Don’t write off panties as just a kinky tool to seduce men, they could well be used to fight the rape culture and unfair objectification of women, says Sanjay Pandey
With her $8 lingerie a college student hopes to change the way people think about sex and consent.
Amulya Sanagavarapu, 22, has launched her line of consent-themed undergarments to offer an alternative view of society: consent is required and it is ‘sexy’.
Ms Sanagavarapu, a computer science student at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, says she got the inspiration from a prank by the activist group FORCE.
The group had advertised a fake line of ‘consent panties’ from Victoria’s Secret last year, which had become viral over the Internet.
Ms Sanagavarapu said: ‘I was thrilled when I saw a “Pink Loves Consent” line of underwear from Victoria’s secret.
‘People started tweeting about the line and wrote how much they loved it.’
However, when no lingerie company showed the interest, the Indian-Canadian student decided to shed her mindset, ‘I can’t start a company, I’m just a college student’.
Her ‘Feminist Style’ company, now, aims to create and sell products that will target objectification of women and promote gender equality.
The first product to roll out when she starts her online store is £8 cotton underwear printed with messages like ‘I love consent’, ‘Ask First’ and ‘Ask me what I like’.
Ms Sanagavarapu believes that the contemporary underwear slogans in the market only teach men to think of women as ‘sex objects’.
She said: ‘Right now if you look at what’s promoted and encouraged of young girls, you’ll mostly see sexual objectification (i.e.- “ready for anything”, “sure thing”) and things that teach that ‘no’ is a way to flirt (i.e.- “no peeking”).’
So, her product targets school and college going teenagers and all she expects of her underwear line is to shift focus on consent and fight rape culture.
Ms Sanagavarapu said: ‘I don’t think the underwear is to speak for the wearer or be a focal point of sexual interactions, but it may serve as a sort of fun way to initiate these difficult conversations about boundaries and what each person is comfortable with.’
While launching a kickstarter, Ms Sanagavarapu had set an ambitious funding target of $150,000 till Feb. 16 but so far she has made only $23000.
She said: ‘I didn’t get any press coverage until 1/4 of the way through, so there is a good chance it won’t get fully funded.’
‘In that case I’ll be re-launching the campaign after getting a bit more press coverage with a smaller funding goal.’
The profits from the company will be used to produce feminist advertising, which Ms Sanagavarapu says will counter sex-driven marketing.
She said: ‘This will help us reach more people and sell more products.’
‘It will be a social change through consumerism’.