Feminist pranksters create fake Playboy “guide to a consensual good time”

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The awesome feminist pranksters at FORCE are at it again.

The activist group behind that fake consent-themed lingerie line at Victoria’s Secret, along with a coalition of college students from 25 schools nationwide, pulled a similar move with Playboy. Yesterday, the internet was a buzz for a few hours with news that Playboy was devoting their annual college party guide to issues of sexual assault and consent. The Party with Playboy website offered tips for a “consensual good time.” The site explains:

Somewhere in the countless hours we spent tallying up co-eds and scoring beer pong, we lost track of the most essential element of the Playboy lifestyle: sexual pleasure. Rape is kryptonite to sexual pleasure. The two cannot co-exist. For our revised party guide to live up to our founder’s vision, we had to put a new criterion on top. Namely, consent.

In other words… 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 fuck those people.

I mean, that’s just great messaging all around. “Rape is kryptonite to sexual pleasure.” TRUTH. “Rape is only a good time if you’re a rapist. And fuck those people.” That should be on signs on every college campus everywhere, IMO.

By evening, of course, Playboy had confirmed that they were not in fact responsible for the site, and this morning FORCE and its coalition of college students took credit for the fake site. In a press release, the activists point out that the response from those who thought it was real was very positive–and not just by card-carrying feminists like us who obviously jump at any chance to discuss consent. Sophie Hess of Oberlin said:

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.

And that’s really why FORCE’s pranks have been so brilliant. It’s not because they’re exposing that it’s totally absurd to think that Playboy or Victoria’s Secret would ever actually do something like this. It’s the opposite–Playboy could talk about sexual assault and enthusiastic consent in a way that’s in line with their brand. And people would not only buy it–they’d like it. As FORCE notes, “The culture of consent is already out there…It’s, 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.”

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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