Monday, November 4, 2013


Would You Ever Buy a Pair of "Anti-Rape Underwear"?

AR Wear stands for Anti-Rape Wear, and it's a new, crowdfunded line of durable, tight, cut-resistant shorts and underwear. From the company's campaign 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... [But], 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.

We developed this product so that women and girls could have more power to control the outcome of a sexual assault. We wanted to offer some peace of mind in situations that cause feelings of apprehension, such as going out on a blind date, taking an evening run, “clubbing”, traveling in unfamiliar countries, and any other activity that might make one anxious about the possibility of an assault.

Many parts of the video for AR Wear really grind my gears (the still shot in this post is just one example), and it's very upsetting to think of $50,000 going to a product that plays on fear, a wildly inaccurate and persistent definition of "real" rape ("This isn't for domestic rape, or rape by people you know," stated one of the creators. "This is for those situations when you're on a blind date, or in unfamiliar places"), and of course the why-won't-it-die idea that rape prevention falls on anyone except the rapist. And there are so many offensive fear-mongering ways in which I can imagine this product being deployed: an overprotective mom buying a whole set of these for her daughter who's about to travel Amongst Foreigners, a girls' cross-country team forced to wear these when they're running through the "urban" part of town.

But I also don't want to dismiss the possibility that, to some women, this product could feel tremendously welcome. I'm thinking of Maya, the woman I interviewed who was raped by a stranger in a club, as a virgin. On occasion she still feels flashes of sickness and panic in rowdy party situations; I wonder if underwear like this would feel like a welcome protection in the recovery process. I don't know. The world is awful.

47 Comments / Post A Comment

Donkey Cabbages

Ah. Is there a face version as well? Or do they overlook that rape by any other orifice is also rape?

And YES to all of your other points.


my co-worker's sister-in-law makes $68 every hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for 5 months but last month her income was $16580 just working on the computer for a few hours. the original source .... www.Work70.com


Neal Stephenson came up with the far superior version of this in Snow Crash. An insertible Vagina Dentata that would sting an unwelcome penis with a massive dose of sleeping agent.


If this is bad or unhelpful in some sense, is the South African anti-rape female condom also bad or unhelpful in that same sense, or is there a difference between the two?

I'm not at all sure what to think about this (and I've been trying to remember how rarely my opinion matters on most things in the world) but it does seem to me that answering this question would help focus the issues.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Well, this is a much better money-making scam since I assume the needle condom thingum was mean to be a one-shot purchase, whereas you have to wear a new pair of underwear every day and hey, don't you want to not-get-raped-by-strangers every day you leave your house, ladies? So I mean, the hope would be that the customer base would be credulous to the tune of seven to ten sales per person, depending on laundry frequency.



That's a good point that hadn't occurred to me!


Uhhhhh...I don't even...huh. Okay, this reminds me of Rapex, that device you were supposed to stick inside yourself that had hooked barbs (it's a thing, Google it) the idea being that then the police could look for the dude with the lacerated junk. Or something. While I kind of like the idea of having a vagina dentata whenever I want, that and the underwear are still putting the onus on the person being raped to prevent the rape, which I think we can all agree is balls.
Maybe they could take that Kickstarter money and use it for something like making police departments train officers on handling sexual assaults; putting it towards campaigning against any politician or judge who trivializes rape; beefing up the resources of sexual assault response units; funding resources for assault victims; paying for lawyers for people suing universities who don't report sexual assaults or revictimize the person who reports one, etc. etc. etc.
I don't know, maybe a pair of steel underoos will make someone feel safer, but this is a systemic problem. Steel underwear aren't going to help me if I can't get a police officer to file a report if I've been assaulted or if I get a judge who only believes in 'legitimate rape' or if my campus refuses to expel a predator.


Oh, really? Wait, let me say that more passive-aggressively: Oh. Really?

1. They don't work, because if they did, you wouldn't be able to take them off to go to the bathroom or have consensual sex or, you know, ever.

