Fighting Rape in Underwear


Why are two feminists fighting rape in their underwear?


Story by Rebecca Nagle, photos by Philip Laubner

FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is an artistic effort to agitate the culture of rape and promote a culture of consent.

The curators (Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle) of this project are employing a variety of tactics to disrupt the silence that surrounds sexual violence and call attention to the images that perpetuate the culture of rape. Including silk-screening pink panties.

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 combatting rape culture (see our website for our view of rape culture and rape myths, and to learn more about 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 an 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.

We need a sexual revolution that makes practicing communication as ubiquitous as using a condom. Condom use was promoted to young, sexually active people in response to the AIDS epidemic in the 90’s. Today, communication needs to be promoted among young, sexually active people in response to the epidemic of rape, assault and sexual violence. Just like pausing to put on a condom prevents STDs, pausing to check in with your partner prevents unwanted sexual experiences.


YES! Consent Is Sexy is a new underwear line reinforcing the practice of consent for the people wearing the underwear and their sexual partners. Our underwear literally reminds people to check in with their partner in the heat of the moment with simple statements on the underwear like “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe,” and “Ask First”. YES! Consent Is Sexy celebrates our belief that good communication creates good sex!

You can come celebrate good communication, good sex and a good, old-fashioned subvert-the-patriarchy feminist agenda with us at the Golden West this Saturday at 10pm. Dance Your Panties On is a Valentine Variety Show, Panty Parade and all night soul music shake down featuring Noon Bloom, Violet Grey, Bunny Vicious, Monica and Sigrid, RebeccaNagle and The Dandy Vagabonds. Plus, spinning soul for you all night long, will be DJ’s Selector Pablo Fiasco, Sir Collins and Brandie Jefferson. AND, YES! Consent Is Sexy panties will be on sale all night for you to buy for your Valentine(s).