Now Women Can Protect Themselves With Artist-Designed Anti-Rape Cloak
Sarah Maple takes feminine modesty to the absurd extreme.
British artist Sarah Maple is stepping into the fashion arena with her latest piece, the Anti-Rape Cloak. The outlandish garment, a black, shapeless shift that covers her from neck to ankle, is a searing condemnation of the attitude that women who dress in revealing outfits are “asking” for unwanted male attention.
“It has always made me really angry how the victims of rape are always made to feel it was their fault, [that] somehow they brought it upon themselves,” Maple told the Huffington Post. “I was reading Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates and I realized just how universal this belief is—with so many girls being told it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t been wearing that outfit or they hadn’t been in a particular place on their own.”
The artist is an advocate for educating men on the importance of consent—ideally, we’d live in a society where the onus does not fall on women to change their behavior in order to protect themselves.
“We are told constantly by the media that our sexiness dictates our value and worth, but then if we dress sexily, we deserve to be raped,” Maple added. “It’s a contradiction that infuriates me. It is also ridiculous to think that a bit of flesh makes men uncontrollable animals who must have sex right away! It’s a damaging idea for men and women!”
In the past, Maple’s pro-feminist work has prompted death threats, particularly for a self-portrait in which she wears a hijab and carries a pig. The work is a reference to her mixed parentage, as she was born to a British Christian father and Iranian Muslim mother.
The artist also made waves with Menstruate with Pride, a painting of the artist proudly wearing a white dress stained with period blood, to the disgust of those around her. Through the work, Maple shows that despite the hypersexualization of women in the media, depictions of menstruation are still considered taboo.
“Art of Nuisance,” presented by the The Sisters of Perpetual Resistance, is on view at 1 Doyce Street, London, October 8–October 23, 2015.
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