Victoria’s Secret is making headlines for more than their seductive models. A new and unexpected campaign launched last week. Not only did this new line feature a curvy minority model but it also focused on anti-rape awareness.
Victoria’s Secret’s teen and tween brand, PINK, announced, “Consent is sexy” which seems very different from their previously promiscuous line of underwear. Instead of objectifying women, these new panties promote female empowerment and respect for a woman’s body. The line’s website, www.PINKlovesconsent.com, invites women to “Join the Consent Revolution” and offers information on rape culture and how to change it. The site also features flirty models wearing the consent themed panties that will be in stores “this holiday season”. The PINK Loves CONSENT website and Twitter immediately went viral, with over 5,500,000 members. Yet, despite the enthusiastic response, this line will not be coming to a Victoria’s Secret store near you.
Unfortunately, PINK does not really love consent. Despite the cleverly designed website, Victoria’s Secret does not endorse this campaign. Feminist publication, Jezebel, was the first to call the spoof on the new “consent is sexy” line. FORCE, a rape culture awareness group, admits to creating the PINK Loves Consent line. Clearly, the parody is a direct reaction to the provocative sayings that appeared on PINK’s holiday themed panty collection on December 4th.
Featured under the “then” section of www.PINKlovesconsent.com , these panties say, “Unwrap me” and similarly suggestive sayings. Although these slogans keep with the theme of Victoria’s Secret’s sensual marketing strategy, consumers reacted negatively to the panties’ debut.
FORCE launched the fake PINK loves CONSENT campaign as a direct response to Victoria’s Secret’s holiday collection. They took their rape culture awareness campaign even further by actually manufacturing and planting the consent themed underwear in Victoria’s Secret stores across the country.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive response to the panties, FORCE acknowledges, “There never was a plan to sell consent themed panties, just to create a consent revolution!” Yet, fans across the internet and across the nation might spark a demand. As noted in Jezebel’s article, women want to wear clothes that make them feel confident and empowered. Just as brands emblazon logos on their clothes in order to gain more visibility, “consent is sexy” is gaining visibility and becoming acceptable. Although FORCE cannot sell their PINK loves CONSENT underwear for fear of legal repercussions, they offer a DIY-guide to help spread the message of consent, http://upsettingrapeculture.com/diy.
What can Victoria’s Secret learn from this parody? Despite its dominating presence as the sexiest lingerie company around, Victoria’s Secret still needs to pay attention to FORCE. The positive, viral responses to the PINK Loves CONSENT website indicate what women really want. They want respect for their bodies and their sexuality. Women want to buy clothing that makes them feel empowered. Yes, “consent is sexy” and Victoria’s Secret has the power to make it mainstream. Even though PINK does not love consent right now, this campaign should be an indicator that Victoria’s Secret should show they love and respect women by loving consent too.