Good morning, everyone.
Yesterday, someone posted a photo on Twitter, which showed a card they’d found in a shop. A birthday card for a 13 year-old girl, supposedly.
I sent the following complaint to Hallmark via their website (including the card text if you can’t read it from the image), who appear to be affiliated with the company shown in the image, Arnold Barton (Emphasis and paragraphs added, since their contact box does not allow any formatting):
I am writing to complain about a card produced by Arnold Barton, which I understand is registered with Hallmark. The card is depicted here: http://t.co/JBxVOSsc and the text reads “You’re 13 today! If you had a rich boyfriend he’d give you diamonds and rubies. Well, maybe next year you will – when you’ve bigger boobies!”.
I hope I do not have to explain why this message is so offensive and damaging, but I will try to be brief. This card suggests that a young woman’s worth is in her body, that men should buy her things and that the size of her breasts will determine her success. This is such a horrible message to send to our young girls, and I am shocked that a company would produce this card, that shops would sell it and that people would buy it, if indeed they are. I would very much appreciate a response to this complaint.
We came to the conclusion that Hallmark was the way to go with respect to Arnold Barton products due to the information here, which showed the latter to be a dormant/non-trading company but registered at the Hallmark office.
Today comes this update from the Hallmark website (emphasis mine):
We know that some people have expressed concerns about a card, branded Arnold Barton, Co., sold recently in the United Kingdom. The message below is from Hallmark UK:
“This card was printed over 15 years ago by Arnold Barton before Hallmark UK acquired that brand. This card has not been reproduced since and we are surprised that a copy was still available for purchase in a retail store. We agree the card is not appropriate; we apologize on behalf of Arnold Barton and will do our best to track down any copies remaining in circulation.”
UPDATE 2 p.m. 12/7/2012
Following is an updated message from David Dean, managing director of Hambledon Studios, a subsidiary of Hallmark UK:
“This card was produced by Creative Publishing prior to Hallmark Cards acquiring the company in 1998. We are as surprised and horrified as anyone else to have discovered that there are still copies in circulation. The card has not been produced for over 15 years and would never pass our own strict guidelines of taste and appropriateness. We would like to assure all our customers that we will do everything in our power to track down remaining copies.”
Thank you, Mr Dean. So it seems Arnold Barton died a death (thankfully, coming out with that kind of product) and similar for Creative Publishing. What I do wonder, is how and why this card can still be found, 15 years after it was printed?? Surely shops have stock clear-outs periodically. Odd.
Let’s hope their new mission to “track down” the last of these cards is successful, and that no more little focus groups decide this is a good idea. Did these people not have daughters or sisters? Again, going back to an old post, it seems to be evidence of the huge disconnect a lot of people seem to employ when it comes to people they know and random women (or girls, even!) on the street.
Still, I happened to have been 13 in 1998. I would’ve found it offensive then, too, as would most of my peers, I’m sure. 15 years isn’t so long ago.
I’d be interested to know how many complaints they got – can’t beat a good bit of Twitter outrage sometime
Edit: HuffPo wrote about it too, but beware standard comments along the lines of “Oh stop being offended by everything”, “the ones about men are more degrading” and so on. Sigh.