From little things, big things grow.

July 11, 2014

A few days ago, I went to pick up my 11 and 7 year old daughters from a holiday stint with my parents.

As we greeted each other with hugs, my 11 year old did not hesitate in telling me, with great concern, that she saw something terrible when she was in the car with my dad – a van that said something to the effect of all girls being sluts who want to try it just once.
I was stunned because only the day before I had put up images (again) of the type of messages that the car-hire business Wicked Campers revels in, on my social media pages – including (and especially) the one my daughter saw.

10505584_669748496435581_1377558487529230083_n

So it’s official – something I personally called out had encroached and touched my family directly.

I was livid and went to file a complaint on the Advertising Standards Bureau.
The first thing you have to do is check if there have already been complaints made and whether the Board has made any previous rulings. Unsurprisingly, the list of complaints is long for Wicked Campers with a variety of unsavoury slogans and advertisements, like the following:

Wicked Campers online

Or there’s this sort of thing:

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 1.15.26 pm

Noice.
It appears the young, male, *haw-haw* demographic is well and truly being catered for; girls as sluts / women are nothing more than something to service males / guys with big cocks (to do what with, pray tell?)
The only problem is that it’s the everyday person that finds themselves face-to-face with these types of bulletin in the PUBLIC sphere, not the drivers themselves – that person merely announces their consent to what’s been spray painted on the back and ironically the only person who doesn’t see the moving billboard they’re driving around. Hilarious.

Step two was to file my complaint, as I didn’t see the slogan my daughter witnessed on the ASB list. There I hit a snag because I had to have seen it for myself, to be able to denounce them. I explained this to my daughter and she immediately sat up and said, “I’ll complain.”
And to be honest, I thought, ‘Why not?’
So she submitted it under her name and wrote as her reason for offence:

‘I am a little girl and I am not a slut.’

I’m proud of her.

I would like to now direct your attention to how a young male responded to my posting about this business on my Questions for Us Facebook page. You can see the full conversation there.

Comment on vans 1 Comment on vans 2

The usual waterfall of clichés start to roll off the tongue like honey:
* It’s just a joke;
* If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. (Which is actually my usual rule of thumb except when it’s in my face regardless of whether I bought it or not);
* I bet if it were about men we’d be all ‘feminists rule’;
* Comparisons that don’t compare (girl sluts and McDonald’s toys);
* Get out there and fight for something worth fighting for.

Suffice it to say I had a long conversation with this young man, reasoning that phrases like the one my daughter saw puts her and all girls in danger. He predictably responded that it’s not all men who would feel that way about women and girls and that the car rental business is not to blame for that.
Of course nobody ever says ALL MEN are a menace, but that Yes, All Women are at risk of harmful perspectives like these, crossing just one male’s mind – because it only takes ONE to enact those sentiments on an innocent girl. 

Rolf Harris ring any bells?
I think ‘all princesses being sluts’, would have reflected his sentiments succinctly.

There are many ‘ground zeros’ in fighting what commences the chain of abhorrent perspectives and actions in people, and we can’t ignore them because in the eyes of most, it doesn’t equate to the fight against the femicide of girls in China and India, for example, or bringing the girls back from Nigeria (things I also fervidly fight for, of course).

I live here – in Australia – in a capitalist cesspool that will stop at nothing to make money. There are horrors occurring around the world which I passionately call out against, but the rape culture my daughters are about to enter, is the here and now – and it’s real.

We shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the so-called ‘little’ things because as Paul Kelly sang:

‘From little things, big things grow.’

Question #209: How can we fight the big things, if the little things prove too difficult? 

It’s time to be Actionists, just like my daughter.

After quite the parley with this young man (which became more respectful as it progressed), I asked him where he (being smack-bang in the demographic he so eagerly defended) thought we should focus our energies to stop the perception of the hyper-sexualised youth and the halt of rape culture (which some slogans of this business purport), to which he answered the following:

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 1.13.39 pm

He didn’t really answer my question and went straight for the overseas problem but appreciated his honesty in not knowing – which is generally the case with most people who start shouting objection to the calling out of bad actions.

‘Wicked Campers aren’t out to make women inferior.’

10384356_627445594019113_3575293444056852354_n

I respectfully, but wholeheartedly, disagree.

Deep Breath.

PS – I have started a Change.org petition to the founder of Wicked Campers;
Please sign if you are tired of being told what to ‘relax’ about.

