Apparently, the creators of AR Wear only read one study on rape before creating this product. The new "Anti-Rape Wear," which they’re fundraising for on IndieGogo, promises women can protect themselves from rape with super reinforced panties. According to their marketing campaign, rapists aren’t people you know, but rather someone you might encounter on a run, a first date or out at the club. And the message they’re sending: You can still wear a short, tight dress or go running and feel safe because potential attackers won’t be able to get into your panties (even using scissors).
Although aiming to protect women from potential sexual assault is admirable, the product and messaging perpetuate a disturbing number of rape myths. Alexandra Brodsky at Feministing posed some great questions, a few of which I’ve included below:
- 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 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?
- Where are the rapists in this calculation?
- Haven’t we been over this before?
And, I’d like to add–Where are the women of color in your advertisement? But perhaps more disturbing is that people are actually funding this product. It seems they’ve successfully tapped into stranger-rape panic by creating what–as Slate puts it–seems like a modern "chastity belt" for potential rape victims.