by Britt Chester

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If you’ve been following the timeline of dance music’s popularity, and club culture for that matter, you’ve undoubtedly seen a spike in social awareness regarding all of the dangers that come from that scene. What you don’t see, and what you don’t read about, though, are all the great things that come from dance music culture. There is a community of people who come together to enjoy one singular thing, and that’s the music. However, there are always going to be bad eggs, and if there’s one thing we’ve all learned from a rotten egg, it’s that the stench affects everyone within reach.

You might have read a recent article about some students from the North Carolina State University (NC State) who have developed a nail polish that detects drugs commonly associated with date rape (Xanax, GHB, Rohypnol) when the polish comes in contact.

The idea is that the nail polish will change color once it has detected the drug. This means women must apply nail polish to their finger, then stick said finger in the drink and see if they are potentially going to be a victim of someone’s sick twisted sexual desire.

At first I applauded this creation because I believe date rape is wrong. I believe that taking advantage of a man or a woman who is under the influence of drugs is rape, and rape is wrong. Rape is not consensual, and therefore a violation. As a male in this dance music scene that is literally flooded with beautiful women often wearing ornate, bedazzled, and scant outfits, it is hard to not have some sort of physical attraction. It’s sexy. Women dress sexy at the club and at festivals, but believe it or not, they are not doing that to get raped. It is not a subconscious mating call to attract some predator and force them to do something they do not want to do.

I lived for a very long time under the impression that the culture of rape largely falls on the shoulders of females. In my defense, I didn’t know better. I was raised in the culture that taught if women don’t want to be raped, they should not wear short skirts or be in places at late hours where predators might be lingering. After friending a staunch feminist, I learned how sorely I have been misguided. My friend Bree took me to a new school of thought regarding how we “” males growing up in millennial America “” are taught about rape. Basically that it’s not the victim’s fault. That if we automatically assume the woman was drunk, or dressed in sexy attire, or at a club, that she was putting herself at risk. Women who go to clubs and festivals where alcohol is served are not to be viewed as mice being released in an aviary of hawks. The last thing on a woman’s mind should be “defense” when she spent (presumably) hours applying makeup, picking an outfit, coordinating accoutrements, and fixing her hair so that she feels sexy enough to be judged by everyone.

I don’t have sisters, but I do have a mom. I have friends who have sisters (and although it felt that way, that’s not the same thing as saying something like “I’m not racist, I have black friends!” I wasn’t raised around females, save for my mother’s influence on my artistic capabilities, so I believe my respect for women came from my father’s example.

What baffled me about this rape preventing nail polish was that I thought it was a good thing. After speaking with Bree, who eagerly sha red her thoughts on the broken culture of raising females to think they must defend themselves verses educating males to understand that rape is wrong, I realize now that I am wrong. Women shouldn’t have to defend themselves from rapists because rapists shouldn’t exist. They do exist, and although rape-preventing nail polish won’t derail attempts at rape, it might at least provide warning for some. I still applaud the guys at NC State for thinking about this, but what if they applied all those grants (I think it was to the tune of $100,000) to campus education and female empowerment?

Dance music is club music, and clubs are fun. Clubs are fun for a multitude of reasons, but mainly because a contained dance party with lights, music, and people is a fun environment. You hear and see all these messages within the EDM community about “PLUR” (peace, love, unity, respect,) which sadly has oversaturated the scene to the point of humor. PLUR is an ancient model of EDM. In a perfect world, peace, love, unity, and respect would reign, but we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in 2014 where drugs, sex and power reign. And sadly, those things have infiltrated dance music culture to a scary point.

I’m not saying rape-preventing nail polish is a bad thing if it works 100 percent. I wish we lived in a time in the not-so-distant future where equality wasn’t something we continued to fight for, but was something we once fought for and achieved. As it stands now, such is not the case. We live in a time where women (our sisters, friends, cousins, aunts, nieces) are taught to be careful because there are rapists in the midst. Yes, there are rapists in the midst. How about telling them not to rape instead of allowing them to do so and telling potential victims to watch their back? It’s like having a thorn in your foot and giving you a cane rather than just taking the thorn out. Seems logical to me. Oh, and it makes sense for rape prevention. !