Last week, the internet was shocked and pleased to learn that Victoria’s Secret had launched a new line of consent-themed underwear. Instead of a thong reading “SURE THING,” these panties said things like “NO MEANS NO” and “ASK FIRST.” Even more exciting, they were modeled by a beaming curvy woman of color. “I’m the first person to go on a tirade about how much I hate VS, but this is awesome,” wrote one blogger — a sentiment that echoed throughout the Tumblr/Facebook/Twitter-sphere. Pretty shortly, though, the campaign was revealed as a sophisticated hoax perpetrated by a group of radical Baltimore feminists. BFB asked Baltimore residents Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle about their intentions, future plans — and the angry reaction from Victoria’s Secret:

(this interview has been edited and condensed)

How did the idea come about, and how did you go about executing it?

Upsetting Rape Culture actually started as an art exhibition in Baltimore in 2010. After we did that, we wanted to keep working, so the next thing we did is we made a line of underwear called “Consent Is Sexy.” We came up with this three-pack of underwear with a set of “No” underwear, “Yes” underwear and “Maybe” underwear, which we thought was a cute way of wearing what you were in the mood for. About a month later, Victoria’s Secret came out with this underwear that said “Yes, No, Maybe,” but it was all on the same underwear. Instead of saying yes, no or maybe —  and “I get to decide about what happens to my body” — it’s like, yes, no, maybe, I don’t know.

So instead of “No” being a way for young women to set a boundary, it is a way for them to flirt, which I think is part of this understanding we have in our culture that creates and perpetuates rape. So we were like, wow, this is crazy problematic. So the idea started to do a knock-off of Victoria’s Secret PINK line and we decided to time it with the fashion show.  Social media was the way to go, since as individuals, this was our best shot at creating a large impact and reaching a lot of people.

We worked with an amazing web designer named Dan Staples, fantastic photographer Philip Laubner (who also shot the YES consent is sexy line), a fabulous group of models who support consent and the project, two stylists named Michelle Faulkner and Darian Gavin, and a few amazing volunteers. In addition, we recruited a group of about 100 people who were in on the prank and helped us spread the word using Twitter, Tumbler, and Facebook. This was absolutely a group effort!

Why Victoria’s Secret?
Fighting rape would be a major shift for Victoria’s Secret. Though they are a woman-focused company, VS has never taken a stand on any women’s issue.

In fact, their current designs seem to lean more toward rape culture than consent. Their PINK brand, marketed at high school and college-aged women, sports thongs with the slogan “SURE THING” printed right over the crotch. Young women across the country are wearing underwear with “SURE THING” literally printed over their vaginas. We can think of one circumstance where a vagina is treated like a “SURE THING”: rape.

PINK is specifically marketed towards younger and younger girls, and like the rest of Victoria’s Secret, PINK is selling a specific brand of sexuality.  VS PINK has co-opted the idea of sexual freedom and twisted it into an image of sexuality in which the woman (or girl) is not really in control. The “Sure Thing” and “Yes No Maybe” and “NO peeking” underwear promote the idea of limitless availability, or on the other hand, leaving the choice up to the (presumably male) partner. The brand teaches girls to be coy instead of vocal and makes it seem uncool and unsexy to say no and mean it. By re-enforcing that sex is about an image, that looking good is more important than feeling good, PINK promotes rape culture.

What sort of reaction did you expect?
We strategically planned for the campaign to go viral on social media, and knew that there would be conversations both among girls who were consumers of PINK and related products, and feminists/activists who wanted to support this conversation about consent. We knew that the customer base of the PINK line would be excited to see such fierce and real conversation about sex. We were certain that many women would be excited to see a different, and empowered brand of sexuality being promoted. And they were!

I am sure that many people who were excited to see the conversation happening in this sphere will find other ways to keep talking about and promoting consent. There was one long conversation on our Facebook wall, as a few people tried to determine whether the project was really VS, that concluded with, Well, if VS isn’t selling this and FORCE isn’t either, then we will just have to make it! And that is a reaction that is the best, and that comes from this being a social media, grassroots campaign. Because a small group of artists were able to generate this conversation using this tactic, others that need the conversation and enjoyed it will find ways to keep it the consent revolution going.

What are some of your favorite responses/reactions?
When we first launched the campaign and had not yet released our reveal/Jezebel had not yet posted its article, the Victoria’s Secret Facebook pages were flooded with “I heart consent” posts, excited campus reps were retweeting, and the “pink hearts” at 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.”  High school students were tweeting, “I’m loving the new @LoveConsent! Victoria’s Secret goes feminist!”

One high school student eloquently blogged: “i’m still freaking out over this pink loves consent thing. And people say nothing’s gonna change, that talking and educating doesn’t help. Watch how many people will second-guess their actions when a widely popular company is pushing the issue. This is so fucking cool.”

How would you describe rape culture to someone who’d never heard the term before?
Rape culture are the things that allow rape to seem normal and prevent survivors from being able to speak up and out. Rape culture is silencing. In a rape culture, people are surrounded with images, language, laws, and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate rape. It includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.”

It is important that smaller groups, grassroots groups, speak up and talk about what matters to them. When people see an image like Rape is Rape or PINK Loves Consent in a mainstream venue like Facebook, even if they don’t linger on the image for long, it might help them to see rape culture where it was previously invisible. Or it will inspire them to make an image, an idea, a reality. This stuff is important because it shows that no matter how big the corporate giants are, especially in the internet and social media age, people really do have the power to be heard and to change the things that are oppressive using the very same tools. And we can even be more effective than they can be.

What has the response from VS been?
Victoria’s Secret has demanded that the website be taken down. They contacted our server, not us directly. Here is part of what they’ve said: “The registrants are using the VICTORIA’S SECRET, PINK and Heart Logo Design all without permission, to create confusion and to promote the non-authorized, non-associated sites and” The website is back up now. We are completely within our rights, according to fair use, since we are not selling anything and the campaign is a critique of the Victoria’s Secret brand.  Though it was taken down briefly on Thursday night, the website is still functioning!

How do social media tools benefit (or hurt) activist campaigns like this one? (Also:  Why/how did Twitter block @loveconsent — is this legal?)
During the fashion show the main Twitter handle for the consent campaign @loveconsent was suspended.  The account is still blocked and its tweets have disappeared from the Twitter feeds including #loveconsent and #victoriassecret.  Additionally a link at to let visitors tweet “Dear #victoriassecret I #loveconsent because” was blocked for most of the fashion show.  Twitter was contacted Tuesday night by FORCE about the suspension and has yet to reply.  Organizers aren’t sure why their account is suspended. The @loveconsent handle was getting a lot of retweets and top tweets for the #victoriassecret hashtag.  Maybe [Victoria’s Secret] complained.  We’ve also heard from people that you can’t search for the page on Facebook, that you can only get to it with a direct link (  We understand that it’s tricky territory because, at first, we were pretending to be Victoria’s Secret.  But now the cat is out of the bag.  On all our accounts we have tweeted and posted that we are a parody.

Despite the blocks, suspensions, missing tweets, and empty searches, #loveconsent has gone viral.  The Internet is awash with positive feedback and support for PINK loves CONSENT.  Perhaps the consent revolution has begun, even if it started with a parody and underwear.

This project relied completely on social media to spread the message and to generate a conversation. We never could have done the project without social media; however the conversation would have reached even more people if our accounts hadn’t been blocked. Though the idea of social media is radical in that it is ideally directed by and for people, the networks are not completely free and neutral.

What do you have planned for the future?
We do have some ideas up our sleeves, but you’ll have to stay tuned for more! We will definitely be thinking more about gender roles and playing with ways of sharing our ideas in the public sphere.

How can people become involved with your group?
Email us and follow our efforts online!

Are there any plans to actually make/sell this underwear?
We did actually print some underwear both for the photoshoot and for a nationwide panty drop which is happening this week. We will be posting on our Facebook wall throughout the next few days each time a batch gets dropped in a new city. Finders keepers!

As the campaign progressed last week, we asked ourselves — why do so many women love something they know is not real? FORCE made something that people want, but that a company like Victoria’s Secret can never give them. Imagine how different our lives would be if we put as much time and thought into sharing ideas like consent as we do into selling underwear.

For this campaign, it is important that our services in promoting consent be free, which is one of the many things that is distinguishing us from Victoria’s Secret. We are about promoting consent and instigating a national conversation about the subject, not making the product.

Ultimately, we feel that the PINK Loves Consent campaign is just one of the ways that we are working to end rape culture — we want to pursue other projects to upset and disrupt the culture of rape from other angles as well.

289 replies on “Baltimore Feminists Prank Victoria’s Secret — And Spark an Internet Revolution”

  1. “radical feminists”? it’s pretty pathetic that combating rape culture and advocating asking for consent is considered “radical”.

    1. I agree. People incorrectly toss around radical for things that aren’t that radical (because this was a safe prank that raised awareness to what VS customers really want) around like they do literally for things that aren’t literal. Oh, people.

    2. Well, it’s not *actually* considered radical by anyone; people just like to think of themselves as radical.

    3. ok i guess but people also like to marginalize others by calling them radical – just think of how it is used by politicians – the left calls Paul Ryan’s budget too radical, the right calls Obama too radical

    4. But it took a fair amount of time and effort to do this, which is a somewhat radical choice in this day and age. How about celebrating instead of criticizing? What radically feminist thing, that required time and effort invested, have you done lately?

    5. For those of you having the conversation about the word “radical”. Ending violence against women came out of the radical feminist wave back in the 70’s. Its not so much that ending rape and promoting consent is a radical idea, its that it connects todays efforts to the historical movement.

    6. Rape is wrong. We all know it. The only rape culture in existence outside of correctional institutions is part of an extremely flawed, fiction filled lexicon utilized exclusively by arseholes who wouldn’t know a good time (Edited).

      Seriously, if this is the best you kids can come up with, your generation is boned. (Edited)

    7. judging by the fact that you refer to us as a younger generation, i must conclude that you are a couple decades or so older, which is good because it means you’ll be dead soon

    8. What an enlightened attitude.

      Feminism is like church, except there’s not a drop of joy in feminism. The lack of self honesty is the backbone of feminist theory.

      If you shout loud enough and be the most obnoxious in the room, you won’t win any new friends, but you can go to sleep at night knowing you’re better than everyone else.

      Boring. Church.

    9. well, that was fun at the time, but i was in a foul mood, and was definitely flippant. i don’t really want anyone to die, of course. i got worn down with measuring my words and being conscientious and blew off steam. it was amusing to me at the time – i’ve got a dark sense of humor anyway – but too harsh and i regret it. people here have by and large done such a good job of being civil and respectful. so, sorry. i didnt really mean it with as much venom as it probably seemed like, i was just being a smartass. clearly time for me to stop clicking the email updates about new comments…

    10. re: someone. Actually, not “everyone” recognizes that rape is wrong, obviously, because of how often it happens, and the fact that it is more likely then not that a victim will know his or her assailant. I know statistics aren’t the most accurate thing, but there have been some pretty disturbing poll responses about the percentages of men who would rape a women if they thought there would be no consequences.

    11. Agreed, Kimberly.

      “Someone”, you state that everyone knows rape is wrong. Okay, then define rape. Is it still rape if I wear a short, sparkly dress to a nightclub and dance with a guy all night, and he offers to give me a ride home and then decides that whether or not I want to, he’s going to have sex with me? Is it rape if I’m too drunk to say no? Is it still rape if I tell my long-time boyfriend or even husband that I’m not in the mood and he ignores the fact that I’ve said no? People like you seem to think that if the person who is raped is in the wrong place, wearing the wrong thing, they’re “asking for it.” People *DON’T* know that rape is wrong, and those who have been raped, myself included, are often shamed into believing that it’s our own fault by the person assaulting us, or the friends and family that we *do* tell, or even just by society’s idea of what a woman should be. We’re damned if we dress conservatively, we’re damned if we dress “sluttily,” we’re damned for walking down the street in jeans and a loose T-Shirt. So yes, we need feminism, and we need to be taught about why rape culture is wrong.

