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The Blingsting: You Don’t Need Rhinestone-Encrusted Pepper Spray


I was ready to mock this rhinestone-encrusted bottle of pepper spray for its pop opportunistic name (Blingsting) and glib, fear-mongering attitude towards violence against women ("One in four women falls victim to sexual assault during their college years. Hope for the best. Plan for the worst," reads some promotional copy on the website), but who am I to judge a sparkly, $25 keychain accessory? 

Oh wait, I can't help myself: I just don't buy into a system of self-defense predicated on the belief that young women will only take their safety seriously if they can accessorize it. And although it's true that statistically, one in four women experiences sexual assault by her college years, it's a myth that these are random acts of violence: at least 80% of attacks are perpetrated by someone the woman knows, not by some stranger waiting in a dark alley. That doesn't mean pepper spray isn't a valuable tool for self-defense, it just means sexual assault is complicated and the Blingsting is a toy.