Artist Uses Fashion To Highlight Society’s Victimization Of Women


Why is it that society treats the victimization of women as relatively normal? That may be too deep a question for just this one post, but it is the perfect platform to discuss Sarah Maple’s amazing cloak design.

Image credit via Sarah Maple on Facebook.

Calling out society’s victimization of women isn’t something that generally goes hand in hand with fashion. However, Maple’s Anti-Rape Cloak was designed to do just that. Maple cited the online victimization of both sexual assault survivors and women generally as the impetus for her statement garment. She told Refinery 29 that, “many people think [women] are ‘making  a fuss about nothing’ and we should be quiet.” Maple further discussed how she became interested in society’s victimization of women after studying the suffragette movement in England.

The juxtaposition between how society expects a woman to look and how they treat her after she looks that way lit a fire in Maple. Women are highly encouraged to be sexy and are “constantly told by the media that our sexiness dictates our value and worth.” Yet the woman gets the blame if she is assaulted, merely because she dressed provocatively.

This victimization contradiction is summed up best by Maple herself:

“It’s ridiculous to think that a bit of female flesh on view turns men into savage beasts who must have sex right away. It’s a damaging idea for both sexes!”

With her (correct) belief that someone “should be able to wear whatever they like without the fear of being raped,” Maple took the societal juxtaposition to the opposite extreme. Her cloak became the ironic response to victim blaming; if a woman supposedly “gets what she deserves” if she is dresses sexily, then this cloak will automatically shield women from ever getting raped!

No garment is a fail-proof method against sexual assault, since (obviously) women do not cause their abuse merely by what they wear. The cloak IS, however, a truly brilliant statement on society’s victimization of women and the unreasonable double standard we are held to. Using fashion to make a feminist statement against the victimization of women isn’t the plan for most designers, but I hope more follow Maple’s example in the future!

Cover image credit via Sarah Maple on Facebook.