Originally posted in the UMD Diamondback.
A few months ago, I got a phone call. The first words I heard were, “I know you don’t know me, but…”
And so began my involvement in the Playboy prank with a program called FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture.
For those of you who didn’t see it all over social media these past few days, FORCE joined up with feminists throughout the nation to create a fake page titled “Top Ten Party Commandments: The Ultimate Guide for a Consensual Good Time,” accurately mimicking Playboy’s website. It’s the same group that created the fake Victoria’s Secret consent-themed lingerie line.
This time, the prank tricked a ton of people with its aggressive promotion of “consent culture,” touting the home-page slogan, “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.” Then, FORCE and its cohorts created fake pages for sites such as BroBible and The Huffington Post with the buzzy headline “Hugh Hefner Says Rape Is Not Bro.” All in all, it was an incredibly impressive show of talent and passion to put a stop to rape culture.
Now Playboy is trying to make FORCE take the site down. Which begs the question: Why won’t Playboy come out with a statement along the same lines? Wouldn’t it be good for such a universal, sex-positive organization to endorse the fact that consent is a vital part of a fun time?
I’m immensely proud to have played even a small part in making this prank happen. The sheer volume of responses from those who thought the prank was real — responses that were overwhelmingly in favor of Playboy coming out with a pro-consent message — was incredibly promising.
As for my part, it was so much fun to get this university’s share of the prank together. I scheduled a “consent party,” interviewed students, shared information about CARE to Stop Violence (formerly SARPP) and talked about the new pilot program that could eventually teach all freshmen entering this university about sexual assault prevention. I had the best time secretly collaborating with FORCE and students at other universities to put this hoax together. And keeping it a secret was difficult, especially on Tuesday.
When it went viral, I could not have been happier. Hearing people talk about how wonderful consent is — and how exciting it was to see Playboy promoting it — gave me hope that rape culture can be demolished. Rape isn’t about sex; it’s about one person taking power away from the other. So, in order for sex to be a rewarding experience for all, consent is key.
So remember: “No means hail no!” and yes means yes. Get consent before having sex if you want to have sex. And don’t feel pressured to even have sex in the first place. If you say no, your partner should respect that. It’s OK to stay within your comfort zone — and whoever isn’t comfortable with that isn’t worth your time.