Earlier this week, an activist group called FORCE successfully hijacked the behemoth of a brand that is Victoria’s Secret in order to spread awareness about consent and rape culture. Their weapon of choice? A fake ad/awareness campaign called “Pink Loves Consent.”

While it’s not that out of the question in this day and age for a mainstream women’s brand to try to score some PR points by supporting a relatively uncontroversial, pro-woman cause like fighting rape and abuse, the “Pink Loves Consent” website quickly gives itself away by using non-stick-thin models and speaking ill of past VS panty designs for the way they promoted rape culture (sorry the screenshots got cut off by my tiny screen):

But that didn’t stop a ton of people from believing the campaign was real and flooding the “Pink Loves Consent” Facebook page, the fake campaign PR email, and Twitter with positive feedback like this:

“[#ILoveConsent] because I feel like more attention is given to the “Don’t dress in a revealing manner, and you won’t get raped”, part of the rape culture. Which is insanely false. I love this, because not only is it on some of what can be the most private bits of clothing, but it’s just screaming “DON’T TOUCH ME”. I feel like more people should take this approach instead of “don’t show off your body”. 
I’m allowed to show off my body any way I please, but if I say no, you either respect it, or you’ll rape me. There is no in between.
(Also, good job using larger women of colour!! That’s something I have never seen from VS, and it makes me incredibly happy!)”

There were even some happy tweets from hoodwinked VS employees: “I am so happy to currently have a job for a company that stands for something so beautiful!! @LoveConsent #victoriassecret #loveconsent” wrote one.

Even after word got out that it was “fake,” #pinklovesconsent continued (and continues) to trend with pro-consent, anti-rape messages from both people who have, and people who have not, caught on that it’s not an official VS campaign:

One might think this would be a good opportunity for Victoria’s Secret to jump onboard and score some of those aforementioned PR points by being a good sport about it and supporting the cause, especially considering all the bad PR they’ve gotten lately, but one would probably be wrong. The “Pink Loves Consent” Twitter account has already been suspended, and the only message VS has released thus far has been “This is not an official PINK campaign. We are looking into it.

Naturally, FORCE is pretty stoked that they were able to harness the buzz surrounding the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to spark conversation about consent, writing:

Social media is becoming a tool for social change. We have seen the role of social media in revolution in the Arab Spring, but change Victoria’s Secret? “Probably not,” say the organizers.  “We’re not about taking Victoria’s Secret down.  We are about changing the conversation. The sexiness that is being sold to women by Victoria’s Secret is not actually about sex. It is not how to have sex, relationships or orgasms. It in an IMAGE of what it is to be sexy. So while we are sold cleavage, white teeth, clear skin and perfect hair no one is asking us how our bodies feel and what we desire. Victoria’s Secret owns the image of female sexuality, instead of women owning their own sexuality.”

I’m a little bit worried they’re going to get sued for trademark infringement; large corporations aren’t known for playing nice where these things are concerned. But if they know what’s best for them, the higher ups at Victoria’s Secret will take the enormously positive customer (and potential customer) response as a cue to throw their considerable power behind supporting FORCE’s message. Or at least stop making underwear that says “Sure Thing” across the crotch. Would that be too much to ask?

(Via Jezebel)

Photo: FORCE