>>> Sign Here

Advertisements

453 Responses to “From little things, big things grow.”

  1. Jenny Austin said

    I agree, I live in Cairns where there are heaps of Wicked Campers on the streets. I have often wondered how they get away with the stuff they write on them. Thank you for being an Actionist!

    • No worries, Jenny! And thanks for writing. Next time take a photo if you can and send it to the ASB. You never know, if we flood them with complaints, they may actually do something constructive.
      I’ve started a petition against Wicked Campers – you might want to support and sign.
      Thanks heaps!
      Paula x
      https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/john-webb-founder-eliminate-misogynistic-and-degrading-slogans-and-imagery

      • Elizabeth said

        Hi Paula,

        Well done. My husband drives a tourist bus in the Blue Mountains and has seen these disgusting signs on their vans for years. Their signs are obscene and offensive and the Federal govt agency should act immediately to have them removed. He is going to contact his local politician and the Asb and others to get this stuff off the streets. Others should do the same and I suggest we call radio talk back stations and the media.

        Who is the jerk who runs this company

      • Give your husband a big wooooo hooooo! from me.
        The founder of the business was a guy named John Webb. It was hard for me to find information about him (except for all the articles about how badly maintained his vans were – some being removed from the streets)>
        I couldn’t find anything saying he isn’t the boss anymore, so I assume it’s still him.
        John Webb.
        Have you signed the petition? It’s gaining momentum.
        Fingers crossed.
        Thanks heaps for your comment, Elizabeth.

      • Jill said

        You had me till you mentioned capitalist cesspool. Absolutely not interested in supporting someone like you.

      • That’s fine.
        I believe the thirst to make money – without apparent moral boundaries – has made our society muddy in many ways.
        I’m sorry to hear I have lost your support over these two words – above those of the slogans.

    • Take a can of spray paint to them next time you see one, that’s action.

      • Not my style and hope it doesn’t come to that either. It doesn’t actually stop people from harbouring their negative perspectives.
        Let’s hope they change their practices.
        Thanks for your comment, Matt.

    • em said

      I agree with you and to the people saying it appeals to the age group well it should only be seen by that age group! Kids can read when they are bored in the car offcouse they will read and repeat these offensive slogans

    • megs304 said

      Aside from just being awful to look at, what about those who have been raped and were told “You know you want it” while it was happening. I would think this would be extremely painful for them. There are so many things wrong with just about all of their slogans – I did read one, “Live every day like it was your last: One day you will be right” I have to say I love. It is possible to be clever without being vulgar and offensive, it is a shame they feel it necessary to promote the later.

    • Sharyn Lacey said

      I been thinking about this I see a lot around and some of them make my blood boil. I might start carrying a can of black spray paint and just blank them out. That would be actionist, I would be willing to front court.

  2. women deserve respect said

    So really the Australian Advertising Standards Board is condoning violence against women……

  3. tiffany267 said

    To be honest I’m surprised at the relevant civility of the comments.

    I had never heard of wickedcampers before, and I’ve never had the misfortune of coming across one.

    Thanks for posting.

  4. clementine said

    They’re never offensive are they? It’s always uptight women overreacting, not knowing how to take a joke. I am becoming increasingly apoplectic with rage at being told by men what I can and can’t find offensive about ‘jokes’ designed to humiliate women.

    • Oh no. Never offensive. Hilarious. I want to create a t-shirt that says, ‘Because I say it’s not offensive to you’ feels like the common message.
      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m totally chuffed. I love how you write and it was in fact your latest post about this company on FB (which I’ve written about before on my FB blog page) that got me calling them out again and the very next day my daughter said she saw it. Livid.
      Paula x

    • Spencer said

      You rock Clementine. I wholeheartedly support your apoplexy and actively hope for change. Even with the small act of using neutral, non-gendered pronouns to describe roles normally prescribed as male for example (at the suggestion of my sister), you can help to encourage change. The male use of syntax/language to defend systematic sexism and misogyny denigrates our beautiful language and insidiously reduces the roles of women.

  5. Ben said

    Well written post Paula, and congrats on your patience and perseverance in dealing with this issue (and person). I have a daughter and am also concerned about the way many men view females. Keep up the good work!

  6. mart said

    Sigh. Sorry about this!! Some of us are trying – hard to fathom the gravity of it, but it is serious.

  7. I am Canadian and an old feminist (73). If I saw that on any signage I would sue the offenders loudly and publicly. That is a human rights offence.

