Tackling sexual consent with underwear

UW computer science student Amulya Sanagavarapu is raising money to produce a line of consent-themed underwear that encourage sexual-consent education.

Following a fake Victoria’s Secret campaign (PINK loves CONSENT) launched by feminist activism group FORCE last year, Sanagavarapu decided to make consent underwear a reality.

“I thought that it would catch like wildfire because it did go really viral and everybody was tweeting ‘this is really great I want to buy this stuff,’ yet nobody started selling them,” said Sanagavarapu.

After a year of waiting, Sanagavarapu decided to take matters into her own hands and launched a Kickstarter to raise funds to help turn the idea into a wearable product.

The fake PINK campaign set the stage for women&rsquo;s consent-themed underwear, but Sanagavarapu and her newly founded company <em>Feminist Style </em>are looking to propel the idea to new heights, making the movement gender-inclusive.

&ldquo;[The men&rsquo;s line] was inspired by the Vancouver municipal government consent campaign&hellip; Their tagline is: don&rsquo;t be that guy,&rdquo; said Sanagavarapu.

&ldquo;Basically the goal is to change the culture from one where guys are bragging about their sexual conquests to one where that doesn&rsquo;t fly if consent isn&rsquo;t clearly established&hellip; So if the guy is bragging &lsquo;and then I got her a few more drinks so that she&rsquo;d be willing to sleep with me,&rsquo; that&rsquo;s not cool anymore, don&rsquo;t be that guy.&rdquo;

In the future, she hopes to diversify the message, and start consent-themed conversations about all kinds of potential situations.

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to stick to the image of this predatory guy and this sexually vulnerable girl, I want to expand from that.&rdquo;

Sanagavarapu maintains, &ldquo;Slogans on underwear have only been produced in a way that promotes sexual objectification, I want to change the social stigma&hellip; [and] concentrate on rape culture and consent education.&rdquo;

Sanagavarapu attributes a lot of her success to her internship at a company in Silicon Valley, without which she says she likely wouldn&rsquo;t have had the courage and motivation to start something on her own.

&ldquo;Having been in Silicon Valley, having been exposed to all these startups that are basically run by kids out of college who say &lsquo;hey, I have this great idea,&rsquo; raise a bunch of money, hire their friends or the next graduating class &mdash; they just go for it &mdash; made me realize that doing something like this is actually possible,&rdquo; Sanagavarapu said.

Though consent-themed underwear is not yet a reality, Sanagavarapu is working hard to make sure it becomes one. She has started a Kickstarter to raise money, and has reached out to popular news sites such as <em>Buzzfeed</em> and <em>Huffington Post</em> to get the word out and put her project on the map.

For more information, or to contribute to the cause, visit <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.kickstarter.com</a> where the project is listed as &ldquo;Social Change Through Consumerism: Feminist Style.&rdquo;