College students across the country conspired to promote consent: the story behind yesterday’s Playboy hoax.
Yesterday 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.”
The fake playboy site at partywithplay.com, was backed up by fake news coverage on the Huffington Post, Upworthy, Brobible, and an in-depth interview on Playboy Enterprise’s corporate blog: “Hugh Hefner on the Consent Revolution”.
During the day-long frenzy, the 5 mock sites were receiving over 3,000 hits an hour. At the time of this release the fake Huffpo site had 5k facebook likes and counting.
By early evening, Playboy Enterprises, Inc had been contacted about their shocking move and their official spokesperson declared that they “weren’t behind it”. Brobible.com and several other websites speculated that the “Ultimate Guide to A Consensual Good Time” was created by the same group that made last year viral Victoria’s Secret panty prank.
And they all were almost right.
While FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture was in on the prank, the consent campaign was mostly carried out by a national conspiracy of college students. Students from over 25 school across the country banded together to create the historic hoax. Consent enthusiasts hosted consent-themed tailgating parties, played games of “Ask First” beer pong, and excitedly pushed the prank on facebook and twitter, which is how it exploded all over the internet on Tuesday.
While hundreds of college students were in on the hoax, the main culprits (and the ones that enthusiastically consented to having their names released to the media) are, drum roll please…
Maria Romas from University of Maryland, Cinneah El-Ahmin from Columbia, Arianna Rose from Hampshire College, Sophie Hess at Oberlin, Meghana Kulkarni at University of Michigan, Kelsey Yale at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Lily Manganiello from Skidmore, Dasha Burns from University of California Berkeley, and Katya Palsi member of PACT5 and from Rowan University.
(And yes, reporters, these co-conspirators are available for questioning. Rather than trolling the internet for their contact information, you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly share the email addresses we have consent to share.)
Here is some of what the activists have to say about yesterday’s hoax:
"All day I’ve been overhearing people talk to each other about the article thinking that it was real. What I heard was really surprising. I thought that people would be dubious at best. But not only did they totally buy it, they loved it, saying it was refreshing, real, and ‘about time.’ The whole process has made me realize that as easy as it is for people to believe negative sexual messages from the media, it’s also just as easy for them to believe positive ones. It’s both sad and exciting to move on to the next stage of the game, where we’ll have to acknowledge that mainstream conversation around consent really isn’t actually happening, even though it could and should be." - Sophie Hess, Oberlin
"I was so surprised at the instant response on my news feed! Friends from all over the country were liking and reposting the link. Such a widespread movement promoting consent was long overdue!" - Cinneah El-Ahmin, Columbia
“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.” - Katya Palsi member of PACT5 and from Rowan University.
Beyond recognizing that our culture is ready for change, these student activists are already creating it.
Kelsey Yale, a senior at University of Wisconsin, Madison, created the slogan and organization “Badgers Get Consent”. Praised under Top Ten Party School Commandment III, they are printing boxers and condoms that say things like “consent is the first thing I do with my mouth”. Kelsey says, “We work hard to promote consent culture on campus. We may not have succeeded in ending rape culture, but we are well on our way!”
As these college students show, the culture of consent is already out there. As Yesterday’s response to the Playboy jam shows, its, in fact, already popular. Hopefully, the gap between the messages that people want and the messages that people get about consent and sex will continue to shrink.
Going to college should make it more likely for you to graduate with a job. It should not make it more likely for you to graduate with the trauma of sexual assault. With 1 in 4 female undergrads being assaulted while they are in school, obtaining a bachelors degree in this country comes with an untenable high level of violence. All college students, male, female and gender queer, deserve better.
FORCE says, “While Playboy’s pretend declaration ‘Rape is only a good time if you are a rapist and f—- those people’ may sounds flippant, in some ways the verbiage is spot-on. While rape is an infinitely complicated social issue, the truth that rape is wrong is completely simple. The more comfortable we can get as a culture in calling out rape for what it is, the less space it has to breath.”
Both the Huffington Post and BroBible wrote about their sites being hacked, with BroBible stating that they “agree with the overall messaging… The world is safe for bros to be feminists too.” According to the solo-cup-votes on the fake brobibles.com, the world is safe for feminists to be bro, too. Cheers to you in solidarity!!
What is Playboy saying? While they have told reporters that the site was not theirs they also told partywithplayboy.com’s server to take it down. Trying to take down a website that is getting thousands upon thousands of people excited about consensual sex? Sounds like a party foul to us! We here at consent conspiring headquarters have one thing to say to Playboy: why not join the consent party, already??!?!! Of course you’re invited! Consent is for everyone!
YOU can help us recruit powerful media outlets for the consent revolution by telling @Playboy why they should join the fun by helping us celebrate empowering, pleasurable and consensual sex.
Force: Upsetting Rape Culture is an art and activist effort to upset the culture of rape and promote a counter culture of consent. We believe that a more difficult and honest conversation needs to happen in America to face the realities of sexual violence, and we envision a world where sex is empowering and pleasurable rather than coercive and violent. To promote this needed conversation, we create art actions to generate media attention and get millions of people talking.
We have 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.
Whats next for FORCE? In summer of 2014, we are blanketing the mall with a GIANT quilt made of up of stories from survivors of rape and abuse. The Monument Quilt will create highly visible, public space where survivors are honored and supported instead of silenced and shamed.
The Monument Quilt is a HUGE project and we are looking for lots of people to get involved. As you can tell, we like working with folks from across the country! If you’re interested, get in touch.