i Smell A Rant

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Feminism: you’re doing it wrong


By Steev Morris, guest ranter

Call me crazy, but I thought preventing bad things was a good thing.

Am I wrong?

I’m questioning that entire notion now as the social conversation on the date-rape issue took a hard right turn into absurdity earlier this week.

A group of male undergraduates at North Carolina State University developed a fingernail polish that can detect the presence of date-rape drugs in drinks. “Undercover Colors” reacts to the presence of GHB, rohypnol and others, and will change colour with a subtle finger-dip into a drink.

Pretty clever, sez I.


Wait, seriously?

feminism.tweet.1                         feminism.tweet.2





Amazingly, some feminists (I don’t use it pejoratively, many have the word ‘feminist” in their Twitter handles) are sneering at this simple preventive tool because it doesn’t solve the entire awful problem of rape. (I might use “feminist” loosely though, since women like this make me question the definition. It is about equal rights? Choice? That’s what I thought. For some it’s just about irrational outrage.)

I guess self-defence classes for women are also victim-shaming now. So are bike locks, computer passwords and home alarm systems. We apparently shouldn’t take preventive measures, let’s just teach everyone to not be evil. No matter if that means massive, nigh-impossible societal change; let’s just do that instead.

A college newspaper-calibre feminist at Salon also raised the requisite but totally irrelevant point that the product is created by MEN, and MEN are profiting off date-rape prevention. I suspect we’re supposed to read between the lines to find the sinister implication here, but the writer leaves it very vague because even she doesn’t know what it is. It’s easier to raise a vague question and let readers connect the dots (Fox News-style).

Is it less insidious if women profit off rape prevention? Or perhaps it’s better if these awful profiteers abandon their evil scheme to stem date-rape because their motives are apparently questionable, even if the goal is absolutely laudable.

Another professional screecher scoffs at these ignorant inventors because only a small percentage of date rapes happen at bars or with those drugs. So again, screw these guys for making any contribution. Unless you’re solving the entire problem, we don’t need it.

Sure, it’d be nice if women didn’t have to take preventive measures. But we all do. On the subway, I put my wallet someplace where it’s not easily snatched. I avoid dodgy neighbourhoods at night. It sucks that it’s necessary but it’s common sense because crimes will happen.

And some people can’t be taught. Good luck teaching Russell Williams or Paul Bernardo that they shouldn’t rape.

Rape is a vile crime and it’s nice to think we could eliminate it altogether. But like bullying and murder, it’s probably not possible. It’s a crime of power, anger or hatred. Some people can’t control those and that problem will never be solved.

Or who knows, maybe it will! But it won’t happen quickly. Not nearly as quickly as slapping on a layer of nail polish.


3 comments on “Feminism: you’re doing it wrong

  1. hessianwithteeth
    August 30, 2014

    There are two major problems with the nail polish. The first is simply that the most common date rape drug is alcohol. This means that the nail polish will be useless in most cases. The second is the potential for further victim blaming. If someone does get drugged, people can easily say “well why weren’t you wearing the nail polish?” This is a problem because it’s one more preventative measure for women to feel guilty about not having taken. But we’re far more likely to be raped by men that we know and trust that we are to be raped by strangers. Are you going to wear that nail polish everytime you see your partner? Father? Brother? Uncle? Cousin? If your answer is no, to any of those, then you won’t be wearing it when you’re most likely to get raped. Sure, this nail polish may stop some of the very small number of stranger/aquantaince date rape drug rapes, but it will be useless in 99% of cases. And it’s just one more group trying to diagnose the symptom and not the disease.

    • Steev
      September 11, 2014

      Not sure if I should respond to this, because I suspect you didn’t really read the rant (I wrote it), since your arguments are all addressed in there.

      It strikes me as an over-the-top straw man argument to say rape victims will get blamed for not wearing it. Women already have self-defence measures available to them (rape whistles, pepper spray, personal alarms, kung-fu classes) but I have never heard someone say “Well, she didn’t have a rape whistle so she obviously deserved it.”

