Backlash: Etsy.com's "Sexy" Mass Murderers?

There’s some backlash brewing against Etsy.com for a fashion article about recreating “Bonnie Parker’s look” in which they describe Bonnie & Clyde as, “rather infamous characters in U.S. history, and for good reason: honestly, what’s sexier than a nefarious duo driving cross country on a crime spree of such massive and public proportion?” The author of the article is being taken to task in the comments and the Etsy Bitch blog has picked up the story as well.

Etsy Bitch says:

Yeah, yeah, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty made it a Hollywood hit, but in reality, Bonnie Parker was nothing more than a common criminal who supported her insane boyfriend’s murdering spree. She’s not worthy of having a trend of fashion for her, and even further perpetuating the falsehood that Hollywood began is just plain ignorant.

Besides, Faye’s look wasn’t even remotely Bonnie’s look. Just look at the pictures of the real Bonnie Parker. It would be more apropos to call the article “Get the vintage Faye Dunaway look” instead of glamorizing a criminal.

…and here are some reactions from Etsy.com’s commenters:

What is romantic about dying at aged 25 in a hail of bullets? Seriously Storque, you should rethink this article.

Bonnie and Clyde were murderers…I’m rethinking what it is Etsy stands for by promoting such things. Maybe saying “get Faye Dunaway’s vintage look” would be more appropriate.

nice. hey storque, why not do sexy school shooters next?

Awesome! Next, how about some lighthearted suggestions on achieving Osama bin Laden’s casual terrorist look? Or the funny-little-mustache and swastika sporting style of Adolph Hitler? Or maybe Ted Bundy’s murderous chic and the trenchcoated glamour of the Columbine killers? That would be really cool too!

Ouch. The tipster who sent this story in says: “I thought this was so mind-boggling and in questionable taste that I am beginning to wonder of The Onion bought out etsy.”

What do you think? Offensive? Or harmless?

Etsy Finds Vintage: Getting Bonnie Parker’s Look [Etsy] (Thanks, Adam and Jace!)
Hooray for romanticizing criminals! [Etsy Bitch]
(Photo: FBI)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Cyco says:

    My g/f sells some of her stuff on etsy. We spent some time going through other people’s wares and I can tell you that there are people selling stuff on there that is a lot more disturbing than this. Some of the stuff people are selling as art is just way out there.

  2. j.b. says:

    Umm, both?

    It’s not like they were Che Guevara, or anything. His likeness totally deserved to be turned into post-post-modern hipster fare. All the lives ruined by that process were not lost in vain.

  3. perruptor says:

    “…what’s sexier than a nefarious duo driving cross country on a crime spree of such massive and public proportion?”

    Lots of things. Many, many things.

  4. Ryan H says:

    Harmless. It’s clear from the start that the OP is talking about a romanticized cultural figure and not a factual person. That said, one of the replies is spot on in that there are so many better models if you are looking at that period of dress.

  5. PinkBox says:

    Etsy often seems to have the most random showcases. Chloe Sevigny, Rihanna, and Suri Cruise, to name a few.

  6. MissTicklebritches says:

    @j.b.: try telling that to my relatives who escaped from Cuba.

    BTW, do a search on Hitler on Etsy.com. That stuff is fucked up.

  7. katylostherart says:

    well, i like the 30s style.

    didn’t see the faye/beatty movie. i’m not getting why this girl has sand in her panties over this. it’s bonnie and clyde, they’ve been romanticized from basically when they were still shooting people til now.

    if it’s fake 30s(ish) violence is it then ok? where’s the rage over chicago?

    i’m just not getting the point to this i guess…

  8. JulesNoctambule says:

    Oh, Etsy. . .you have so much time to come up with questionable ‘articles’ like this one, but not enough to fix the search function on your website so sellers can, you know, *sell* things. Now that might be worthy of a Consumerist mention all on its own!

  9. Hate_Brian_Club_I'mNotOnlyThePresidentI'mAClient says:

    Combine the Bonnie & Clyde look with a car-mounted turret firing Snickers candy bars at passers-by and we’ll have the end of Western Civilization on our hands!

    Being offended by something this tame is a waste of energy.

  10. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @JulesNoctambule: No kidding on that inefficient search function. What a time-waster.

