#ClassifyConsent is a campaign for the first-ever film classification (“C”) to call out lack of consent. The classification is simple: just like “violence,” it informs viewers of the “lack of consent” in content before they watch. But it’s also powerful, turning entertainment into education each time it’s used.
Most Australians are not educated about sexual consent. Despite progressive new laws sweeping the nation, the everyday understanding of consent has not progressed. Government educational ads have been widely criticized, and not-for-profit group Consent Labs has attempted to bridge the gap through workshops. However, a mass approach is required to make a cultural impact.
Consent labs wanted to empower Australians to recognize non-consensual acts on a mass scale in all facets of their lives. We needed a public awareness campaign unlike any other.
Australians watch over 780 million hours of films collectively every year. Academic studies have demonstrated that films can influence real-world behavior by portraying non-consensual acts as insignificant, acceptable, and even desirable.
We launched the #ClassifyConsent campaign to advocate for the first-ever film classification (“C”) to call out the lack of consent in films. The reality is that sexual coercion and assault are frequently depicted in movies, but often hidden within comedic or romantic contexts. Sadly, as a result, three out of five viewers are unable to recognize these acts for what they are.
Just like with the “violence” classification, the simple “C” informs viewers of “lack of consent” in content before they watch. It is also the first classification that turns entertainment into education each time it is used.
With zero media spend, the “Classify Consent” TikTok posts received over 6 million views, and the campaign exploded in the global media. With an estimated reach of over 200 million, we used pop culture to spark a cultural awakening.
Our government petition, launched via our website, garnered thousands of signatures and inspired people to submit hundreds more scenes that depicted non-consensual acts. Even the media suggested their own examples. Soon, Netflix endorsed the classification, and 71% of Australians supported it.