It’s not mace. UNM students are working on a spray that would keep women from getting unwanted attention from men.
It’s a spray made from a woman’s tears that causes a chemical reaction in men.
Rings, spray, even a diffuser—the BioShield website advertises several ways for women to wear their tears as a form of protection from unwanted sexual attention.
“I’m not going to spray tears on me, I’m going to expect a man who is going want to advance on me to have a little bit of nuance,” says Julianna Gallegos.
The website and the products were developed by Bio-design students at UNM.
The idea is to use a woman’s tears as a way to ignite a chemical reaction that reduces testosterone and aggressive behavior.
“There is definitely research out there that says there are certain chemicals and certain hormones that causes changes in people’s behavior and their perception,” says UNM Professor Andrea Polli.
For now, the wearable tears are design fiction, exploring future possibilities—they aren’t actually for sale. It’s a concept that local women hope they’ll never need.
“We have to watch how we dress, watch how we walk, watch how nice we are to people because they might take that the wrong way. I don’t think we should saturate ourselves in our own tears to repel men’s advances,” says Briana Lisignoli.
The students behind BioShield hope the idea of their project encourages people to behave differently and be more understanding.
“The focus really is on awareness and social critique, and they have this wonderful tagline that says ‘Until we get the legislative and social change that we need, all we have is our tears,'” Polli says.
But until that change happens, “I usually scare them by telling them to get the hell away from me,” says Linn Lemon.
The BioShield team was invited to present their project at a Bio-design product challenge in New York in June.