Pepper spray and style are probably two things you don’t often find in the same sentence (unless Marc Jacobs is dreaming up some sort of urban post-apocalyptic ready-to-wear that we don’t know about). Some people carry pepper spray as a personal defense against street attackers, and now instead of mace being encased in utilitarian packaging, it has become a chic little accessory thanks to a company called BlingSting.
BlingSting is the result of collaboration between entrepreneur Andrea Atteberry and her mother, Kathy, who want to increase safety for women and girls, with a stylish edge. Their new company produces small cans of pepper spray complete with sparkly cases made of rhinestones, and a heart-shaped nozzle. The cute cases are small enough to fit unobtrusively on a backpack, purse, or even dog leash, and come with a key-chain clip that allows for convenience.
At first glance, you might think that the concept is really, really silly, right? Pepper spray isn’t supposed to be glamorous, and in a perfect world, women wouldn’t feel like they should have to carry it in the first place. Atteberry knows that the embellished mace cans might be met with some public criticism, but she is also aware that a staggering 80% of sexual-assault victims are women under the age of 30; so marketing a bedazzled self-protection accessory to younger girls is a priority for her.
At worst, BlingSting’s sparkly cases will unintentionally trivialize sexual assault and violence that targets women. With a tagline of “Pepper spray so cute…it, like, hurts” the company’s marketing approach seems likes it’s geared towards superficial buyers that are helping BlingSting make a profit off of violence. At best, those same superficial buyers will still have protection if they are ever met with a dangerous situation, and perhaps what the product is doing is raising awareness about violence against women. Even if it is covered in rhinestones, that sort of visibility can’t be a bad thing, right?
What do you think about BlingSting’s sparkly pepper spray?
Note: not all states have the same laws concerning the legality of carrying mace. Get informed before you purchase any kind of self-defense weapon.
Images from blingsting.com