2. They don't work because even if they are made of magic so that only the wearer can remove them, a man who is able to threaten you with rape is perfectly capable of threatening you with other types of violence if you don't take them off.

3. They worse than don't work because anyone who buys them, wears them and is attacked is set up for a repeat of the notorious rape case where the judge said nobody can take tight jeans off a lady without her cooperation, so she must be a liar.

4. They don't work because if you wear them and take them off voluntarily and then somebody rapes you, see number 3, and also it's pretty obvious I would think



@queenofbithynia whoaaaaa. I feel the exact same way that you do, but I am open to people feeling differently, that's all, and I'm going to say that I can absolutely hate this product and campaign while also reserving the right to NOT rage against anyone who personally likes this idea for any reason


@queenofbithynia I know, like, how tight are we talking? Like am I going to be able to get them off if I have to pee??


@queenofbithynia I think Jia was very clear in her points of criticism and is asking other women to share their opinions; I do not think that an openness to a difference of opinion necessitates a 'fucking really hairpin.'

Also these underwear is fucked. I shall continue to walk alone in dark alleys at nighttime in miniskirts and I shall not stopped by fear nor shall I go inside quietly.


@commanderbanana The website says they're closed in such a way that the wearer can take them off, but it would be very difficult for someone else to do so. You should be able to pee. I'm not sure if there's a demonstration on there that explains how that works, but I imagine it would make more sense if you saw it in person.


@queenofbithynia The Hairpin isn't endorsing this product or the campaign; just reposting it here for opinions. Jia, maybe you could get in touch with Maya and see what she thinks about it?


@j-i-a man but this is not raging for fun or just by reflex though. this is pretty foul I think.

Chastity belts are right square in the same cultural dreamspace as dentata fantasias (see the Snow Crash reference above). they are not a rape prevention tool, they are a sex fantasy and I am not too polite to say so when it is this bleeding obvious. I think sometimes reserving judgment is a bad idea.


@MrsTeacherFace Considering that I routinely injure myself doing things like trying to put a sweater on, I don't think I can be trusted with this underwear.


@queenofbithynia Also the mention of the tight-jeans-liar defense makes me imagine a horrible world in which the assaulted are aggressively questioned about WHY they didn't wear the armor chastity belt to stop the helpless rapist, why would you not, are you trying to get raped???


Glad I'm not the only one who has trouble with sweaters. Just yesterday, I was stymied by one and had to ask for help, putting my arms up in the air like a toddler.


@queenofbithynia I don't think you are raging for fun or by reflex. I agree with all of your points. I find this underwear to be terrible.

It's pretty overwhelming to be in almost total agreement with a person (except for the fact that I would, very much, like to reserve my judgment for any woman's individual decision to like these or buy them) and then read a comment like that. One of the things that I and a lot of people always loved about this site was that the mainpage wasn't ever a repository for full-on outrage and hate; I try to operate under the same idea and I'll take whatever "FUCKING REALLY, HAIRPIN?"s come with it.


@commanderbanana It does make me claustrophobic just thinking about wearing these, no matter how many times the website assures readers that they are very comfortable.



Your generosity in the face of Reading Comprehension Fails and misplaced rage is inspiring. I wish you didn't have to marshall that level of patience, but I'm glad that you make the effort.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I routinely pull muscles getting dressed, because I am SO out of shape, and also often get wedged in clothing and end up flailing around halfway into a sweater and falling over things and it's just awful.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I punched myself in the face the other day while trying to separate a pair of knee socks from a pair of tights


@queenofbithynia Just to be clear: the only people Jia was "reserving judgment" of was women who might potentially feel safer wearing this. That's who you're judging.


@MrsTeacherFace ...what kind of closure is easier for the person wearing to remove than someone else??? I mean, how does that even work?


And yeah that picture is super duper problematic.


A brief list of some people this won't help: "domestic rape" victims, anyone who can't afford them, women who's waists are not smaller than their hips, men, etc.