  8. Victoria Harris-Newsham said

    Wow! How disgusting! I honestly can’t believe 1) that there is actually a company stupid enough to put that sort of rot out there, and 2) there are actually people DEFENDING them putting that on there! Sure, if you don’t want to hire one, don’t, but what about the inability to look elsewhere if that was parked up in front of you. I honestly can’t see how any of that is a joke! Really makes me feel sick and sad to think of the world my daughter is growing up in!

  9. Julian said

    I don’t undertsand how change.org works – I don’t see any place there to actually sign your petition.

    • Hey Julian,
      I just changed the link – could you check and see if it works? It should have boxes to fill in with your name etc. on the right.
      It won’t let me see it differently because I created it.
      Thanks so much for the heads up!
      Paula

  10. Tobysgirl said

    We used to live on a street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a men’s bar on the corner (yes, there were men’s bars in the Boston area where women were not allowed). The patrons would be rude to us when we passed by so we began spray-painting the bar’s outside wall at night. It was amazing how polite everyone became: offers of ice if we needed it, no more comments, etc.

    I think I would know exactly what to do if I saw one of these vans. The only thing some people understand is something that costs them money. One could dump a can of old paint on the van — I suggest nighttime when no one is around — use spray paint, super-glue the doors if they are not locked, etc. When the U.S. invaded Iraq, a group of women nearby painted the American Legion’s tank pink.

    USE YOUR IMAGINATION! Forget the petitions, the letters of protest, do some monkey-wrenching!

    • I agree that there may come a point where anarchy takes over (would be fun) but for now I’m going to put as much of a spotlight on their business and see if they lose money that way.
      PS Did you sign the petition? Hahaha 😛

      • Jason said

        I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous. Condoning defacement of private property because something happens to offend a very small minority of people? How would you like it if I started defacing your property because something you did happened to offend me? That’s not how the world works; you can’t just go around defacing property because you personally disagree with something.

      • I NEVER condoned defacement of property (only the understanding of the frustration that is felt when one feels impotent)
        I find you to be a loathsome person for trying to act like a supporter in the hope of being able to accuse me of such a thing.

  11. Troy said

    Paula, I find this type of advertising extremely offensive. As a society we should not let this become the norm. My wife, daughters, mother and sister should not have to put up with this attitude or accept that these slogans are true or accurate statements. I don’t know of any males in the 18-30 age category who would actually think along these lines. Wicked campers are wrong on so many levels with this type of advertising and should be be held accountable by changing their advertising and marketing ways. Thanks for taking action. I will sign your petition. Troy.

    • Thank you, Troy! I feel comforted in knowing your daughters have aware and vigilant parents.
      It seems absurd that such a small category of people are catered to the most and through gutter and disrespectful means.
      Thank you so much for your comment, it’s very encouraging.

  12. Troy said

    Tried to sign petition but couldn’t find spot where I could. There was a link to share petition.

  13. …and the oppression of women continues…with seemingly, the consent of some of the oppressed women.. It’s not acceptable anytime on any format. Be respectful to each other.

  14. Leah said

    Thank you for this. I’m part of the younger generation, being only 30, however this makes me feel sick. As a woman, I can do everything a man can (and in some situations, do it better!) yet to see this kind of sexist bantering still happening in this day and age distresses me. We as women have worked hard to Achieve all we have yet were still placed in a box to “do housework” or “stay in the kitchen” and that’s it. As per your comments, it only takes one male to make it dangerous. As a strong female I encounter this all too often. Makes me very sad that younger generations cannot see the damage this kind of thing does and how it pushes us back in spiritual, social and economical development. I will be siting your petition. Thank you for making me aware of this xxx

    • Wow. Thanks Leah, your comment is very encouraging and hits the nail on the head.
      Have you signed the petition (at the end of the post)? I’m hoping we get enough momentum to put a spotlight on this business.
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. x

  15. malo said

    I can’t belive the phrases on the wicked vans! How could they even think this is okay and how do they get away with it? And why would someone/anyone hire these vehicles! I have always loved spotting wicked vans and thought the graphics were good (we are off the main tourist line so don’t see too many). Never seen these horrid opinions splattered. Come on wicked – go back to funky graphics and stop the crap!

    • The fact they’re around means that there is no real regulatory avenue to pull them into line – only the Advertising Standards Board and Wicket Campers has publicly laughed at a fine they received.
      I think they believe they’re untouchable.
      Thanks for your comment.

  16. Natasha said

    How bloody disgusting wicked campers should be ashamed of your selfs!! And some of these are really hurtful too

    • Exactly, Natasha, but they don’t think so.
      Have you signed the petition (at the end of the post)? I’m hoping that gains momentum and creates a spotlight on their business.
      Thanks for your comment.