  11. friendlynerd says:

    Good thing this is the USA and people can write what they want. Others can exercise their freedom not to read it if it’s so bothersome.

  12. JulesNoctambule says:

    @speedwell: But think of all the money Etsy makes because their search function more or less requires sellers to constantly list/renew items so they can stay at the top of the categories! Why fix something that’s only broken for everyone but Etsy? Never mind that some of us would like to find the things we want to buy without it being such a hassle.

  13. Anonymously says:

    They have a festival celebrating Bonnie & Clyde’s demise. From what I saw of it on TV, there does seem to be some romanticism of these two criminals, despite what the festival organizer says.

  14. Drowner says:

    @Hate_Brian_Club: Word. I had to read this 3-4 times just to discern what could be so offensive. I’m still not getting it. Time for a 5th read I guess.

  15. katylostherart says:

    @friendlynerd: i love ideas like this. don’t read it if you don’t like it. how do you know you don’t until you read it?

    logic: fail.

  16. meg9 says:

    Thank you for covering this, I sell on etsy, and really frustrated me to see a violent criminal glamorized like this.

    It is offensive when you consider that the story (how to get the thirties look with vintage clothing) could have EASILY been covered without a loving reference to a murderer.

  17. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @MissTicklebritches: Ditto that. Che Guevara was not a hero in any way, shape or form. I realize that even misguided, ignorant hipster/slacker types have the right to wear a Che shirt, but I also have the right to tell you that I find it offensive and an atrocious thing to wear-not asking to remove it, just voicing my opinion. To me, the offensiveness of a Che shirt is tantamount to someone wearing a swastika or hammer and sickle. I’m Cuban, but I can’t be the only one to be disgusted

  18. The point is that Etsy is glamouring the real criminals, and not the actress/costume designer of the movie (we think) they really meant. And to top it off the type of items they featured are not in high supply on Etsy, so it was a very shallow and poorly though out promotion that did little benefit to the Vintage sellers they were attempting to promote. And tasteless, just tasteless. Almost like saying “It’s August 9th, here is how to get that Sharon Tate waif look on the 39th anniversary’s of the sexy Manson family murders! Ooh la la!”

    There are so many instance of Etsy featuring things in bad taste as of late on their “public face” blog. Last week it was things for “non breeders”. Before that it was wanting to find “little old ladies in the midwest” to talk to for a feature. The scandal of them supporting, even featuring, a seller who was lying about making her beads that she actually bought from other artists… and taunting those who made them with threats. Featuring a seller who was violating (unknowingly) multiple big time copyrights, and Etsy’s “lawyer” played dumb and passed the buck when people called foul. Then they refused to remove the feature when the seller, who is now closing up fearing a lawsuit from those copyright holders, asked them to. Featuring factory made resellers on the front page and in Etsy Finds. Awarding and then retracting a grant to a SoCal street team for costs doing a charity benefit for veterens – and why? An unpsoken miscommunicated and unreasonably short deadline that was dependent on the east coast time the office closed. Sure they coughed up some money and threw it at the charity in the uproar, but the team was still screwed it of it’s cost coverage. Oh and how can we forget the ass breaking excuse for a lawsuit inspiring hammock how to? That last one rather sums up the entire Etsy staff IQ.

    And that’s just the last month!

    Bad taste, general business cluelessness, and poor forethought rule at Etsy not the exception.

    We were hoping for better to come of Etsy once Maria came in and took over as CEO… but so far it’s actually getting worse!

  19. erwachsener says:

    It’s easy to see the concept the writer was attempting to grasp. Considering it was written by an employee named “TeenAngster,” it’s also easy to see why it was such a sophomoric and fluffy interpretation of the history and the fashion trend.

    Two comments sum up the Etsy staffing issues:

    “…So lets see: ignorance of history, ignorance of film history, ignorance of costume design, what else? Just too f…g lazy to do 5 minutes of research?”

    From an Etsy employee:
    “Through sheer quantity… not every piece can match the best you’ve written – I’ve certainly seen that from some of the things that I’ve written here in the Forums, and then winced at in retrospect.”

    Etsy simply suffers from retaining a very young, inexperienced, and unstructured team for PR, Marketing, and Customer Service. Etsy is amateur in almost all respects.

