Sale of controversial shirts halted on Amazon
Juliana Segura, Rocket Contributor
March 7, 2013
Filed under Campus Life
A recent controversial issue that has struck world-wide news is the discovery of shirts listed on Amazon adorned with several offensive slogans that have brought major attention nationally and internationally.
The product in question, which was sold by T-shirt company Solid Gold Bomb online through Amazon United Kingdom, was a replica of the British slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On” but altered the slogan to bear such phrases as, “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot,” “Keep Calm and Hit Her” and “Keep Calm and Knife Her.”
Amazon’s United Kingdom has marketed a number of T-shirts designed by the company, but with the amount of criticism recently jumpstarted on social media websites, the shirts were forced to be taken down from Amazon. Although these shirts were printed only if requested by a customer, the company was apologetic toward the incident but expressed that they are not at fault for the actions, according to an article posted on CNN.com.
According to the article, Solid Gold Bomb founder Michael Fowler stated that these slogans were computer generated. In an apology letter published on their website, he discusses how this action occurred, stating that, “As the volumes of combinations of words, slogans, styles, colours and sizes are well into the millions, a volume of computers were used to do this entirely in a cloud type environment.”
In the letter, Fowler also had mentioned that this database with all words had chosen a few and combined them turning it into an offensive shirt. He also wrote on Solid Gold Bomb’s website that “These items sat online and on non-indexed servers for the last year and myself and our company had no idea of the issue. We simply do not produce poor humour or offensive products.”
Director of the Women’s Center Jodi Solito is knowledgeable of this situation, and said she isn’t too pleased of the whole issue.
“I was very surprised to see these shirts when I first saw the articles,” Solito said. “I think of Britain as much more a progression in some ways.”
Solito said we live in a society where rape has now become a huge
issue that still many are facing at any age.
According to the One Billion Rising website, it estimates that 1 in 4 women will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. With that said, not only are women victimized by this terror, but men are as well. According to the website, 1 in 6 men will experience rape or attempted rape as well.
“Rape is penetration of the mouth, vagina or anus without consent. Consent is the important piece, and often the most complicated piece for people to understand,” assistant director of the Women’s Center Karla Fonner said.
Consent is provided only when both parties agree to a sexual act without the influences of pressure or substances. Rape is classified as sexual assault, which is also, in other terms, a form of domestic violence. Just like domestic violence, rape is an act of power and control towards the victim.
In most cases, social media puts an impression on how to act in terms of sex. With young people who view these music videos, they see how these celebrities are acting and believe this is the way culture should be stated by Solito.
Discussing the recent topic with spokesperson from New England Law Wendy Murphy, she said she was appalled by these recent events.
Murphy said she does a lot of speaking out for women’s rights and against domestic violence.
“We need to start thinking about pornography as a women’s minstrel show,” Murphy said.
The whole idea of the issue about the T-shirt has caused many people world-wide to be in complete disappointment and shock. Even if these shirts really weren’t designed by someone in the company as Fowler says, these shirts come across as anti-women propaganda, according to Fonner.
“There is everything out there from T-shirts to bumper stickers to cartoons promoting violence against women in the forms of physical assault and rape,” Fonner said. “What makes this an issue for me is that we as a society have become so desensitized to actions that destroy other people both physically and emotionally that we are willing to put those statements on a T-shirt.”
Fonner said that if this was an act to be humorous, many victims who have been affected by rape may feel as if their voices never matter, and that because society supports this behavior and people who see the shirts may think that rape and violence are acceptable.
Fonner said anyone who finds himself or herself in this situation should call the Women’s Center or Student Health Center, both of which may be able to provide more assistance.