What gets me (apart from all the other good points made above) is the assumption that a would-be rapist is just going to give up when confronted with a pair of these. OK, so the rapist might not be able to take them off, but is (s)he then just gonna go "welp, no rape for me tonight" and leave the wearer alone? Whether or not this prevents penetration I don't see why it would prevent other forms of rape and sexual assault.


I think their intentions are good, and even if this isn't 100% effective (obviously it wouldn't/couldn't be), it might make women who have previously been victims of sexual assault feel more secure in a public space that otherwise might feel unsafe.

I truly do not understand how people take something that literally begins with, "Rape is about as wrong as it gets. The only one responsible for a rape is the rapist," and then interpret that to mean that the sellers/creators are blaming the victim. Obviously the rapist is at fault, but that doesn't mean that, knowing that, I am making a mistake by taking precautions and avoiding situations that could potentially endanger me. I shouldn't have to, BUT I DO.


@MrsTeacherFace I think the creators' intentions are good, too, but I still think the points raised in the comments are important. I mean, how many articles start with "Of course rape is only the rapist's fault! But seriously, ladies, knock it off with the cocktails."?


@MrsTeacherFace But, see, that's the problem right there. How do you even know what situations would endanger you so that you can be sure to "take precautions" (whatever that means)? I grew up in and around NYC so I spent most of my life "taking precautions"--I took cabs instead of the subway when traveling home alone late at night (even though it was super expensive). I've had no less than four cab drivers make me feel physically threatened (I also once had a limo driver pull over while I was trying to hail a cab and offer me a free ride in exchange for a blow job. Granted, I was wearing my sexiest sweatpants and over sized hoodie after a long night of hardcore studying at the library.). After the last one of those I started either staying with friends or asking friends to take me home which maybe helped my situation; but didn't do so much to help a friend of mine who was raped by a long-time male friend who she trusted to get her home safely.

While I can understand the point that this might make rape victims feel more secure, I worry about the potential harm it could do. I worry that people will use the existence of items like this to argue that any woman not wearing special underwear was clearly "asking for it" or not taking appropriate precautions. The fact is that rape culture is such that a defense attorney can go on a national news program and suggest that by leaving her house at night to hang out with boys a 14 year old was consenting to rape and have people coming out to agree with the basic premise of his argument. Every time something like this product is released or someone talks about "being smart" or "taking common sense precautions" we are reinforcing the premise that we are responsible for preventing ourselves from becoming rape victims and thus removing some of the responsibility for their crime from rapists while simultaneously reinforcing stereotypes that allow for assholes to continue to investigate and exploit what rape victims did "wrong" as a means of defending criminals.





Don't leave your house at night time, don't leave your house in the daytime. Don't ride the subway, don't drive and park in the public garage. Don't go home alone, don't go home with someone you know. Don't have male friends, don't operate without chaperones. Don't stay at your house, don't go outside.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

When I was in grad school, the university I was attending was getting national press for poor handling of on-campus rapes. I was at a bar one afternoon (yes, afternoon, don't judge), and this old guy on a barstool was telling the bartender that "every co-ed should be issued a .38 for her sock."


So...they're basically selling Spanx, right? Because I can't think of anything worse/more impossible to remove than those blasted "support" things. UGH SPANX NEVER AGAIN.

Faintly Macabre

@RubeksCube How about cut-resistant spanx (so, I guess with metal mesh sewn in) held up with kevlar suspenders, surrounded by chicken wire shorts?

Also, these are dumb. I can see them being psychologically reassuring, the same way shoes I can run in or that have a nice sharp-edged heel are, but not at all useful in preventing sexual assault.


@Faintly Macabre And the whole thing can mist itself down with water and then electrocute itself! And it has a boopy alarm built in like a car alarm, but it just whoops "raaaaaaaaaaaaaape! Raaaaaaaaaaaaaape!"