    12. “Radical feminists recognize the oppression of women as a fundamental political oppression wherein women are categorized as inferior based upon their gender. It is not enough to remove barriers to inequality; rather deeper, more transformational changes need to be made in societal institutions as well as people’s heads” as opposed to “Liberal feminists [who] attempt to remove obstacles to women’s full participation in public life.”

      Taken directly from my intro to women’s studies text book. 😛

      Radical feminists seek to completely break down the patriarchal society in which women are objectified and believed to be inferior, as opposed to liberal feminists, who seek to maintain a semblance of equality, /within the current system./ Liberal feminists also tend to be more focused on public life (laws, etc) whereas radical feminists seek to literally change the way we think about women on a personal level.

      So yes, these women may very well be radical feminists, and radical here doesn’t mean what you think it means.

      ((Also, I apologize if I double posted this… I couldn’t tell if it worked the first time… >>))

    13. me thinks a woman who throws on a thong that reads “Sure Thing” has a plan for that night already. Also, that doesn’t make her an evil non-feminist.

    14. That’s why that underwear is so terrible. No vagina is a sure thing. So, if you rape a girl wearing “sure thing” underwear, it’s not really rape, because she left the house wearing it, right? So that’s what she was looking for, right?

    15. That depends on your definition of “radical.” That a rape culture exists is certainly one of the roots of patriarchy. The etymology of “radical” has to do with getting to the roots of a matter.

    16. Thank you, my thoughts exactly. Why is this particularly “feminist”, and indeed, why is the word becoming something people use as an insult

    17. I have an idea…. instead of just raising awareness for the all too common reality that is rape committed against women, can someone also raise awareness for the reality of rape committed against men? That, folks, would be true equality… rape committed against men goes unreported far too often, because the majority of males are too afraid and ashamed to say something. They are convinced that they will be looked down upon, an idea that is perpetuated by laughing at a man saying he didn’t want to have sex with a woman and was forced to anyway. Saying that that is impossible downplays the severity of it. I’ve seen the effects this can have on male rape victims. It isn’t good at all, and it’s worse when the man’s attacker is also male. Ladies, if we want equality, we must treat everyone equally.

    18. @Meg Yes, I agree. There are a lot of men who have been impacted by rape, and don’t report because of the shame of it. Thanks for the reminder!

    19. @Meg I personally think the shame associated with male rape victims is a product of patriarchal rape culture. Male victims are afraid to share such an experience because it is generally perceived and subtly accepted that only “weak, stupid, inferior” women are raped and thus it is impossible for a “real man” to be raped. I also think this is a product of misogyny as it relates to homophobia (in male-to-male rapes). Gay men are seen as lesser than straight men because they do not fit the heteronormative, sexually-driven image of what a “real man” is in the patriarchal image, and they are considered “more feminine,” which is something looked down upon because women and femininity are considered lesser than men and masculinity. This is just what I think, though. Other thoughts?

    20. I have an idea. Look at rape statistics and realize it’s overwhelmingly committed BY men AGAINST women and girls. I’m so tired of people trying to ignore this fact.

    21. @Kim currentestimates are 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men have been the victims of sexual assault. The statistics aren’t as far off as one would think. It is also thought that roughly 7% of the population could be categorized as sexual predators. I understand that it’s difficult to discuss the abuse against men because they’re the dominant gender, but I agree with Meg and Ari that the patriarchy does damage to all sexes. Additionally, men are even less likely to come forward (and we all know how likely it is for women to come forward with sexual assault) than women are.

    22. Rape is wrong. Whether is is committed against women, or committed against men. WRONG. I think having a “rape culture” goes beyond just women’s underwear, though this is a start, for sure. It is more about realizing that the limits any one person sets for their body should be respected and even celebrated. It’s not just the bodies, but also the minds, emotions, souls, of the people are being attacked. We don’t value each other, don’t see each other as a real person who deserves real love and respect. We can’t blame this on one person, or on one group of people, because we all share in this.

    23. Actually Becky – feminism is Marxist ideology repackaged. Read some history – without Marx there would be no feminism. Ironic that a women’s movement was founded on the work of two men.

    24. All radical describes is going to “the root” of the problem. It’s also related to the word radish, a root vegetable. I think you’re confusing radicalism with extremism.

    25. Maybe you need to study up on your Feminist Theory. Radical Feminism is a category and perhaps that is where the word comes from.

    26. “Radical feminists” … more like women who are using their brains. The world needs a few more “radical feminists” if you ask me. All I see on social networks are girls taking pictures of themselves with kissy faces, wearing skimpy clothing, and so on. This endless self-obsession needs to stop. VS and the media just encourage this behavior. What ever happened to wanting to become a strong, independent, intelligent woman? What is sexy? THAT is sexy.

    27. “Radical feminists recognize the oppression of women as a fundamental political oppression wherein women are categorized as inferior based upon their gender. It is not enough to remove barriers to inequality; rather deeper, more transformational changes need to be made in societal institutions as well as people’s heads” as opposed to “Liberal feminists [who] attempt to remove obstacles to women’s full participation in public life.”

      Taken directly from my intro to women’s studies text book. 😛

      Radical feminists seek to completely break down the patriarchal society in which women are objectified and believed to be inferior, as opposed to liberal feminists, who seek to maintain a semblance of equality, /within the current system./ Liberal feminists also tend to be more focused on public life (laws, etc) whereas radical feminists seek to literally change the way we think about women on a personal level.

      So yes, these women may very well be radical feminists, and radical here doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    28. I totally agree that it’s sad that being opposed to a culture that excuses rape is considered “radical.”
      I’ve been a feminist since I was in my early teens. I’m nearly 50 now. When a woman says to me “I’m not a feminist, but…” I ask her if she believes that women should have equal rights and equal opportunities and deserve to be treated like people rather than decorations. If the answer is yes, then you are a feminist. Don’t be ashamed of it.

    29. CIS “If you answered yes, you are a feminist.” – Please don’t be so patronizing. I am a rape survivor and anti-feminist. Go fuck yourself.

  2. Great article…but it seems they dealt with two issues. The issue of rape culture and the issue of curvy (real curvy), multi-cultural women being shown instead of the average skinny one-race model. I LOVE what they did. Honestly it makes me rethink VS period. They wont get my business, till they take note of this message. They should embrace you and your message instead of trying to stop you. Of course it’s highly doubtful that they will. After all, sex sells and for them it’s not about the message, it’s about woman as money. Keep doing what you do…I’ll be looking for more and I, for one, will support you and buy elsewhere. VS has lost this woman.

    1. @Cait
      1. husbands and boyfriends should never believe they basically have a sure thing, and the women who perpetuate that ideology are perpetuating rape culture.

      2. consumers have a right to purchase anything we want, but when rape culture is glamorized and directed towards young women in the form of slogans on our most vulnerable body parts, a response is warranted. no one is saying the woman wearing VS Pink underwear is asking to be raped, but she is wearing an item of clothing that perpetuates the normalization of rape, with no irony.

      @ Julia
      An open conversation that uses humor, is not a trick, it is an entry way into conversation. There is suddenly a large population of women speaking on the topic of rape and rape culture because of this project. How is this silencing rape experience or asking you not talk about it. it is an open invitation to talk about it. The underwear are not meant as a chastity belt, or a shaming mechanism as much as a conversation piece and a way of showing that women want empowering statements not disempowering statements on their vaginas. And finally, i do agree that supporting the survivors of rape is an important part of the critique, but stopping rape culture from perpetuating itself means stopping rape, and the normalization of survival. We shouldn’t have to survive it/live through it, we shouldn’t have to experience it at all.

    2. @rere- sadly, I disagree with this being an okay and productive way to have an intelligent discussion about rape.

    3. @HeidiRS When you review the comments here, the majority are about the underwear, VS, or or the meaning of radical feminist. The minority even mention rape and opening up conversation about it.

    4. Feminists need to stop mixing their pet causes with rape. For instance the woman below mentioned the need for more curvy non-white women at VS. Why? Chanel Iman is a successful black model that has been with them for them for a long time BUT she isn’t fat – so VS isn’t feminist enough. Last I checked VS sold panties and although they may say stupid things, they aren’t rapists and are not courting rapists. As someone else with a brain already said, rapists don’t give a shit what your underwear says.

      As a rape victim I genuinely don’t care about “underrepresented” women in American advertizing (it’s advertizing for fuck’s sake!), I don’t care about “fat acceptance” or “gender essentialism” or “trans awareness” That is why I am not a fucking feminist and why feminists should fuck off and quit pretending rape victims owe them something. Stupid bitches.

  3. I don’t understand how activist groups like these can say things like, “women can wear whatever they want, mini skirts, low cut tops, etc, it doesn’t mean they’re easy or want to be raped” yet women can’t wear whatever underwear they want? I see it as they are blaming the women here for being raped. Women choose to buy the underwear. VS just makes it available. Cigarettes are also bad for you, but they’re available for purchase. It’s the people who buy them that we need to question. But even if a woman chooses to buy the “sure thing” underwear, it doesn’t mean she wants to be raped. The women who buy those are married or have boyfriends in which case, sex is usually a sure thing. I don’t agree with this group and I know I’m probably the only one. I just see it a different way.

    1. Rape can occur between people in committed relationships as well as between strangers. Someone being in a relationship does not mean that sex is always a “sure thing”. It is thinking like that which perpetuates the helplessness of victims of rape.
      The message of this is not that women cannot wear whatever they want, rather they are advocating the acknowledgement that one can be sexy even when speaking about sex and setting clear boundaries. I hope that some company makes this a reality, but even if it takes a while for this idea to become a reality, the message is empowering. Women can say no and should be supported by society to feel sexy while still requiring consent. I hope to hear more about this project.

      I dont think this project is arguing that a “no” or “consent is sexy” will stop a rape from occurring but rather is attempting to correct some of the misconceptions of society that make girls feel as though they cannot say no…that after an assault they cannot talk about it. Maybe this is not the ideal way to go about it but I do think it is a good start.

    2. How is a woman giving her constant away by wearing the underwear? Most likely she is the only one seeing it till she is acutally undressing so the thought would be she has already given her consent. I think the problem here is people are making assumptions about who shops at vs. So maybe people should check their prejudices at the door and have a real talk about rape and stop blaming women who make different choices. Especially since I know a few women who consider themselves feminists who like a sexy underwear once in a while.

    3. @ Cait, just because you are married or have a boyfriend doesn’t mean that sex is a sure thing. I have been raped by my ex husband, repeatedly. Sex should never be a “sure thing”. EVER! You are right in that women can make choices in what they wear. I choose not to wear revealing clothing. Women who wear revealing clothing should be honored for the ability to wear what they want AND!!! the ability to do what ever they wish with their bodies. That means, if she wears revealing clothing, it is still her choice to have sex with someone. Never EVER is rape okay. NEVER!

    4. of course it doesn’t mean that, but this protest is more about the fact there is no “not tonight” undies available. The only ones with words are all available words. I think that’s a serious message they’re sending out, not providing a space for “ask me” but choosing instead to promote “available!”

    5. Actually there are panties with empowering statements. I have a pair that say “naturally beautiful” on the rear. On tha point, the above panties pictured have statements that are on the vulva or mons pubis. The vagina is an internal body part. Just sayin’

    6. Cait, certainly women don’t buy the underwear hoping or expecting to be raped. But when they purchase it, they subconsciously perpetuate the idea that rape culture is OK into their own minds and, through the influential and powerful social pressuring of the fashion industry, into others’ minds. VS isn’t just a big player in business, it’s a player in culture and has the potential to influence social attitudes.

