Consent continues to be promoted on college campuses, and this time, it’s not a hoax. College students from across the country (and even Ireld!) entered to win the CONSENT REVOLUTION AWARDS on Monday by posting on facebook photos and tidbits from promoting consent at their schools. The Grand Prize Winners are consent super stars today with national media attention from ThinkProgress, Bitch media, the Huffington Post, and others.
Two weeks ago, FORCE tricked the internet into thinking that Playboy had re-invented its annual party school list in response to the predominance of rape on college campuses. The re-invented “2013 Top Ten Party Commandments” chose to focus on consent, boldly stating, “A good college party is all about everyone having a good time. Consent is all about everyone having a good time. Rape is only a good time if you’re a rapist. And f—- those people.” As has been reported by the Slate, NY Magazine, Salon and others, the party commandments were an elaborate hoax to promote consent.
And the party is not over.
The contenders for the “CONSENT REVOLUTION AWARDS” entered their consensual-sex promoting actions by posting photos and descriptions to FORCE’s facebook wall. Students from across the country posted pictures of everything from underwear designs to coaster campaigns, to how-to sex-talk videos. Fans and friends voted by clicking “like”. The posts with the most “likes” won. You can view all the contest entries at facebook.com/upsettingrapeculture. In additional to national media coverage, today’s winners are also being shipped prize packs that include consent condoms, temporary tattoos, bumper stickers and stencils for marking up T-shirts, sidewalks and drawers.
“The need for consent on college campuses is no joke. Pop culture is a huge influence on how people learn about sex,” says Hannah Brancato, Co-Director of FORCE. “While mainstream media outlets like Playboy are still promoting an undergrad life-style that treats college-aged women like commodities, college students themselves are busy promoting a more equal, open and consensual version of sexuality. Consent needs and deserves a bigger media platform.”
“Enthusiastic consent is so important to teach because it is so contrary to what many people are taught and expect when growing up,” says consent revolutionary Heaven-Leigh Carey from the Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team at University of Oregon. “We live in, at best, a no means no culture, that teaches people to assume any lack of verbal resistance is equal to a full range of consent. Yes means yes and enthusiastic consent education attempts to undo years of negative media attention and patriarchal teachings, and encourages people to seek partners who not only want to have sex with them, but also who care about them wanting to have sex.”
Rebecca Nagle, Co Director of FORCE states, “The reason that the Playboy Party Commandments went SO viral is because the American facebook population is SO ready for the message. And they will keep clicking like whether that message is coming from magazines or their friends.”
With the blue-ribbon winner raking in over ONE THOUSAND likes, here are some winning campus actions to get you fired up for consensual sex and get your creative consent juices flowing.
#1: UCLA’s 7,000 in Solidarity
With a brilliant graphic, multiple-pronged approach, and over 1000 facebook likes, UCLA’s 7000 in Solidarity takes first place!
UCLA’s 7000 in Solidarity gets its name from the recognizing the reality of sexual violence. According to their facebook page, “1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will have survived sexual violence in college. That means 7,000 Bruins will be survivors of sexual assault by the time they leave the university.”
Students who want to stand in solidarity with their peers can pledge to
“1) Only Engage in Consensual Sexual Activities
2) Be an Effective Bystander in Preventing Others from Acting Without Consent
3) Support Survivors of Sexual Assault”
#2 All Students For Consent (aka ASC) at Whitman College
Students at Whitman college turned the victim-blaming phrase “asking for it” on its head to promote consent. “The purpose of the campaign was to put a twist on the insulting phrase that has often been used in victim blaming, such as, “She was asking for it by wearing that miniskirt,” in which the “it” is sexual violence. However, we wanted the “it” to mean “consent” so that when people are asking for “it,” what they are asking for is consent!”
On “Ask For it Day students chalked up sidewalks, poster-ed up bulletin boards and gave students consensual kisses (chocolate of course!). The event culminated in students sharing their consent stories and receiving “I ask for it” temporary tattoos!
#3 The Vagina Monologues at Connecticut College
A group of over 80 Connecticut College men were asked, “Why are vagina’s important to you?” The result is a video of V-men talking about healthy relationships, ending sexual violence, and, of course, vaginas! The final video will be released at the end of October. Stay tuned to the Connecticut College Vagina Monologues facebook page for the release.
#4: Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team at University of Oregon
SWAT is doing so much to promote consent, they couldn’t pick one action to enter. We pooled their likes to give the team fourth place. From coaster campaigns, to videos highlighting sex-positive communication these undergrads got it going on! Check out all they are doing at swat.uoregon.edu.
