Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Anti-rape Nail Polish: A good way to prevent drug-facilitated rape, or an excellent way to ensure intestinal distress?

Undercover Colorsis presently making the rounds on social media, and there is both praise and criticism about its potential effectiveness and cultural implications. It's basically a nail polish that changes color in the presence of common "date rape" drugs.

From a practical level, my first concern is honestly not about whether this product buys into rape myths and tropes. I absolutely support anyone in taking whatever measures they feel make sense in their lives, regardless of my reservations.

That said, I don't believe any of those guys actually wear nail polish on the regular and have really thought through the practicality of this. 



Must have missed this step on my last wine-tasting tour


Is it really that feasible to be dipping your fingers into your drinks? Every drink? Every time you leave it and come back to it? Am I really that big of a germaphobe that I'm the only one made queasy by that prospect?

Have any of the men on that team considered how they're implemented? Has no one thought that maybe requiring your customers to put their unsanitized fingers in their drinks a bunch of times when out in public may raise the eyebrows of public health officials?

At a point the precautions have to take into account that people aren't *just* spending their entire existence trying to prevent rape. They're also trying not to infect themselves with noro-viruses. Plunging my dirty digits into every drink I have when I'm out and touching public door handles, tables, chairs, etc, is like playing Russian Roullette with Norwalk.

A lot of people are excited about this product, and I honestly don't want to poo-poo their enthusiasm (Get it? Poo-poo because of a norovirus? Sorry)

The reality is that rape is happening right now while we wait for rape culture to be abolished, and so naturally people are eager for immediate solutions. I can absolutely empathize with their impatience and desire for quick and easy answers.

My hope is that when people create, market, and promote these products through word-of-mouth, they'll take the time to consider the practical, mundane, every-day lives of the people who would use them. We all have a lot more going on in our lives than just preventing rape. Does your product/solution take that into consideration? Are we expected to make unreasonable accommodations in order to use this product? Is the product potentially more dangerous to the user than the threat it's intended to guard against? Is the product being marketed as a cureall, or a tool that can only possibly be useful in a particular set of circumstances? Are the marketers promoting rape myths in the marketing of their products, or do they understand and speak to the reality of how most rapes are committed?

These are very important questions to ask the marketers of these products, and to ask yourself when promoting these products.

Fortunately, there are some tangible ways to help insulate our communities, social groups, and families from sexual violence. They may not come with snazzy packaging and marketing, but that's just the mundane, uncomfortable reality of stopping sexual violence.