Playboy consent hoax: people believed it because it’s past time

You may have heard that Playboy’s list of the top party schools for 2013 was all about schools that raise awareness about consent. Turns out that was a rather amazing hoax, and a feminist group called Force is behind it along with a national conspiracy of college students who are not all female. Playboy remains the sort of corporation that doesn’t exactly support rape, but sure wouldn’t want to irritate whatever percentage of its fanbase that are, in fact, rapists.

This kind of hoax works a little like performance art, however, and I want to capture some screenshots here before it’s all taken down. What really gives me pause is that this hoax fit in so well with the “sexual revolution” culture of Playboy that it took in so many, many people.

FireShot Screen Capture #009 - 'Anti-Rape Activist Group FORCE Was Behind The Fake Playboy Party List (VIDEO)' - www_huffingtonpost_com_2013_09_18_force-anti-rape-playboy-party_n_3944751_html

Because pausing to confirm consent is actually far less unsexy than rape? The fake Playboy domain is here: Here’s what the “hoax” is all about:

FireShot Screen Capture #006 - 'Top Ten Party Commandments' - partywithplayboy_com

Here’s the page they did that was supposedly Playboy’s list for 2013:

FireShot Screen Capture #001 - 'Top Ten Party Commandments' - partywithplayboy_com

This infographic emphasizes how fun partying could be in a world where nobody has to worry about getting raped. Imagine if the only reason to refrain from a party was that it’s just not really your thing, or you’re ill or you have something else you need to do. Imagine never having to worry that going to a party signals to rapists that you are an easy target and no one will believe you.

Companies like Playboy really need to get on board with this. You can’t have a sexual revolution without condemning rape. That’s what’s been wrong since the 1960s, and too few people are trying to fix it.

The responses to the hoax have been amazing and revealing. The comment section on the hoax site is real – I tested it. And the responses, coming from people who think they are at the Playboy site looking at Playboy’s work, are mostly like this:

FireShot Screen Capture #002 - 'Top Ten Party Commandments' - partywithplayboy_com

And even after the hoax was revealed:

FireShot Screen Capture #007 - 'The Feminists Who Fooled Us Into Thinking Playboy Cared About Consent' - thinkprogress_org_health_2013_09_17_2638361_feminists-hack-playboy

From Mommyish:

FireShot Screen Capture #011 - 'Playboy's 2013 College Party Guide Is Anti-Rape, But Hoax' - www_mommyish_com_2013_09_17_playboy-college-party-fake-guide-commandments-rape-consent

From Salon:

FireShot Screen Capture #013 - 'Playboy promotes consent (psych!) - Salon_com' - www_salon_com_2013_09_17_playboy_promotes_consent_psych

From Jezebel:

FireShot Screen Capture #014 - 'FORCE and College Students Take Credit for Playboy Consent Guide' - jezebel_com_force-and-college-students-take-credit-for-playboy-cons-1340821593@callie

Consent discussion isn’t just about protecting people from being raped. It’s also about protecting people from committing rape because they mistakenly think a “lack of no” = “yes” or “passed out” = “fair game.” It’s good for absolutely everybody except rapists, and that’s what the outpouring of support for this hoax shows.

Playboy: do this for real. You will gain so much more than you stand to lose.


  1. Alex says

    I get the feeling the suits at Playboy care more about the “EXPLODE SEXUALITY” tidbit than they do about the topic of consent. They’ve always marketed themselves towards the heterosexual cisgendered male market and probably think they’ll lose readers if they promote sexual diversity with a homoerotic picture. I can’t say for certain any of this is true (I don’t read the magazine, so for all I know, they’re very open-minded), but if they wanted a reason to weasel out of all the topics this article brings up, that would be the diversion least likely to alienate their main audience.

    That said, this article is beautiful and I think they’d stand to gain so much in running this. It has to be worth the few weirded-out sexual conservatives (I doubt actual rapists, who are generally at least aware what they’re doing is illegal and do it out of narcissism, would react much to this article) to gain the support of the general public and so many people that would otherwise write them off as crass exploitation.

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