A New York company called AR Wear hopes to bring confidence and protection to women everywhere. How does one do such a thing? With anti-rape underwear, of course.
Now the harder question is how does one create such a product? AR Wear wanted to make a line of anti-rape underwear that would be comfortable, but protective at the same time. They describe their creation below:
The waist, thighs, and central panels are protected with specially designed, cut resistant straps and webbing. Once the waist girth has been adjusted and secured with its unique locking device, the garment cannot be pulled down. Since a female’s waist measurement is generally less than that of her pelvic area, the waist strap can be locked at a comfortable position and still prevent unwanted removal of the garment. The thigh straps, after an initial adjustment by the wearer, prevent the leg openings from being lifted or shifted to the sides by someone else. The center panels are connected to both the waist and thigh straps to create a unified protective skeletal structure.
The product will come in various styles and is even available as running shorts, traveling shorts, etc.
Its clear to see that the company means well and has the best of intentions, but their product has already gathered quite a lot of negative criticism.
AR Wear specifies that “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.” They even point out that their product aims for girls to have “more power to control the outcome of a sexual assault.”
Some say that this still misses the point. Those who disagree with AR Wear claim that the product reinforces the idea that women are still ultimately responsible for rape. Instead of creating a product which stops men from raping women, we’ve created a product which may or may not make rape a little bit more difficult for a man.
Others claim that AR Wear is flawed in its marketing and choice of words. Thinkprogress.org points out the underwear is marketed with the line “for when things go wrong.” They argue that such a tagline suggests rape is an accident.
AR Wear claims, “A woman or girl who is wearing one of our garments will be sending a clear message to her would-be assailant that she is NOT consenting. We believe that this undeniable message can help to prevent a significant number of rapes.” However, Thinkprogress.org argues that most people who commit rape are not innocently confused about their actions. They are aware of what they are doing despite any clear messages.
We can’t help but think of a similar tactic from a product in China.
These hairy stockings were created to try and prevent rape as well. The theory behind this is that men would be so disgusted by the appearance of the users legs that they wouldn’t want to continue with the rape.
Admittedly, we were appalled by these. Doesn’t this product simply encourage the idea that rape is dependent on how a woman dresses and looks? Doesn’t this suggest that women should not dress in what makes them feel good or powerful and should instead be mindful or else rape is their fault?
If anti-rape underwear is so similar to these appalling stockings, is it the wrong answer as well? Tell us what you think.