Has anyone looked at the OldRow or Barstool Sports Instagram comments lately? No? We’re just letting those slide? Cool, cool…
Okay, so here’s the thing. I’m not exactly cool with it? I love Old Row as much as the next person, but these online lifestyle sites have evolved into spaces of ridicule and public shaming — particularly of women.
Just look at some of the recent comments on posts featuring women: “when you let the sandwich makers out of the kitchen”; “out of 10, their father’s prides are all at about a -3”; and my personal favorite “son or abortion.”
I’m sorry, what? This whole father/daughter narrative makes me want to tag my favorite Facebook group: “sounds incestuously possessive of your daughter’s virginity but okay.”
Also, the whole ‘women belong in the kitchen’ narrative is so tired and overused. Like, at least come up with a sexist standard we haven’t heard before. Keep us on our toes.
Women are also frequently objectified and even numerically ranked by site administrators and followers. A recent @tarheelbarstool Instagram post shows a video of two women making out at a bar, but mostly focuses on the grinning reaction of a male witness.
“Make a wish foundation is the best” is one of the comments. I mean, I personally would consider the girls the lucky ones in this situation, because they’re statistically more likely to orgasm from sex with each other than they are from Shawn over here, but we all have our opinions.
The UNC community pleasantly surprised me on that post, because many commenters pointed out the fetishizing and objectification and asked the account to take the post down. However, at time of publication, the video remains up. Hashtag, take it down.
Videos of drunk people at bars also invoke issues of privacy and ownership. Sure, it’s technically legal for you to video the girl twerking on the dance floor at Might as Well, but the ethical question is SHOULD you? Probably not.
What’s emphatically not legal are the audio recordings of women’s noises during sex. Are they funny? Maybe. Should they be posted on a public internet site without participants’ knowledge or permission? Nope.
You may be asking “Who cares what some idiots on the internet are doing? Just unfollow them!” Alas, the misogyny is inescapable. Old Row has 1.8 million followers on Instagram. Barstool has 7.3 million followers, and separate accounts for specific schools. UNC Barstool alone has almost 39,000 Instagram followers.
From what I’ve seen, we should be extremely concerned about the potential impacts these sites may have. The normalization of objectification and sexism as well as the erasure of consent culture are very real and very worrisome consequences of something as trivial as social media posts.
The culture of these sites threatens to reverse whatever progress we’ve made in the past fifty years promoting sexual agency and reducing the shame and stigma of female sexuality. Personally, that’s not really a path I want to go down. Do you?
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