The “10 prevention tips guaranteed to work” were printed on coasters and distributed to bars and restaurants throughout Eugene as part of the ASUO Women’s Center’s Redzone campaign. The Redzone refers to the first six weeks of the fall term when sexual assault is statistically more common on college campuses. The coasters change the common message that tells people to avoid getting raped, and instead tells potential perpetrators to not rape.
“We know that is rare to actually see people having honest conversations, and we wanted to show our peers that getting consent and talking about sex doesn’t have to be awkward!
A variety of ways for college students to negotiate sex can be seen on SWAT’s website.
The “That’s What She Said/ He Said” social media campaign was created in order to reclaim a derogatory joke and display the necessity of communication and consent. These posters aim to show that consent is not only sexy but also necessary.
#5: I Always Get Consent at ASU
According to their entry, “For the past four years, this program has educated the largest campus in the country about what sexual assault is, how to prevent sexual violence, and the importance of defying rape culture.”
Last year, “I Always Get Consent” got over 1,000 college students like consent in person with consensual cardio classes, movie screenings, T-shirts, an interactive presentation about challenging rape culture.
They say, “Consent is sexy, and we’ve made it our job to spread the word.”
As the first place winner, Savannah Badalich from UCLA had this to say about the contest:
"This campaign [7000 in Solidarity] means the world to me, so I cannot thank you enough for the publicity and help with spreading the message of consent."
Consent enthusiasts at Whitman College mobilized their peers for the contest to take second place. “I was able to get about half of my entire college campus to “like” our photo,” said Sayda Morales from All Student For Consent. Because Whitman is a smaller school their nearly 1,000 “likes” is actually over half of the student population. While the school took second in the national contest, at Whitman, consent clearly wins the day.
“When that student pointed out that she had mobilized over half of her campus, I thought ‘THAT’S AMAZING!’” says Brancato. “That at one college campus, not just consent, but the effort to promote consent and make it mainstream is so important to students that over half of them clicked like on one single facebook photo. It gives me so much hope that consent not only can, but will be popular. And that our culture will see the day when sexual pleasure and empowerment is more common that sexual violence and coercion.”
In addition to the CONSENT REVOLUTION AWARDS, the Playboy hacktivists also published their own magazine titled “CONSENT: A Good Time For Everyone”. The slick online mag offers talking points about consent, a quiz to rate your school and ideas for consent-promoting actions.
Force: Upsetting Rape Culture is an art and activist effort to upset the culture of rape and promote a counter culture of consent. The group has projected RAPE is RAPE onto the US Capitol Building, pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting anti-rape, consent-themed thongs, and floated a rape survivor’s poem in the reflecting pool of the national mall. In summer of 2014, they are blanketing the mall with a GIANT quilt made of survivors’ stories.
100 red quilts create public space for survivors of rape and abuse
In the bright afternoon sun 100 bright red quilts occupied the center plaza at Baltimore’s Penn Station. Each quilt contained a story from a survivor of rape and abuse or a message of support. For five hours this Sunday, a sea of red fabric altered the stark concrete landscape and created a highly visible space to honor the experiences of survivors. Visitors interacted with the quilts, read survivors’ stories and joined in community.
The event on Sunday was the first public display of historic project The Monument Quilt. Over the next year, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is collecting 6,000 quilts from survivors and allies across the United Stated. In summer of 2014, the collected quilts will blanket the lawn of the national mall.
“For survivors, the first step towards healing is the telling of what happened,” says Hannah Brancato, FORCE co director. “As long as the telling of such stories is ignored or forbidden in our culture, we are hindering the process for millions of survivors to heal. By creating this quilt, we are creating the cultural space where people who have long carried a trauma in silence, may speak their truth.”
“I personally did a quilt. It was so amazing,” said Nick Jones on Sunday. “Because we were talking about our experiences as survivors together. And we also had this creative space and this open space to be heard.”
In the early morning a crew of volunteer arrived at Penn Station, began unfolding blankets and laying them out in the plaza. “Opening the blankets and laying them out releases the burden of the survivor in a way that is really tangible,” said one volunteer. “All the blankets gathered in the sunlight, you can feel the release, the grief and trauma airing out. Maybe you can imagine it and see the pictures and be moved, but the physical space is really different than thinking about it. You can feel the energy shifting and I didn’t realise that would happen until today.”