  4. I’m quite possibly the only person who found this campaign horrible. Yes, it’s a prank, but even when I thought it was a genuine VS campaign, I was annoyed by it. I am a survivor of a violent sexual assault by knife point, which I’m willing to admit… clouds my view on this, so take what I’m about to say with that in mind.

    First off, there is the obvious… to see these statement underwear “consent is sexy” or “no” (ad nauseum) you already have her undressed. The general issue with this is that if you are being forcibly raped, this stage has already been met with no, or other stopping verbiage. If you are being raped, I’m telling you that a “No” underwear statement will not make your rapist stop, sit back and think “Gee, she has ‘no’ on her underwear, and therefore I should ponder whether this is the right thing to do… It’s probably not, so I’ll just leave now.” Not going to happen. So, underwear as a preventative statement, no.

    I find this idea cheapens the idea of conversation about rape. We as a society don’t talk about rape. I am rarely asked about my experience, even though I’m open about it. People are uncomfortable about talking about sex, sexual violence, sexual education, and respecting people’s bodies. Making some underwear as an idea that it will somehow open the door to conversation? Not buying it at all. (This will also make me unpopular, but I find the same goes for the “walk a mile in her shoes” events.) Finding ways to trick society into talking about a hard-to-talk about topic is stupid. Let’s have an open conversation about it. As time passes from the time of a sexual assault, I’ve found that many women DO want to talk about their experience, and have honest conversations about it. Much like we never ask Veterans about their experience during war, people don’t ask about the experiences of sexual assault. Do you know how we heal? Talking about it.

    Third, I have one redeeming thought for this campaign. The only good thing I found was the use of women of color and normal sizes to model for this campaign. This is not an authentic product line for VS, but rather a prank of sorts, but I did like that they used normal girls. So, for that, a tip of the hat.

    So finally, my main reaction to this is a major wag of the finger from this survivor of rape. Obnoxious, misleading and misinformed. Sorry guys. Good try. Next time, let’s raise some money for your local rape crisis center… or for RAINN. If you want information about how to best give your money or time to an organization that can actually do good in informing, educating and healing the public with regards to the impact of rape let me know. I have plenty of people who need the support.

    1. @ Julia, Thank you for sharing your story. I would argue that your voiced experience highlights how this campaign was successful. It creates space for conversation on issues of rape and consent, which is exactly what it intended to do. It’s not about the undies in themselves, but having a wide open space in mainstream culture for discussions on consent. By attacking VS (a company that makes millions by objectifying women), in this way, BFB uses VS media power to call them out on their promotion of permissive rape culture. @cait I just wanted to clarify around your comment (it’s a tangent but quite valid to the discussion): in around 2/3 of sexual assaults, the victim knew the perpetrator and this category includes husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. No one has a right to have sex with you without your permission period and being in a relationship does not somehow void the legitimacy of sexual abuse. This is why learning about the power of consent and practicing using it is so important to promote safety, self esteem, and so everyone learns how to respect each other on an equal level.

    2. @Diana- Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree that this may have some productive conversations. Most campaigns probably have their fair share. But this is a slippery slope. Do Daniel Tosh’s comments also fit into this group? I think that doing a stunt and then claiming to do so to promote conversation can go very wrong. This, thankfully, didn’t do that to any extent close to Tosh, but I still strongly disagree with it.

    3. but daniel tosh got people talking because he went so far to the side of demeaning women; this got people talking because it did the opposite, ie, went far enough to the side of empowering women that it was ‘unusual’ and thereby got people talking. not trying to talk you out of your personal feelings by any means, just thinking about why i liked this campaign

    4. @kevin- Oh me either, I’m not trying to start anything… and I appreciate the general civilness of this thread.

      I agree with what you said, they are VERY different. Yes, people are talking, and that’s good… I suppose. I just wish that instead of talking about underwear, which most people are here (or the meaning of feminists.)… we were talking about rape and how to prevent it.

    5. I respect people when they apologize or retract a statement. It shows they have a heart and are human. It also shows they are confident. Nice Kevin g.

    6. @ Julia

      You have valid points about how this campaign will probably not deter violent rapists and I appreciate you sharing your experience with us, but I want to second what Diana points out. Most rapes are not violent assaults that come at us in the night. Working in the law enforcement field, I come across a lot of cases where rape is something that’s much less easy to understand for even the two people involved.

      I’ve had cases where people – a pair of teenagers, college students, married couples, roommates, friends – have been having consensual relations – up to a point. One of them (it’s been both genders), suddenly decides they’ve had enough, or reached the edge of their comfort limit and they start trying to back out, back away and say no. Most of them have found it extremely difficult to actively push the other person away and say no. The other partner has kept going, pushing aside the first person’s protests or more subtle signs of withdrawn consent and then we have a rape case on our hands. That’s just one type of the *many* more shifty cases I’ve seen and heard about.

      and damn, it’s really hard to know what to do in those cases. The victim can be anything from hurt and traumatized to angry and vengeful and the perpetrator can be anyone with any sort of emotional response.

      A lot of them would be prevented with clear and open communication and a healthy dose of self-assurance on one side or both. It’s not going to prevent every rape. It’s not going to solve all the problems. But it might give a pair of people a minute window to think and talk about what they’re about to do or what they plan on doing. This is where I think this campaign could really do some good.

    7. @MFBA I’ve left many details out of my experience, obviously. However, through 10 + years working with survivors, I’m aware of how complicated this issue can be.

      I agree that open communication is one the the keys to relational rape (rape among people who know each other in some way, which is the majority, as you mention.) I just don’t find this campaign ringing true to that goal.

    8. Considering the overwhelming majority of sexual assault cases I have worked with in support groups with survivors or as an advocate in the university system have been incidents where the perpetrator of either gender really, truly, seriously thought the other person wanted it and was genuinely baffled (and usually quite angry as well!) to be accused of assault later, I agree with a lot of this. No, clever underwear sayings aren’t going to stop a rapist, but it might open a conversation between two people who don’t realize one of them is about to become one. Further, why only have undies where the message is unclear or available? The absence of “no” or “ask first” sends a pretty clear message about what people are thinking. Lady parts can be sexy even when they’re off limits too. Just being sexy doesn’t make a woman available for sexual activity, and that’s a huge part of “but but but she was wearing a tube top with no bra and a mini skirt and let me give her a ride home OBVIOUSLY she wanted it!” assaults. They cannot comprehend why a woman would be looking sexy if she didn’t want sex, and don’t get that doesn’t mean she wants it with ANYONE.

    9. Julia, I love that you point out that we don’t ACTUALLY want to talk about these things. We’re all screaming ‘discourse’ and ‘awareness’ but the last thing we want to do is actually, really, talk about the experience of rape. Too scary, too disturbing and not fun at all. Not like underwear with cheeky little phrases on them.

      I also, actually, agree with everything you say– although I’m sometimes afraid to admit it and risk getting my feminist card revoked. I like my feminist card, but I’m also not convinced that a lot of our approaches to these issues are… um… authentic. Something’s missing.

    10. @Julia While we have different opinions about the parody, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to move the conversation in the direction that I think the parody was meant to move toward.

      I’m glad people reacted kindly to you, and I don’t mean to be critical at all, but I noticed that still no one asked you to talk about your experience or offer you the opportunity to, even after you so eloquently stated how TALKING about it helps.

      Would you like to talk about it?

      I was a victim, too. I say was because I don’t really want to be a victim ten years later and I’m working on changing my vocabulary to better represent what I want to be essential to my identity.

      I’m pretty open about having been raped now, but people still don’t want to know what that means or what that was.

      If you don’t want to talk about it in public, that’s quite alright. Choosing who you tell, what you say and when you want to is well within your rights – and maybe even obligations – toward caring for yourself. I just wanted to offer, in case that was a part of your comment you would like others to address.

    11. @Kristina thank you. I noticed that as well, but this discussion isn’t really about “me” and my experience, so that’s ok. I’d welcome a conversation, feel free to tweet me your email. I’m @3bed2bath1baby on twitter. We can chat 🙂 I look forward to hearing from you.

    12. @Julia I don’t have Twitter, but I just set up this Gmail account: I look forward to hearing from you.

      If there is anyone else who would like to talk, too, you can write me as well.

      I used to think that what was, in reality, a rape, was so singular and horrible that it could not have had a definition before it took place. It must not have been rape, it was more complicated than all that because rape, at least, I should have been able to see coming, or recognized as such …

      Everyone processes in their own way and in their own time line. Offering to listen or share does not mean I think I have any idea what you went through, nor have the ability to judge your response to violence against your body. I just find it very sad how truly difficult it is for so many of us who have been raped to talk about it in detail with someone other than a therapist.

    13. I think the reason people don’t ask about traumatizing events such as rape or our returning vets is because they are not sure what to say in response and are afraid that the conversation would be upsetting to the survivor. Personally I am a rape/incest survivor and have a difficult time talking about my experiences because my friends get so distraught also my cousin was stationed in Iraq when he was home on leave I asked what he did over there for “excitement” he replied “I shoot people” I was instantly tongue tied!!!!!!

    14. @Tina I can’t reply directly to you, so I’m hoping you see this. The thing is, you don’t have to SAY anything, listening or asking guiding questions are perfectly acceptable. We just want to be heard.

    15. Cait, Your experience is yours. Not everyone’s experience of rape is that of being forcibly raped at knife point. I hope that you have the opportunity to talk about it with people who help you feel supported.

      This conversation may not be all about your experience of rape, but may open up conversation for the girls who said yes to kissing and touching and then said no to sex and were not listened to. That is also rape. This may open up conversation for the girls who were drunk and wearing their cutest underwear and got taken advantage of while passed out. That is also rape. Those girls may need to know that getting raped in those situations is not there fault. Also the girls who go to high school or college with those girls may need to be part of this conversation so that they are less likely to be shitty to someone who was raped because ______________ (fill in the blank for any horrible label placed on a victim.)

      No underwear message will either provoke or stop a rapist, but knowing about consent and understanding what rape is may get more people to report rapes, and more friends to be good supports.

    16. First, I’d like to say that what happened to you is horrible. Absolutely horrible. I would like to think that I’d have your strength but pray I’ll never have to find out. Second, I agree with your passion and pretty much everything you said. The only thing I’d like to point out is I would assume this campaign was leaning more toward date rape. And more than that, I think they’re saying that society kind of glosses over the idea of women and girls having the option to say “no”. Not to random attackers, but boyfriends and such. According to the statement above, they seem to be saying that companies like VS and society in general are telling young girls and women to be coy and sexy and flirty and play hard to get but that they are ultimately expected to “give it up” (hence the “Sure Thing” remark.) I like the idea of the underwear as an encouragement for women to say what they really want. Though, of course, it would never stop a true attacker. But the panties may remind girls to speak their minds to their boyfriends instead of sitting back and staying quiet.

    17. @lauren Thank you, you’re so kind. I agree, the campaign leans towards relational rape (date/marriage/friend/whatever) however I believe the broad statements hold true of most campaigns, including this one.

  5. It would be great for VS to work with FORCE to make and sell these products and give a portion of the proceeds back to the organization to help continue educating about consent and rape culture. Also, it would be AWESOME if VS actually would start using beautiful, realistic models like the ones on the FORCE pages.

  6. I love this, but I wish opposition to rape culture wasn’t characterized as “radical.” Describing these women as “radical feminists” implies that critiquing rape culture and media misogyny is a fringe activity. It shouldn’t be, and I don’t want to see clever analysis of sexism seen as something alien to *any* man or woman.

    1. Fair enough, Matt. But I don’t think that’s what’s implied by the term “radical.” If it were, I don’t think anyone would use it to describe herself — why would anyone characterize her own ideas as “fringe,” with all its negative connotations? I think the term here means someone engaged in activism and critique — maybe implying that the person views society’s problems as requiring a complete overhaul, rather than simple reforms. But yeah, I wouldn’t get hung up on the use of the term.

