Support our Kickstarter and get a 10 pack of these consent condoms!!
Support our Kickstarter and get a 10 pack of these consent condoms!!
If you’re a fan of FORCE’s work and want to get more involved, read on!
We’re looking for “Consent Event Ambassadors” to host events—dance parties, film screenings, dessert tastings, and whatever else you can think of—to raise money for the monument quilt project. Like a Tupperware party, but for dismantling rape culture.
With the help of our handy dandy Guide to Fundraising for FORCE: A Good Time for Everyone, you can bring the consent revolution to your campus or community and raise money for FORCE while you’re at it!
Ready to step up to the plate?
Here’s to a consent-filled 2014!
FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture
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.
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.
Yesterday, young facebook users hi-jacked the social media outlets of Victoria’s Secret to promote something very different from panties and push-up bras. Within ten hours, over 50,000 people visited PinkLovesConsent.com, where they saw Victoria’s Secret’s image “promoting consent to fight rape.”
The satirical website was launched at noon on Monday, December 3. According to the site, “PINK loves CONSENT is our newest collection of flirty, sexy and powerful statements that remind people to practice CONSENT. CONSENT is a verbal agreement about how and when people are comfortable having sex.”
Through Victoria’s Secret’s social media, the concept of consent was cropping up in some unexpected places. The Victoria’s Secret facebook pages were flooded with “I heart consent” posts, excited campus reps were retweeting pinklovesconsent.com, and the “pink hearts” at pinknation.com were declaring their love for “open sex talk.” One employee tweeted, “I am so happy to currently have a job for a company that stands for something so beautiful!! @LoveConsent #victoriassecret #loveconsent” Highschool students were tweeting “I’m loving the new @LoveConsent! Victoria’s secret goes feminist!” At the outset, 100 young facebook users were in one the prank. It just went viral from there.
How did customers respond to the prank? Victoria’s Secret fighting rape? Some people were skeptical, some people were confused, and most people LOVED it.
The firstname.lastname@example.org inbox was flooded with fan mail from over-joyed customers.
“Hey, I just wanted to say that I am really incredibly happy about PINK’s consent line. It’s really encouraging to see mainstream clothing that promotes women’s safety and choice while still being fashionable and letting her feel good about her body. I wasn’t a Victoria’s Secret customer before, but I sure as hell am now
“Dear Anyone who made this happen at VS,
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! As a college student, and as someone who is constantly trying to create awareness of consent and body image awareness, I love this. As someone who is a survivor of assault, I love this. I love this times a million. I am floored, and a proud customer. I will flaunt these the minute I am able to buy them.”
Why should Victoria’s Secret (or anyone) promote consent? To end rape. By the time American women graduate from college 1 in 4 will have been raped. Every 21 hours, a rape occurs on an American college campus. Women are twice as likely to be raped in their lifetime than to develop breast cancer.
Turns out feminist duo FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is behind the campaign. Just last month, on the eve of the last presidential election, the same team projected “Rape Is Rape,” along with stories of survivors, onto the US Capitol Building. FORCE says, “We envision a world where sex is empowering and pleasurable rather than coercive and violent.”
Will Victoria’s Secret take a nod from the customer fan mail and change their styles? Fighting rape would be a major shift for the brand. Though they are a woman-focused company, VS has never taken a stand on any women’s issue. In fact, their current designs seem to lean more toward rape culture than consent. Their PINK brand, marketed at high school and college-aged women, sports thongs with the slogan “SURE THING” printed right over the crotch. Young women across the country are wearing underwear with “SURE THING” literally printed over their vaginas. We can think of one circumstance where a vagina is treated like a “SURE THING”: rape.
So if Victoria’s Secret clearly would NEVER promote consent why use their brand for a consent campaign? The organizers say, “We could write a pamphlet about consent. In fact, we have written and distributed pamphlets about consent. But how many people are reading pamphlets about sexual practices and how many people are reading facebook post about Victoria’s Secret? Consent needs to become a mainstream idea. Condoms became a mainstream idea in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Just like pausing to put on a condom prevents the spread of STDs, pausing to check in with you partner prevents unwanted sexual experiences.
Social media is becoming a tool for social change. We have seen the role of social media in revolution in the Arab Spring, but change Victoria’s Secret? “Probably not,” says the organizers. “We’re not about taking Victoria’s Secret down. We are about changing the conversation. The sexiness that is being sold to women by Victoria’s Secret is not actually about sex. It is not how to have sex, relationships or orgasms. It in an IMAGE of what it is to be sexy. So while we are sold cleavage, white teeth, clear skin and perfect hair no one is asking us how our bodies feel and what we desire. Victoria’s Secret owns the image of female sexuality, instead of women owning their own sexuality.”
As the project went viral, some saw right through the shenanigans. Many who knew it was a prank openly wished that it was real. After a first incredulous look and some detective work, Jezebel blogger Katie J.M. Baker said, “If only Victoria’s Secret focused on empowering women rather than objectifying them!” Bloggers wrote about how the Pink Loves Consent project makes women look powerful and strong. Jezebel users commented on the “fiercely real” body types represented on the site. “Too bad they don’t use some models like her for their regular advertising. The girl’s gorgeous and it’s awesome to see a different body style once in awhile.” A frustrated Facebook user commented, “Damn, I wish these were real. I just got paid.” And a savvy Victoria’s Secret customer tweeted, “So I guess the #loveconsent campaign isn’t actually affiliated with Victoria’s Secret but they SHOULD BE I WOULD BUY SO MUCH UNDERWEAR.”
Why do so many women love something they know is not real? FORCE made something that people want, but that a company like Victoria’s Secret can never give them. Imagine how different our lives would be if we put as much time and thought into sharing ideas like consent as we do into selling underwear.
As one high school student eloquently blogged:
“i’m still freaking out over this pink loves consent thing. And people say nothing’s gonna change, that talking and educating doesn’t help. Watch how many people will second-guess their actions when a widely popular company is pushing the issue. This is so fucking cool.”
—a seventeen year-old high school student posted on tumblr
We are so sorry to tell young women that Victoria’s Secret is not using its voice to create the change you need to grow up safe and free from sexual violence. Victoria’s Secret is not using its brand to promote consent. They are not promoting consent to their 4.5 million “PINK nation” members, to the 500,000 facebook fans or the estimated 10 million viewers who will be watching tonight’s fashion show. But what a different world would it be if they did? What if consent and communication showed up in the bedroom as much as push-up bras and seamless thongs? Things WILL change and talking and education DOES help. We can create a culture where the sexual empowerment of women is more common than their sexual assault. But it’s going to take some work to keep on fighting against the messaging from giants like Victoria’s Secret.
While we can’t expect a message that is empowering for women to come from a brand like Victoria’s Secret, we can make it come from their hashtag. This campaign has only begun.
Tonight you can celebrate the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show by joining more than one thousand social media activists who will be posting, pinning and tweeting about consent. Join the CONSENT REVOLUTION! Tweet at #VictoriasSecret why you #loveconsent. Facebook @VictoriasSecret about why @loveconsent is revolutionary. Combat the sickening reality of rape culture by making the culture of consent go viral!