The quilts displayed this Sunday were made locally in churches, community centers, colleges and living rooms. During a quilt making workshop at the Spiritual Empowerment Center this past August, participants stitched fabric, wrote messages of support and recounted their own person stories. One workshop participant, Deletta Gillespie, said at the display, “It’s really gratifying knowing that I had a part of it. To see people walk by and they look at the quilt and you see their reaction.”
Many of the Sunday’s visitors came to see the quilt, while many others were simply passing by. “As people passed by and found out about the quilt their reactions were very positive. It dispels the myth that we can’t talk about rape in public. The public is ready for it. Some of the most excited people were the people who just stumbled upon it,” observed Rebecca Nagle, FORCE co director.
In a key-note address FORCE stated, “Rape is not a special interest issue that affects a few people. Rape is a social justice issue that affects everyone.”
“This space is really moving,” said attendee Alexa Richardson. “It is incredibly powerful to see the stories juxtaposed in a public space. It’s heartfelt and community driven. I feel, as I think everyone here feels, really excited about the impact of the final quilt.”
If the Monument Quilt, and the space it is creating, moves you in any way, you may get involved in creating the final vision. Anyone can make a blanket that contains a personal story or a message of support for survivors of rape and abuse. For instructions on how to create and submit a blanket visit http://upsettingrapeculture.com/quilt_instructions.pdf. Organizations including churches, schools, community centers and social groups are invited to host quilt making workshops. For more information about hosting a quilting workshop email email@example.com.
You can also help The Monument Quilt with material needs. To donate using Paypal, please visit upsettingrapeculture.com and click the donate button. Over 700 people donated $26,000 to the Monument Quilt’s Kickstarter this past summer. FORCE estimates they need to raise another $50,000 to create and display the final quilt.
FORCE is also looking for a large work and storage space in Baltimore from Nov 2013 through Nov 2014 and donations of fabric and sewing machines. If interested in making a material donation contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first display of the Monument Quilt was made possible by the Maryland Institute College of Art Fibers Department, MICA Curatorial Practice Program, Congregate, The Spiritual Empowerment Center, Station North Arts and Entertainment District, and the Research Associates Foundation. Special thanks to the many volunteers who helped during workshops, sew-a-thons, and the display itself. Photography by Casey McKeel and Theresa Keil. Video by David Sloan.
FORCE says, “Thank you to everyone who has trusted us with their stories and contributed in the most courageous way to forever changing how our country treats survivors of rape and abuse.”
Playboy Hacktivists publish their own College Issue
Today, FORCE releases the college issue of CONSENT: A good time for everyone. Along with the magazine, FORCE is hosting the CONSENT REVOLUTION AWARDS. Consent enthusiasts from across the country are invited to enter for a chance to win a shot at fame and free condoms.
A week ago, the internet exploded with the proclamation that Playboy had re-invented its annual party school list in response to the predominance of rape on college campuses. The re-invented “2013 Top Ten Party Commandments” chose to focus on consent boldly stating “A good college party is all about everyone having a good time. Consent is all about everyone having a good time. Rape is only a good time if you’re a rapist. And f—- those people.” As has been reported by the Huffington Post, NY Magazine, Salon and other media outlets, the party commandments were an elaborate hoax plotted to promote consent. The stunt was carried off by a national network of consent-conspiring college students and the feminist activist group FORCE. The viral internet hoax succeeded in getting millions of people talking about campus sex culture, good times and consent.
FORCE, the group behind the hoax, believes the consent revolution “is at hand”. They say, “we are at the beginning of a new sexual revolution that is replacing sexual coercion and violence with sexual pleasure and empowerment.”
If the response to last week’s consent hoax is any indication, people are ready for said revolution. The internet saw way more enthusiasm for the spoof “Ultimate Guide for a Consensual Good Time” than for Playboy’s actual top party school list. Tens of thousands of people praised the consent commandments on social media. The comment section at partywithplayboy.com is filled with “Thank you” and “About time”.
Where did this outpouring of positive support come from?
FORCE says, “People are ready for the consent revolution. People are already making it happen. What’s missing isn’t popular support for consent, it’s popular media outlets. The culture of enthusiastic yes should be more visible than the culture of blurred lines. Luckily the other thing people are ready for and already making is their own media.”
CONSENT, The College Issue is an antidote to mainstream media. To further encourage people to help bring on this consent cultural change, FORCE is hosting the CONSENT REVOLUTION AWARDS! Consent enthusiasts from across the country are invited to enter for a chance to win a shot at fame and free condoms.
According to the official consent rules, by simply posting photographs of inspiring and creative consent promoting actions college students can enter to win both “Consent Super Stardom (Your AMAZING action will be featured on Bitch Media, Think Progress and Huffpo!) and a shipment of Goodies (including consent condoms, temporary tats, bumper stickers and stencils for marking up T-shirts, sidewalks and drawers)!
