that” “she just wants attention” etc., EVEN AS A “JOKE”, that is an extension of rape culture.

    Anyone who spends a fraction of their time looking into this will come to the conclusion that condoning jokes about rape is inappropriate, unacceptable, and not something with which Northeastern should be affiliated.

  19. Saratoga Springs says:

    A human affairs major would write this! They’re the most annoying (and useless) major on campus.

    As long as it falls within existing law, then Barstool Sports can print and publish whatever they want to print or say. If you have a problem with them then don’t use their services or read their material.

    Why not ban all video game clubs too? The word ‘rape’ is thrown around a lot there too.

  20. Tara says:

    Publications like this make me proud to be not only part of this campaign but part of this university. The point is we need to look out for one and other, and this editorial proves that we do! The administration should show the same care and consideration towards us that we display towards each other.


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