Not Your Average Lingerie

12.11.12

Pink Loves Consent: an Anti-Rape Victoria’s Secret Spoof That’s Gone Viral

Pink Loves Consent is an online movement that has developed to promote healthy body image and spread awareness about safe sex. Misty White Sidell reports.
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Philip Laubner

A new website called Pink Loves Consent looks and feels like Victoria’s Secret PINK’s online shop. It even has a Victoria’s Secret banner running across the top of its page. But Pink Loves Consent isn’t affiliated with VS at all—in fact, it’s a timely spoof devoted to spreading the word about rape on college campuses. Think of it as a Victoria’s Secret impostor—with a positive message.

Educators Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato, (and founders of the anti-rape advocacy group, Force collective) launched the project last Monday to coincide with the hype surrounding the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. “We could have written a pamphlet about consent and had a workshop, but we wanted to reach a mass audience and the Internet is the way to do that,” Brancato told The Daily Beast when reached by phone. Their new site debuted to monumental fanfare, drawing 200,000 clicks in four days with word rapidly spreading on Tumblr and Twitter with the hashtag #LoveConsent.

But Pink Loves Consent is not just a stunt to draw attention to rape statistics. Similar to Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, Pink Loves Consent features women of varying sizes posing in positively-sloganed lingerie. At first glance, the page may seem like a hub for e-commerce, but nothing on the site is actually for sale. “No means no,” reads a pair of lacy underwear, while “Consent is Sexy,” and, “Respect,” emblazon others. The site boasts sections devoted to rape education and sex advice, and includes an entire Pink Loves Consent lookbook with a mockup of dorm-approved hoodies and underwear printed with empowering affirmations. The slogans, and they’re positive-influencing models, have spurred a viral reaction on the Internet. “Want to see how #socialmedia is being used to create social change? Check out @loveconsent. This is what it’s all about.” @Sarah_Prager tweeted, while @MaddieMajerus dispatched, “I want the Pink Loves Consent campaign to be real! #VictoriasSecret would be perfect for a consent campaign & panty collection.”

The project has shaped up to be a stronghold for both women’s safety and body acceptance. On the night of the Victoria’s Secret show, Pink Loves Consent’s models (all cast from the Baltimore-area) responded to tweets from girls complaining that they hated their bodies after watching the broadcast, while also sending out uplifting anecdotes about safe sex.

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Philip Laubner

Brancato says that Victoria’s Secret did contact Pink Loves Consent’s original hosting site “and demanded that we take down the website.” Victoria’s Secret did not respond to multiple emails on the matter. The site is now operating on a different server, and the organization has not heard from VS since the switch. “It’s not so much about VS themselves,” Brancato explained, “Our point was to change the conversation [surrounding the show]. And we did that.”