      But overall, you miss my point: sure, this polish won’t eliminate the problem of rape. Even if you’re right and this would only prevent 1% of rapes – a questionable statistic – what’s wrong with that? One percent still represents thousands of rapes. Apparently those are not worth stopping because they’re statistically insignificant. Four university students aren’t going to discover a cure for rape, but they can make a smaller contribution. Why discourage it?

      And lastly, where you definitely miss my point: rape, like murder, will likely never be eradicated from human society. It is at least partly behavioural and you can’t stop that. So while it’s really nice to say “We should just cure the disease,” it’s not realistic and you can’t abandon any other progress just to pursue that.

      • hessianwithteeth
        September 11, 2014

        No the rant was read at least twice, we (there are two of us behind this avatar) take issues with much of the discussion, but this nail polish isn’t a win win like most rape prevention items it focuses mostly on the victims rather then he perpetrators and the reasons why the perpetrators commit the crimes.

        It’s a stop-gap measure much like a chastity belt though less problematic and also less useful. that 1% statistic is probably far too high, why? because there are well over two dozen relatively common substance which can be used a data rape drugs (not including alcohol) This nail polish can probably only detect a couple of those drug. It’s like barricading a house by covering a couple windows at random. And like hessian already pointed out it does nothing about alcohol and the fact the the vast majority of perpetrators are know to the victim (there by passing the trust barrier).

        It’s an interesting bit of tech, but it’s pretty damn useless because of the above. And even to protect the tiny percent of women who will be attacked with the right kind of drug we need to have every women wearing it at all social events and using it effectively all the time.

        Which leads to your final statement you felt was ignored.

        “And lastly, where you definitely miss my point: rape, like murder, will likely never be eradicated from human society. It is at least partly behavioural and you can’t stop that. So while it’s really nice to say “We should just cure the disease,” it’s not realistic and you can’t abandon any other progress just to pursue that.”

        The question isn’t how do we eradicate rape it’s how we prevent (mostly) men from thinking that rape is an acceptable means of exerting power over others, or taking sexual pleasure. The facts as they stand are that some where between 6-15% of men (getting data from self reporting is notoriously difficult to do and admittedly mostly on while male collage/university students so not a telling as one would like of the actual numbers) will rape a women in his life. Not all, and most perpetrators don’t think, even when convicted, that they actually raped some one. and those 6-15% numbers some from studies which where careful not to use the word rape, but substitute in careful question of consent, so another way of saying the findings is that 6-15% of the test subjects would continue with sex while know they did not have the consent of the person they where having sex with.

        Why do I bring this up? Because it seem clear from the studies I’ve been able to read that rapist don’t even know they are rapist, or don’t understand what consent and rape actually are. That’s why these stop gap measures are not a real solution one because they are not every effective, and they really are not treating the cause of the problem, which as far as I can tell is a gross misunderstanding of consent, and a double standard we have with regard to sex and consent and other places where consent is important.

        Most feminists from my understanding are not saying that the nail polish is awful in and over itself (though I’m sure you can find some if you look, like any opinion), it more that it’s pretty damn useless and it’s probable that some woman some where is going to get drugged by the drug detected by the nail polish and someone is going to blame her for not wearing her drug test kit that evening. I hope that’s not the case, but tech like this doesn’t even treat the symptoms let alone the problem, no matter how neat it might be, it has to be effective to even be consisted useful. And even then do we really want women to have to do another little fucking thing every day just so they are safe from violence?

        I suppose the point of all of this is that it isn’t about the nail polish at all, it’s about who we put the burden of rape prevention on. I (as a man) would like to see everyone with a particular onus on the education system and the authorities, be responsible for rape prevention not just women. (also self defense doesn’t do you much good if someone get the jump on you, or if your incapacitated, or if you don’t want to hurt the person (they are likely some on you know and trust) who is attacking/taking advantage of you.)


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This entry was posted on August 30, 2014 by in Life and tagged , , , .
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