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Circuit Breaker

Finally, a wearable for women who don't want to get murdered

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A new wearable called Ōnee, advertised as "the buddy system, reinvented," is sold in pairs to sets of BFFs so that they can send distress signals to each other while at opposite ends of a party or bar. To discuss this oddly marketed product, which has a good idea at its core, we brought together some of Circuit Breaker's women.

Kaitlyn Tiffany: Hi, Ashley! Quick highly personal question: have you ever been getting ready to attend a party and thought, "I hope I don't get murdered?" But you didn't actually think it or say it, it was just really strongly implied as a possibility?

Ashley Carman: Isn't that most Friday nights for women?

Kaitlyn: Sure, I suppose the threat of murder or assault by a man generally hangs over most of my days. I often push it to the back of my mind so that I can focus on other things, like feeding myself, watching sitcoms, and writing blogs in exchange for money. But it's always there, because that's just the world we live in. It's also the world this Ōnee ad, soundtracked by a song with the chorus "don't let this be our final song," is set in. Yikes!

Ashley: Gotta love the patriarchy and the sad reality of being a woman! But actually this Ōnee wearable isn't such a novel idea. It reminds me of all the other panic button wearables we've seen recently. This one just has an especially bad marketing campaign.

Lizzie Plaugic: Speaking of especially bad, have you guys seen Ōnee's Instagram? It's full of photos of happy-looking women perfectly lit by sunlight and Coachella filters who are definitely not wearing the Ōnee bracelet. In fact, it seems very likely that these photos have just been swiped from other people's Instagrams without their knowledge. I doubt JoJo and Becca from The Bachelor consented to being the faces of Ōnee Anti-Murder Buzzing Leather Wrist Strap. Also, the company's unfortunate tagline is "Leave no sister behind."

Kaitlyn: Hi, Lizzie. Um, we have to leave you behind because Ōnee bracelets (shipping in the spring of 2017!) are only for my best friend and my "sister for life." Singular.

Lizzie: [is murdered]

Ashley: :( Sorry, Lizzie. Yeah, the Ōnee can only sync with one of your sisters' phones. She'll be the one to receive your pings for help, so long as she has the Ōnee app downloaded on her phone and decides to sync up with your bracelet. (Trying to get your Bluetooth device to link up to your phone is a great pregame activity.)

You're going to have to master Ōnee's Morse Code-type tapping system to really get any use out of the bracelet. Tapping on it once means you're fine and not being assaulted. Your sister should tap back on her Ōnee to tell you that she's cool, too. But two taps means you need help. It's at this point that your sister would need to look at her app to find you. Honestly, it sounds like the Find My Friends feature on iOS would be a lot easier.

onee

Kaitlyn: I really respect the idea behind the Ōnee — I love making women feel safer in a society designed to make them feel unsafe! — but I have to wonder why this isn't just an app you can add to a wearable or phone that you already own. Why should I have to even consider spending $95 (or $160 for a set of two) to reduce my chances of suffering physical harm (or just unwanted, prolonged mansplaining about what constitutes a "real" Moscow Mule)? In the first place it's obnoxious to expect women to constantly keep track of each other. My friends are not my responsibility (though I love them and would of course do anything for them)! They're adult women! I hate that rape culture has forced women to treat each other like tiny babies constantly in need of a watchful eye and a hovering maternal presence. The burden should not be on us to never fully relax or enjoy ourselves in social settings. The burden should be on rapists to stop existing.

Also: the estimated battery life is six hours. Sorry, but what kind of night on the town is that? And if your phone dies, these bracelets are utterly useless.

Ashley: So is Ōnee just total garbage?

Kaitlyn: Practically? Mostly. Aesthetically? Definitely. Look at these goobers:

onee

Lizzie (ghost): The Ōnee bracelet looks like something Chad Michael Murray would wear to a Jimmy Eat World show in Tuscaloosa.

Ashley: I wear ugly things to remind myself of the injustices in the world against women. (Also hell no would I wear the Ōnee.)