Frequently Asked Questions
What type of feminists are you?
In addition to these views, we don’t think that feminism should be restrictive or clearly defined, but instead should be something that invites participation and growth. It is going to take a lot of different tactics and a lot of different people to actually change the patriarchy and to end rape and rape culture. Limiting and judging the work does a disservice to feminism as a whole- though critique and challenges are welcome and encouraged. If you don’t support our tactics, we still support you to go and do the work that you think needs to be done. Let’s attack this from every angle possible! And in any case, maybe a more useful question would be, what kind of change are we creating and what is the work we are doing achieving?
Can you explain what a counter culture based on consent means?
Here is our vision of a counter culture based on consent:
Haven’t you read (insert feminist scholar here)?
We have also read Jaclyn Friedman, who co-edited Yes Means Yes: Vision of Female Sexuality and a World Without Rape. She tours and speaks and writes constantly about a sexual revolution that promotes consent. Friedman advocates that images of healthy and real female sexuality are necessary to ending rape culture.
In short, there are a lot of contradictions. You could cite lists of feminist scholars that do and do not support our tactics. In this time and in this place, we believe that the tactics we are using are effective.
Lastly, though we have done much of the required reading, we also believe that feminism is for everyone, not just those with a college education. We, like many people, are not feminist because of books we’ve read, but because of the experiences we’ve lived, and how we’ve been able to overcome those experiences to become empowered individuals who aren’t afraid to shake things up.
What does sex have to do with rape?
The myth of the sex-crazed rapists supports other problems that surround rape culture, like victim-blaming. If you wear a short skirt or act sexually provocative you are “asking for it”. The idea that rape victims are sex objects is played out routinely in pop culture. Movies are full of gorgeous women being brutally raped and murdered; colloquial conversations are strung with axioms like “ugly girls don't get raped”. The gender roles of a predator/prey dynamic are constantly reinforced.
Feminists have fought long and hard to establish the fact that in the ways described above, rape is not about sex, but about power and control. However, images in pop culture and everyday conversation persist that confuse rape and rape culture with sex. It is precisely because of that that we believe to end rape, we need to encourage healthy visions of sexuality that include full and enthusiastic consent. Because even though rape has nothing to do with sex, rape culture affects our attitudes and ideas about sex.
We also believe that it is impossible to talk about sex without talking about sex. The message that rape comes from uncontrollable male sexual desire teaches us that male sexual desire is dangerous. How are men supposed to develop healthy sexuality when their desire is held up as the main cause of rape? Our culture needs models of not only healthy masculine sexuality but also respectful and honest expressions of it. If male sexual desire was demystified and respected, instead of limited and vilified, its expression would come out less often as violence and more often as consensual (and hopefully awesome) sex!
Why are you being sometimes being cute and fun about a serious issue?
But, why are we in our underwear? Why are we getting other women and men to pose in their underwear? And then putting all these images of half-naked people all over the internet? To fight rape?!?!?? Shouldn’t we be in business suits educating people about rape statistics or our post-structuralist view of mainstream misogyny? Wouldn’t we be taken more seriously through a powerpoint presentation or well written essay? As educators and curators, we do often use those tactics (although we tend to dress in business casual rather than business suits). But our culture needs more than two business casual feminists pointing out what’s wrong. Our culture needs an alternative.
This project is committed to combating rape culture (see our website for our view of rape culture and rape myths, and to learn more about the action RAPE IS RAPE and the art exhibition FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture). However, the job is more complex than simply stating ”rape must stop.” While clarifying how non-consensual sex is rape, and how rape is wrong, we are also framing a positive alternative. We are here to create a new sexual culture in which communication displaces coercion and violence. We are here to create a culture of consent. Sex should be empowering and pleasurable for all people, however they define pleasure. And, consensual sex is exciting, fun and hot! We believe that this new culture will be, and must be, sexy.
This project is about exploding the feminist box- not creating a new one! So, if this image of sexuality is not one that suits you, it’s important that you continue to fight the fight and create a change in the best way you see fit. Modest dress is what many people find the most sexy and the most effective in combating rape culture, and we are in full support of those choices.
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