    2. I agree w/ the sentiment from Matt and one or two others but am not too hung up on it. “Radical” can be used both negatively and positively, often to describe the same thing depending on one’s perspective (e.g., many self-described radical leftists are also radical according to those on the right) – this seems a little like the effort to reclaim derogatory terms in the queer or African-American community – staking a claim andf saying, “Yes, I *am* that and I’m proud of it.” So it gets slippery. But it seems like usually in whatever context you could replace “radical” with “extreme” – self-described radical leftists would also probably embrace calling themselves extreme leftists, for instance, not so much to call themselves ‘fringe’ but to draw attention to how far off the mark they think the current accepted ‘center’ is. However, this does not seem like the work of ‘extreme’ feminists or ideologues. All that being said, it was obviously a very positive and interesting article and I’m not complaining.

  7. So I guess that these feminists don’t need consent to break the law in an effort to ruin a product. Girls want the wear “yes, no, maybe” flirty panties because it gets them what they want. VS makes them because they sell more. Your message of consent is entirely true, but I still hope you go to jail for breaking the freaking law.

    1. wow, really? why do you have such a personal emotional investment in this? why do you want to see them punished so badly? and anyway did you not see the bit about the website being back up because they’re within their rights?

    2. Not illegal, actually, to use a person or entity’s name in an artistic or satirical work. (Do you think presidential impersonators should be thrown in jail?) Furthermore, if VS hadn’t been so quick to distance themselves from the PLC campaign, holiday business for them would’ve boomed. It’s not like it was slanderous.

    3. Actually you’re only allowed to use a brand name in a parody if you make it clear from the outset that it is a parody. The fact that no one knew that it was a parody at the beginning means that this is clear cut trademark infringement. I love the prank, and I think it accomplished its purpose very well, but under US trademark law it’s not even close to legal. Trademark law is based on likelihood of consumer confusion, and the fact that they were intending to confuse consumers and succeeded in doing so would make a very easy case for VS to win. I think VS would be stupid to pursue it though, because it’s not exactly good publicity to try to suppress an anti-rape campaign (even when you’re running for a Missouri Senate seat), especiallly when you’re marketing young women’s lingerie. I think the reason VS responded so forcefully to the campaign was because the message was so effective. Kudos to the brave people willing to put their necks on the line to pull this off. Unfortunately, as is often the case, legality and admirability don’t always coincide. However, just because something is illegal doesn’t mean that it’s wrong (, but you can’t say that it was within their legal rights to do it… even if it should have been.

    4. It was legal in this case because they weren’t actually selling the underwear. If they had sold underwear and passed it off as VS, then it would have clearly been illegal, but they didn’t.

    5. Wow, really??
      “These” and other similar feminist campaigns have helped women achieve what we have today. You would never have even been allowed to voice your opinion had it not been for “these feminists” and others like them.

  8. Of course, everyone has noticed that there is a Victoria’s Secret ad at the top of this page on Baltimore Fishbowl. Right ?
    Now, how does that fit into your soco-political discourse?

    1. jim, i don’t see that anywhere. and even if i did, internet advertising is usually done through some intermediary – it’s not like Baltimore Fishbowl signed a deal with VS to put an ad here. they’d sign a deal to have some advertising company fill a certain space, who in turn use algorithms (using keywords probably) to decide what ads to put there. this is why everything on the internet seems tailored for you. checkmate athetitis

    2. Kevin is right. The leaderborad was enabled with AdSense ads, which are determined by key words. We have disabled AdSense for now.

  9. Does anyone else see the VS underwear as its own form of consent? Ideally, the woman wearing these panties would be consenting to the person she invites to see them. Either way, who on earth would view words printed on undergarments as true consent? I really do like the message behind this campaign, and they were effective in getting their message across via social media; however, I don’t believe we should be focusing on articles of clothing as viable vessels for promotion of rape. Any woman should be permitted to do, wear, or say anything she wishes without being subjected to a culture of cat calls or snide judgement. Victoria’s Secret makes lingerie, and if I want my lingerie to be overtly sexual, it is not only within my womanly rights – it’s none of anyone’s business.

    1. I have a problem with a lot of the comments centering around whether or not sexy lingerie is a form of consent, and whether wearing underwear with “NO” written on them would do anything to prevent rape. You’ve all missed the point. The commentary isn’t primarily focused on the expression of sexuality through lingerie, it’s about the fact that VS, arguably the only nationwide lingerie store of repute, markets a very popular line of underwear that bears messages which skew the way that teenagers and young adults think of sex, promoting a culture in which INFORMED consent is left by the wayside in lieu of a culture in which the underwear does the talking, not the woman. FORCE isn’t saying women can’t be sexually liberated and wear thongs that say “fuck me, fuck me hard”. They’re saying that the companies that influence the social development of younger generations must take responsibility for their influence and work towards a message of gender-equality, informed sexuality and pretty much less rapey in general.

    2. Wouldn’t the original Baltimore Feminists’ “YES” and “MAYBE” underpants arguably be sending the same message?

    3. Just because a woman lets you see her panties, does not mean that you get to have sex with her (or anything else that she does not want to do).

  10. I think this is a great idea but honestly when a girl shows a guy their panties she is planning on having sex with him or when a guy goes to rape a girl his decision to do it or not is not going to have anything to do with their underwear lets get real but its a great idea to raise awareness and make girls stop dressing like sluts to prevent guys from thinking their an easy sexy target

    1. Yeah. I hope that’s a troll. “but honestly when a girl shows a guy their panties she is planning on having sex with him”. That’s rape culture right there. The fact that a woman wears underwear and has genitalia does not mean she wants to have sex. Saying she wants to have sex means she wants to have sex.

    2. i suspect it’s not… “its a great idea to raise awareness and make girls stop dressing like sluts to prevent guys think they’re an easy target” sounds all too realistic. I think there are lots of well-meaning but kind of clueless guys out there who would say this and think that they’re looking out for women. there should be some kind of “Ideology and Cultural Theory 101” course mandatory for everyone.

  11. Who are these people who think rape is normal and ok? There may be people who don’t care, and people who think that while rape is a terrible thing, it’s something that will always happen (just as theft, robbery, murder etc. will always happen… recognizing that people will always do hurtful things to each other is hardly an endorsement of the behavior), but there is nobody out there who is saying “rape is no big deal, women obviously shouldn’t expect respect.” I don’t understand why people speaking out against rape act as if there is some opposition out there who doesn’t understand that rape is a bad thing. I don’t see the need to build awareness about something so obvious.

    1. There’s more to rape than back alleys and roofies. Pressuring a girlfriend into sex, manipulating marital “responsibilities”, excessive alcohol, use of guilt, threats, promises, repeated requests/demands, or any other means to convince a person to have sex are all forms of rape. This is particularly common in people aged 13-23, where the social pressures of sexual activity are mostly informed by a very sex-oriented pop-culture. While many of the girls involved would not use the term rape to describe these experiences (instead favoring the word “mistake”, which places blame on the self, at the vindication of all the above pressures and the sexual partner), they wouldn’t be wrong to use it.

    2. “I don’t see the need to build awareness about something so obvious.”

      ARE YOU SERIOUS? Considering 1/3 of women (or more) experience sexual assault some time their lives, I’d say it’s apparently not obvious enough to SOMEBODY that rape is wrong. Right?

      No personal disrespect but that effectively sends the message to women that they should not complain and not make a fuss about the fact that there is at least a 33% chance that she will be sexually assaulted: ‘Hey hey, ladies, why so uptight?’ Nobody likes an uptight broad, after all.

      The more belittling or critical reactions to completely balanced and reasonable feminist discourse that I see, especially from people I generally consider reasonable and fairly enlightened, the more I am shocked at how rigorously and insidiously cultural memes persist. Truly amazing. (not to say there’s never any legitimate position from which to criticize, eg., julia above)

    3. “ARE YOU SERIOUS? Considering 1/3 of women (or more) experience sexual assault some time their lives, I’d say it’s apparently not obvious enough to SOMEBODY that rape is wrong. Right?”

      Now I have to ask if you’re serious… People who rape of course know that it’s wrong. They do it anyway, but they would never admit to it in public, admit it to the victim’s friends and family, admit it to the police, etc. They know it’s something to hide, Everyone knows rape is wrong. Some people do it anyway. What is the purpose of building awareness?

      There is nobody out there thinking “ohh, I was going to get that girl hammered and force myself on her, but now I understand that that would be wrong. I thought it was totally ok but now I understand that girls don’t like getting raped.” Please! You must think that every potential rapist is gentle and kind deep down inside if “awareness” is all it takes to convince that person not to be a rapist.

    4. “Now I have to ask if you’re serious… People who rape of course know that it’s wrong.”

      Actually, many people who rape really DON’T know that they have raped someone, or that what they did was wrong. at least 85% of rape victims knew their rapist (just learned this in class… the number may very well be higher). This includes romantic or marital partners who, because of rape culture, genuinely thought that their victim “wanted it.” Here is a quote directly from another comment on this page:
      “… The overwhelming majority of sexual assault cases I have worked with … have been incidents where the perpetrator of either gender really, truly, seriously thought the other person wanted it and was genuinely baffled (and usually quite angry as well!) to be accused of assault later…”

      This campaign isn’t aiming to stop rape altogether, this campaign is trying to make people rethink some of the ideas we have about a person’s consent. This might not only reduce the amount of these relationship rapes, but may help more women realize that it wasn’t their fault and report it.

    5. My XH raped me. Repeatedly. Even though I told him no. It wasn’t violent, he didn’t want to *hurt* me and he genuinely, honestly believed that if he just started, I’d like it. He would start when I was asleep. He’d grab my body, he’d force my hands on his body, even if I tried to walk away. He would do things that were physically painful to me and refuse to stop because they felt good *to him*. He viewed me saying ‘no’ as a game and as flirting. If I got angry, he’d be totally completely confused as he didn’t think what he was doing was wrong. I can’t tell you how many arguments we had where he accused me of being frigid or selfish or cold. We were married. And in his mind, that mean that my body was his. To be fair, he also thought the opposite, that his body was mine as well.
      This was EVERY DAY. It didn’t start until we were married for a while. He has no idea why I can’t stand for him to touch me or stand close to me, 3 years after our divorce (we have a child, so I am forced to see him on a regular basis). He does not think he did anything wrong and truly thinks that *I* have the problem, not him.

      So yes. We need to talk about rape. We need to talk about the culture of rape and what consent means. The majority of rapes are not stranger rapes, they’re not even “get this girl hammered and sleep with her while she’s passed out” rapes. They’re rapes between partners. They’re rapes where the rapist may not realized they even commited a rape. Campaigns to raise awareness about consent are campaigns that are trying to clear up those fuzzy lines. And they are sorely needed.

    6. thank you for speaking out, and i’m sorry to hear about your experiences. i can imagine being such a guy if i hadnt been taught to think about it differently

    7. By your statements I have to conclude that you think that rape is inevitable which is exactly the attitude these feminists are trying to raise awareness about. We aren’t born rapists but many cultures (all?) downplay the significance and widespread nature of rape that is preventable through education and awareness. As stated above many “date” rapists are unaware of their misdoing. There are studies on this behavior and it would appear that “rape culture” or lack of awareness about rape encourages or fails to discourage this kind of behavior.

  12. I don’t want to hijack this wonderful article about a powerful effort for my own cause, but I think the censorship by twitter and facebook is a good argument for open source, privacy conscious social media. May I recommend the project creators and everyone reading check out Diaspora* at or Thanks for listening!

    1. Any sentence that goes: I don’t want to…but” should be rethought. I hope no one goes to this website.

      Really, Amber? A story about rape and you want to talk about social media rights? Come on.

    2. What’s wrong with talking about social media rights? I think that it’s a perfectly valid point to bring up, and one person talking about these rights doesn’t hijack the whole discussion. Plenty of people are talking about the rape aspect, and it’s perfectly valid to talk about the social media ones as well.

