Unmanicured talons: Feminism’s mysoginistic outrage at anti-rape nail polish

Sometimes, the reasoning of feminists bamboozles me. Take this response to an innovative nail polish whose wearer can test her drink for date rape drugs in her drink by dipping her finger into the beverage. The nail polish changes color to alert a targeted women of the intentions of the devil grinning at her. Oh, but the precautionary genius of this product is lost on those who presumably should be its loudest supporters.

Yep, feminists argue unconvincingly that this nail polish is a well intended but bad idea. They posit that it limits the behavior of women and to curtail one’s actions means the fear of rape is controlling their lives, according to Rebecca Nagle, a co-director of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. Alexandra Brodsky, a co-founder of Know Your IX, a group working to address campus sexual assault, and The Guardian‘s Jessica Valenti say this product can actually end up fueling victim blaming. Women who don’t use the product could open themselves up to criticism with the onus of culpability falling on them. ThinkProgress’ Tara Culp-Ressler also laments:

Women are already expected to work hard to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of sexual assault. They’re told to avoid wearing revealing clothing, travel in groups, make sure they don’t get too drunk, and always keep a close eye on their drink. Now, remembering to put on anti-rape nail polish and discreetly slip a finger into each drink might be added to that ever-growing checklist — something that actually reinforces a pervasive rape culture in our society.

And here are my favorites. Salon’s Jenny Kutner asks, “Is this really a market we should continue to applaud entrepreneurs’ (notably male ones) tapping into? Or might these resources be better allocated trying to teach people not to rape?” Elizabeth Plank, writing for .Mic,  makes “teach men not to rape” her first prescription on her list of 11 ways to solve rape better than nail polish.

Talk about sexism! So let’s nip this one in the butt first: Not all men are rapists. This “teach men not to rape” platitude implies all men are so vulnerable to our own sexual desires that we can’t help but rape, kind of like a pet that needs to be housebroken. Furthermore, Plank extols the Indian prime minister who said:

In every home, parents ask daughters lots of questions as to where she is going, when will she return, and ask her to inform them when she reaches her destination.

But have you ever asked your son where he is going, why is he going and who are his friends? After all, the person committing the rape is also someone’s son.

All men are seemingly presumed guilty of being a rapist before committing the qualifying act. This isn’t to say that men shouldn’t be educated on consent and sexual assault. They should! But Plank really doesn’t never makes this distinction between the need to inform or indict men. Instead, she and her feminist sisters come off extremely patronizing and — dare I say? — paternal. If this isn’t obviously offensive, how about I spew that we should “teach women not to sleep around” and as a woman, see if you don’t take umbrage.

Furthermore, “teach” is a poor word here not just because it conveys prejudice, but because it actually doesn’t correctly characterize the heinous act. “Rape culture” is similarly another misappropriated term on this issue. Simply, they aren’t authoritative enough and as such, don’t accurately identify what rape is, and this has actually hindered the feminist cause. Rape is not something that can be unlearned or taught not to do. It’s not like an error in etiquette, even an extremely grievous one. This is too generous to the bastards who rape. Likewise, whether there is a “rape culture” is irrelevant. Culture is a descriptive term and lacks normativity. Any discussion about stopping rape must be situated with the language that treats rape for what it is: an act of unmitigated, objective evil. This talk about teaching men to not be slaves to their carnal passions in an effort to change the rape culture endemic on college campuses is not framing the debate seriously enough. It understates the problem so completely, there is now a fundamental misunderstanding of what’s at issue, thereby directing the wrong sort of attitudes and actions against it, say I don’t know, like being feverishly opposed to a nail polish that can doubles as date-rape drug detector to protect women. This mischaracterization has been disastrous for women (more on this later).

The reason for this failure, I believe, is indicative of the moral presuppositions and sympathies that belie many feminists’ rage against rape. Most likely they’re believers in the moral relativism and emotivism rampant in Western society. And as Alastair Macintyre notes in his seminal work After Virtue, this inculcation has led to the breakdown of the moral argument and disagreement in Western civilization, which in turn has rendered true civil and political discourse on issues — take rape, for example — impossible. This truth, as important as it is, warrants tackling at another time.

Philosophy aside, as rape is blatant evil, its perpetrators can’t be reasoned with or persuaded. Men can’t be trained or conditioned in order for rape to disappear. It makes as much sense as outlawing murder on the basis it’s curable. You might as well just shoot down the moon. It’s delusional wishful thinking of a utopia that doesn’t exist. However, evil does, and…


Precisely, and the manner in which feminists deal with it is to pretend shit doesn’t happen, and that matters because they advise against exercising caution in the face of a very real threat. They assert that nail polish, self-defense classes and pepper spray don’t stop rape wholesale, but this is based on a misguided assumption that they are supposed to. Just like seat belts aren’t supposed to end all car accident deaths, the nail polish isn’t intended to cease rape forever and always. It’s designed to prevent a specific scenario where a woman is drugged. Hence, accusing the nail polish for it not being the master solution to the problem is a critical misfire.

I suspect feminists will object that welcoming the nail polish puts the culpability on the woman and enforces the victim stigma associated with rape. It permits a phrase like “if only you wore your nail polish.” First off, it is disconcerting and unacceptable for anyone to chastise someone for being the victim of evil. I’m actually deeply saddened by the existence of such a taboo. I repeat: Such behavior is unacceptable. However, equally inadmissible is the notion women should not take steps to protect themselves under the guise of feminine empowerment. This is the fault of feminists like Nagle, Brodsky, Valenti, Culp-Ressler, Kutner and Plank.

Perhaps the graver sin is that their brand of feminism has been a catastrophe. Sure, when it came to getting women in the workforce, feminism has been a positive force for change. But when it comes to sexuality, undoubtedly the whole social movement has been an abysmal failure. Liberal attitudes towards sex have not been the so-called liberator they were supposed to be; women are still sexual objects and not people, more so than ever, I believe. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have this twice a day on Sports Illustrated’s website. Or this. Or magazines and other forms of mass media that subliminally bombard girls, women and men that to be feminine is to look and act like this.

Is it any wonder we have a rape epidemic on our hands? As Plank notes, “men will confess to the act of rape as long as you don’t use the word ‘rapist’… you end up with a lot of them volunteering the information that they have [sexual assaulted], without realizing that this counts as rape.” You’ve trivialized sex to the point where the moral inhibitions involved also are reduced. This isn’t to make to make an excuse for boys who lack the self-control to be men or anyone who has committed sexual assault. However, it’s still true feminists helped facilitate this “rape culture” crisis they harp about. Sure, men have ignited the fire, but the feminism that encourages women to be promiscuous no matter the cost gathered the tinder.

What is deplorable is that feminists perpetuate the myth that recreational sex is a negative liberty. That, women have a right to sleep with whomever they want, whenever they want, in whatever circumstances. And any inkling of personal responsibility, even in the cause of reasonable concern about safety, is viewed as an infringement on this “pursuit of happiness.” Mind you, it’s a hedonistic, self-destructive chase that increases the probability that it ends in, well, go ask many of the alleged 20 percent of women on college campuses. Anyway, why else would they be in such a tizzy about something as useful as that resourceful little nail polish? That obstinance in spite of reality, my female friends who bothered to read to the end, is misogyny. And it’s been costly.

Happy mani-pedi day,

Modus Pownens


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