Color Names for the New Anti-Rape Nail Polish

Feminists wishing to indulge in the guilty pleasure of getting a manicure can soon do so while resisting rape at the same time. Some smart students at NC State–Ankesh Madan, Stephan Gray, Tasso Von Windheim, and Tyler Confrey-Maloney–created a nail polish that detects date rape drugs.  The polish changes color if your polished fingernail is dipped into a drink that contains common date-rape drugs like Rohypnol, Xanax, or Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid in it.  Of course, we all know that the most common date-rape drug is plain old alcohol, but if a drug like this gets mixed into an alcoholic drink, its effect can magnify alcohol’s impact and lead to memory loss and even medical crisis.

The drug-detecting nail polishes are being developed under the name of “Undercover Colors” and have not been released to the public yet. Some protest the development and marketing of this nail polish based on the belief that the onus should not be on women to prevent and end rape and that the pretty polishes are victim-blaming.  We agree in part:  the onus should not be on women to end rape.  But we believe that giving women more tools to protect themselves against rape is empowering, not victim-blaming.  And while only a small percentage of perpetrators are drugging women’s drinks to facilitate their ability to rape, we are okay with women adding nail polish that can detect date rape drugs into our arsenal of resistance strategies.  Not instead of changing the rape culture, or instead of holding perpetrators responsible for their behavior, or instead of teaching women active physical and verbal resistance strategies.  In addition to those things.

The NC State students explained their purpose in developing the drug-detecting nail polish:  “We hope this future product will be able to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators. . . .”  We think this approach is actually quite radical, and it complements the advocacy of self-defense training.  When women have strategies that shift the fear from themselves to the perpetrators, a fundamental feature of rape culture shifts: the pervasive fear felt most often by women.

Perhaps part of feminists’ skepticism about this anti-rape nail polish stems from the traditional point of polishing one’s fingernails and the accompanying bogus color names, such as “blushing bride,” “bikini so teeny,” “bouncer, it’s me!” “nein! nein! nein! OK fine”, “topless and barefoot”, and “damsel in a dress”.  Ewww.

Since the anti-rape nail polish is still under development, we’d like to celebrate it as an additional device in women’s rape resistance toolkit, and in the spirit of feminism and wry humor, reclaim nail polish as a tool of the resistance by offering the following names for the Undercover Colors nail polish colors:


 Resistance red

 Red flag

 Fighting spirit

 Sign to Stop


 You pinked the wrong night to plan a rape

 Boxing Barbie pink

 Pinko Commi Feminist

 Kiss off


 Not today, Sun….

 Goodbye, not Yello(w)

 Gold Away


 Orange you sorry you tried this

 Orange will be your new Black

 Tread Gingerly


 Green dot

 Preying mantis

 Yes means yes

 Leaves now


 Blue balls


 Vicious streak

You’re gonna sing the blues


 Mudd (that’s what your name will be)

 Taupe It Now

• Espresso NO


o Clear to me you’re a criminal

o Glass-ceiling smasher

o I see right through you


Tough as Nails

Black and blue from the Rolling Stones (and I don’t like it at all)

Black the fuck off

One response

  1. […] and we don’t either.  But as fashion-forward and entertaining as many of you are (what shade of Anti-Rape Nail Polish will go best with my Anti-Molestation Jacket that can deliver 110 volts of electric shock to the […]

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