EDIT: There have been a few other sources writing about this same product, so I wanted to include their links:
- What The Company Marketing ‘Anti-Rape Underwear’ Gets Wrong About Rape
- ‘Anti-Rape Wear’ Reinforces Every Rape Myth You Can Think Of
- Twelve questions about AR Wear’s anti-rape underwear
I almost didn’t write this post. Rape is a horrific thing, makes for a horrific culture, and it’s not an easy thing to talk about. But in the immortal words of XKCD, someone on the internet is wrong, and I needed to say something about how very wrong they are.
This is a crowd funding page for a pair of boy-short style underpants designed to impede rape.
There’s a video that feels a lot like something they would have played at the beginning of health class in high school. Or self defense class, in my case, because at my all-girls school, self defense was part of PE. And featured such tried-and-true favorites as breaking a forward choke hold “In case some man attacks you in an alley”… and watching a lifetime movie on date rape. We also watched Halloween. And the whole thing was pretty surreal.
I’m not really sure how to respond to this – these are actual anti-rape panties. I kept waiting for the punch line, like it was some un-funny The Onion piece. But they are anti-rape panties.
There’s the opening barrage of thoughts: Most rapes involve a person the victim trusts, many take place in a secure location. These anti-assault underoos would be moot in many of those scenarios, since not everyone is literally girding their loins in their own homes and around their trusted peers.
Besides all that – my brain breaks to consider the family-and-friends marketing in this promo. Are these a going away present? “Well, Jenny, we got you this top of the line pack for backpacking through Europe, and 4 pairs of anti-rape panties to color coordinate to your wardrobe!” Is this better or worse than telling women to “be careful!” every time they walk outside at night? Every time they go on a trip alone? Are women who live alone expected to wear them all the time? does this turn into another “she was asking for it” because she didn’t buy and wear these?
And here’s the pit of my stomach reaction: Rape is about power. And you happen to be wearing your anti-rape panties when someone wants to control your body. What happens next? Is the idea that this person just gives up? Picks someone else? Beats the victim instead? Holds a gun to you, real or metaphoric, and demands that you remove your power panties?
I want to lighten the mood here. I’d like to say something about how I doubt the fabric would breathe well, how bad the chafing would be, and how I’d much prefer the ant-fart panties making the rounds online these days. But I can’t. I’m too stunned.
And they’ve gotten $600 more funding in the time it’s taken to write this.