In early December a friend brought to my attention the exceedingly clever, positive, thoughtful action of an activist group in Baltimore called FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. They created consent-themed slogan panties as a counterpoint to a line of Victoria’s Secret panties. Then they advertised them, as if they were Victoria’s Secret. It was brilliant. Since then people have been printing their own consent-themed panties and leaving them in VS stores.
I bring this up because a good idea deserves legs. This non-violent protest invites each of us to look at our own opinions about rape (and sex) and inspires conversation. It supports the use of creativity to address our hardest issues, and allows citizens to engage at whatever level they are ready. Perhaps someone you know can just have a giggle at the idea right now, but at least the seed is planted. This act might inspire someone else to launch a creative, positive, non-violent guerilla act of their own. If it is you, thank you. If it is your friend, ask yourself if you are ready to join the fight.
Though working in another medium, I want to draw attention to another group shouting loud and clear about more of our uncomfortable societal norms. The Disreputables are a Washington DC based performing arts company giving voice to “the unheard, the misjudged, the misrepresented.” Their last event was a staged reading of original plays about the “War or Women,” the consistent rhetorical and policy assaults on women’s rights to their bodies in last years political races.
Hurting out loud for thousands of people often falls to the dedicated several. Every national or international exposure is indeed a triumph, but it can eclipse the long-term bravery and commitment of those who craft, plan and deliver the messages. Let us be a legion of fresh voices to move these messages forward, and make them resound even louder.