When sheared, most elastic solids including metals, rubbers, and polymer gels dilate perpendicularly to the shear plane. This behavior, known as the Poynting effect, is characterized by a positive normal stress. Surprisingly, fibrous biopolymer gels exhibit a negative normal stress under shear. Here we show that this anomalous behavior originates from the open-network structure of biopolymer gels. Using fibrin networks with a controllable pore size as a model system, we show that the normal-stress response to an applied shear is positive at short times, but decreases to negative values with a characteristic time scale set by pore size. Using a two-fluid model, we develop a quantitative theory that unifies the opposite behaviors encountered in synthetic and biopolymer gels.