In light of the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show this week, a guerrilla awareness campaign called PINK Loves Consent excited feminist lingerie-wearers around the world. Victoria’s Secret has long set the standard for sexy in both male and female terms. Men want to date VS models and women want to be them.
For girls just coming into their sexuality, the brand PINK provides the tools to be the sexiest high school girl in the halls. With sayings like “No Peeking” and “Unwrap Me,” girls are encouraged to be coy in their approach as sexual creatures, rather than vocal. PINK Loves Consent (PLC) aims to send a different message with their undies. On the PLC website, there is a tab titled THEN and NOW. This page parallels current PINK lingerie statements with more positive, consent-driven messages such as “Ask First” and “No Means No.” In addition, PLC breaks down the problem with the original sayings and offers an explanation for their solution: “No vagina is a sure thing. It doesn’t matter if that person slow-danced with you all night long, if that woman is your girlfriend, if that man is in your bed, if your date is drunk. We believe that in every situation, every time, everyone gets to decide what happens to their body. Don’t treat people like a “sure thing.” Ask first.”
In the last five or so years, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has become a tradition as popular as the Macy’s Day Parade or Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Girls get together for viewing parties, sports bars tune in, and the Twitterverse leads the commentary for the event. PLC got in on the social media action by asking followers to include #loveconsent in their tweets and tags throughout the show to tell Victoria’s Secret and other live streamers why we love consent. Here are of few of my reasons:
The PINK Nation is an institution that needs to be questioned, just like any other, in order to make improvements and meet the needs of its people. While it would be a lot to ask of a lingerie store to provide sex education alongside their products, I don’t think it is out of the question for the company who sets the standard of what’s sexy to expand the definition to include the voices and needs of the women wearing their product. What’s sexier than a woman who knows what she wants? Being given the opportunity to vocalize it. And if she doesn’t know what she wants, she deserves the space to express that and to explore her options. That’s what’s sexy. That’s why I #loveconsent.