Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Etsy Removes Rape Congratulations Cards...

Everyone's favorite online e-tailer for handmade crafts items, Etsy, is finally backing off a shameful policy. If you're in love with the site, be prepared to have your bubble burst.

Just before Christmas, word started spreading that Etsy was selling "Rape Congratulations" cards. What was worse, when horrified customers complained about it, the website refused to remove the cards arguing that "different people may find some content to be offensive, harmful, inaccurate or deceptive" - the inference, of course, being that other, less overly-sensitive, people will NOT find it offensive, therefore it should remain for sale.

As for the details of the card itself...

"Congratulations. You Got Bad Touched."

That's the message printed on cards for sale on Etsy... The description reads "Get creeped on, get raped? Know someone that has? Then this card is for them." The cards currently sell for $2.50 each and are made by a person using the name "youstupidbitch"...

So, what exactly are you getting for your two-and-a-half dollars? An offensive card featuring a drawing of a naked sexual assault victim curled up on the floor of a shower stall "printed on heavy duty white cardstock" complete with "red accents and matching envelope".

You be the judge. Does an image of "a naked sexual assault victim curled up on the floor of a shower stall" cross the line for you?

The good news is that Etsy did finally decide to remove the cards. Too bad all it took was a petition with over 17,000 signatures and negative publicity on CNN.

Etsy's previous policy had "prohibited disparaging or promoting hate against people based on race or religion," but these policies had "never covered gender, people with disabilities, or sexual orientation". Now, to their credit, they do.

But forget, for a moment, questions about what's strictly legal and what's not. Wouldn't common sense dictate that selling "Rape Congratulations" cards is probably a pretty bad idea? Indeed, shouldn't someone at Etsy have stood up and raised the moral imperative involved?


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