  17. neillbarry said

    As an Advertising student, it’s an interesting case of how offendening any group can negatively affect your business. I would highly recommend to Wicked they have fun with slogans but not at the expense of a group and tread very carefully with anything profane. As far as derogatory comments against Women, Wicked need to move into the 21st Century.

    • There have been many, many complaints against them on the Advertising Standards Board – they don’t seem to care to change, which is why I’ve had it.
      Yes, you wouldn’t think it would be that hard to see the culture around us and that things need to change.
      Thanks for your comment, Neil.

  18. Matt said

    This is disgraceful, some people just don’t get it at all. I have signed your petition and I kinda wish there was an Australian Wicked Campers facebook on which I could make them feel incredibly uncomfortable 😉 Is there? I couldn’t find it in my search but will continue.

    • Yes! There most definitely is a Wicked Campers site on FB. Although a friend of mine wrote a polite but firm comment and it was erased and she was blocked.
      So much for free speech!
      Good luck and let me know how you go! Revolution! 😛
      Thanks Matt.

      • muttidee said

        OMG, the irony!, they believe they have the right to promote their offensive, travelling billboards in the name of free speech, yet can’t cope with a negative comment on their facebook page….almost laughable, perhaps they don’t quite have the courage of their convictions! Regardless the ASB need to get a backbone and enforce their findings, and Wicked need to tone it down… I love a joke, I love a business that is lighthearted and can laugh at themselves, but there are surely thousands of amusing slogans they can come up with that won’t offend more than 50% of the population. People hire their vans because they’re cheap & suitable for the task, not because of the dodgy line on the back door; getting rid of this crap won’t affect their bottom line. I wish we could contact the owner and ask him if he’d be willing to show it to his wife, mother, sister, daughter or grandmother. That could be his litmus test; if he won’t show it to them then it shouldn’t be on his vans! Off to sign your petition and find Wicked’s fb page 😛

      • Unfortunately, loved ones (mothers, daughters etc) aren’t perceived as the same as the ‘sluts’ they talk about. That argument never seems to work with people like this.
        Yes the irony of them shutting their page is priceless.
        Thanks for your comment.

  19. Alan said

    Sorry I agree with you entirely but … From little things song is a Paul Kelly song about land rights First; an ad for superannuation Second. …
    Anyway, I’m a guy with a truck, I drive past a wicked campers site every day. Every one of them is offensive and assanine in equal measure.

    • I’m sorry Alan. I agree with you – I’ll fix the jingle part – it was not meant to remind people of their Super. It popped into my head regarding how we must start with the little things and didn’t know about the Paul Kelly song.
      Thanks for the heads up.

  20. Caroline Kelly said

    Their slogans use to be funny but now they’ve gone beyond a joke. Not funny guys!!!!!

  21. Lane said

    I am a father of two sons. We live in Byron Bay, where tourists abound, and I see these WickedCapers on a pretty regular basis. They are utterly offensive – to both men AND women; they equally degrade us all. The statements written on many of the vehicles continue to promote a grotesque version of masculinity that I do everything in my power to shield my sons from adopting. I absolutely acknowledge that these slogans are repugnant and degrading to women, but I’d also like to state that as a man – I find them just as disgusting and damaging to males.
    I applaud you and your daughter for taking action. I invite more men to step up and do the same.

    • Yes! Agreed! That’s the point I made in my previous post to this one – it’s all irrelevant of gender – both sexes enjoy the humour as well as be targeted by it. They’re racist too. We must look at the action and be Actionists.
      This is an offensive business to all and should be pulled into line.
      Hope we get to.
      Thanks, Lane.

  22. The misogyny here is appalling but just as appalling is that their demographic are young males and, in putting such slogans on their vans, Wicked Campers are saying that this is the kind of language that young men embrace when they talk about women. Prove them wrong.

  23. wayne smith said

    Ffs….havent you bitching people have anything better to do…..its called “having a sense of humour” which you obviously dont have….get a life and find something better to waist your energy on….

    • Over 40,000 have read this post and your comment saying it’s funny.
      It’s a joke because you say so?
      Well you’re in the minority. My daughters being promoted as sluts who want to have sex is dangerous, not funny.
      I’m sure the little girls Rolf Harris fingered didn’t think it was funny – but I’m sure he thought they were sluts.
      Not. funny.

