I'm sure most of us have seen Tweets or various other social media posts from blogs like Barstool by now – let's face it, if you follow any straight male sports fans, it's hard not to. Barstool has become extremely popular, posting mainly about sports commentary, but has branched out to posts about pizza reviews, current events and funny viral videos. And the blog is a great way to engage in the sports media community – until it starts demeaning women.
It doesn't take much effort to notice the misogynistic undertones present throughout the blog. Just a glance at the website's homepage will present its "Girls" subhead, consisting of "Smokeshow of the Day" submissions, which exists solely for visitors to look at pictures of women who are diminished to first names and racy Instagram photos.
Besides their daily objectifying photos, Barstool constantly uses the term "feminist" in a derogatory manner and has pledged to "bring back the c-word". In an interview with Forbes, Founder David Portnoy defended this kind of behavior by claiming that the website makes fun of different genders and races of people equally, and that the sexist rhetoric is apparently no different than calling any man by a swear word.
The problem is that, contrary to the white-male perspective on society, there is a power imbalance. And using a historically sexist word against a woman is not the same as using a generic insult against a privileged man. And describing feminists, who advocate for equality of the sexes, in a demeaning way promotes misogyny among their fanbase.
Especially in the context of sports media, which is historically male-dominated, blogs with such a strong online presence should be doing more to overcome gendered stereotypes and blog about sports in a modern and holistic way.
Now obviously it's not Barstool's fault that sports are a male-dominated part of culture, or that their blog attracts a significant more amount of men than women. What is their fault is that they're implementing problematic ideals which are harmful to oppressed groups like women. And with such a large and influential platform, Barstool should be promoting an inclusive site that encourages equality and respect – in the context of sports, and any other aspects of society they decide to write about.