  13. I love the idea of a ‘consent’ line, whether by VS or as an independent product line. It’s absolutely awesome and sends a great message, as does the model. I just don’t think the argument flies as a protest against VS. Honestly, I think it detracts from the point of it by making the effectiveness of the campaign the controversy instead of the consent message.

    Specific components of Victoria’s Secret’s product line are geared toward women who want something to wear when they want to make their intimate intentions clear. I would argue that if you wear a pair of underwear that says “sure thing” on it that you know what you’re trying to say with it. Unlike short skirts, halter tops, fish nets or whatever, which have a PG fashion purpose, underwear that have a consent message written on them really shouldn’t be brought out unless you mean to consent.

    Does that mean you shouldn’t ask for consent anyway? No, certainly not. You should always ask for consent. Always. I don’t care if the message on the undies is out and out X rated or the undies come from a sex shop, you always ask for consent or at the very very least respect a denial of consent. A girl can always change her mind up to and even during intimate contact, regardless of what she’s chosen to wear.

    But men and women sometimes want to send a clear message of what they want, and I think VS is merely catering to that market, in this case. And I don’t see anything wrong with it. And I think you do a disservice to your cause by linking the two, aside from the sensationalized attention.

    1. But what would the women who don’t want to have sex that night wear? No one is saying something is wrong with sexually provocative clothing, what’s being said is it’s messed up the only message is one of availability and not one of “I just wanna look pretty in these, so you can look but no not touch.” What’s up with that? That’s a weird system to promote.

  14. It seems to me that a stance like this one suggests some level of support for the idea that rape is caused by the victims and their choices, whether those choices were informed by a “rape culture” or not. Suggestive panties don’t cause rape, regardless of what they say…rapists do. It doesn’t seem likely that a rapist would stop and think about what he was doing once he saw a word imprinted on his victim’s clothing. On the other hand, I don’t think suggestive lingerie is going to make a rapist out of someone who isn’t.


    here a little date rape music to go with your consent panties b/c thats what a conversation about consent sounds like when you start it at your underwear. it should start at hello. Victoria’s Secret just another cooperation with good marketing people and men pulling the strings, maybe i’ll buy a pair for a special girl of mine after all I’ve lost no male privilege and more women (who other wise might not) will flash there underwear

  16. Ah wow I love it. What a great idea.
    As a guy I actually think it’d be pretty great seeing a girl wearing them. Coy is cool too, but this is different and pretty rad alternative.

  17. THIS IS SO AWESOME. I feel like actually wearing this could be a means of protection for women too. Say a woman is incoherent and does not have the ability to consent for sex, seeing this underwear reinforces what is true and legal to the perpetrator that may be trying to take advantage of her. That would be so great. I would definitely wear this. GIVE WOMEN POWER.

  18. Dumbest thing ever… any guy who is going to rape is not going to listen to a message on underwear… any normal guy who is being intimate and sees these messages will feel violated, like you’re assuming he’s a jerk… dumb all around…

  19. I also wonder if some women believe that the “pink” line donates to breast cancer research since a lot of other pink products do just that.

  20. Dumbest thing ever… no rapist is going to care what a message is on the underwear… and any normal guy is going to be offended that you’ve let him be intimate with you enough to see your underwear, only to caution him not to be a jerk… it’s like a guy wearing a t-shirt that says, “Don’t expect me to pay for every meal.” Again, dumbest thing ever…

  21. I actually see a possible contradiction here, at least insofar as the “Slut Walk” mentality is concerned. The very point of the “Slut Walks” was that clothing and demeanour are in no way giving permission to act forcefully, or interpret “no” as a “yes” or a “maybe”, even when that interpretation is suggested visually by the emphasis on sexualization of the body. Now that Victoria Secret has made explicit the ambiguity with “Yes, No, Maybe” actually written on the panties (instead of it being the playful subtext of a look), they are being accused of leaning towards a “rape culture”? Isn’t the consistent response that “no means no, even if my panties say otherwise”?

  22. One issue: they keep bringing up things like “their facebook page was flooded with positive responses” and “the twitter-sphere was filled with support for the line”… considering there were hundreds of people in on the prank, how do we know any of this is a genuine reaction to the line of clothes, rather than supporters of the cause intentionally taking part in the viral marketing/pressure on VS?

    1. Hundreds of people in on it? Where did you get that? If you read the article you’d see that it was closer to 5 people than a hundred. really surprised how eager people are to look for ways to discredit this.

    2. its in the article: “In addition, we recruited a group of about 100 people who were in on the prank and helped us spread the word using Twitter, Tumbler, and Facebook. This was absolutely a group effort!”

      In other words, hes asking “how do we know that all the messages on FB, etc were legitimate objective participants, not part of the ‘100 people spreading the word’?”

  23. Where is rape culture applied to the male perspective? How many males have hurt females without any realization in their raven-eyed, shopping bag minds? How many of the same men would’ve and still would take themselves to this platform if it were known? The feelings of people all over the world are shaded, left in the dark even & personally it’s felt that a lot of societal living is a rape in itself. At what point doesn’t an advert inflict certain trauma? I appreciate this piece by these artists (is that not how this should be viewed?) for the reason that it is a call to humanity. A murmur to the large hands that feed a mass of beings things that call to their flesh & leave a scar for the intellect. Why must there be sides?

  24. To the nay Sayers:
    The whole point is to create awareness, conscious thought…on the topic.

    It is not about you being raped and how if a rapist has a woman undressed how the patties are gonna stop him… or how choice in clothing promotes rape culture….PLEASE

    That is not what the underwear/ mission/ prank is meant to do….
    It is a tool to get you and every one to THINK about this.

    You being pisssed off or loving it, both are success to the mission.

    ..Because your thinking! You woke up, even if for a moment ..and by hearing about this you now have no choice but to think about it..for better or worse you are now considering the topic.


    As far as I can see its an amazing success. ( GREAT JOB!! )

    Where you take it from here to CREATE HEALING and Education is up to you.

    My 2 cents – A woman has the right to be her self at all times in all down the street naked if she wants…she can, and has the right to, be the biggest flirt ever…etc….
    but never ever for any reason ever is it acceptable for a man to force her to do something she does not want to do by any means..EVER.

    A man should ALWAYS ASK!!! I will tell you what its dam sexy when a man sweetly asks me..the biggest turn on ever.

    And ye shall harm none and do what thou wilt.

  25. Men should not be shamed because of their biologically-driven preferences for thin, in-shape women.

    We don’t shame women because of their biologically-driven impulses to breed with taller men, after all.

    That said, this campaign seems like something out of 1994, back when attention-seeking feminists were using hyperbole to make questionable “points.” Actual statistics show that while rape is a problem is some subcultures in our society, we do not by any means live in a “rape culture.” In fact, women in the United States are more exhibitionist than in virtually any other nature and crime stats are lower by comparison. Bring this to the Middle East and Africa where it needs to be,

    1. again, why do you care? you are not only saying that you don’t think it’s important for you to participate in; you’ve gone farther than that by taking the time to actively rebuke it, in effect telling these women they should have not rocked the boat. agreed it’s worse in some other places but so what? notice how bringing that up makes it a problem for ‘over there’ and thus not something you/I/we have to worry about.

    2. also, what statistics do you have in mind? b/c the ones that say over 1/3 of women are sexually assaulted at some point seems to me to say otherwise

    3. Where do you get the idea that men are biologically driven toward women of a particular body shape? Claiming something is scientific doesn’t make it scientific. Standards of beauty with regard to body type have varied across centuries and cultures.

      It’s fine if that’s how you feel. I might even feel that way myself. But don’t go all scientific on something that isn’t scientific, and is mostly the result of being bombarded by thousands of advertising images each week that push a monoculture view of beauty to the point that some people think it’s biologically based.

      Personally, I thought the campaign was great. Also, I was really disappointed in VS’ marketing department that they didn’t IMMEDIATELY call these people up and make a public truce, a big donation, and focus on selling more stuff. They could have ridden such a wave of good publicity. Frankly, there would be ways to do it in the context of their brand that would make it a win for all sides, and they dropped a big fat softball that was lobbed to them.

  26. For a group that stands against rape culture, and for limiting access to vaginas unless consentual; the idea of distributing their printed underwear through a program entitled “panty drop”- when a new batch is dropped in a new city….seems a little hypocritical.

    Perhaps rapists slowly and tenderly roll down a lady’s panties.

  27. Fabulous campaign, how can I join? If VS really did adopt the Consent campaign, I might actually patronize their stores/catalogue. Will this be a missed opportunity??? Congratulations!

  28. absolutely brilliant push back. A thousand bravos and good luck breaking Twitter;s embargo of your message

  29. Thank you for all your hard work. As a rape survivor, this campaign means more than you will ever know.

  30. I completely disagree with the whole idea. First of all, this group used Victoria’s Secret name/brand without their permission. Second of all, Victoria’s Secret and the Pink brand does not mistreat or disrespect women; they celebrate a woman’s sexiness and encourage women to be feminine and desirable. Third, why doesn’t this group go after big networks like VH1 and Bravo for creating shows that overtly sexualize women, show females sleeping with a plethora of men just to make it in an industry and show women fighting each other. Go after rappers and other musicians who brag about sleeping with a different woman everyday of the week. Go after music video directors who put half naked women in their videos. Attack the porn industry. My point is that there are many things this feminist group should target before they jump all over VS. I don’t know if VS has ever stood with or against any cause that surrounds women but I do know that if you have a problem with them go shop somewhere else.

    1. Do they really “celebrate” a woman’s sexiness though and “encourage women to be feminine and desirable”? And if this group targeted any of the other industries, wouldn’t you just tell them to tackle someone else? The point is that Victoria’s Secret is an extremely powerful company, and targeting them could affect a lot of other companies and organizations too.
      And what is a woman’s sexiness? I think that’s part of the problem here. Victoria’s Secret promotes women’s sexiness entirely on their bodies alone. But that’s not true. We’re more then just bodies as women, and our sexiness shouldn’t rely only on that.
      Not to mention I’d love to see Victoria’s Secret have more fun, playful ads with plus size women of color. Because sexy can be fun and playful. It doesn’t need to rely on puckered lips and “sexy” eyes. Not only that, but sexy doesn’t rely on tall, perfectly fit white-washed women with long hair either!

    2. You might struggle to gain traction here leading with the point that the VS brand was used without permission when this is a campaigne focused on sex without permission. I also struggle with what reads like an endorsement from you of VS based on encouragement of women to be desirable-desirable to whom? Men, presumably. Perhaps I’m reading too much into what you have written but there is surely value in challenging a brand that (at least, it seems, in your case) has managed to successfully link labeling a woman’s crotch as a sure thing with her desirability to others. Such is the power of advertising, which is one of the reasons why this is such a clever campaign.

  31. I commend this effort! There are multiple ways of engaging in politics and to simply shut out one approach because it’s not how you imagine it to be. As a Black women I appreciate not only the critique of rape culture but also the fact that the models present beauty in a way that’s not always embraced by the mainstream. Black women have always engaged our politics in the cracks (I’m not suggesting that this is a group of Black women), but to simply say that politics in the cracks is legitimate politics. I showed this to my 13 year old daughter and it allowed us to have a wonderful conversation. Let me know how I might be a part of spreading your message!.

  32. Some people might say what difference does it make– underwear is hidden (usually). But it’s the mindset that is reinforced when we put on what we wear. This is one way WE can reinforce our own sense of control and walk in the world controlling our lives. I may be an old lady now, but I’d wear these.

  33. I don’t think that the dude should get an “Ask first” or ” No” AFTER the pants are off, just saying.

    1. So, once my pants are off, all control belongs to him? Don’t think so. I’ve been with the same guy for 10 years, married for 2. He still doesn’t have unlimited access to my vagina, and *GASP* I even sometimes sleep in the same bed with him WHILE I’M NAKED. And he still can’t touch my vagina unless I say it is OK. It is mine, and I retain the right to say no at any point, and for any reason. I don’t care if we are in the middle of sex, if I say no, he better respect that. There is no point where my lack of consent is invalid. PERIOD.

