In fairness, this is really "Make a Thing." But the Thing principles, minus the crass exploitation of women's fear for profit, still apply.
Anti-Rape Clothing Isn't the Answer
I recently ran across this set of instructions for making “anti-rape gloves.”
Go ahead and click through. It’s short, I’ll wait.
Remind you of anything? Perhaps that “anti-rape underwear” Indiegogo campaign? Anti-rape gloves are another well-intentioned product based on the notion that women need things to defend themselves. That women and their bodies are inherently vulnerable.
Reading the article, some things jumped out at me. This person did some research on how women fight by watching videos on YouTube, and concluded: “Women tend to slap and go for the face, they grapple, pull and push as opposed to direct punching or kicking people.” That may be what some women do. Women also often kick, punch, elbow, bite, yell, ear-box, grapple, throw, stomp, wail, and all around channel their inner warrior.
But anyway, points to this guy for actually doing some research and thinking about the issue in a constructive way. Now take a look at the features this guy wanted to have in his weapon:
"My design criteria had to be:
Something that was able to be carried that you didn't have to think about or be on the alert
Something that was preventative rather then after-the-assault effective
Something that is hard to be used by the attacker against the victim
Something that was convenient and compact that women would wear."
Except for that last criterion it sounds a lot like really solid self-defense principles. As for convenience, how about something you don't even need to remember to wear? Like your elbows and knees and voice.
I look at these gloves and I wonder: what does she do if she forgot to put them on when she encounters an assailant? What if she tries to put them on but drops them because she's adrenalized? What do the gloves give her when she encounters someone who her intuition tells her is dangerous, but who hasn’t yet made a move to touch her? Putting them on could look a lot like her starting the fight to a jury. I also look at these gloves and I wonder what happens if she’s attacked and falls? Will the glove cut her? What if she relies on them and then the assailant grabs her and turns her hands against her?
Once again, there is an underlying assumption that there has to be a magic thing that will protect women.
I applaud the sentiment behind the creation of these gloves. The man who came up with them wants his little sister to be safe, just like the creators of the underwear wanted to protect women from sexual assault. How is it that in 2017, we have yet to change the general perception that women are too weak to simply defend themselves? Why isn’t it common knowledge that women can be confident that they are strong and powerful walking through the world just the way they are? No special gloves. No special underwear. No threading keys between your fingers. The bodies and the voices we carry with us all the time are better than gadgets and gimmicks because they ARE us, and we are capable of defending ourselves.