For many women, a good bra can be a lifesaver. It can help hoist the ladies exactly where we want them, save us from embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions, basically rescue our backs from a life of turmoil and even save us from rogue bullets in some cases.
Jennifer Cutrona, however, has created some bras that are lifesavers in a more literal sense. Called the "Booby Trap Bra," Cutrona's product comes with a tiny magnetized pocket where the user can hide a knife for easy access.
A bra for self-protection: The bra came to be after an incident in April 2015. While on a run near her Texas home, Cutrona was caught off-guard by a man who'd been lurking in the woods and jumped out to grab her. Realizing how dangerous being isolated can be for a woman, she wanted to create something to help.
"A fire was lit under me," Cutrona told Mic. "I wanted to respond to this in a big way. I didn't want to just cripple in fear, or be bullied off my favorite spot. When I got home I realized that I had plenty of self defense items — they were just not on me, and had never been on me."
The next day, she sewed a small sheath into her sports bra, where she could hide a knife. Three months after the initial design, Cutrona, 35, was already shipping out orders of the Booby Trap Bra.
"We sold out of our first two runs, which hit in about August/September," Cutrona said. "Women love it. They love that I took a bad situation and made it great. They love the extra confidence."
She's also expanded the line, making bras that hold pepper spray, as well as yoga pants and sleeves for both men and women — all with special, hidden compartments to fit a knife, pepper spray or whatever tiny, self defense object you prefer. According to Cutrona, the company has seen over $30,000 in revenue in under a year.
"I'm getting high fives all over the place," Cutrona said. "Men love it because they know that now they can get these items on their daughters, wives [and] nieces."
A problem that women shouldn't have to solve: Although the bra has been on the market for the past few months, it's recently gone viral thanks to a spike of internet interest — and, unfortunately, thanks to a reality in which the bras are very necessary.
Every year, according to PBS, women report nearly half a million assaults. Although men are predominantly the attackers of women, the fight against sexual and physical assault has seemingly become the responsibility of females; it's sparked an entire industry of cutesy self-defense wear like brass knuckles that look like cats and pink combs that are actually knives. In 2013, we saw the debut of a "rape-proof" feminine apparel line; in 2014, a nail polish that could detect date rape drugs made headlines.
The overall message: Women, if you don't want to get assaulted or raped, it's on you to do something about it.
Meanwhile, when is the last time men's clothing has had to make room for self-defense weaponry? Any polo shirts you know of with a pocket for Mace? Crocs with room for a knife?
"It is amazing how many people have been touched by violence, or have someone close to them who have," Cutrona said. "I hear stories of rape survivors a lot. It makes me sad that it happens, but encouraged that we are now talking about it and being more proactive."
Certainly, this bra alone can't bring the disturbingly high number of assaults on women (and men) to a halt — only people not attacking other people will do that. But it can arm the wearer with a sense of safety, and it takes some action on a matter many men ignore by empowering women to feel prepared, protected and safe.
"It wasn't done out of fear, to live in fear," Cutrona told WTVR. "It was done just to be prepared just in case."