  34. Sex is about power anyways these days. Hoes wear “clothing” like this in an attempt to empower themselves, hoping they can use the perverse presentation of their body to gold-dig and try to impress whatever few guys they DO want for the vain and shallow reasons they want those specific guys (because they’re tall, young, popular, rich, etc).Every other guy they look down their noses though they were in some way inferior. Then there are the delinquently minded neanderthal guys who look at these bitches and are consumed with the thought of owning and overpowering what they see. Places like VS only sell this shit because so many of the people in our reprobate culture are interested in buying it to begin with. Of course, there are also cases of guys who will rape just for the simple feeling of having power over another, any other, regardless of whether its male or female, regardless of whether there was any provocative or teasing acts or attire beforehand or not. That’s invariably what these neanderthals eventually become on their path towards a life spent in state prison. But that’s all too often what sex is about these days, especially among the young, and it can be said of both men and women: power of one over another.

  35. I find it unnerving that people still claim there is a culture of rape surrounding female victims. Rape does occur, far more than I like and personally, I would execute those commiting it but Rape is not promoted, certainly not against women. Racial statistics on the other hand are ignored and the rape against men is also ignored, along with racial statistics associated with that.

    A nasty reality is that more men are raped by year than women, by almost one third. Most of this takes place in US prisons. There is a 75% chance of rape or gangrape against first time non violent prisoners. This is provoked by a prison system which prefers to feed sheep to the wolves rather than deal with a roudy inmate population. The majority of these men tend to be white, the majority of offenders tend to be black, followed by hispanics. Rarely do hispanics and Blacks rape one from the other group due to the racial solidarity among them. Whites have very little racial solidairty and are far game to all groups.

    ”Past studies have documented the prevalence of black on white sexual aggression in prison.(213) These findings are further confirmed by Human Rights Watch’s own research. Overall, our correspondence and interviews with white, black, and Hispanic inmates convince us that white inmates are disproportionately targeted for abuse.(214) Although many whites reported being raped by white inmates, black on white abuse appears to be more common. To a much lesser extent, non-Hispanic whites also reported being victimized by Hispanic inmates.”

    Another hair raising statistics I expect many of you progressives to deny despite overwhleming independent and government statistics is that racial make up of female victims and male rapists. Nearly one third of all white females were raped by a black male. Only 45% of the rapists of white females were white, though this number is likely smaller due to the police system that rarely seperates Hispanics from Whites. Another shocking statistic is that almost all black female rape victims, of which there are many more per capita than white females, were again, raped by almost 99.9% black males.

    I doubt anyone here will accept this but these are cold, hard facts.

    ”In the 111,590 cases in which the victim of rape or sexual assault was white, 44.5 percent of the offenders were white, and 33.6 percent of the offenders were black. In the 36,620 cases in which the victim of rape or sexual assault was black, 100 percent of the offenders were black, and 0.0 percent of the offenders were white. The table explains that 0.0 percent means that there were under 10 incidents nationally.”


    The EUtimes is not an unbias source but it uses government statistics from 2007. These stats have not changed and they will only get worse.

    Rape is a problem, it is racial, it is cultural, but it is not promoted. I have no problem with executing all men of any cultural or racial background who commit it, especially in prisons.

    If you truly do detest rape culture, then your primary target should be the US Prison system which openly feeds non violent inmates to hardened criminals as sex slaves to keep inmate population calm. How would you feel if it were women being fed into such a system? If you truly despise rape culture, you should aid us in making it public knowledge that male rape in prisons systems needs fixing aswell as acknowledging the obvious racial overtones.

    1. prison rape is a serious problem, you’re right. i didn’t realize we had to choose one or the other. also, that website you reference also has an article about a “mysterious alaska pyramid” and 2012 end of the world gibberish, so… e.g., ‘In our 23 November report, Russia Warns Of Catastrophic 21 December 2012 “Event Horizon”, we warned of the concerns held by many Russian military and intelligence experts about this computer programme becoming “aware” and the dire consequences facing our world should such an event happen.’
      Seems legit.

    2. I find it really concerning you don’t understand the concept of rape culture. It simply means a culture where women are constantly sexually available and to not be as such is a bad thing. Where we teach women to not dress like sluts and focus on healing rape victimes rather than teaching men not to rape. Not when she’s drunk, not when she’s making out with you but keep saying no, not when she’s crying and you think some hot se will gget her mind off of it, not when she’s shaking like a leaf stiff as a board and not kissing you back but you think she’s just nervous. Not teaching women to communicate clearly “no I don’t want sex” and worse to use it as a form of fucked up foreplay “he won’t respect you if you make it easy” and teaching men “she has to say no so you don’t think she’s a slut but if you keep pressuring her she’ll give in because if she really didn’t want it she’d leave.” The value judgement placed on sexually active women “it’s no fun if she puts out so easily”, I like to work for it” and “girls who like to fuck are sluts and not the kind you should marry” and “a sexually assertive woman is probably a slut who ill cheat”….That is rape culture. Rape culture doesn’t mean “it’s totally cool to go hunt a woman down and assault her.” It’s a subtlety, a societal conditioning.

  36. I find it unnerving that people still claim there is a culture of rape surrounding female victims. Rape does occur, far more than I like and personally, I would execute those commiting it but Rape is not promoted, certainly not against women. Racial statistics on the other hand are ignored and the rape against men is also ignored, along with racial statistics associated with that.

  37. If Victoria’s Secret were smarter they would have gone with the campaign and rolled out the line

    1. Yes, absolutely agree with that one. If VS had any more sense than its lame representation of women (always available, focused on sexuality and nothing else, kinda narcissistic) it would align with the Consent campaign. Go Baltimore Feminists! Oh, and I am not recruited by them to make this campaign viral, a suspicion expressed by someone here. Learned about this from a facebook post.

  38. It’s sad that “radical” feminists see a *woman’s* choice of clothing as perpetuating rape culture. If a woman chooses to wear underwear that says “sure thing” or “yes” as promoting rape when it is her choice to say “I’m ready for sex.”
    Some people will say “That’s just slut shaming.” But notice: This isn’t about what shirt / pants / skirt a woman is wearing – this is *undergarments.* The outerwear has to have already been removed (or see-through) for that quote to be visible.

    1. omgosh for the millionth time… a woman choosing to wear “sure thing” isn’t promoting rape culture. However, not having a “not tonight sweetie” choice available IS. It makes the only option one of availability. That’s a problem. And so what if it’s on her undies? maybe the message is for her eyes only. Or do you think just because a woman shows her undies it means she’s available for sex?

    2. This is a great statement. It’s well-executed and it gets its point across in a way that is legal and memorable.

      The public reaction is even more noteworthy. The positive comments about the idea of a consent-based line of underwear should prove that there is a market out there for empowering apparel, which means that a product like this could be made and sold profitably. That it isn’t, and that companies like Victoria’s Secret act like it can’t be, makes me question not only their own motives in perpetuating these attitudes but also the validity of the “if it would sell don’t you think they’d be doing it” argument that is so prevalent nowadays.

  39. I’m glad the most important part of this article for most people has been defining and criticizing what is and is not “radical”. Good job.

    Stay radical y’all.

  40. I used to buy almost all of my bras and underwear from VS bc they tend to last longer and fit better, but from now on I will be finding a new store. The fact that they were outraged at this instead of asking these women for permission to actually sell the products that obviously many people very much wanted to buy is disturbing to me, and I would much rather buy from a company that actually supports women

  41. Honestly, ending rape culture is most effective by making consent popular. In a very consumer-driven culture, that means the best result probably would come from marketing a line of cute products that allow “consent” and “fashionable” to co-exist. Just sayin’. I’d happily shell out $8-$10/pr for non-granny undies that tout a cause I agree with (that’s what VS charges for theirs). And people who proudly displayed the new Consent brand would change the cultural conversation FOR you. I wish FORCE was more dedicated to the idea of following up with a successful concept, even if retail is not their happy place. Maybe find someone willing to run that as a side business to fund their awareness campaign? Printed tee internet start-ups can happen pretty easily; I can’t imagine printed undergarments would be much more difficult or expensive to put into production. Now imagine the site traffic jump you’d see if you were selling your own brand of Awesome (and I’m reasonably certain the effort would hit the front page of The Mary Sue, at least) – that’s a lot of new eyes seeing the message you want to get out.

  42. Victoria’s Secret, please note how many women were thrilled that this was coming from you. Instead of getting out your lawyers, how about thanking FORCE for the Twitter traffic and running with the ball they gave you?

  43. I can’t get over VS corporate heads acting like it’s a bad thing to be associated with consent. They are essentially huffing and puffing and making it known their brand is NOT about consent! HMPH! What are they thinking? Sheesh. A smart marketer would have ran with that.

  44. I cautiously throw in this comment… but… if someone gets to the point of being able to see the “sure thing” underwear… isn’t there a high probability that it’s true?

    Any reasonable man (or woman) knows the line of consent… so this won’t help since it’s speaking to the unreasonable or violent in question who won’t care.

    1. It’s not meant to be a product indicator. Why are so many people taking this literally? And why is it assumed the message is for someone else? Can’t it be for the wearer? Also I’m starting to get disturbed by how many people think if you get to her undies that means sex is a forgone conclusion. Didn’t you people evr make out? Frottage? Foreplay? Fingering? Especially since this line is aimed at the 13-23 crowd and not mature adult women but rather very young and likely not too xperienced ones isn’t it possible she might just want to fool around and not have penis in vagina sex?

  45. !!! Radical Feminists News Flash !!!

    Today a organized group of radical feminists marched through the street and reverse gendered-typed everything they ran into. Business men were stripped and dressed in high heels and short business skirts that left them unable to walk properly and thus late for all of their daily meetings. Fire hydrants were put into locked cages, like cuckolded John Thomas’s. Doormen re-outfitted into small, tight clothes that left them over exposed to the elements. And even mounted police attempting to break up the march were re-garbed in French heirloom dresses and made to ride side saddle.

  46. I’m surprised that there is even a thing called “rape culture” to begin with. Disgusting. If radical means, you know, “please don’t rape me”, then that really scares me. If feminist means simply not forcing someone to have sex with you, then I’m very feminist.

  47. Amazing how the same people now blocking a legitimate fair use parody are the first to scream censorship whenever someone merely objects to what they are saying (without actually taking any measures).

  48. When will our society stop presuming males only rape and are too stupid or inculturated to think otherwise. How about that concept become part of the “radical” idea? Yes, “rape culture” is insidious but so is the presumption that males are only “rape-oriented.” Yes good to raise awareness. I have 2 daughters and have raised them to be empowered free thinking human beings. They have been through a lot of hell. As their father I also need to change the culture and make a stand. I am tired of the generalized presumptions made about my gender.

    1. @bigskyexile, really appreciate your comment. I certainly agree that stereotypes constructing men as “rape-oriented” perpetuate sexual violence just as much as the stereotype that women are “sexually available” which this campaign protests.

  49. It does not matter who started this trend , or who backs it , the fact is it is being done ! Maby some of them lunkheads out there will see a pair , and take notice ! It’s not yours to play with….

  50. Now I don’t want to step on any toes here, but someone is going to be offended by that alone. That being said, is it not okay for me to ask a question like “Is Victoria’s Secret not a sexy underwear brand?”. I do not walk past the place in the mall and see normal looking underwear, it’s all eye candy. If you don’t want cute underwear, they make normal underwear you know. If you want to buy cute underwear, whatever it says it says. If you wore underwear that said “NO”, then why are you half naked in front of someone in the first place?

    I get that it’s an empowering campaign, but we all know rape is bad. Men murder and assault other men at the slightest hint of this kind of thing… we all know that…. “rape culture” is something I cannot say I have come across. No one I know condones it, and every time it’s brought up it’s in a movie or something and it makes me cringe. What more do you want? That’s the proper reaction we pretty much all get…..

