Buzzfeed’s article on absurd products being marketed to women to avoid getting sexually assaulted focuses on the same notions expressed in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye; in both historic and modern times, women are victim-blamed for sexual assaults and are warned to avoid getting assaulted rather than focusing on the issues of perpetrators. This, additionally, connects to the Keyword’s article on the “body” in that a woman’s body, even at a young age, can create a corporeal implication of sexuality and vulnerability and, in itself, holds the assumption of possible assault and lack of bodily autonomy.
In the Buzzfeed article, the author clearly voices her disagreement with the idea of anti-rape products, justifying the notion that “don’t get raped” should be changed to “don’t rape,” focusing more so on the perpetrators’ faults rather than what a woman may have been doing/wearing to be in a state of sexual vulnerability. The importance of this, even in today’s society, reflects the reinforcements of rape culture—in societal and, unfortunately, political terms—and the fact that women are continually asked why they didn’t fight back, why they were wearing such revealing clothing, why they allowed themselves to get that intoxicated, etc.
In The Bluest Eye, responses to Pecola’s rape and pregnancy are focused mainly on quotes asking why she didn’t fight back and implying that she carries some of the blame for her sexual assault. In this, it is implied that she could have done something to prevent such actions against her and, in connection to modern times, had she used one of these “anti-rape” products, she could have avoided assault.
Another issue I have with these products as a whole is the lack of thought regarding what would happen when/if a perpetrator were to attempt assault. Products making it difficult to remove clothing or ones that create electric shocks will, yes, make it harder for assaulters to perform an act of assault; however, this does not save women from violence or the trauma.
After some personal research I’ve been doing for another class, I found another article that connected to this issue. My project on men’s views of tattooed women found a court case in which a man was found not guilty in the rape of a young woman, because the women had a lower back tattoo, and the jury explained that the tattoo held sexual implications that likely confused the assailant.
Rape culture is alive and well in 2017 and, unfortunately, opinions on sexual assault have not improved.