  20. coren says:

    @katylostherart: I’m betting that most people who didn’t like it knew within the first few sentences they wouldn’t. Or that could have meant to not read the site itself anymore. Logic=fail=failed. :p

    Considering what stuff can be found on Etsy already that isn’t causing an outcry, and considering what fashion already exists (god I hate the Che shirts, and god are they popular on my campus) – I don’t see what the uproar is about.

  21. friendlynerd says:

    @katylostherart:
    Better rile up the PTA and ban it like you did the Judy Blume books.

  22. floraposte says:

    I don’t think it’s universally apparent at what point a historical tragedy becomes okay to use as a non-serious touchpoint (didn’t somebody have a link to a humorous piece that decided to offer guidelines?). There were some comments here about the questionable taste of the Avianca crash image with a joking label, too. I think the problem in this case is 1) that there’s little indication the writer grasps that there were real people who were really dead and 2) that Etsy’s been ticking some people off for awhile so this looks like part of an ongoing tone-deafness.

  23. donopolis says:

    I think the level of outrage…re: referring to Bonnie and Clyde as sexy, bespeaks an ignorance of history. Bonnie and Clyde were glamorized and romanticized even while their crime spree was in progress.

    Donopolis

  24. varro says:

    Making money off of gory crime scene photos has been done. (And by a distant relative of mine at that!)

  25. katylostherart says:

    @friendlynerd: ???

    ok…

    i’ll just read that as you’re telling me i want censorship or something when all i said was you have to read something to know if you disagree with/dislike/like/agree with/don’t care about. i work in an industry basically founded on anticensorhip. stating an opinion that boils down to “well if you don’t like it don’t ___ it” doesn’t work with things like this. it’s not unreasonable to read or experience or watch something before declaring you don’t like it. it takes an open mind to even put a toe in the water instead of just jumping the gun and saying screw it from the start. yes some people search for things to be offended by.

    this took an entire minute to read. i questioned what the point of this whole thing was with the original blogger. i find it mildly absurd that she’s bothered enough to write about this but that’s just what bloggers do. find random garbage to comment about. but i don’t find it unreasonable that she read something before stating that she was offended. it’s better to be offended with some knowledge of a subject than to just remain ignorant of something before saying you’re against it. i’ll give her credit for that.

    i still can’t really figure out why this is on consumerist as it doesn’t really have anything to do with being a better consumer. it’s just a rehashing of someone else’s opinion.

  26. This is worthy of a big mess of angry people in the world.

    I mean; what is more destructive in the whole world than an arts and craft’s website painting a romanticized picture of a famous female criminal in an effort to sell an otherwise generic look from the 30’s. They even throw in some marketing type nonsense like “criminal chic”.

    Why is there such “outrage” over this? Don’t dress like Bonnie if you’re so offended.

    I’m more outraged and offended by the astoundingly bad “art” that is for sale on there.

  27. Sorry, I’m at work. My errors in the above post are inexcusable.

    Let me try this again:

    This is worthy of a big mess of angry people on the internet.

    I mean; what is more destructive in the whole world than an arts and craft’s website painting a romanticized picture of a famous female criminal in an effort to sell an otherwise generic look from the 30’s? They even throw in some marketing type nonsense like “criminal chic”.

    Why is there such “outrage” over this? Don’t dress like Bonnie if you’re so offended.

    I’m more outraged and offended by the astoundingly bad “art” that is for sale on there.

    There we go.

  28. battra92 says:

    @j.b.: It’s disgusting that people wear the butcher of La Cabaña’s face on T-Shirts.

    But seriously, this is in bad taste but no more bad taste than the glamorizing of Jesse James, Billy the Kid et. all back 50 years ago.

  29. SpdRacer says:

    I guess we can all get worked up into a lather over this, but since it happened over 70 years ago and they were treated like celebrities are today, I really don’t see what the big deal is. We have a history of glorifying violence in this country, is it a good thing, probably not, but it ain’t going to change anytime soon.

  30. revmatty says:

    Yes, this is certainly the first time that anyone has ever romanticized criminals and outlaws.

  31. MercuryPDX says:

    @Ryan H: … Like 1930’s movie actresses: [www.moviemaidens.com]

    Although this would mean ditching the beret and tie tack.