      • Jason said

        The thing is, they aren’t being promoted as “sluts who want to have sex”. It’s just a slogan. It doesn’t represent their views, it doesn’t represent the views of the people driving the vans, it doesn’t represent male views in general. It is just a slogan and is not to be taken literally. And please, don’t tell me that every single thing you’ve ever said or written in your entire life has been literal.

      • Definition of slogan: a distinctive cry, phrase or motto of any party, group, manufacturer or person.

        Just because you say so, Jason, doesn’t not make your argument valid.
        We live in a rape culture with innocent victims of both genders.
        Calling females sluts on a public platform is unacceptable and dangerous to both genders – females for being perceived that way and males for being portrayed as mindless and sex-obsessed. It’s not good for anyone.
        Goodbye.

      • john said

        “when life treats me bad, i just remember i have a really big cock” …spray painted on the back of a vehicle for little children to read… seriously? here, in Australia? who does that …? oh look, its 2014 already. imagine that.

      • surfsimple said

        “Mansplaining it”? That is sexist.

      • True. I will remove it. It was a moment of anger wrapped in tiredness.

    • Louise McCabe said

      Wayne Smith, Thanks for letting the world know that you think pedophilia and misogyny is funny. For the record, I have a great sense of humour. This is just offensive and gross.

    • Idell said

      Dear Wayne
      When I was 8yrs old I actually aspired to marry a prince and be a princess. I DID NOT want to try “it” even once when my best friend’s brother crept into her room and assaulted me. It took me many years of my adult life to break free of the impact that assault had on me. Now I am a foster carer and have nurtured many little girls who are princesses and not one of them ever “wanted to try it once” either. Do you have daughters? I sincerely hope not but if you do imagine for one moment how you would feel if someone took the above mentioned attitude toward your daughter and forced her to “try it once” Would you find it funny then?

    • Robert Wertheimer said

      Wayne, humour has been used extensively through out history to shape societies. Look up how the Nazis used humour to degrade the Jews and you will understand its power. Tell a few ‘nigger’ jokes to a black person and then try explaining that it’s just a joke and they shouldn’t be so uptight. You can’t really appreciate the effect until you are the butt of the joke. Hope you never have to experience this first hand to discover empathy.

  24. Reblogged this on Brb Thinking and commented:
    Couldn’t you sell your service without mysognistic slogans?

  25. Dave said

    I’ve seen the Wicked Campers all over Australia for ages – the ones I’ve seen all look very hippy and cool and have never had any slogans written on them, and I’ve often thought I would love to hire one for a trip.

    Not any more.

    Shame really. It isn’t even vaguely a stretch to come up with witty remarks that stand by themselves without degrading any section of the population, much less this sort of sexist rubbish.

    Heading to your petition site now….

    • That’s the way, Dave. The only way to hurt them is by not paying them for their ignorance.
      It is a shame because it just goes to chow how many people really lack intelligence and turn to pedestrian and gutter ‘humour’ to engage with people.
      *sigh*
      Thanks heaps for your comment. It’s encouraging.

  26. Renee Mikkelsen said

    Absolutely disgusting and degrading upon women. It publically being written on vans manipulates the younger generation into thinking this is how women should be treated. If my sons grew up with this frame of mind I would be gravely dissapointed in them.

    • Well it sounds like your sons have a good parent, Renee, who is aware of what could be influencing them – and that gives me comfort.
      Have you signed the petition? It’s at the bottom of the post.
      This issue has gained enormous attention – we may be able to actually create some change.

  27. OMG I have been complaining about these horrid campers for the last few years. I find them to be outrageous, ugly campers with dreadful sayings on them. I cannot believe they are allowed to roam the streets where my teenagers can see these offensive comments. My teenage girls find them distressing also. They are ladies and should be treated as such. My sons laughed when they first saw these vans but that soon gave way to utter disgust when they realised these vans were talking about girls, just like your sisters. Get them off the road.

    They are a disgrace and let’s face it, honestly, the majority of people do not want to see these vans on the road, or do they ?

    • That’s the part these people don’t understand, Alison, that just because they believe it’s funny (even though we are crying out that it’s not) they don’t get that there are females of all ages walking around wondering if they’ll be the next victim, due to toxic and dangerous attitudes.
      Have you signed the petition (at the end of the post)? I’m hoping we get enough momentum to actually make a difference with this issue.
      It’s worth it.
      Thank you so much for your comment.

