The dress sensors is triggered everytime someone touches them and the data is then recorded through WiFi.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 21, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of sexual harassment that some readers may find distressing
The #MeToo movement in 2017 threw light on how pervasive sexual harassment is and sparked a debate in public discourse. Sexual minorities have always spoken about how much of an issue sexual harassment is, but men have always downplayed the issue or not given the discourse the justice it deserves. Companies have started addressing sexual harassment issues, paying more heed to complaints. Some are creating ads to raise awareness on the issue, like Swiss beverage company Schweppes. They worked with Brazilian advertisement agency Ogilvy to create a new campaign called ‘Dress For Respect.’ The campaign was to raise awareness of the sexual harassment of women in Brazil.
'Dress for Respect’ is a smart dress, installed with powerful sensors that capture the areas and the number of times the wearer is touched. The idea was to track how people were being touched without consent in public. The campaign aimed to show how big of a problem it is. The video made by Ogilvy starts with statistics about sexual harassment in Brazil’s nightclubs from 2016. It showed that 86% of Brazilian women had been harassed in nightclubs in Brazil.
According to Agência Brasil, 77% of the women said wolf-whistling in public was the most common form of public harassment, followed by staring (74%), sexual comments (57%), and cursing (39%). Another staggering statistic revealed that almost half of the Brazilian women were groped at least once in the year 2016. To highlight men's take on the issue, Ogilvy interviewed them prior to the experiment and many were skeptical about the harassment claims with some blaming women for inviting it upon themselves. One man said, "Who will go out on a Thursday night to just dance?" possibly implying that women were out looking for a sexual partner. Another man complained that women were whining all the time about everything.
Ogilvy decided to show how big of a problem sexual harassment is and had three volunteers — Juliana, Tatiana, and Luisa — wear the dress and head out to a nightclub in São Paulo. A team monitored the women being non-consensually touched countless times through the nearly 4-hour experiment. Another team sat in a room and documented through the sensors that were triggered each time they were touched. The sensors sent the information using WiFI to the researchers monitoring the issue. There were countless times women were touched non-consensually even after they let the other person know their disapproval of it.
The data collected through the sensors on the dress revealed that they were touched 157 times, which equated to being touched more than 40 times per hour! Some men who were present at the club were invited to see the footage and the data from the experiment and asked what they thought about it. Those present were shocked by the incessant unwanted touching, with the person commenting, "That’s so ridiculous." Another was shocked to see a stranger lean in for a kiss against her will.
The women who volunteered for the experiment spoke on the issue and called on men to stop objectifying them. Tatiana Rosas said, "Every woman has been harassed in her life. A woman is not an animal to be cornered, to be captured." Juliana Schulz from the experiment echoed Rosas' words, saying, "Try to approach me calmly, and talk to me without touching me." Luisa Castro added, "I'm an interesting person. I'm worth five minutes of talking." The video ends by asking men to show some respect for women. "How about approaching with elegance, intelligence, a sense of humor, and respect?"
You can watch the video here:
If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)