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”?
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