Baltimore feminist group FORCE took the world by surprise last December when they launched a line of fake Victoria's Secret, dropping underwear emblazoned with phrases like "Consent is Sexy" and "Ask First" at Victoria's Secrets around the US and promoting the fake Pink Loves Consent line on the internet. The spoof came off brilliantly, using a well-coordinated "feminist Facebook army" to hijack Victoria Secret's social media and broadcast the a discussion of consent to millions of mainstream shoppers. Last week, I talked with FORCE organizers Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato about what they learned from the Pink Loves Consent campaign, how Facebook and Twitter have censored their spoof, and the details on their next action, a Valentine's Day protest that will install a temporary monument to rape survivors in Washington DC.
BITCH: What choices did you make while planning Pink Loves Consent that made it so wildly successful?
HANNAH BRANCATO: The big decision was that we couldn't sell the underwear. This is a spoof, we're using Victoria's Secret's trademark, so we couldn't legally sell anything. There was all of this intense energy around the project when it first launched but the only thing people could think of doing was buying the underwear.
REBECCA NAGLE: The first thing they asked was, 'Where can I buy this?" And I think it was powerful to come back and say, "You can't buy it, it's an idea." Instead of sending people to a checkout cart, we're sending people to resources, to saying, "Here's a zine you can make."
Last week I had the pleasure of talking with Teri Fahrendorf, who started the Pink Boots Society in 2007 after a road trip to check out breweries all over the country. Again and again, she said, she encountered women who worked in craft breweries who had never before met another female brewer, let alone one with a couple decades' worth of experience. Immediately, they wanted to know who and where the other female brewers were, so the Pink Boots Society – named for the boots Fahrendorf wore on her road trip – was born as a list of women brewers throughout the country.
"They weren't getting something they wanted, which was communication with a woman in their field," Fahrendorf said. "The fact that I had been a brewmaster for 19 years opened their eyes. Watching them get inspired by my story in turn inspired me to want to mentor all of them. I can't mentor all of them, as much as I try."
Remember those BIC For Her pens that inspired hilarious customer reviews a while back? Well, they weren't the first pens to be marketed to small-handed, weak-fingered women.
In "Girlie Pens, Again? Why Ordinary Things Go Pink" Lisa Hix explores the reasons behind Pink Think, when "mid-century manufacturers realized that if you take an ordinary object, turn it pink, and put the word 'Lady' in front of the name, then you've created a product 'for women' that can be sold for more money."
Welcome again to RetroPop, where we mash up lady-driven Top 40 tunes with the work of great female artists from history and explore what they have in common, maybe elevate some readers' respect for Billboard hits, and revel in some great women writers in the process. Your reactions, disagreements, and playlist suggestions are welcome and encouraged. So let's jack the volume to 11 and get down with some Gothic romance!
Perhaps you have heard of KFC's "Buckets for the Cure" campaign. The idea is, every time you buy a pink bucket of fried chicken from the chain, 50 cents is donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation for breast cancer research. Now, raising money for cancer research of any kind is great, but I can't help but think (and I am by no means alone here) that this campaign is misguided and misleading (not to mention the weird irony of buying – and eating – certain breasts to save others). Of course, tying an advertising campaign to the fight against breast cancer, a practice commonly known as pinkwashing, is nothing new. Let's look at some more examples and discuss!