  28. James Scurrah said

    They have really gone down hill in a big way with these slogans. I often used to get a great laugh out of them as they were usually witty and clever. Recycling tired old jokes, using terms that are generally considered offensive or just making stupid statements that aren’t even funny is pretty poor form. Regardless if you take offence at the blatant sexism or not (and I do), Wicked Campers need to put a bit of effort in and lift their game. A simple Google search will give you a ton of quotes that are intelligent, amusing and non-offensive.

  29. I’m proud of your daughter too. You are doing a great job!

  30. I want to see beautiful inspiring words on these camper vans. Enough is enough we have to make small changes now!

  31. Gail said

    I reckon one of the most disturbing ones I saw was one that said “Never trust anything that bleeds for seven days and doesn’t die.” I view my menstrual cycle as sacred, and without it, no one would be here.

    • Yes, that one is in my post. So disrespectful. Message: it’s OK to hate females. Hahahaha!
      But apparently, we’re not allowed to feel offended because it’s a joke…and they say so.
      Yes, Gail, we’re sacred.
      x

  32. Helen said

    Wow! Imagine if these slogans concerned how someone might treat people from ethnic minority backgrounds. I didn’t want to actually read any of these pages, but just the google search page shows the wealth of material they can draw from. https://www.google.com.au/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant… Would it be just a small thing, if the slogan concerned telegraph-reader style opinions of aboriginal people?

    • Who knows, Helen. It seem like the world keeps on dismissing and dismissing and becoming more desensitised as they progress.
      I don’t believe it matters who is targeted – wether sexist (to either gender) or racist – it’s WRONG.
      The more people awaken to that fact and stand up and add their voice, only then will change occur.
      Thank you so much for your comment.

  33. Kerie Howlett said

    I would be horrified if my young grand daughters read any of this crap! Once read, never forgotten! They are precious, impressionable young girls. I would be tempted to spray over the slogans on these Vans but then I would be sent to jail for ‘vandalism’ ! Which is what this company is doing to peoples minds. Vandalizing them! There are no ‘jokes’ here … have signed your Petition. I hope it does something to stop this Company. They should change their slogans or go into another business…..

  34. Gillian Hanney said

    Happily signed, Paula, and thank you for doing this.

  35. Gina said

    As to the young man saying if it was against males we wouldn’t have a problem, whilst traveling in the NT I saw a wicked van with a slogan targeting men (I can’t remember it now), as a woman I was disgusted with it as much as I am disgusted with the ones you have posted targeting women.

    • I agree Gina. In my post before this one, I call on everyone to be Actionists. I believe we need to see the action and forget whether they’re male, female, from overseas etc. I believe men are being groomed in equally horrible ways – making them all appear to be sex-crazed neanderthals and that’s probably what you saw.
      And they are being groomed. It’s a terrible state of affairs.
      Thanks heaps for your comment.

      • Gina said

        I agree with you, however what I saw was a the reverse of the ones you posted, so basically for female drivers.

      • The action is wrong – regardless of who it’s aimed at. Degrading males as mindless and sex-obsessed is equally deplorable.

  36. Saffron Crow said

    As a mother to a small boy I find it quite hard having to explain why there is a van driving up the road with a “big pair of tits” painted up the side. I have to explain how this is a play on words, this being the birds painted beside, then into the explanation of why this is not Ok, that the double meaning (supposed joke) is actually offensive and downgrading. I have no fear that my beautiful son or any of the wonderful men in my life reflect this attitude to women but fear that there are still far too many people in our communities that do and this kind of marketing perpetuates and continues to normalize these views. I like a bit of smart humor and marketing but the marketing usedrfor wicked vans is not. Time to put your outdated sexist Crap in the bonfire with Rolfe Harris’ s wobble board.
    I also would like to ad I have often wondered if driving these vans have been a cause for trouble for any travelers who hire them? I can’t imagine they make a great impression on some outback towns. Or it may give a onsided view on Australian local attitudes.

    • Your last point is a great one. Yes, one has to wonder if they play a part in trouble for travellers.
      Looks like your son has an amazing parent guiding them through the cesspool that is the obsession with sex.
      With more parents like you, we’ll get there.
      Thanks heaps for your comment, Saffron.

  37. Andrew brayshaw said

    The messages are offensive when they affect you I suppose ….. As a young man they may not be offensive ….. but as a young man with a daughter it might …… It is always a joke when it is not about you …. And not so funny when it is ….. But what amazes me, a father of a 7 year old girl, is that we see these comments differently to racist remarks … What if the comment was about Jews, black people, disabled people …. It would be shut down immediately ….. But sexism is allowed ….. This baffles me …. My blood boils at the thought of someone speaking of my daughter as an object unequal or subordinate to men …… We need strong positive messages that promote the dreams and aspirations of all young girls and the value of respectful young men.

