A Playboy spokesperson acknowledged the website on Tuesday, but said that it is a fake (read more about the feminists who created it here, and the college activists who helped them here). ThinkProgress regrets the error. The fact that it’s merely parody proves Playboy remains an organization that continues to put little, if any, focus on consent. The original post is below.
Every year, Playboy Magazine releases a list of the best party schools in the country, ranking the colleges against each other based on their frat-fueled social scenes. But this fall, it’s doing things a bit differently. Playboy’s 2013 “guide to campus life” eschews the traditional format in favor of emphasizing consensual sexual activity:
Playboy explains that it’s gotten some complaints about the fact that its highly-rated party schools have also been embroiled in controversy surrounding sexual assault rates on their campuses. Over the past year, students have joined forces to pressure their administrations to take rape more seriously. A wave of federal complaints with the U.S. Department of Education has subjected multiple universities to formal investigations, and a network of student activists has ensured that the issue has remained in the news.
“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,” Playboy writes in its introduction for this year’s guide. “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 list has been re-branded as “the ultimate guide to a consensual good time,” and it lists several “party commandments” to ensure that undergrads are engaging in healthy sexual relationships. The first commandment reminds student to “ask first” in order to obtain consent. Later rules include instructions to openly talk about sex, love all types of bodies, and avoid taking advantage of people who are too intoxicated to consent:
“Rather than tallying up party culture, we are re-inventing it. Today, we are not toasting to a set of campuses. Rather, we are raising our glass to a new era of better sex and the student visionaries who are ringing it in,” Playboy concludes.
Sexual assault prevention activists agree that thoroughly educating people about consent is the first step to promoting a healthy sexual environment and combating rape culture. A recent international study on rape — the largest academic inquiry into sexual assault that’s ever been conducted — found that many male rapists don’t understand that they don’t automatically have a right to take control of women’s bodies, and those unhealthy attitudes take root at an early age. Learning about consent can combat that. Sexual health educators recommend teaching kids about their bodily autonomy and how they can navigate around the boundaries of physical consent even before they become sexually active themselves.
However, the patchwork of sex ed requirements across the country mean that American kids don’t necessarily grow up learning those things in the classroom. Some college activists are trying to fill in those gaps by encouraging mandatory sexual assault prevention training for incoming students that emphasizes the concept of consent within healthy relationships. And some college administrations, like Yale University, are taking some steps to clarify their official definitions of what constitutes consent.