    1. That’s the rape culture – if a woman is half naked that means she wants to have sex or is being sexually enticing. this kinds of statements imply “well what did you expect, you are half naked so you must have provoked to be raped. You have to recognize that kind of thinking is everywhere and that is rape culture.

  51. So the obvious question: why DON’T you actually create and sell these? Clearly they would be very well received and profitable. And profits could go toward helping rape victims! Ding ding!

  52. So wearing underwear that says “ask first” will stop me from getting raped? and wearing underwear that says “sure thing” will mean I’m more likely to get raped? I thought it wasn’t about women dressing a certain way that caused rape? Rape is a serious issue and wearing underwear saying no or yes will not change it.

  53. It’s not only within your rights to promote this because of fair use, if you can prove it’s a parody of the VS brand it will make it almost impossible for legal action to be brought against you.

  54. We had a friend who works a lot in Africa. She said in Africa, a high percentage of women’s first sexual experienced is forced. We have such a long way to go.

  55. This is an awesome campaign!!! I am by no means a feminist, but I also don’t consider this a feminist movement. Just because a female run group wants to raise awareness about rape, it doesn’t mean they are feminists or radical. VS should join the movement. They have a real opportunity to be a role model to young girls and women everywhere.

  56. This is retarded. I can’t believe somebody would be so stupid that they needed to make an anti-rape prank. If someone was going to rape you, I promise you, the last thing they would care about would be the lettering on your panties!!

  57. eh, can we drop the radical feminist tag here? I mean, I’m not saying the term doesn’t exist but it definitely does not apply here. People fighting to dismatle rape culture should not be labeled as radical. Badass? Yes, oh yes.

  58. The panties that say “Sure Thing” could be bought to be worn for their significant other and be flirty, it’s not “supporting rape culture”. If someone wants flirty panties that’s fine, they can still say no if someone tries to pressure them. And if someone says “oh but your panties say this” they are just stupid

  59. you ladies are so rad. I’m fully going to cancel my victoria secret credit card and stop shopping there.

  60. My question is why are there printed words on underwear, and who the hell reads them. I do not see how this promotes “rape” culture. Some people are just to damn sensitive.

  61. They were wrong to use the VS brand. I’m glad they got people talking about issues, but VS was completely within their right to do some damage control and request that the site be taken down. The website did something really tacky by attacking a specific company. Did you know sexiest panties I own actually came from Target! They need to attack the cause, not the symptom.

    They latched onto Victoria’s Secret’s popularity and I am really upset, as a woman, about the way this happened. Now they will probably produce products and sell them, and make money… Go figure.

    1. You say that they should have attacked Target, but if you knew how this industry works out realize Target gets their inspiration from Victorias Secret. Victorias Secret’s popularity makes it a leader in the woman’s undercurrent industry. To attack VS is to attack the top of the food chain.

    2. Actually, what I was saying was they shouldn’t have attacked any company or brand.

      VS isn’t to blame for rape. Attacking a company like VS is tacky. This feminist group could have made a better choice. And advertising that VS had an “angry reaction” is sensationalistic, when your report actually states a very level headed and reasonable request from VS. Their logo and name was illegally used for slander. Anyone who thinks that sexual assault happens because of advertising, or the clothes a woman is wearing is just as ignorant as Todd Aiken, who said any legitimately raped woman would not get pregnant because she would make the choice…

      It’s obvious there are no skeptics on this comment board, only people who fail to question any thing, and get angry when someone points out the obvious flaws in this “campaign.”

    3. lol what are you talking about? it’s practically 50/50 pro and con, for a range of reasons. not sure you read all the comments.

  62. Posing in skimpy underwear (for the dudez, obviously) is not feminist. And if it sparks an “internet revolution”…you can bet it’s not feminist. Instead of wearing cutesy underwear on the net and wherever, how about women take a self defense class? Maybe not as internet-popular, but definitely effective! This is pathetic. I’m done here and off to where hopefully my brain won’t rot.

  63. This is stupid. Nothing that Victoria’s Secret does, says, or sells condones rape. Women have to choose to go there, choose to buy there, choose to wear what they buy, choose whether or not to show it to the world, and then choose whether or not to have sex. Rape has nothing to do with sex or clothing, it’s about a sick demented man trying to control something. Victoria’s Secret is so far removed from that I can’t even describe it. Of course consent is required for sex. Only the depraved disagree with that. Therefore, this prank is a total waste.

  64. I find in this article a couple of issues. I think that it is great that people want to change the way younger women and men think about sex. I wonder if the individuals who came up with this idea truly believe that rape is a sexually motivated crime. If so, I find this somewhat ignorant and in line with those who believe that a woman wearing provocative clothing means that she is asking to be raped. I will concede that sex is certainly involved in rape, however a great deal of research has been conducted on the psychology of rape and sexual arousal through the viewing of suggestive underwear has nothing to do with why men or women rape their victims. Here are two “.edu” sites on the subject

    Yale University:
    Roger Williams:

    I do agree that one could say that men raping women is a way of exerting power of them and taking what they want, except women and men both rape and both men and women are raped, so if these individuals are so against rape culture, where is the men’s underwear combating the same?

  65. first and foremost, it shouldn’t matter what you wear, but to many girls, and I use this term, correctly, want to dress like sluts, if that person wants sex he/she ain’t gonna read a pair of panties. As a victim of rape, I find this article insulting, I cannot believe that the readers of this article are arguing over radical, and feminist, to argue over something as mundane as an article of clothing with words plastered on it, then what does that say for our society. I am sorry, but until women and men start acting like adults and teaching children no and yes, then our society will always have this fight on our hands.

  66. It’s nice to to see something in the media that doesn’t seem like we are going backwards as far as women’s rights are concerned. Today “feminist” is practically a dirty word and women, especially young women, are inundated with images encouraging them to make it their life’s work to attract men on a sexual-only basis. The Victoria Secret Pink line is often border-line kitty porn. I like being sexy, but let’s face it, it’s far from my only priority as a human being and a women. This focus on pleasing men and being sexually objectified is at the bottom of our ever-growing rape culture. I’m a proud Baltimore resident today – thank you for taking a stand in an incredibly clever fashion.

  67. no one here taIking about femaIes raping men… about the recent CNN articIe on the schooI teacher who had group sex with muItipIe students……on another note…where were these teachers when i was in schooI????!!!!

  68. Would love to see actual production of these Consent items to give as Christmas gifts to my teenage nieces.

  69. If a woman lets a man get to her panties, only to find a question about the continuation of the foreplay process, then something is wrong in her head! Ladies, don’t print cutsie little sayings on your panties, Don’t be an airhead, TATOO IT ON YOUR FOREHEAD! PS When was the last time your “rapist” paused to read your PANTIES?

  70. I think the notion that the words on your underwear can influence perceptions about rape, and somehow the actions of rapists, is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know a single person on earth, who isn’t a degenerate or some other form of criminal, who thinks rape is ok in any way. This isn’t activism, it’s a cry for attention.

    1. and why do you need to come express your opinion about it? why not just let it pass you by and go about your day? this is how subtle norms get unconsciously enforced. you’re basically saying: don’t complain or voice dissent. i can’t really believe that all these people honestly think that the point was supposed to be the panties stopping a rape halfway through. obviously not. there aren’t really that many stupid people (i hope) so I’m inclined to think many of the people saying that sort of thing are unconsciously predisposed to find something to invalidate a campaign like this and enforce the status quo.

  71. How about making a parody of latest VS commercial with men prancing in their underwear or sitting in sexy poses and saying “tell me you love me,” “tell me you want me”, “tell me you miss”… That would definitely point out differences in gender roles.

  72. No rapist is going to look at a girls underwear and say “oh it says ask first let me ask her if i can rape her” Whats the difference?! Get a grip people.its a women’s choice to buy that underwear, they arent getting forced! My gosh.

  73. I would have a lot more respect for VS if they changed their message. I’m sick of their branding. Their overall style seems skankier by the minute. I HATE their new Christmas commercial this year.
    Seems like they are limiting their consumers. I used to shop at VS (never liked the Pink brand) but within the last two years they have just not manufactured what I want to wear. I don’t consider myself a feminist. I’m a 24 year old woman who loves to shop… If I don’t want VS, who does?

  74. I do agree the meaning of rape has changed a lot in our society and it is an issue that needs to be resolved. It is wrong to put the responsibility on the victim when it is the assailants fault, but never have i felt not in control when wearing anything from Victoria’s Secret or what my underwear says. I think its wrong to single them out when many other companies make the same kind of merchandise such as Aerie. Also I feel that Victorias’s Secret isn’t geared towards high school girls and when I shop there, its mostly adults. Of course there are some young girls in there, for instance I saw a young girl there having her grandma pick out underwear with her, but I feel that’s the parents responsibility to handle, not Victoria’s Secret. I like the idea of the merchandise addressing this important issue, just using your own designs and logos, not Victoria’s Secret.

  75. Actually, the whole sexual culture perpetuates rape. The fact that sex is so casual and accessible makes people expect it. Pornography fosters it. As does contraception and abortion, as sex has little consequence. You throw out responsibility, don’t expect the rape statistics to go down. If you’ve put yourself in a situation where that could happen, saying no isn’t going to change someone’s mind.

  76. I just quit working for VS. an insipid and vapid environment behind me, I am heartened by this piece. Go consent!!!

  77. Am I the only one who thinks the ad’s use of a clearly overweight individual to represent black women is racist? I know these so-called “feminists” will claim to be “body-positive”, but frankly the whole “fat black woman” stereotype promoted by this ad has only served to denigrate African women’s beauty and make them appear sexually undesirable. Why couldn’t these “feminists” use a genuinely beautiful, fit black woman like, say Oluchi Onweagba instead of an overweight one?

    I don’t know what race the people behind this campaign are, but I have a feeling they’re white chicks who couldn’t be bothered to portray genuine African beauty lest it challenge their own sense of aesthetic superiority, so they used a black woman they know will be written off as unattractively overweight by most men.

    By the way, I’m a white guy who supports feminism as a principle meaning full gender equality. It saddens me that so many white supremacists in my generation disguise themselves as progressives in order to disguise their reactionary views.

  78. I am very glad to see this, and hope for a great deal more. For many years, I have been arguing that women needed to take on the irresponsibly sexual and provocative content of contemporary American culture. Women should not tolerate the emphasis on raw sexuality in the design of women’s clothing, ads in magazines, catalogues, and newspapers, and the roles that are all too often given young women in films. Those elements permeate our media and have a devastating impact on the attempt many parents are making to civilize the behavior of young men. None of it serves as an excuse for the behavior of some males, but it must be recognized as contributing to the circumstances. When a young man watches films, magazines, and other information media and sees women being dressed, or not, as one might expect a prostitute to be clothed, or not, and behaving similarly, or such a ‘women’ in a store window, the experience impacts the sensibilities of the lad in a way that encourages emphatically incorrect and bad behavior.

  79. this campaign is great. Good for you. I hate VS adverts, they do not make me want to run in and buy their garments, but instead they seem to be appealing to men to buy, dress their women and then force her. The message sent is buy me these clothes (money) and you can f* me (sex). I like to think sex and love should be linked not money and sex. So sad!

  80. I could figure out what bothered me about this campaign. Consent is an awesome thing no doubt, but the “consent is sexy” concept is unrealistic. Consent is not always sexy and for that matter doesn’t always involve sex. A verbal “no” for instance is the opposite of sexy. Pictures of people posing in skimpy underwear with “no means no” emblazoned on their bits should be a turn-off, not a turn-on.If you find it to be a turn-on, that is one step from rape. If you find it to be sexy, that is one step from rape.

    The danger is that this “consent is sexy” meme fits in with the dominant paradigm that when women say no, they really mean “yes” or “maybe.” We need to get away from this. Consent is important, consent is vital, consent is real, consent is justice,, but consent is not always sexy nor should it be.

