Clever Hacks – Playboy and Beyond

As virtual presences (websites and online identities) become more important, so does the power of a good hack.  Increasingly, these don’t require that you actually take down the official site and replace it with your own content, instead creating interconnected mock sites is often enough to get the desired press attention, regardless if the media is fooled.

The best hack that i have seen recently created a mock Playboy site. Hackers  converted the Top Ten Party site into a pro-consent guide, which instead of celebrating schools where it is easy to get laid, called out the schools where the best pro-consent work is being done.

At first glance it might be the real thing

At first glance it might be the real thing

What makes this brilliant is that some fraction of the readers might well have been fooled by the new content.  Rather than simply itemizing the way that Playboy Magazine has failed to take on the issue of sexual assault, the hackers put up clever satire, which points out the desires of the feminists and those of the Playboy readers need not be far from each other.

This collection of mock sites (including a compellingly similar Huffington Post mimic) were perpetrated by the same “no wave” feminists from the hackivist group FORCE out of Baltimore.  These fine folks also created a mock Victoria’s Secret site to promote anti-rape underwear, these hacks were also thought provoking and proposing of a better world in which everyone gets what they want.

But not all the feminists are happy with the Playboy hack.  Particularly the mock interview with Hugh Hefner.

Hefner interview hack satire

What is interesting about this interview is that much of it is stuff quite like what Hefner has actually said, and the points he makes about how Playboy has advocated for pro-choice positions are factual.  So is the hack a failure?  Hardly, it is actually a win-win-win from my perspective.

The hackers win, because they got their message out and even though Playboy certainly quickly retook control of their website, Jezebel and others fortunately captured it for us and keep the discussion of its merits going.  It is a win for Playboy,  which looks unusually good compared to other hacks. And it is a win for thoughtful readers who want a world with more consent and less rape and sexual assault.

is this what our new super heroes look like?

is this what our new super heroes look like?

Another especially lovely aspect of this hack is it credits the fine work of my intimate Abigail and the Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team she facilitates at U of O.  Point 8 of the 10 point guide reads:

U of O’s viral video in response to the Steubenville shows bros what to do with a passed out girl: bring your friend a glass of water and a pillow. Because drunk does not equal consent. Consent does not equal buzz kill. And real men treat women with respect. Also doin’ it well at U of O is Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team, check out their videos to show bros what to do with women who are sober awake and into you.

Here is the full collection of SWAT videos they are talking about, as well as the main SWAT web site here.  Abigail has been pioneering all manner of outreach and public education on these topics for a while now.  Long before the Victoria Secret campaign SWAT had anti-rape underwear and “Got Consent?” stickers on condoms.  But, more direct, and perhaps more effective than these marketing gimmicks is SWAT’s performances and workshops utilizing interactive theater (also being copied at the most responsible and innovative campuses).

is it really suggesting i try that?

is it really suggesting i try that?

However, beyond these clever mock sites and these other outreach tools remain the questions which Abigail and i have been wrestling with for a decade now.  How do we create healthy consent culture? How can honest seduction take the place of the classical power over style popularized and glorified by the mainstream media? How can we raise what is a relatively low bar of merely “getting consent” to an “enthusiastic consent” standard that ensures juicy and satisfying sexual encounters for everyone?

healthy relationship question

Talking about it, blogging and living it are certainly parts of the answer. Modeling it is also super inspiring. Workshops like we did at Loud Love and that the fine folks at Network for a New Culture do regularly;  Calling out oppression when you see it; supporting your friends leaving unhealthy relationships (and having patience and not leaving them isolated even when they go back); knowing what you desire in your relationships and in bed, and getting good at asking for it; raising children who respect others bodily autonomy and their own are all steps to creating this healthy consent culture. Perhaps the UO’s new sex positive cell phone app could even make a difference (it is certainly making some a little nervous).

Many of these are often hard work, and the right work. And we have to address this tricky social problem collectively. Your creative ideas are sorely needed.

What else can we do to create a world free of sexual violence?

[Edited by Judy Youngquest]

Tags: , ,

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.
%d bloggers like this: