Maybe you’ve seen this already.
Much like the NYC I’m A Girl subway ad’s I’m loathe to criticize it considering all the good intentions.
But putting that aside this very short article sums up my concerns best.
AR Wear is fundraising to manufacture anti-rape (as in AR) underwear. Here are a few questions we have about the apparel.
AR Wear, if the whole point of your magic anti-rape underwear is that an evil rapist can’t take them off, is it going to take me a really long time to undo all the secret locks if I have pee?
How about if I want to have sex?
How does this protect people who have an intimate relationship with their assailant?
What about all the forms of sexual violence that don’t require removal of underwear?
Do the inventors of this know what sexual violence actually looks like outside of Law and Order?
What is the “thing” mentioned in your motto “offering protection for when things go wrong?”
Where are the rapists in this calculation?
If a predator realizes you’re wearing magic anti-rape underwear, won’t s/he just go find someone who isn’t?
Won’t those people be more likely to be unable to afford magic anti-rape underwear, or have bodies, invisible or mocked in popular imagination, that don’t fit into clothes designed for thin, able-bodied, cis women like your models?
Are these thin, able-bodied, cis women the only kind of people who deserve not to be raped?
When did we forget anti-violence work is a collective, not individualized, effort?
Haven’t we been over this before?
AR Wear is obviously a really specific option for really specific situations. Specifically, it’s a band-aid. A band-aid that comes in one shade. This product is the poster child for a tiny band-aid over a Grey’s Anatomy-level open wound. As feministing suggests, this won’t help anyone not wearing the magic underwear, especially the people who are in intimate relationships, have already taken their pants off, are concerned about oral sexual assault, aren’t a common size, the list goes on.
However, I just can’t stop thinking that if I lived in such a state of fear that someone was going to try to remove my clothing without my consent on a date, then I would never go on a date. God forbid I was a runner; I’d never go on a run.
Basically, if I lived in such a state of fear of my pants being removed without my consent at any given moment I’d be a suicidal hermit. Trigger warning on that I guess then because I’m not even slightly joking.
I get that women need help in the war against sexual assault. I get that this product would probably save some women from some of the agony of some kinds of assaults. And that is a good thing. A line of defense is a good thing.
But once again it holds women accountable for their own assaults, gives them another reason to be blamed when an attacker chooses to attack them. “Why wasn’t she wearing the magic underwear? Well obviously because she wanted to have sex and if she wanted it then it wasn’t really rape.”
I understand the need in our world for this product. And it saddens me greatly.
Though it apparently is necessary, it isn’t the right answer.
The first sentences from AR Wear’s indiegogo page:
Rape is about as wrong as it gets. The only one responsible for a rape is the rapist and AR Wear will not solve the fundamental problem that rape exists in our world. Only by raising awareness and education, as well as bringing rapists to justice, can we all hope to eventually accomplish the goal of eliminating rape as a threat to both women and men. Meanwhile, as long as sexual predators continue to populate our world, AR Wear would like to provide products to women and girls that will offer better protection against some attempted rapes while the work of changing society’s rape culture moves forward.
So the jury is still out. But the jury is very upset.