  32. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Am I the only one that read it as kind of sarcastic?

    …honestly, what’s sexier than a nefarious duo driving cross country on a crime spree of such massive and public proportion?

    I guess they weren’t being sarcastic but dang it if it doesn’t read like a sarcastic statement.
    Perhaps the article was updated since the backlash began but the movie is in fact referenced in the article.

    Faye Dunaway’s wardrobe as Bonnie Parker set the standard for Depression era fashion’s 1970s reinvention.

    I just don’t think that they were trying to say that ‘murderers are teh hotness’.

  33. mwynn13 says:

    Tempest in a teapot. Has anyone seen a photo of the real Bonnie Parker? She looked like sucked-up white trash with a bad perm, in a beret. She was no Faye Dunaway.

  34. tcolberg says:

    Wow people, get a sense of humor. If you have a complaint, ask them to put a PG rating on the article and move on.

    Besides, a guide to 1930s style would go great with my 1934 Ford (same model as Bonny & Clyde’s).

  35. Well, everything else in the world is going so well right now, I guess people have to get mad about SOMETHING, right?

  36. j.b. says:

    @MissTicklebritches:

    Sorry, I thought it would be more clear that I was being sardonic about the whole Che thing. I find this and the Che thing congruent in some ways, and wanted to say so while mocking all those douches who display images and symbols without bothering to understand their history. It’s not just the ignorance that’s offensive, it’s the implied, studied decision on the part of some to play the ignorant.

    So, it’s offensive. And yet it’s usually harmless to others. Sometimes there can a benefit.

    One day I was in a park and one of those Massengill poster-boys with a Che shirt strolled on by. A kid was hanging nearby, and he asked me who was that on that shirt. He was maybe 11 or 12. The kid listened to my explanation. He thought about it for a second, nodded at me, and walked off shaking his head.

    I thought that was a good day.

  37. darkryd says:

    Cmon, people. there’s more important things to worry about today than this.

    Stop being so sensitive and move on.

  38. outtolunch says:

    The backlash from sellers on Etsy has a lot more going for it than just this faux paus. Etsy is full of extremely angry employees who may be looking at pink slips, but not fast enough! In a management shift, their hero was sidelined, the groupies are desperate, and they are really mad their new condos may be relisted, Red Hook or not. Darn, and Ikea is just down the street……..
    Etsy employees are mad, they are taking it out on the sellers, because they always do. They want Etsy to fail, they want sellers to languish, they want to implode because they are all a bunch of disgruntled angsters who got away with their own murder method——–they worked for a company for 3 years with no management, no supervision, no job descriptions, no performance reviews, and no one to watch their activities. They built up very comfortable little kingdoms for themselves and they think they run the world.
    I’d love to see what their new bosses think of them once they make the mistake of hiring one of these little tyrants with horrible work habits and enough arrogance to take over what’s left of ungentrified Brooklyn.

  39. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @darkryd: :Sigh: Another maddening instance of moral relativism. So glad I have you to tell me when my displeasure is righteous or just self-indulgent. Unless you’re dedicating every waking hour of your life to ending genocide in Darfur, freeing political prisoners or curing cancer, how about you lay off telling people what is OK to be concerned about? Wait a minute? Why are you here? You should be out *worrying about more important things*. Go save the world from injustice, boy wonder

  40. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @TomCruisesTesticles: Or girl wonder, for that matter

  41. ElizabethD says:

    Oh for crissake. Some ppl need to lighten up. It’s not like Bonnie and Clyde gunned down their last victims a few weeks ago. Jeez. I thought it was a clever marketing round-up. And, Faye Dunaway is the goddess.

  42. crypticgeek says:

    Bonnie and Clyde?! Too soon Etsy…TOO SOON!

  43. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I gave up trying to shop on Etsy because I was never able to log in to buy anything. I tried logging in from different computers, re-registering, changing my cookie settings, wrote to their worthless customer service who told me to try what I’d already tried…. I don’t know how anything gets sold there. Rather than worrying about a Bonnie & Clyde article, sellers and buyers could just stop wasting their time with Etsy and come up with a more effective venue.

