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  • Friday, July 29, 2005


    The Return of the Curious Case of CafePress

    I wrote about this a few months ago. As I think I stressed then, this isn't about censorship. The issue to me is more one of accountability and following the standards and guidelines CafePress set up for themselves. What I find interesting is the way CafePress apparently massaged their search engine to find zero results for "donkey punch" yet return 130 results for "punch donkeys." As much as I despise this phrase and its attitude, that's not my central beef. I'm feeling quite pissed at CafePress for having ostensibly "sensitive" standards for what they won't print and then turning around and ignoring these guidelines and standards. It's dishonest. It deceives people into thinking CafePress has good politics, then CafePress violates their own rules. I would have more respect for them if they just altered their standards or eliminated them altogether rather than pretend they abide by these rules. At least then it would be clear what, if any, limits they have on items.

    CafePress' guidelines are in the body of the message below. You can make up your own mind about taking action on this. I admit this is a rather slippery issue because it definitely encompasses free speech and censorship concerns. I'm not even 100% certain I endorse taking action on this item. Yet I find the manipulation and dishonesty of the company a telling point for me. I think CafePress should take responsibility for their actions rather than resort to sly evasions. That's my opinion.

    [Update/addendum: I've been reminded that censorship has a very specific definition and is generally related to publicly funded projects rather than a private and commercial enterprise like CafePress. Thus, if CafePress chooses to not print or produce certain items, the item could be taken to another commercial printer.]


    Dear Colleagues and Friends,

    Hey there! It's been two months since you've heard from us regarding CafePress, and no doubt you've been up at night pondering those few remaining questions about our earlier campaign to eradicate hundreds of women-hating products from their vast website. In short, we did a lot of good work, but unfortunately more work remains. More on that in a moment.

    QUESTION: Did CafePress ever remove all the hideous "donkey punch" merchandise from its site?
    ANSWER: Yes and no. At the campaign's inception, there were nearly 300 donkey punch products. Without ever admitting any wrongdoing, Candice Carr and Co. quietly removed the worst products until something interesting happened: the company manipulated their search engine so that if you searched for the terms "donkey punch," you got a no-results-found page. This is still the case. However, we realized that if you search for "punch donkeys," you can find about 130 products, including some infant clothing AND some brand new items, all featuring this hateful terminology. In other words, they found a (temporary) way to get the angry feminists off their backs while continuing to profit from misogyny.

    QUESTION: Did CafePress ever remove all the pro-rape products from its site?
    ANSWER: Not really. They (quietly) removed the most vile offenders, but chose to leave in two dozen products that say, "You can't rape the willing!" Which is like, technically true, but still a pro-rape sentiment. Additionally, CafePress continues to exhibit a stunning lack of quality control or any semblance of a screening process, ensuring that creative misogynists wishing to promote new and different forms of violence against women can find an eager sponsor with them. We are referring specifically to a brand-new gem of a slogan which states, "Its only rape if she says no...SO GAG THE BITCH." View all 17 nauseating items at:

    QUESTION: Did CafePress ever respond to the hundreds of emails we sent during this campaign? Did they ever satisfactorily explain their non-existent screening policy or why they routinely violate their own content guidelines?
    ANSWER: No and no. We have yet to see one email in response. Apparently, to respond to us would somehow be equivalent to admitting guilt.

    QUESTION: Did any of the feminist or anti-rape vendors we contacted close their shops because of our campaign?
    ANSWER: Nope. We are sorry to report that,,,, Trixie Films, Chicana Mama, Feminist Karate Union, and Annabelle Magazine have continued to sell their feminist or progressive products alongside the likes of White Trash Tees and Donkey Punch Farm. (We also note that the Director of Kalamazoo NOW was *particularly* hostile to our campaign, since it cluttered her inbox) On the bright side, we congratulate Men Can Stop Rape and Nikki Craft for closing out their CafePress accounts in response to this action!

    QUESTION: Are you going to ask me to write more emails and talk to Candice Carr again?
    ANSWER: Um, yes. Believe us, we're not exactly thrilled to have to take on the quality control responsibilities for this company, especially since they're not paying us, but we just can't keep silent when misogyny-for-fun-and-profit continues to flourish at this supposedly enlightened company. Hopefully, you are rested from the two-month hiatus and ready to renew the battle.


    1. The term "donkey punch" is still offensive, still promotes violence against women, and still violates your company's Content Guidelines.
    2. It is dishonest to pretend to remove donkey punch products and not actually remove them.
    3. It is nonsensical to remove dozens of these products in May, and subsequently add new products featuring this term. Please explain your logic.
    4. It is indefensible, as well as a violation of your company's Content Guidelines, to sell products that promote or glorify rape, such as the 17 items that say, "Its only rape if she says no...SO GAG THE BITCH" and the 23 that say, "You can't rape the willing!"
    5. It is unacceptable that CafePress has no screening process to remove woman-hating products from the production pipeline BEFORE they appear for sale, forcing us to use our own time and energy to continually monitor your content.
    6. We are continuing to boycott all of your products and will encourage everyone we know to do the same. This information has been widely circulated in the U.S. and internationally.

    The definition of a donkey punch, as found on
    "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."

    CafePress' so-called Content Guidelines:
    *Content that may infringe on the rights of a third party.
    *Items that make inappropriate use of Nazi symbols and glamorize the actions of Hitler.
    *Use of marks that signify hate towards another group of people.
    *Hate and/or racist terms.
    *Inappropriate content or nudity that is not artistic in nature.
    *Content that exploits images or the likeness of minors.
    *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

    The URLs of the products in question:
    131 DONKEY PUNCH PRODUCTS can be found at these stores.
    50 donkey punch products, including children's wear
    1 shirt
    1 hat
    40 products - a new vendor, not part of the May campaign
    11 products
    3 products
    13 products - another new vendor
    12 products

    17 "Gag the Bitch" products
    22 "Can't Rape the Willing" products
    1 "Can't Rape the Willing" thong

    The company contact information:
    Toll Free Customer Service Line: 1-877-809-1659
    Candice Carr's direct number: 510-877-1926
    various emails:,,,,,,,,,

    We hope you'll commit to one phone call or email, and forwarding this email to at least three other people. Of course, if you've got a mailing list, blog, or army, that's even better. If you need a copy of the original action alert, let us know and we'll send it along. Please DO NOT post this email address on the web or CC us directly on your emails to CafePress, although we'd be happy to read your letter in a Blind CC.

    As always, if you're swamped and want to be removed from this mailing list, tell us. Alternatively, if you like your activism a little more frequent, we can hook you up with the secret passwords to become full-on members of the AntiPorn Activist Network.

    Thank you in advance for your help,

    AntiPorn Activist Network
    one angry girl designs

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