Something I’ve been meaning to write about for a little while is a successful IndieGogo project, AR Wear, or Anti-Rape Wear. Charming name. The project, which reached its goal of over $50 thousand in November, aims to create pants, shorts and skirts that are unable to be cut or forced off.
Just the thought of putting on one of these pieces of clothing makes me saddened by how we think about genders. Not only does this company imply that danger is lurking around every corner (in the form of evil, evil men), it perpetuates the idea that the victim is always at fault. While anti-rape clothing may never catch on as the standard, oftentimes the victim is blamed for having done something wrong, whether it be that she is walking on the wrong part of town alone, she isn’t carrying proper protection or, now, that she isn’t wearing her Super Special Stranger Danger Shorts.Terrifying.
In a former blog post, I discussed the language that surrounds rape culture today–but the truth is that teaching boys not to rape (I post that link despite the so-called anti-feminist comments below) and teaching girls to be scared of rape are both very damaging. Shouldn’t we be teaching, to both sexes, that rape is wrong instead of blaming one or the other? Don’t these shorts imply that only women get raped, and only men rape?
Not to mention that most sexual assaults were committed by someone the victim knows, and not a random, creepy stranger from a dirty alleyway in a bad city.
While I don’t deny that the shorts may bring solace to victims of sexual assault or who want or need extra protection for any reason at all, I think they do more harm than good. The general population should not start thinking that anti-rape clothes are vital to their lives. Say it’s a slippery slope, but AR Wear is just one step away from chastity belts and another from slut shaming.