Women’s Bodies and the Evolution of Antirape Technologies: From the Hoop Skirt to the Smart Frock

Caroline Wilson-Barnao*, Alex Bevan, Robyn Lincoln

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In this article, we explore smart deterrents and their historical precedents marketed to women and girls for the purpose of preventing harassment, sexual abuse and violence. Rape deterrents, as we define them, encompass customs, architectures, fashions, surveillant infrastructures, apps and devices conceived to manage and protect the body. Online searches reveal an array of technologies, and we engage with their prevention narratives and cultural construction discourses of the gendered body. Our critical analysis places recent rape deterrents in conversation with earlier technologies to untangle the persistent logics. These are articulated with reference to the ways that proto-digital technologies have been imported into the realm of ubiquitous computing and networks. Our conceptual framework offers novel pathways for discussing feminine bodies and their messy navigation of everyday life that include both threats to corporeal safety and collective imaginings of empowerment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-54
Number of pages25
JournalBody and Society
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2021

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