    • Spot on, Andrew. I appreciate that there may have been things that I thought were funny in my youth that would make my future self livid today; I think that’s a fair assumption of human nature. Some of these are dangerous.
      They have been racist too (I think I wrote it in my post ‘Save whales, harpoon a Jap’ I have a photo of that one from the Net)
      It seems like the group of lads who seem to be running the business, are having a big laugh about how untouchable they are.
      Hopefully the petition may hold some clout if enough people sign.
      Thank you for your comment.

  38. Robert Fretwell said

    I am happy to do anything to see this kind of debasing comment erased from these vehicles. I have often wished I had a spray can or two of paint in my own car, to spray over the offensive remarks on wicked vehicles. Why do we need to be subjected to viewing these puerile views against our choice to do so?

    • It is a violation of our rights, pure and simple. We all know what a joke is and certain slogans of this company are not jokes. They promote dangerous perspectives – although they will say – IT’S A JOKE! Relax! (I think there’s a comment here somewhere to that avail).
      Unfortunately when a girl crosses the path with a man who has had his feelings validated with a slogan on a van (and why not? It’s out there so it must be OK) – that girl is going to be in danger and that’s NOT funny.
      Have you signed the petition? (at the end of the post) Maybe we can get some momentum for change there.
      Worth a shot.
      Thanks heaps for your comment. 🙂

      • confur said

        Another angle is safety.
        I was perplexed when I saw my first wicked, not sure if it was a private, one off joke and it was difficult to read while driving behind it. Could easily have been enough distraction to cause an accident for many other drivers

  39. An interesting perspective. said

    As a woman who works as a surgeon in a highly male dominated environment these sort of ‘jokes’ are commonplace. I personally don’t find the message on the van offensive – I’m sure it was intended as a joke, and to an ADULT audience no harm is done as we can have a chuckle and roll our eyes at the silly boys driving the vans. Their argument comes undone however by the fact that the message is written on a location clearly meant to catch the public eye, without any censorship for children. Children lack the ability to put the message into context, instead absorbing the message and language into their identity. It is for this reason I object to the vans. The messages are damaging to children of both genders and being on the back of a van, the ability of parent to shield their children is removed. It’s basically a very disrespectful and irresponsible way to make a few dollars.

    • Yes, agreed, I think their mobility is the problem exactly. Noone says a cheeky joke amongst adults is the problem (although calling girls little sluts is wrong in any context) but it’s the fact that our own rights are violated because we have to see it whether we like it or not.
      My daughter found it offensive and it makes her just that ever bit more fearful of not knowing the perspectives people may hold (especially men) and that has simply come from the world that surrounds her through ads and media. It’s virtually impossible to ‘shield’ them from it.
      Thanks for your comment. Spot on.

  40. Kit said

    I’ve seen countless Wicked Campers on recent trips to New Zealand and I cannot recall one that had anything vaguely offensive on it, in stark contrast to the typical Wicked fare in Australia.

    Clearly the Australian powers-that-be (or don’t, as it happens) just aren’t cracking down quite hard enough for this company to even feign an apology, let alone a change.

    Enough is enough. Signed.

    • Thank you so much, Kit! I haven’t laid eyes on them either as I’m in the city and they seem to be more popular on country roads.
      Nonetheless it’s hit me directly through my daughter and I’m livid. Enough.
      Thanks so much for your support. It means a lot.

  41. Ernesto Montoto said

    There are plenty of witty, clever jokes that Wicked Camper can use without having to lower yourselves to such sexist, offensive language.

    • Agreed. It’s becoming so pedestrian, isn’t it Ernesto?
      Plenty of innovative ways to engage with other people without offending them. Plenty.
      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  42. Madeleine said

    Not only does the company promote misogyny but they actually supply terrible products. My boyfriend and his friend inadvertently hired one of these vans in the Northern Territory and had the most terrible van ever with no aircon, no suspension and it had an offensive slogan on the back! Of course wicked campers has crap customer service as well so they weren’t able to get any refund from the company and are considering taking them to court. Wicked Crapheads should call it quits. They contribute nothing positive to the world.

