Can Nail Polish Prevent Date Rape?

Four male students at North Carolina State University think so. Jessica Chasmar, journalist at the Washington Times, reports that Ankesh Madan, Tasso Von Windheim, Tyler Confrey-Maloney, and Stephan Gray all coined a new species of nail polish, Undercover Colors, that promises to change color when in contact with date rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB.

But how does it work?

According to Chasmar, one simply paints her nails with the specially formulated nail polish, seductively stirs a possibly contaminated drink with her finger, and Voila! Hopefully, its original color stays, but if not, the change will alert the wearer to immediately leave the situation in the most discreet manner possible.

It sounds simple enough, but is there a catch?

As Caitlin Dewey brings into question in the Washington Post, Undercover Colors fails to detect other date rape drugs, which are often used more freely than the ones Undercover Colors claims to detect. More importantly, Dewey demonstrates that the nail polish even fails to detect the few drugs it ensures.

Chasmar ultimately states that, as of now, Undercover Colors is still developing and refining their prototype.

Even if Undercover Colors’s prototype proves successful, will it perpetuate rape culture by painting the message that women are responsible for not getting raped?

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