  81. A large part of the problem is not just teaching women and girls to stand up for themselves and what they consent to, it’s also teaching men and boys to respect women. My son knows how to treat women respectfully and would never think it was ok to mistreat a woman. We need to teach our kids (boys and girls) to treat others with respect and compassion, not just to be selfish about their own desires but think about how their actions impact others (the golden rule). If we focus on teaching boys that women are to be respected and not objectified as well as teaching girls to be strong women it would go a long way towards changing the culture. I also agree that society does not want to talk about sex at all. I personally think that has a lot to do with the religiosity that pervaded our society for so long. Most people not so long ago believed that what happened behind closed doors should stay there. We need to teach our kids that it’s ok to talk about sex and it’s not something to be ashamed of. They have questions that need answers and their friends are not the best source of information. If we want to change the culture, we need to focus on the kids and teaching them better.

  82. Wow. This has mostly been a good conversation about issues surrounding both rape culture, consent, and even feminist strategy. I’m impressed by the campaign and reminded by the naysayers just how much work is left to be done.

    One thing I didn’t see discussed much is how rape culture hurts men by encouraging them to see the other half of society as objects. If a man sees a woman as a sexualized object, he will not benefit from all of the other wonderful things she has to offer. He will not have the kind of respectful relationships with women that he could otherwise enjoy. As a mother of two sons, I find it is a constant struggle to fight the subtle (and not) messages they receive about girls and women defined in many ways by their sexuality. If women are defined by their ‘otherness’ in this patriarchal culture, then men are also defined and restricted by their normative status. This is no good for them either. I want my sons to grow up respecting themselves enough to treat all people as equals. I want them to be themselves without fear that their self-expression will be judged as lacking the normalized ‘masculinity.’ And for god’s sake I don’t want them to discover they have hurt someone as they tried to follow society’s rape culture!

    Any oppression is ultimately just as harmful to the oppressor, and I hope that we can work against this binary culture that is shoved down our throats, dividing and conquering us all.

  83. Um, What about something for men, like ‘ I listen well ‘ or
    ‘can I ? PLEASE?’ Or does it seem emasculating on men? They wear other guys names on sports jerseys without feeling too gay about.
    But the main thing for me is how about women stop wearing statements written by a stranger and make their own dialogue up as they go…If a woman has to rely on her panties to do the talking maybe they should stay firmly around her waist.

  84. If you get to the point where, in the company of a man, you take your pants off and show him your underwear, you’re either:

    1) willing to have sex with him, and actively trying to
    2) an attention whore who goes around geting guys sexually aroused in order to compensate for your insecurities.

    In either case, you would be an unbelieveable hypocrite for complaining about whatever happens next.

  85. You would think that VS would be, at the very least, tolerant of what is so obviously a successful campaign idea. Women LOVE the product and the message.People are talking and discussing boundaries, sexual and otherwise…point made! Anything that gives women an additional line of defense against men with hearing problems should be welcomed with open arms (and closed legs). For VS to do anything other than support what women want and need is idiotic…but, then again, so is marketing thongs with “Sure Thing” across the crotch to Tweens.

  86. Stuff like this is why feminists get a bad rap. Instead of concerning yourselves with meaningful matters like equal pay, better maternity rights for working mothers, you all waste time and energy on VS. But then again, women usually are concerned with trifles, way to keep the glass ceiling low girls.

  87. I second someone on this thread- I don’t think these are ‘radical’ feminists- just really clever women standing up for what’s right. I’m tired of seeing the ‘radical’ handle used all the time when for the most part, feminists want the very simple and non-radical ‘equal respect and rights’

  88. This is wonderful!!! Perhaps someone would fund making the product — and profits could go to rape crisis centers, to further education about rape culture, to sheltering homeless youth who are so often victims of sexual abuse and incest…. that product is a product of consciousness and change and would bring it to more people…it’s brlliant, thank you all in any case…

    1. To the woman who suggested funding a rape crisis center with money raised by feminists – Feminism should be kept out of rape advocacy AT ALL COSTS. I am not conservative, but feminism IS a fringe political ideology that is NOT appropriate to shove down the throats of survivors of violent crimes. Feminists shove their way into rape survivor groups with NO CONCERN for the rights and beliefs of the PEOPLE who have been violated. They just want a pat on the back for “caring” – unless the raped person disagrees with them then they throw a fit and act like bitches. I firmly believe that many of these internet feminists have less respect for consent and boundaries than the rapists they claim to despise.

      It is NOT appropriate to offer services to victims of violent crime when you have a political agenda. Conservative women and men get raped, racist people get raped, anti-feminists get raped, . I am a rape survivor and I am sick of feminists expecting me to bow down and worship them because they blog about rape and “rape culture”. I am a rape survivor and not a feminist. Stop politicizing violent crime – it’s not a republican vs. democrat issue. Feminists exploit rape victims for CLICKS and to stroke their own egos and not all rape victims think they are heroes. I certainly don’t.

  89. I think a lot of people on this thread have missed the point. The point of the prank was to get women–particularly teenagers and college aged women, who VS specifically markets this line of underwear to–to take a moment and think about their own self worth and open up a conversation about rape. And also to take a moment to think if VS is sending a mixed message to their younger female consumers. I don’t see anything written anywhere that says the intention was to stop rapists by printing “NO” on underpants. Yes, of course you can wear any kind of underwear you choose and it doesn’t affect your chances of being raped.

    The one word or couple word phrase is a strong marketing ploy as well as a strong visual–the perfect thing for a viral internet mock ad to attract the attention of young women and get them thinking about rape culture and how easy it can be to fall into the attitude of in order to be “cute and sexy” I need to be a “sure thing”.

    They just wanted people to start talking about it. Based on all these comments–douchebags aside–it looks like they were successful.

    1. “I wish this were real!” ~ It IS real! This is one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed direct action advertising subversions I’ve ever seen. Success is that small companies are actually producing some of these items. Victory will be when Victoria’s Secret hires one of these people as a design consultant.

  90. I have a problem with making such leaps as, ” VS PINK has co-opted the idea of sexual freedom and twisted it into an image of sexuality in which the woman (or girl) is not really in control. The “Sure Thing” and “Yes No Maybe” and “NO peeking” underwear promote the idea of limitless availability, or on the other hand, leaving the choice up to the (presumably male) partner. The brand teaches girls to be coy instead of vocal and makes it seem uncool and unsexy to say no and mean it. By re-enforcing that sex is about an image, that looking good is more important than feeling good, PINK promotes rape culture.” There is no way to prove that each girl who wears this underwear is taught these things. I do not know how anyone can infer all of these hyperbolic things from wearing some tacky underwear. These so-called, “protesters” are bullies, and they are trying to scapegoat VS and young girls by their choice in panties. This is classic slut shaming. In addition, rape has nothing to do with sex, and they want you to be confused by this wolf in sheep’s clothing bullshit.

  91. It is also a leap to blame Victoria’s Secret for encouraging rape or endorsing rape or promoting a, “Rape Culture,” which has never been clearly defined for me. These girls are bullies who may have had good intentions but end up victim blaming, instead. Rapists do not discriminate based upon a young girl’s choice of clothing. Rapists are violent criminals who rape women regardless of what they are wearing. Shame on these women for trying to suggest that at any point, a woman is to blame by saying or communicating by wearing a certain type of clothing to a potential rapist that she wants to be raped.

  92. I think this is really stupid. Bunch of feminists creating a controversy when none exists. Rape is terrible but how come a woman buying an underwear on her own choice has anything to do with rape?

    “In fact, their current designs seem to lean more toward rape culture than consent. Their PINK brand, marketed at high school and college-aged women, sports thongs with the slogan “SURE THING” printed right over the crotch. ”

    Seriously? How delusional are you? So a woman who wants to feel sexy buys these underwear that says “Sure Thing”. By your definition, she wants to be raped? Isn’t that the same mentality as “she was asking for it?” You are saying the same thing that you criticize.

    Is your idea of consent having all women saying “No”? Sounds more like men hating then pro-women. Next time I’ll make sure to bring my lawyer and 100 pages of text to make really really really sure sex was consensual.

    you are not preventing rape – you are killing romance.

  93. . The real issues aren’t in the underwear. Fredericksburg of Hollywood has been selling this stuff for years. Pink sells to high school ages but parents are the ones buying it and this hoax didn’t teach parents anything about how to talk to their daughters AND sons about respecting women’s consent rights. If you want to make an impact, it starts at home, in a family unit(single parents included), role models from school, church, associations with sports that should teach BOTH sexes the meaning of NO. You are making this about underwear when it is much deeper than that. If a girl is down to her underwear she has already come to a decision and nothing written on the underwear is going to change that. A rapist isn’t going to stop and read so this seems like a total waste of time and energy. Spend it putting prayer back in school, quit letting pregnant girls go to public schools flaunting their pregnancy and promote stopping government entitlements to the girls that say “yes”. Spend it showing boys how to be gentlemen instead of the thugs with their pants sliding off their butts. Underwear isn’t the problem but social media that you bragged about that spread this hoax is violent, mean, bullying, racist, sexist, criminal in many cases and irresponsible reporting or story telling. Try getting 15 minutes of fame teaching young children respect, honor, humility and just plain manners.

    1. !!! ‘…Spend it putting prayer back in school, quit letting pregnant girls go to public schools flaunting their pregnancy and promote stopping government entitlements to the girls that say “yes”….’

      1. Put prayer back in school? It hasn’t been moved. Anyone in America can pray anytime and anywhere they chose to do so. A public school cannot LEAD them in prayer. This suggestion is factually incorrect, and, as a cure for the problem of rape, idiotic.

      2. ‘…quit letting pregnant girls go to public schools flaunting their pregnancy…’??? Great. Lets have them be pregnant AND illiterate. Good idea…NOT!

      3. ‘…promote stopping government entitlements to the girls that say “yes”….’ where do you come up with this shit?

      Put the crack pipe down, drop you prayer wheel, and get out into the real world more, much more. The sample of pregnant girls flaunting their pregnancy is rather small here on this side of the magic mirror into which you are staring fixedly.

  94. As a stranger rape survivor I can say with confidence that FEMINISTS have done more to silence me than “rape culture” EVER HAS. Feminists are concerned about rape survivors who parrot their jargon and pet causes, but ridicule religious rape survivors and “white women” who are raped.

    Feminism exploits rape survivors – see, I am a real rape survivor but internet feminists hate me and treat me like shit because I don’t care about their pet causes (like putting prostitution on a pedestal and calling ti “sex work”). I honestly have more respect for the stranger that raped me than I do “feminists” like the writers at Jezebel (who make money off rape by making ad review from clicks that feature the word “rape” on their site). At least he wasn’t bitchy and condescending.

    I am a rape survivor, and I reject feminism. “Feminists” don’t speak for me.

    1. ^ Wow, that’s a really strong statement. That sucks you’ve had such really bad experiences with “feminists.” Some people really suck.

      All I’d say is that just as not every drunk bro with a backward hat endorses rape, or not every Catholic is responsible for the Crusades, so not all people who identify as feminists would endorse the horrendous treatment you experienced. Ridiculing religious rape survivors or white women who’ve been raped, or any other rape survivors who just happen to disagree with feminism’s goals, is totally inexcusable. I guess I’d also say that feminism means different things to different people. The thing you replied to some comments above about “if you think women should have equal standing with men, then you’re a feminist,” I think should be taken more as that person’s definition of what “feminism” means to them rather than… I don’t know, like, tricking someone into being a super hard line feminist or something. I think there are a couple examples in the comments above of self-identified feminists responding respectfully to rape survivors who disagree with them. You raise a lot of other objections but I think it’s best in this post just to emphasize that I (and I hope/think a lot of others who have posted here) absolutely agree that mistreatment is super fucked up and inexcusable.

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