Rape Culture 4 Men / Nailpolish Doesn’t Solve The Problem

Alright, I see you all. Everyone’s sharing these articles on ‘Undercover Colors’, the anti-date rape drug detector via nail polish. Don’t get me wrong. This is amazing and its fantastic and I’m ecstatic people are taking preventative action here. More importantly, the creators of this invention are four men (MEN… MALES) from North Carolina State University. Its one thing for women to be taking action, its another for men to be actively seeking solutions. It truly is a great concept, but my problem is with the culture we live in, in which women are forced to go through preventative measures against men (Men rape, women rape … but I’m speaking more generally here).

It’d be nice to say that a simple manicure prevents date rape, sexual assault or being drugged. If only it were that easy. But the bigger problem here is the fact that

we’re placing the responsibility of preventing rape and sexual assault, onto women.

Tell me, whos to blame when someone gets roofied – the unknowing person whos drink is drugged? Or the person who slipped said drug? Its like, if someone punched you in the face because they thought your face was ugly / couldn’t stand looking at you – is it your fault (for having an ugly face or being annoying)? Or is it the person who punched you in the face’s fault? Obvious answers to obvious questions.

Women, not men… and women, not in accordance or alongside men… are thus put in charge of defending themselves versus rape, assault etc. One example that I studied intensively back in school was the Slut Walk. Slut Walk is a transnational movement of men and women alike, that began as a response to a police officers remark that “women should avoid dressing like sluts” so as to not attract sexual predators. As questioned as this methodology is (women parading around scantily clad to prove that they indeed can wear what they want, whenever they want and deserve to not be assaulted), it raises the larger idea… the idea that women should not be solely responsible for rape and sexual assault. In fact, that there are two parties involved (and moreover, one party is more accountable than the other in cases of rape and assault).

Again, don’t get me wrong here. The fact that male students found a beginners solution to the rape culture problem, is a fantastic start and a step in the right direction. But it doesn’t address the entire problem.

Last week a male friend sent me a few articles regarding male perspectives on rape culture and our gendered society.

If you are a man, you are part of rape culture… You’re not a rapist, necessarily. But you do perpetuate the attitudes and behaviors commonly referred to as rape culture.” -Zaron Burnett

More exciting to me than a quick fix like this ‘Undercover Colors’, was the fact that men were writing about rape culture, realizing the problem, and deciding how to deal with it… and moreover, that other men were reading these articles and bringing it to my attention.

Zaron’s “Gentlemen’s Guide to Rape Culture” continues to discuss how he, personally, realizes he is a part of rape culture and how he goes about making women feel safe. He may take it a tinge too far, because for fuckssake my friend, I’m a woman, not a vulnerable, skittish deer who will jolt at the sight of a man/threat. I’m not easily threatened, and for a man to act as if he’s walking on his tip toes around me, would be borderline insulting. However, as gentlemanly as this dude’s pursuits are, he gets it. He understands what needs to happen.

Here’s a bullet-point list of examples of rape culture. 

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape

So, to my guys: what can YOU do, since making a cool nail polish trend is already taken?

Well, the answer is simple… be a man.

Stand up to other men, stand up to your bros, call people out, be a gentleman and have decent standards. So simple, right?

I know.


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