1. AR Wear is an Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign that launched in mid-October that looks to manufacture what its creators call “anti-rape wear.”
AR Wear’s New York-based creators Ruth and Yuval say in their video that the brand’s products are “designed to present a substantial barrier to sexual assault.” Its motto? “A clothing line offering wearable protection for when things go wrong.”
They write in the preface on the campaign’s Indiegogo page, “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.”
3. The brand’s goal is to offer a range of garments to help women feel safer during “situations that cause feelings of apprehension,” such as blind dates, running at night, going to bars and clubs, and traveling alone.
The creators hope to develop various styles of underwear, running shorts, and “traveling shorts” that will be comfortable to wear — and virtually unnoticeable — under clothing and “during normal activities.”
They also note that the garments will ideally be “resistant to pulling, tearing and cutting” (as shown in the above video), but difficult for another person to remove — which is particularly important “in situations where the victim cannot resist because she has had too much to drink, was drugged, or is asleep.”
5. The creators acknowledge that “no product alone can solve the problem of violence against women,” but they believe that they’ve “successfully combined technology and fashion to help solve a problem that has not been adequately addressed in our society.”
7. The campaign has already raised over $32,000, and has 18 days (until Nov. 22) to reach its goal of $50,000.
Funding as of Nov. 5, 2013, at 10:10 a.m.
The campaign is meant to fund and finalize AR Wear prototypes that are “production-ready,” and will start another round of funding once prototypes are finalized to actually create the product.
8. Carmel Deamicis at PandoDaily wrote last week that she believes the campaign ultimately has a positive mission, but was executed poorly.
She says that the company’s motto is “unfortunate,” and that “the campaign itself may be a little ridiculous … but the product itself makes sense”:
The product creators have very good intentions, but they’ve packaged their product poorly, inspiring the wrath of the Internet. The anti-rape underwear is potentially useful … But the people who would have been open to the idea of this product will scoff at the slogan and SNL-worthy commercial promoting it.
9. Others, however, think AR Wear raises a lot of problems.
12. Amanda Hess at Slate likens AR Wear to a modern-day chastity belt.
“While we’re working on that whole rape culture thing, AR Wear will help women move freely about the world with the confidence that only a reinforced skeletal structure around her vagina can provide,” Hess writes. “After all, nothing makes a woman feel comfortable in her own body like a constant physical reminder that she’s expected to guard her genitals against potential sexual assaults at all times.”
13. And Carrie Murphy at The Gloss points out several issues with AR Wear’s campaign and mission.
In a 13-item list, Murphy raises several less-serious points (“4. How do you go to the bathroom?”), and a few more-concerning issues:
7. Why are all the models white?
8. Why are all the models women? Men, transpeople, genderqueer and other LGBTQ, non cis-gender individuals experience rape, too.
12. While I think these garments are innovative interesting and might prove valuable for some people, it seems they place the burden of protection against rape and sexual assault on the woman rather than on teaching rapists not to rape and bringing those who do to justice. While wearing an anti-sexual assault garment might give a woman (or, for that matter, any person who feels under threat of sexual assault) a helpful sense of security, it ultimately reinforces the pervasive and harmful societal assumption that the responsibility of not getting raped lies with individual women.
13. Also? Sexual assault and violence isn’t limited to a person’s genital area.