How does one enter to win a consent revolution award? Again, the official contest rules state:
1. Think of a brilliant, memorable, inspiring action to promote consent on your campus.
For ideas and tips flip through the pages of CONSENT: The College Issue. There you will find a quiz to guide your campus needs, things to try and practical tools. Your action could be a consent themed cheer at the Homecoming game’s half time! It could be a compelling poster campaign, an instantly viral hash-tagged meme, something you are planning to do, haven’t thought of yet, or have already done!
2. Post a photo of whatcha did!
On Oct 7 between 9am and 9pm EST post a photo of your consent action on FORCE’s Facebook page at facebook.com/upsettingrapeculture. Be sure to include a brief description of the action, the name of your school, and the name of your group or campaign.
3. Get the Most likes!
The consent campaign that gets the most likes on Oct 7 wins! (Hint: telling your friends to like and share your post helps.)
To read the fine print visit: upsettingrapeculture.com/contest
The College Issue of CONSENT: A Good Time for Everyone is available for free at upsettingrapeculture.com/mag. The online publication includes such goodies as “Rate Your School: Find Out What Your Campus Needs”. Using a cosmo-style quiz college students can survey what kind of consent campus they attend and find tools and suggestions for their particular campus. The campuses are ranked according to the quiz and fall into categories such as “Preaching to the Choir” or “My school is a nightmare!”
For “Consent is nice in theory, but gets lost in practice” the magazine reads…
“Students at your school have attended the workshop, read the handbook, and seen the informational poster. They know what consent is. But when it comes to asking first with their Saturday night smooch, they’re a little lost. Time to share some everyday examples of consent in motion. Go to page 12 and check out the ‘This is Consent’ photo campaign.”
When the reader flips to page 12, they find a spread about consent activist Brittney Elizabeth Williams and her photo project “This is Consent”. In an in-house interview Williams says this about her project:
“I hope it teaches everyone that consent is fun and in no way cumbersome. I hope that it shows people that consent is universal, and I want This Is Consent to remove any negative connotation from the word ‘No.’ There’s nothing wrong with saying no or accepting ‘no.’”
“For consent to be a truly mainstream and common practice, it needs to be part of the sexual culture on college campuses,” says Hannah Brancato co director FORCE, about why they are hosting the Revolution Awards. “Consent needs to be part of campus hook up culture. If you only learn about consent in an auditorium, it will be hard to put into practice in the heat of the moment. But if consent is also surrounding students in their party culture and in their social spheres, it is more likely to sink in. College students are the best people to teach other college students about how enthusiastic, consensual sex is the best sex. College students are the best people to lead the consent revolution on their campuses!”
Yesterday, Playboy publicized the content of their college issue, which included a photo spread of undergraduate women from the PACT 12. The magazine spoke of some of the college women they featured thusly, “This pair of WSU Cougars is so hot we had to hose them down.” While Playboy gives college students a media platform with which they can take off their clothes, FORCE is giving college students a media platform with which they can promote consent.
While Playboy is desperately trying to be current the publication is glaringly backwards. Their most recent October issue also contains such highlights as “You should never look down on someone unless they are giving you a blowjob”. The rape joke feels almost as antiquated as the rare coin collections populating Playboy’s noticeably sparse outside advertisements. Overall, the magazine is struggling with a dwindling readership, the decline of print media and a cultural message that was more popular 50 years ago than it is today.
“Just like print media is a dwindling position in pop culture, so is equating pretty women to good food,” says FORCE. “The mainstream media is still selling us the same version of sex that they were 30 years ago. Hugh Hefner may have pushed the last sexual revolution in this country, but he is missing this one. The reason that the positive consent jams that FORCE creates go SO viral is because the American facebook population is SO ready for the message. And they will keep clicking like whether that message is coming from magazines or their friends.”
Katya Palsi, from the campus group PACT5 has this to say about the comparison:
“During the social media launch it was so exciting to see the positive reactions of my peers. At the same time it felt bittersweet knowing that Playboy wasn’t actually behind it. Our culture needs influential leaders, like Playboy and other enterprises, to step up and change the conversation. The excitement generated by this just shows how ready we are as a society for a cultural shift - the stage is set, now all we need are the performers.”
“We are not waiting for the mainstream media to figure it out. We are creating our own media to ring in the consent revolution!” says FORCE.
You can read the FORCE’s college issue in full at upsettingrapeculture.com/mag