Less than two weeks after Amazon UK was forced to remove t-shirts with the slogan “Keep Calm and Rape A Lot” from their website, customers have found yet another terribly sexist t-shirt on Amazon’s US site.
Yesterday, on the Miss Representation Facebook page, Nikki H. posted a link to this.
In a society where women are still actually doing the majority of the washing and ironing at home – and are still consistently reduced to sexual objects – there is no way this shirt is ironic or funny. It’s oppressive.
It’s now clear that Amazon has a problem in how they filter products for sale. These particular shirts were created by Shirt City – a wholly independent company that seems to specialize in making horrendous things – but it’s also true that Amazon, by virtue of their logo sitting in the upper left corner of the page and the fact that they take a cut of each sale, are endorsing their products.
Rather than dealing with these issues after the fact, it’s time the company came up with a better system for preventing sexist t-shirts from ever being sold in the first place. Solid Gold Bomb, who created those “Keep Calm and Rape…” shirts on Amazon a few weeks ago, claimed that a computerized system accidentally produced the offending slogans. Now that we know that these mistakes are possible, it’s probably time for both t-shirt companies and Amazon to re-think using automated processes for printing shirts.
Yet, in this particular case, a quick perusal of ShirtCity.co.uk reveals a number of disturbing t-shirt designs which do not seem auto-created, including many more derogatory slogans about women and how they should be treated.
And a lot of these shirts are also sold on Amazon. So I appreciate them taking quick action to remove the Solid Gold Bomb shirts two weeks ago, but shouldn’t Amazon be doing the work of vetting these companies ahead of time – instead of leaving it to their customers to point things out?
There are no filters on Amazon – anyone of any age can see whatever they want on the site. There are no warning labels either. So if a teenage fan of NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III searches Amazon for a new sweatshirt, they might just land on this hoodie created by, you guessed it, Shirt City. It’s possible to imagine that same teenager perusing Shirt City’s larger collection and eventually finding the above shirts with their demeaning and degrading messages about women.
This is how Amazon plays a role in spreading and profiting from misogyny, and this is why they have a responsibility to do something about it.
Let them know that, until they take a stand, you’re #NotBuyingIt:
Check out Amazon’s commenting/reviewing policy for customers, which apparently doesn’t apply to the businesses selling products on the site.
UPDATE 2 (3:00 pm PST):
Amazon has removed the t-shirts in response to all your #NotBuyingIt tweets! The manufacturers, Shirt City, are still selling other items through Amazon and the offending “W.I.F.E” shirts are still for sale on their own website.
As far as we can tell, neither Amazon nor Shirt City has commented on the shirts or why they were being sold in the first place.
UPDATE 3 (4:20 pm PST):
Amazon UK is unfortunately still selling a version of the shirt created by Shirt City (thanks for the tip Julie M.!). Check it out here. Let them know you’re #NotBuyingIt by clicking below: