We’ve had Victoria’s Secret on the brain today, with the brand’s annual fashion show bonanza set to hit our TV screens at 10PM tonight in all its bras-and-Bieber glory. (You can watch the livestream here.)
But there’s another reason we’ve been pondering the lingerie company. Yesterday a press release was sent around touting a new line called PINK loves CONSENT, which purported to be Victoria’s Secret’s “new line of styles that reminds customers and their sexual partners to practice consent.” It didn’t take long, however, for Jezebel to call their bluff. The news would have been surprising all on its own (VS usually makes headlines for political statements of a far more questionable nature), but when compounded with the curvaceous model repping the line and the not-so-PR-ish language in the release, it was pretty clear this was the work of some outside party.
And indeed! Today FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, a Baltimore duo seeking to promote anti-rape awareness came forward and ‘fessed up to the stunt. In their blog post, they write about the enthusiastic response they received from both VS employees and customers:
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.
Now, will this translate into real, measurable action on the part of Victoria’s Secret? Will this year’s ill-advised Native American-inspired getup be replaced in 2013 by briefs with “Consent is Sexy” and “Ask First” splashed across the rear? Unlikely. But perhaps this will open up some eyes at corporate HQ about what really matters to the young women buying their lacy underthings and tuning in their oh-so-glitzy parade every year.