Home > Don't make me hurt you, this is where I get angry -- and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry > The Danger of Tools Over Solutions: On Nail Polish and Dirty Photos

The Danger of Tools Over Solutions: On Nail Polish and Dirty Photos


Lately, I’ve seen a disturbing trend – one that places blame on the victim and/or treats the symptoms of a problem, but not the problem itself. This, unfortunately, isn’t a new development. It’s commonplace. But that doesn’t make it right.

A group of college students invented a nail polish that changes color if there’s a date rape drug in a drink. Like parking under a streetlight at night to deter criminals, this is a good safety precaution. It’s another tool for someone to use in order to be safer. Not safe – safer. There are some folks that argue that this, again, places responsibility on the victim. A woman shouldn’t have to wear nail polish to deter rape from happening (deter, not prevent). There are also gender implication, here – because it presupposes that all women wear nail polish. It also overlooks the fact that men are raped, too. And, honestly, I never want to hear someone ask a rape victim, “Were you wearing your anti-rape nail polish?” Because NO. You don’t the victim how short her skirt is, how much she had to drink, or if her nail polish turned purple. It’s never the victim’s fault. Repeat after me: it’s never the victim’s fault.

 This brings me to my second example, which was that several celebrities had their phones hacked and naked photos of them were posted on the internet. They were all, to be knowledge, women. The most notable is Jennifer Lawrence. The uproar has been, “Well, she shouldn’t have taken naked photos in the first place.”

 This is blaming the victim, guys. A person (male or female) has the right to do with their body and property as he/she sees fit. Stealing from another person is a crime. In this case, the stolen item was naked photos. Would we still by blaming her if it was something different? If someone stole her car, would we ask why she owned a car in the first place? A crime is a crime.

 Here is an important takeaway from this article from the Forbes article on the subject:

 “It is not the responsibility of our female population to take “X” number of steps to lessen the chance that a member of our male population will engage in untoward conduct towards them, be it assault or street harassment.”

 It’s that simple. You don’t blame victim. You never blame the victim. So, why are we still trying to do just that? It’s a fundamental failure of our society. Several times, over the past few days, I’ve found myself arguing on Jennifer Lawrence’s behalf. I don’t know her. She doesn’t know. We’ve never had lunch. But she is a person who has been wronged, and society is saying that she is at fault. It would still be a crime if someone hacked her phone and stole her text messages. Her privacy has still been breached.

 This isn’t a case of revenge porn (which is a different kind of privacy breach altogether). An ex didn’t get pissed off and share the photos with the press. This is a total invasion of privacy. It’s not a scandal, as the Forbes article points out – it is a crime. Last time I checked, our legal system isn’t supposed to blame the victim. So, again: why are we blaming the victim?

 It’s never the victim’s fault.

 Anti-rape nail polish doesn’t solve the problem of rape – no more than a rape whistle does. Not taking naked photos doesn’t solve the phone hacking problem. We, as a society, have to stop treating symptoms and start treating the disease. Yes, a nail polish that detects date rape drugs is a potentially helpful tool – but it doesn’t keep someone from raping someone else. Yes, not taking nude photos means if your phone is hacked, they can’t be stolen – but that doesn’t make the breach of privacy (the hacking) go away. Someone can always steal something else.

 And, once more: it’s never the victim’s fault. Period.

  1. September 3, 2014 at 10:42 am


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