Tuesday, May 17, 2005
OK, Angry Now
PLEASE NOTE!!!: I typed the phrase "donkey punch" into the Cafe Press catalog and came up with zero entries. Unless I somehow made a mistake, it seems like they have withdrawn the 225 items mentioned below. I still think this is worth reading. If I get additional info I'll post a follow up.
[UPDATE Weds., 5/18/05: Apparently the "donkey punch" items are "hiding" and are only visible if you do store particular searches. I'm not going to reprint the list of links here but if you'd like to get an email with them, write to: SPAMBUSTING ADDRESS: antiporn_activist(AT)yahoo(DOT)com.]
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
You have received this email because you participated
in a previous action led by the AntiPorn Activist
Network or one angry girl designs, or because you are
known for your work to stop violence against women.
We are sorry to report that we have something new and
awful to share with you.
Many of you may be familiar with CafePress, the online
store that sells shirts, stickers, and buttons
featuring the artwork and slogans of everyday people.
Handling the printing, inventory, and shipping while
extracting a reasonable fee, CafePress is a conduit
for creative folk with something to share but not much
of a budget. Sure, sometimes people might submit
artwork that's simply too offensive to grace a
t-shirt, but CafePress has its own guidelines to
screen out the truly hateful stuff.
But violence against women? Well, apparently
CafePress has no guidelines for that.
Recently, we learned of 24 stores within the CafePress
family that sell a total of 225 products featuring the
urban slang term "donkey punch." We were blissfully
unaware of this term, which is not found in Webster's,
but an internet search of urban slang sources yielded
the following disturbing definitions:
!! WARNING: GRAPHIC/TRIGGERING LANGUAGE FOLLOWS !!
"Donkey Punch: The supposed move involves the male
punching the female in the back of the head or neck
immediately prior to orgasm. The alleged purpose is to
cause the muscles around the vagina or anus of the
female to contract around the male's penis, creating a
supposedly enhanced orgasm for the male. A variation
of the practice may be enacted to distract the female,
allowing for the surprise penetration of the anus. It
has been speculated the term may refer to the
surprised female at this point "bucking" like a
"Donkey Punch: Banging a girl doggy style and then
moments before you come, sticking your dick in her
ass, and then punching her in the back of the head.
This gives a tremendous sensation, but for it to work
correctly, the girl must be knocked out so that her
asshole tightens up. "
Apparently the element of surprise is key in producing
the desired effect. In other words, a woman's consent
to be punched in the head is not requested in advance.
We have no way to confirm that donkey-punching is
actually being practiced (since it can cause injury or
death), but it is certainly being promoted at
CafePress. Visit their homepage, type in those two
key words, and you will be confronted with 225
products ranging from hats ("Give this to your
girlfriend, and tell her to wear it backwards next
time you take her to bed") to shirts ("A Donkey Punch
is the greatest thing invented. Women love it whether
they want to admit it or not").
By now, you're probably curious about those
aforementioned content guidelines. For your
convenience, we have included them:
CafePress's General Guidelines for Prohibited Content
* Content that may infringe on the rights of a third
* Items that make inappropriate use of Nazi symbols
and glamorize the actions of Hitler.
* Use of marks that signify hate towards another group
* Hate and/or racist terms.
* Inappropriate content or nudity that is not
artistic in nature.
* Content that exploits images or the likeness of
* Obscene and vulgar comments and offensive remarks
that harass, threaten, defame or abuse others such as
F*** (Ethnic Group).
* Content that depicts violence, is obscene, abusive,
fraudulent or threatening such as an image of a murder
victim, morgue shots, promotion of suicide, etc.
* Content that glamorizes the use of "hard core"
illegal substance and drugs such as a person injecting
a vial of a substance in their body.
* Material that is generally offensive or in bad
taste, as determined by CafePress.com.
We reasoned that "donkey punch" merchandise, which
promotes sexual violence against women, constituted a
clear violation of several of these guidelines, and
that these 225 products somehow slipped through the
cracks. Silly us. One APAN member spoke at length
with Ryan in Customer Service and Candice in Content,
expressing concern about the items, and has been
informed that the company had already reviewed the
matter and found no policy violations.
We disagree. We hold the quaint view that a t-shirt
glorifying the practice of punching a woman at the
base of her skull to enhance one's orgasm is
"generally offensive or in bad taste," that it
"depicts violence," and that it does "signify hate
towards another group of people." We are hoping you
feel the same, and will promptly make your views known
to the confused individuals at CafePress.
We estimate this action will take about 30 minutes of
your time. In order for it to be successful, everyone
receiving this email should participate. Here are
your marching orders:
1. Call CafePress toll-free at 1-877-809-1659 between
7AM and 7PM PST. Ask for Candice in the Legal
Department. If they won't put you through, her direct
number is 510-877-1926. If Candice isn't available,
ask for Maureen or Lindsay. Once you have a live
human, explain why you are offended by the 225 "donkey
punch" products currently in CafePress stores. If you
have bought from the company in the past, mention
that. Refer specifically to the content guidelines
and ask the staffer to explain in detail why these
products do not violate them. If they cannot do this,
ask to speak to someone who can. Try to keep them on
the phone as long as you can, but remain polite.
Conclude by saying that you will refrain from buying
any CafePress products until the offending items are
removed, and will encourage others to do the same.
Promise to follow-up your conversation with an email,
and request the best email address for this purpose.
They'll probably give you firstname.lastname@example.org.
(INTERNATIONAL ACTIVISTS: call Candice directly at
510-877-1926 or skip ahead to #2)
2. Write an email to: email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and
firstname.lastname@example.org (or any other email you were given).
Summarize your feelings about the "donkey punch"
merchandise available through CafePress. Include the
URL from your keyword search. If you spoke with a
live staffer, summarize your conversation, noting
whether or not you were satisfied with their
responses. Refer specifically to the content
guidelines and ask the email recipient to explain why
these products do not violate them. Say that you look
forward to all of these products being withdrawn from
their website, and that you will postpone any
potential CafePress purchases until they are
permanently gone. Request a reply.
2a. (optional) We have identified a number of
CafePress clients who sell pro-feminist,
anti-violence, or pro-gay merchandise. Write them
emails expressing your concerns and requesting their
help in convincing the company to withdraw the
offending products. Don't threaten to boycott them.
[Note: I'm deleting this list because of spam concerns. Write the address below for more information.]
3. Circulate this email far and wide, particularly if
you run an organization, maintain a mailing list, post
to a blog, or command a small army.
4. Forward any relevant communication to
[Spam-buster address follows] [antiporn_activist ATT yahoo DOTT com] so we can keep track of
our progress. Please DO NOT include this address in
your communication with CafePress.
We thank you in advance for your help. Updates will
be forthcoming as the action gets underway. As
always, if you wish to be removed from this mailing
list, please let us know.
AntiPorn Activist Network and one angry girl designs