For the last five years Amazon.co.uk has been selling an extremely misandirst product promoting domestic violence against men. The product is either described as “Smack him” or “Punch Bag – Boyfriend” and could be found at three different addresses, one of which is a listing fulfilled directly by Amazon.
Buyers are instructed to “Insert Photo Of Your Ex Or Cheating Boyfriend” in a special photo slot in the product. After doing so, they are commanded by the large print on the product itself to instruction to “punch him here”
(in his face) and to “knee him here” (in his groin). We’re all for reasonable freedom of expression, but it does appear quite clear that this product does little else than encourage females to be violent towards male partners
and ex-partners. In promoting this product Amazon was sending out the hugely problematic message that it acceptable and somehow justifiable for women to abuse men, and that acts such as infidelity or simply daring to
break up with a female partner somehow excuse this violence.
Contrary to common misconceptions, there are actually hundred of thousands of male victims of domestic violence in the UK, with the UK Crime Survey repeatedly showing that at least 40% of all domestic violence victims are men and husbands more likely to be victims of abuse than wives. These victims of abuse receive almost no government support or recognition, and all major domestic violence charities refuse to house them for
ideological purposes thus either leaving them homeless or forced to stay with their abuser. HEqual explained to Amazon that their product therefore further marginalised a group of domestic violence victims already facing huge stigma and massive discrimination. Such marginalisation is further demonstrated by the lack of any equivalent product sold by Amazon encouraging males to to be violence towards their girlfriends should they dare to cheat on them or leave (though for the record we’re not in favour of any products blatantly promoting abuse).
I’m pleased to announce that following our communications with Amazon, they have now withdrawn and deleted two out of the three listings of the punchbag, with the third still in place but displaying the product as now unavailable. We’re reasonably confident this final listing will be deleted in due course.
Given the sexist nature of our media when it comes to men’s equality issues, I doubt our work will even get 1% of the coverage that seemingly non-existent, computer generated, rape promoting t-shirts got earlier this year and we need as much help as possible in spreading the word. Lets just emphasise the differences here comparing those T-shirts and this punchbag, the differences really couldn’t be much greater:
- the punchbag they’ve now (almost) withdrawn physically exists
- the hateful phrases encouraging violence against men were crafted by real people rather than a script
- the punchbag was aimed specifically at women and encouraged violence against male ex-partners
- there were at least three different listings and sellers (even including Amazon.co.uk themselves), it was not simply third parties involved.
- it had been on sale for over five years
- people actually bought the punchbag
- there were not 8,425 unique punchbags all with different slogans, this is the only punchbag sold containing an sort of hateful or controversial phrasing.
HEquals would like to say a big thank you to all the taxpayer funded feminist anti domestic violence charities such as Women’s Aid, Men’s Advice Line and Refuge who campaigned so long and hard against this product which so blatantly promoted domestic violence. We say “like to” because such thanks are a mere fantasy at present and the truth is that all such organisations have been completely silent about this issue for all this time. You have to wonder if that would this be the case if the genders had been reversed?
In reality it was actually the Mankind Initiative who are the only other group know to have worked on this issue, forcing Superdrug to withdraw it some time ago. Just like HEqual they don’t get a penny from the government. Additional thanks should go to the two people who left negative reviews on Amazon’s site way back in 2008 which has undoubtedly made our work easier.
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URL’s of the listings are included below for proof of their removal along with links to Google’s cache feature to show how the pages used to appear prior to our complaint.