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Playboy Gets Pranked: Students and Artists Make A Fake Anti-Rape Party Guide Go Viral

For a few hours yesterday, I thought Playboy had undergone a culture change. A friend forwarded me a link to a website, Party With Playboy, that proclaimed itself to be Playboy's back-to-school "Top Ten Party Commandments" guide. The difference between the 2013 guide and all previous party tip sheets, though, is that this year, Playboy was all about consent. 

Screenshot of the site that reads: Consent is the first thing required for a good party.

"This has been blowing up all over my facebook," my friend wrote. I was surprised and excited—how cool of Playboy to admit some role in rape culture and put consent front-and-center for bros heading to college! 

It turns out Playboy got pranked. Baltimore-based artist collective FORCE and students at 25 colleges pulled off the impressive hoax that duped news outlets and thousands of readers. Instead of backing up the call for consent, Playboy is now working to shut down the site. 

I spoke with FORCE organizers Rebecca Nagel and Hannah Brancato last spring after the pulled off an epic culture jam of the Victoria's Secret PINK campaign. Like the Playboy party commandments, their "PINK Loves Consent!" campaign was a seamlessly designed recreation of a Victoria's Secret-branded site that featured healthy-looking models showing of sexy undies emblazoned with phrases like "Ask First."  

"We wanted people who have no idea what consent is to talk about consent," said Brancato, of that campaign. Nagel agreed, "We really wanted consent to be a mainstream idea. As long as consent is a fringe concept that only feminists and anti-rape advocates are talking about, it's not going to be effective in ending sexual violence and promoting female sexual empowerment."

That's the idea behind the fake Playboy page: to put consent in front of the eyeballs of people who would never go out of their way to attend, say, an anti-rape workshop.  

The fake party guide is written in an approachable that's both on-tone for Playboy and impossible for any rational person to disagree with. Here's a key paragraph: 

Somewhere in the countless hours we spent tallying up co-eds and scoring beer pong, we lost track of the most essential element of the Playboy lifestyle: sexual pleasure. Rape is kryptonite to sexual pleasure. The two cannot co-exist. For our revised party guide to live up to our founder's vision, we had to put a new criterion on top. Namely, consent.

The art group and students at 25 different schools used social media to spread its spoof like wildfire—as of this morning, the Party With Playboy page has been shared more than 4,000 times. The main Party With Playboy site was backed up with fake coverage on other major sites, including Upworthy and The Huffington Post, which altogether were receiving over 3,000 hits an hour yesterday. Since the site is designed to look like a real Playboy site, including a header, footer, and sidebars that all link to real parts of Playboy's site, many of those who read and shared the page will likely never realize it's not from the mind of Hugh Hefner.

That could be problematic, as people will likely wind up giving Playboy more credit than it's due. Thousands of people who read the Ten Party Commandments will be thinking that Playboy has dramatically changed for the better—meanwhile, according to FORCE, Playboy is now actively working to get the consent-promoting site taken down. But the end goal of this campaign isn't about changing Playboy, it's about changing the attitudes of oblivious people who read Playboy. The campaign will engender some ultimately misguided warm-and-fuzzy feelings about Playboy, but its goal is clearly to get people who don't go out of their way to learn about rape culture to come away with a better understanding of rape and consent. 

It would be great if Playboy surprises us all by embracing the message of consent, rather than suing for copyright infringement. But I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime, a couple thousand people will be heading back to school thinking about consent. 


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Comments

7 comments have been made. Post a comment.

This is really sweet, but one

This is really sweet, but one gripe: "that featured healthy-looking models"

Come oooooooon. This magazine taught the teenage me that there's no such thing as a "healthy-looking" body.

That's a good point, I should

That's a good point, I should have chosen that language better. What I meant was: They're models who are of various different body types, who are smiling and having fun.


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You've mixed up copyright and

You've mixed up copyright and trademark. If they sue, it would be for trademark infringement, not copyright infringement and suing for trademark wouldn't have *anything* to do with not approving of the message. I'm not going to spell it all out here; it's easy to look up.

I, personally, have a pretty positive opinion of Playboy from being a regular reader in the past. Is it a perfect proponent of feminism and equal rights? No, but then again neither is Ms. or Bitch, for that matter. The editorials and news journalism in the magazine were way closer to pro-equality than misogyny, though, which I think would surprise a lot of non-readers.

Anyway, look up the difference between trademark infringement and copyright infringement and the consequences of NOT suing before judging.

This is all well and good,

This is all well and good, but am I the only one who thinks that the terminology "rape is only a good time if you're a rapist" is a little off?

Well vs. Sick

What? Who can't understand a "healthy-looking" body? If you can't figure it out: it's the opposite of an unhealthy-looking body. Simple.

copyright vs trademark correction

Actually it is copyright infringement, because they copied the website design and text. That's why there is a "copyright" date at the bottom of every website.

aaaaaaaww! such mood

aaaaaaaww! such mood whiplash! for a minute i thought 'holy shit, this rocket is taking off!'
still, i can't think of a better way to break these ideas into the mainstream.