  44. kyle4 says:

    Was the person who wrote this thinking that Bonnie & Clyde only existed as movie characters? If the writer had just typed the name in Google first than all of this would’ve been avoided. The lashing is well deserved.

  45. kyle4 says:

    Sorry for the double post but: “Bonnie and Clyde are rather infamous characters in U.S. history, and for good reason: honestly, what’s sexier than a nefarious duo driving cross country on a crime spree of such massive and public proportion? Their exploits were legendary, their inevitable ends simultaneously tragic and oh-so-romantic”

    This writer still hasn’t corrected it either. That’s the worst part. Instead of rephrasing it and saying “Modeling after Faye Dunaway’s look as Bonnie in the film Bonnie & Clyde” she instead praises the actual duo.

    For the record though, Bonnie never committed any murders, they say she didn’t even use a gun (she just helped reload it). Still, Clyde and the other guy in the group killed nine police officers, and she’s glorifying that? Without correcting it, 4 days later now, it shows that she isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

  46. rocknrollwife says:

    I’ve sold on etsy; I’ve bought as well. Never had a negative experience.

    The etsybitchfolks are professional agonists. They claim to love etsy but spend way too much energy do “this”; sending frivolous tips touting their own negativity.

    I do think etsy has issues. But the way in which the etsybitch folks go about it solves nothing.

    As other commenters said: it’s a young, hipsterish company. OK. Can’t we let the market decide their fate? Either we as sellers and buyers like the aesthetic and functionality or we don’t. If we don’t, we can ask for change or LEAVE.

    That’s what I don’t understand. No one in Darfur (to reference another poster) needs a crocheted mustache. The items bought and sold on etsy are frivolities- really. It’s not like their selling Milk to starving babies when the functionality would be critical.

    I think it’s interesting that the Agonistes have so much emotion invested in etsy that they feel entitled to have things run they way they want them. That’s just being a bully!

    No one is forcing them or anyone to read the articles etsy publishes. Did they send a thoughtful, well-written letter of complaint (as the Consumerist has modeled so many times) to the etsy powers-at-be? Probably not. Why; because it’s way more fun to bitch. It’s more of an ego stroke.

    The self-proclaimed will read this type of comment and call me loads of names. That’s their style. They really aren’t interested in reasoned planning or a thoughtful compromise- they want what they want when they want it. It’s the equivalent of a two-year old throwing a tantrum when they can’t have the lollipop. Grow up.

  47. milk says:

    My Papaw Ninny (great-grandfather), moonshiner extraordinaire, sold to Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana. He said they were fine people. I guess they would be as long as you’re not on the wrong ends of their guns.

  48. outtolunch says:

    Seems like the negative reaction by this company is making all their recent errors in judgement get a whole lot uglier—-and ugly lasts a long time. With their blog taking up prime real estate on their homepage, it just continues to do more damage than good.

    It takes a lot more time to repair bad publicity and bad relations with the stores that pay your way. Think of what would happen to all those other individual-stores-ecommerce sites if they treated their stores like this one does! Poof, gone, out the door and down the drain.

    Based on the current round of negative PR being generated in emails to store, the end is closer than they think, so bye bye 2009!

  49. trujunglist says:

    What is romantic about dying at aged 25 in a hail of bullets? Seriously Storque, you should rethink this article.

    What is romantic about dying at the age of 85 in a soiled diaper? I’d say that getting taken out with the person you loved, state of sanity be damned, is about 24.6 times more romantic than dying at a geriatric home in your wheel chair because your kids didn’t want to deal with you.
    Also, for what it’s worth, why are people so up in arms about this? It’s not like it just happened yesterday. All they’re talking about is the 30s style of dress. Now, if they were advertising, say, the “Phil Spector” or “Scott Peterson” look, that’d be a bit too soon, and you’d probably have the right to be offended.

  50. tweemo says:

    Such a dumb thing to be mad about. But if you read the comments on the original Etsy post they’re about 90% positive.

  51. impetuous says:

    Etsy has a wide variety of people selling on their site. Articles of this nature are offensive to some sellers and offensive to some potential buyers as well.

    Some people, who have shops on Etsy, would simply like the main site to take a more socially responsible approach, as the site represents everyone who sells there.

    That should not be so hard to understand and in my opinion, should really go without saying for a site the size of Etsy.