So apparently in Japan they made an “anti-rape” dress. It actually looks like a skirt, and basically it turns into a giant vending machine costume so that women can hide from would-be rapists. Oh Japan! You so crazy.
Let’s just point out the obvious flaws with this first, shall we? First of all, most vending machines don’t billow in the wind, outlining a female form. And while the concept of sentient vending machines sounds like an adorable plot for a heartwarming Pixar movie (or a horrific idea for a sci-fi thriller about evil A.I. technology, depending on your point of view), most do not have feet.
But I have to say, I really don’t like this idea.
For one thing, why must it be marketed as an “anti-rape” dress? I get why it is marketed at women; while I don’t have a problem with it, I get that the majority of men don’t wear skirts on a day-to-day basis (and certainly not butt-ugly giant table-cloth orange ones). Ignoring the fact that it is way too obvious to actually help someone hide from attackers, why “anti-rape”? The vast majority of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. If you’re with your boyfriend who’s trying to rape you, he’ll probably notice when you turn into a massive vending machine with toes. This dress would only be (conceptually) effective if the attacker was a stranger who saw you on the street, which, as already mentioned, happens less than rape by someone you already know. So that’s problematic.
And also, just like everything else in our culture (OK, I realize this is from Japan but same idea) it is trying to stick the responsibility on the woman. Nobody has ever asked a victim of attempted murder whether they said no. Nobody has ever taken a victim of a mugging’s “morality” into question (because as everyone knows, you can’t rape a slut, because she was asking for it). Nobody says a victim of a mugging was “asking for it” because they looked rich and had a nice watch in a bad neighborhood. Women are expected to order their lives around keeping themselves safe from rape. Nobody is expected to be constantly careful not to be murdered. And if someone is killed, the murderer is always held responsible. There is no gray haze in murder, muggings, assault, etc. Rape is a violent crime just like murder, muggings, and assaults, and rapists need to be held responsible for it.
Being safe is one thing. It is good to be aware of your surroundings, and know how to take care of yourself. But nobody’s coming out with “anti-murder” ties. This is one more thing that puts responsibility on the woman instead of the rapist. “Well, ma’am, you may have been raped– but you could have avoided it, if you’d been wearing this anti-rape skirt”. Obviously that’s an extreme example, but a rapist in Italy got off because his victim was wearing jeans. JEANS, for Chrissakes. Because apparently the woman must have helped him take her pants off, as jeans are too hard to remove forcibly. You know what? Even if she’d been buck naked and ready to have sex, if she changed her mind and said no it would still be rape.
So while I do not approve of putting responsibility for rape on women’s shoulders, this is still a fucking awesome dress. Seriously, it would be so cool to wear this to finals week and just get up in the middle of the test and turn into a vending machine. OH! I know. I’d sing the Transformer’s theme song while transforming. Transformers, robots in disguise… I’ve got class.