A Customer Complaint to The Man Factory™

Dear customer services dept,

I am writing to you to return a parcel that you sent out to me recently. I hope that by writing to you I can clarify my situation and you’ll understand where I am coming from this time. Despite my many unsuccessful attempts to reach you previously, I still have faith that someday soon you’ll rectify the situation.

For years I have been searching for feminist men. For as long as I could remember, they didn’t exist in my locale. My friends and I heard rumours that they could be found in specialty places in big, urban centres and on some university campuses, but as teenagers they were difficult to get to. Then the internet came along, and that was a game changer. We thought we could find all the Feminist Men™ we wanted. The internet suddenly became a cornucopia of choice and variety! FINALLY! After our whole lives of waiting, we might get to see and hold the real thing up close in person.



Some of the prototypes you released were cute – I really enjoyed those t-shirts with all the feminist branding on it. It made the task of picking a Feminist Man™ out of the crowd very user friendly, thank you very much; that is until we learned about the supply chain of those t-shirts.

And then you must not have filled out your trademark and patent applications properly, because my friends and I started to see “Feminist Men” knock-offs all over town. At first we didn’t mind too much. Sure they weren’t perfect, but so much better than what we had before. However many of us began to notice after awhile that our Feminist Men had started to malfunction. They kept repeating the same lines over and over and over again as if we didn’t hear them the first time!

“I believe all women should have complete bodily autonomy.”

“The notion of gender is a social construct.”

“My biggest heros are the women in my life.”

“I believe all women should have complete bodily autonomy.”

Our suspicions were raised when they started to privately add caveats to these repeated statements. So we opened them up only to make the horrifying discovery that many of them, despite having the beautiful, sparkly casing of a Feminist Man™, contained the exact same hardware of regular ol’ misogynists. They would talk a good talk, but I really wish they were required to come with warning labels from the amount of times my friends and I have gotten burned by them.

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Our knock-off Feminist Men would come on marches with us (they always had great sign-making skills), write letters to their local representatives, and campaign for marriage equality. A few of the more extroverted among them would publicly speak on the subjects we cared about. But sadly the ones who spoke the loudest, almost inevitably gave you the worst zap. They would stand up for my sisters and me, until the day came that doing so would mean potentially hurting their financial income or reputation with other influential men. They’d donate to women’s shelters and domestic violence charities then abuse us. They have supported our right to choose what we want to do with our bodies until we choose not to have sex with them.

I wanted the real thing – a real Feminist Man™. I was told that you could provide that, so I placed an order in good faith. When my box arrived though, it was suspiciously light. I questioned if it had actually come from you, but all the packaging and branding indicated that it had, so maybe I was wrong. I tentatively opened the box, and fished through all the styrofoam packing peanuts but couldn’t find him in there. When I rang the helpline listed on the invoice, I was rudely informed that he was “definitely in there” and maybe I just wasn’t digging deep enough. I reached in as deep as I could, eventually dumping the styrofoam all over my sitting room floor. Somehow I wasn’t surprised that the box was empty the whole time.

I’ve swept up the packing peanuts back into the box and I’m returning it to you. I hear all that styrofoam is bad for the environment, so probably best to reuse it. I would be grateful if you could refund me for my purchase, but somehow I doubt you’ll believe my story. I think someday you will, but for the moment I’m exhausted and give up.

Yours sincerely,

Shawna

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