I took a self-defense class a few years ago and it was interesting, but honestly, if someone does actually decide to physically attack me I'm probably shit out of luck no matter what shoes I'm wearing. It's really disheartening that my strategy to avoid rape is to...hope that no one else decides to rape me. That or buy a private island and surround it with sharks. Sharks wearing anti-rape underpants.


@commanderbanana I loved my self defense class, but in all honesty, my height on my driver's license is a lie. There are more than a few people who are meaningfully bigger than I am. So...I don't really expect it to do much good in real life.
That said, I really like your shark idea!


@RubeksCube First order of business? Figure out where shark naughty bits are; try not to die.


@RubeksCube Well, I do know someone, a very petite woman, who actually fought off a would-be rapist with one good punch. Granted, she took a risk, and she was up against an unarmed man committing a crime of opportunity, as opposed to a premeditated attack by someone with a weapon. But still. I guess I'm just trying to say that I believe in your ability to be at least as tough as your sharks. But I also believe in your right to use sharks instead of your fists.


The other thing is that these wonderpants do NOT come up to the model's waist but are several inches below. There is a greater waist to hip differential(usually about 10" for average women) than abdomen to hip ( approx 3- 5") = not a logical execution of this idea. And these look all bunchy in the crotch, too.

File these under newfangled, like inflatable sauna shorts for weightloss(c. 1978), or eyeglasses with windshield wipers to wear in the rain.

Nicole @twitter

This is maybe a weird thing to think, but my honest first thought after learning about this was that, to me, the most terrifying part of rape isn't necessarily the penetration. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like some of the trauma comes from the other parts of the act: the violence and the feeling of helplessness. To me, these wouldn't make me feel safer for that reason.


@Nicole @twitter Yep. Sure, it'd be nice if they worked and then you wouldn't have to worry about diseases or other consequences of sexual contact, but... you'd still have been in a circumstance where someone has tried to rape you. Still bad. Maybe not as bad, but really, bad enough.


I get why people would want to wear them, but they don't protect against cases of domestic rape, they don't stop someone who is holding a gun to your head telling you to remove your underwear, I'm not entirely sure that frustrating a rapist who is looking for vaginal penetration is going to protect you from harm (there are other ways to rape, and other kinds of violence that can be inflicted upon a person). And they look hella uncomfortable and not made of cotton, and I cannot handle synthetic underpants on a regular basis.

Mimi At Gobriari@facebook

I would definitely buy something like this. It is just a defensive tool like mace or pepper spray. I don't understand why some women would have such an issue with this--I would think they would applaud any woman's efforts to protect another woman. We do not have men's brawn. I can't tell you how many times I've decided not to do certain things because I did not feel safe--and while we still need to use our situational awareness--I think a product like this would help in protection and a greater sense of freedom. Rape is NEVER the responsibility of the victim. But I'll take whatever means necessary to help protect myself. Get over politicizing something that has merit for others.

Mimi At Gobriari@facebook

And personally, if a gun was pointed to my head, and it was a life and death choice for me--I'll choose the afterlife rather than rape.


żaden rzetelny człowiek roboty bez wątpienia nie posiadał dotąd tak znacznie szczęścia, iżby uchylić się od nieprzyjemnego doświadczenia, jakim jest konieczność żegnania wielu godzin w rangi dieta na mase siedzącej za biurkiem. Twór tego doświadczenia nie zawsze odwiedza przyjemny.


Praca po dziesięć pór dla wielu jednostek bywają wprost czymś istotnie prozaicznym i materia wygodnych foteli biurowych obrotowych wyrusza istnień w takim kontekście rzeczywiście wyjątkowo naj trening na mase ważniejsza. Ludzki stwór po wielogodzinnej posady zrzuconej w posady siedzącej w bardzo wysokiej sile uzależniony istnieje od owego, na ile poprawny jest udostępniony w posady fotel biurowy obrotowy. trening na mase Jaki powinien być ergonomiczny fotel biurowy obrotowy?

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