November 18, 2008

Find Me If You Can: A Commentary on Lingerie and Technology

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We’ve heard about GPS capabilities being placed in devices like cell phones. But now they’re being placed in perhaps the unlikeliest of places: lingerie!

Brazilian lingerie designer Lucia Iorio has created a new line of lingeire called “Find Me If You Can” that comes equpped with a GPS device. The design features a lace bodice, a bikini bottom and faux pearl collar, with the bulky rectangular GPS device held in place on the right side of the waist. Give someone the password to the device, and they can track your movements.

Such a device may be more safety-oriented than you might realize at first. Iorio said Brazil is a country prone to violence, so women might buy this lingerie for protection from potential attackers and rapists.

I can’t comment on the design, but I do wonder why they went with placing a bulky, rectangular GPS device into the lingerie instead of a chip. Perhaps price was a factor. The starting price is around $800 for a set with a standard GPS, with an advanced model for around $1100 dollars, which I presume is the same lingerie with a more advanced GPS.

Several reports claim feminist groups around the world are outraged and horrified with this new line. I only found one group raising a protest: an unnamed Berlin feminist group led by Claudia Burghart, who wants this lingerie off the shelves. “It is nothing more than a chastity belt for insecure men,” she said. “It is outrageous to think that men can buy this, programme it and give it to their partners and then monitor them.”

Is this worth raising a fuss over? Iorio said this charge ridiculous, since the woman can always turn off the GPS device. Presumably, she could also take off the lingerie or even rip out the GPS.

One other note: Almost any technological innovation or idea can be used in a multitude of ways, some of which may be helpful and others which may be harmful. How it is used is up to us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we should bar it from being sold. That would be like barring computers with Internet access from being sold because they could be used to discover information about making bombs. A far better approach instead of protesting to cease production is to encourage responsible use.