Continued Rape Culture Awareness and Activism: BU’s Fem Co Makes a PSA

In knocking out rape culture, activists also hope to raise awareness about things like enthusiastic sexual consent. | Picture via Wikimedia Commons user Joreth.

Members of Boston University’s Feminist Collective, or Fem Co for short, continue their march towards obliterating rape culture, this time with a public service announcement. Rape culture is a term on everyone’s tongue these days at BU. It’s no wonder. The recent sexual assault accusations surrounding two BU hockey players, the task force assembled to investigate the climate of the hockey team, the peeping tom incidents, a sexual assault accusation in Mugar Library, and the Knockout Barstool movement have all created the perfect storm for an environment of rape culture awareness.

Fem Co meets weekly to discuss feminist topics of interest and follows these topics with what they call ‘action planning.’ In this case, the young feminists chose a public service announcement focusing on Boston Barstool Sports and its contributions to a rape culture. Many of the Fem Co members are actively involved with Knockout Barstool, a group started at Northeastern University that calls for the members’ respective universities to disassociate their names from events like the Barstool Blackout parties. Knockout Barstool finds the Barstool Sports website misogynistic in theme and assert that it normalizes rape. The normalization of rape is characteristic of rape culture.

Becca Wilkinson (COM ’12), a Fem Co member who organized the PSA and helped create the idea, said the group chose a PSA of all media after a discussion about the best way to reach the most people. While some students may not be inclined to enter the Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism (where Fem Co meetings are held) in the age of the Internet, most students would take a few minutes to watch something on YouTube. They felt that the most amount of information could be delivered in the shortest amount of time through some sort of a short video production. The PSA was filmed over the course of last Saturday in the GSU.

Becca said the goal of the PSA is to “raise awareness for those who don’t already know what [rape culture is.” Although it’s too soon to tell what the response of the general BU public will be, there has already been a response to the mere creation of the video. “El Pres,” as Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy is sometimes known, wrote an editorial on his website in response to a Boston Globe article on the creation of the PSA, and as an attack on the video in general. In the editorial, Portnoy denounced much of the Globe article as false, directing his comments at the piece’s female writer:

“Keep being ugly and making shit up and pulling all our quotes out of context and blaming every rape/sex crime that happens in the world on us.”

The comments section following the piece consists primarily of comments in agreement with Portnoy’s sentiments, some slightly threatening in nature. In one, a Barstool Sports user says: “Dear Femco, Iron my shirt.” While a negative response from Barstool Sports loyal followers is to be expected, what’s still unknown is how the administration and the larger BU community will respond once the production is released online after spring break.

Students who wish to get involved with Boston University’s Feminist Collective can join the group Monday nights at 7 pm in the Center for Gender, Sexuality & Activism in the basement of the GSU.

About Ingrid Adamow

Ingrid Adamow (COM '14) is Editor-in-Chief and also a writer for The Quad. Ingrid is an advertising major and enjoys reading, writing, good music, fashion, coffee, and adventures around the city of Boston. But mostly coffee.

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