It was with a little whoop of recognition that I read about rapeX, "the world's 1st and only anti-rape condom". The company's FAQ is down as I write, "due to public demand" but from what I can gather it is a toothed "female condom" that clamps down on any intromitted organ, forcing the owner of the organ to seek medical attention and incidentally identifying them as a rapist.

All of which naturally brought to mind a wonderful story by Emily Prager. It features Foxy Fire, a crack team of female soldiers led by Major Victoria Lincoln-Pruitt and sent behind the lines in Vietnam armed only with the Lincoln-Pruit Anti-Rape Device, or LPARD. I confess I didn't remember all this unaided. I had help from a review in the New York Times, from which, a couple of paragraphs:

As Major Lincoln-Pruitt tells the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "The L.P.A.R.D. has given rape a new meaning. And for this reason, is the long-sought-for answer to the problems of female combat. With the L.P.A.R.D., for the first time women will be able to kill easily and fully, and with complete security that no one will be taking obscene Polaroids of them after the battle. Guns are clearly for men, but the Leopard is for a woman." To this, "The Joint Chiefs winced, but they recognized her logic as invincible."

Does this sound a bit like adolescent fantasy - an exaggerated female counterpart of boyhood dreams of glory? Of course it does, because that's exactly what Emily Prager is up to in some of these stories. "The Lincoln-Pruitt Anti-Rape Device: Memoirs of the Women's Combat Army in Vietnam" is a blatant and very funny parody of masculine war fiction, even down to precombat flashbacks in which the "girls," one by one, recall how they came to be members of Foxy Fire.

This is not the place to discuss the ins and outs of rapeX or LPARD. Will it actually provoke more violence from men? I've often wondered why one doesn't hear about women using their teeth to bring forced oral sex to an end. Maybe an enraged and emasculated man would retain enough anger to hurt her before he sought help. Would women wear it all the time, or only when they fear rape (which might well be all the time)? What if they forgot to remove it before consensual sex?

I'm much more interested in what inspired the inventor(s) of the machine. Almost nobody else in the world seems to remember Emily Prager's story. Maybe the same thing that inspired the movie "Teeth"?

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