The Power of Social Media – Boycott Amazon for Misogyny

Last night, just before I went to bed, I noticed a link to a t-shirt which said: “Keep Calm and Rape Her” on Amazon. I was utterly enraged. I can’t even remember where I saw it because so much has happened since then.

I posted a link about it on a couple of Feminist groups and in the morning, after a fitful night’s sleep I found multiple comments on my posts, which I found heartening, but I soon discovered there were still multiple offensive, misogynistic items for sale on Amazon (and eBay, and Zazzle). I started copying the links of these items and taking some screenshots.

I was given the email address of the Amazon UK CEO. I emailed him. On Twitter, Lee Chalmers posted that she was glad to see the rape t-shirt had been taken down from AmazonUK. In response I linked to and sent her a picture of a t-shirt, also from US Company Solid Gold Bomb, with the slogan “Keep Calm and Hit Her”. Lee retweeted this post, and the retweets and replies started coming in by the hundreds. When Caitlin Moran, Lauren Laverne and Martha Lane Fox took it up, we were clearly winning the internet.

We found t-shirts with misogynist slogans like “9 out of 10 people enjoy gang rape” from (Chargrilled), and multiple variations on the theme of “Keep Calm and ……. Her”, e.g. Kill, Choke, Burn, Harm, Bomb. Note that at no point, despite much searching, did we see any items with pronoun “Him”. Inherently mysogynistic then.

The company responsible for the “Keep Calm” T-shirts initially blamed a computer algorithm. I’m not buying it, somebody had to run that algorithm, and a human MUST have had seen at least some of those slogans before they ended up on sale on Amazon. And again, if it was entirely computer generated – where is “Him”?

News websites picked the story up and both Sky News and Channel 4 ran major features on their evening bulletins. At that point, I felt my work was done.

Misogyny is never acceptable. Violence against women is never acceptable. And Amazon, where’s our apology? The items have been taken down from the Amazon UK website, but there has been no apology, just a one line statement that the “items are not available for sale”. Not good enough, Amazon.

Images below were found on Amazon today, 2nd March 2013

.Untitled copygang rape t-shirtIMG_0454


20 thoughts on “The Power of Social Media – Boycott Amazon for Misogyny

  1. CaroleBristol says:

    It was heartening to see how so many people were able to mobilise and get some action. I was just glad to play my own small part in this.

    The sooner the message gets out there and understood that Rape is not a joke, the better.

  2. Thank you for doing this. I can’t believe anyone thought these things were acceptable.
    And as you say, the algorithm excuse makes no sense. Where are the ‘Keep Calm and Freight your Wibbles’ t-shirts? Nowhere. Because either the t-shirts are checked by humans or the algorithm is written to exclude them and include misogyny.
    Perhaps we should just keep shouting ‘Show us your algorithms’.

  3. On the one hand I was happy that so many people came together at such a late hour (after eleven GMT on a Friday) to email, tweet and comment on Facebook, on the other hand, it was (and is) depressing that as soon as we stop one rat hole, we find another.

    I think, as LoveIt said on Twitter, that “we need a Civil Rights movement”.

    If any of these teeshirts had said ‘Keep Calm and Rape/Hit/Choke/Burn An Asian/Black/Gay’ they’d be covered by hate crime legislation but, because they’re directed against women, they’re not and we are left to unprotected apart from our own skills, abilities (and the support of Righteous Chaps).

      • I don’t know. There is an appalling level of misogyny in British society at the moment. It feels as if just when we make progress, there is an enormous backlash. You can see it in the criticisms that get levelled against feminists, when all most feminists want is a level playing field.
        Perhaps it stems from fear. But societies in which women are equal are actually better for all concerned, not just women.

  4. Liz says:

    In Australia we call ourselves “Destroyers” and the group is Destroy the joint. This was a result of a right wing shock jock saying that women were destroying the joint!! We too have been calling on Amazon and others to stop this appalling mysoginy. Keep up the good work. I follow both groups.

  5. atrewe says:

    Reblogged this on Trewe’s Blog and commented:
    Amazon is not really keeping its name up to standard. Being a customer since 1996 or so, they really need to shape up – with this, with how they treat people in their hangars and on how much tax they pay on shore. If not, they can kiss my amazoned ass!

    • sisterphonetica says:

      I have boycotted Amazon since their tax evasion became common knowledge. And now I’m boycotting them forever. Unless they pay their tax and give ongoing support to organisations supporting women who have been victims of violence. Which is never going to happen.

  6. azize ethem says:

    Please check out the Kindle/Amazon advert on the back cover of ‘The Week’ 2 March 2013.
    Obviously mothers read crap.

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