Looking a Gift Horse In the Mouth: Nail Polish, Rape Culture, and the Facebook Battle I Accidentally Got Into

A good friend of mine recently posted about that anti-rape nail polish everyone is going on about, saying that feminists who feel it’s anti-woman are in the minority and being a bit ridiculous. To catch you up, if you haven’t heard, there’s nail polish on the market now, recently invented by several men who wanted to do their bit to prevent rape, that changes color if you slide it into your drink. Ostensibly it will detect the date-rape drug, and tip a woman or nail-polish-wearing individual off to another individual’s plan to possibly rape them, or at least do them some bodily harm. 

Now, the argument got a bit incendiary when I poked my head in, as ever needing to stand with women. See, because it’s wonderful that there’s yet another tool to help prevent rape from happening, but the thing is, we’re still placing the impetus on women to prevent rape, teaching, “Don’t get raped,” instead of, “Don’t rape. 


I mean, as one savvy twitter user put it, this polish is great if you think women aren’t already doing enough to prevent rape. I guess I should also be sure I don’t go out without my anti-rape underwear, insert the tooth-claw thing into my vagina before going to parties, be sure to watch what I drink and how much I drink and where and if I drink, not wear the wrong clothes, not act the wrong way, and carry my keys between my fingers, pepper spray in my pocket, and be on high alert with several escorts at all times, even though studies show that it doesn’t matter what you wear, that it doesn’t often even matter when or if you drink, a predator is a predator. But it’s so much easier to create all these anti-rape products than it is to tell a dude, “Don’t have sex with her unless she says it’s okay.” Seriously? A kindergartener understands the difference between yes and no, understands that if someone is, for instance, asleep or otherwise incapacitated, they can’t say yes, and that their body and someone else’s body are not the same thing.

am I wearing the right underwear to not get raped?
am I wearing the right underwear to not get raped?

Also, it concerns me that these so called anti-rape underwear and teeth-type insertable objects may actually harm more women than they help. Did it occur to anyone that if a man forcibly enters a woman, only to find his penis clutched in teeth, he may actually do her more grievous bodily harm, rather than less?





I guess what I’m trying to say is that it isn’t so crazy that some feminists think it’s ridiculous to add one more thing to a woman’s list of rape prevention, and then blame her if she feels really awkward about it. Nail polish comes off, it chips. Adding a regular “don’t-get-raped” ritual is uncomfortable.


To continually be putting on expensive nail polish, to remember to stir all drinks with your finger, it’s a constant reminder of rape, of rape culture. We need to tell our young men and yes, in much rarer cases, women, from as young an age as possible, that another person’s body is sacred. That yes is yes and no is no and the lack of an ability to consent is not a yes. Enthusiastic consent, ongoing consent, not nail polish that changes colors because young men can’t keep their hands to themselves.

I’m going to close with a status my friend posted. It sums up everything I feel on the topic.


2 thoughts on “Looking a Gift Horse In the Mouth: Nail Polish, Rape Culture, and the Facebook Battle I Accidentally Got Into

  1. It all comes down to self-control. If people would seriously think through things first, objectively, and also put themselves in the other person’s shoes, there wouldn’t be things such as rape going on… There are stuck simple solutionso most of the problems in the world but does society want those simple solutions? No, they want to sell you a pill, nail polish, device, etc to fix/prevent the problem…

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