    • I have read of many reviews about them and they haven’t been good (this is NOT including the slogans).
      And you’re exactly right – more harm comes from them than good.
      I’m not sure if you saw that I started a petition (in the post). Please sign and share if you haven’t already done so. That will (hopefully) have an impact.
      Thanks heaps for your comment. 🙂

  43. the lord of the underworld said

    this shit is repulsive. i’m sure you’ve all watched this {profitable!} business push the limits with its mobile advertising but this is going too far. simply fucking repulsive. as people in this country, and as small as this type of thing may seem, I am reminded of a line in the code of the samurai recalling {around three centuries ago} that:
    Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige’s wall there was this one:
    “Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.”
    Master lttei commented,
    “Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.”
    There should be serious online discussion and direct action taken over this shit. Sure, they have the right to put this shit in one’s face, AND the responsibility to deal with the consequences when one responds by REMOVING IT.
    Troglodites. Really. Utterly degrading to humanity. They need some DMT and a good talking to ~ by the fractal elves i mean.
    one love

    • I love those quotes. Thanks you.
      It’s always been a popular comeback to say, ‘fight for something more worthwhile – but the bigger perspectives always have numerous ‘ground zeros’ (as I like to call them) and need to be addressed and dealt with at that level.
      I hope we get to do it this time. Have you signed the petition?
      Thanks heaps for your comment. I appreciate it.

  44. Cassandra said

    Thanks for taking action on this and speaking out against this disgusting mysoginistic company’s slogans. Over the years I have often been shocked by some of the things, such as what you have posted here, written on the back of Wicked Campers, but I never thought to take action. Seeing this makes me want to do the same. You lead a good example. I have a twelve year old son and I don’t wish for him to learn that it’s okay to treat girls and women in the ways that Wicked Campers encourage, which is why I too shall take a stand against this.

    • Thank you, Cassandra! It means the world to know there are like-minded people who are starting to say, ‘Enough!’
      Welcome aboard!
      Thanks heaps for your comment. Your son is lucky to have you guide him.
      x

  45. Jamie Williamson said

    They actually used to have some cool stuff painted on their vans and the adult jokes (not sexist/racist etc) were written in such a way that an adult had to concentrate to understand due to the type of font.
    Now instead of being cool they are simply desperate! A good few years ago, over 90% of their vans had to be taken off the road due to being unroadworthy. Bald and dangerous tyres was the biggest problem I’m pretty sure. So I guess the founder/owner is a tight a*** as well.
    I’m a 33 year old male who loves a cheeky joke, but there is a time and place for these kinds of things. I bet when the demographic have kids they will slap themselves upside the head, but it’ll be too late then. And if they have children already, god help us!

    • I completely agree. Noone is saying that we have to revert back to clean knock, knock jokes to be able to have a laugh, but there has to be a line.
      I believe some of their slogans have crossed that line.
      It truly does baffle me that people can’t think beyond their own selfish thoughts when surrounded by other humans…paying for their services, no less.
      Oh well, time will tell if we can get a big enough momentum to make a difference; sending a message to other pedestrian businesses.
      Thanks heaps for your comment, Jaime. 🙂

  46. just spay paint your own responses directly on their vans, they don’t seem to give a fuck, why should you? ANARCHY

  47. A couple of female friends of mine hire a Wicked Camper for a weekend afew years ago, they didn’t realise that it came with slogans all over it, they thought it was just graffiti as they were in a rush. They were afew hours into their trip when they started to wonder why they were getting honked at and guys making indecent hand gestures at them while they were driving, when they stopped they realised…. in very large letters “C?NT” on the side and the back “there a little bit of every man that wants to try it once” as well as other lovely things.

    • That could have ultimately been very dangerous for those females. I’m glad to hear they only got honking car horns as a response.
      It’s also important to point out that they degrade males into being mindless and sex-obsessed. They are a vile business.
      Thanks for sharing your story, Lisa.

  48. Anne, mother of 5 daughters said

    I wonder at the self esteem of women who take these slogans so personally. Do you really believe they’re addressed to you? As a past victim of abuse, I choose to rise above anyone else’s opinions and views, finding confidence in who I am rather than allowing myself to feel threatened by anything I might come across while out and about. I wish all women could stop feeling threatened by men, instead realizing that we are different creatures with different sets of values. Everyone is entitled to self expression, even if you happen to disagree. Let it go.

    • Thank you, Anne, for sharing your story and I admire your strength in overcoming your abuse.
      Unfortunately, we live in an ever-increasingly dangerous rape culture.
      Men are feared because sexual assault and domestic violence are higher than ever and slogans such as these do no good in helping change the paradigm.
      My daughter took it personally because this slogan said, ‘Inside *every* princess there’s a little slut’ and she thought, no I’m not.
      It’s not free expression when it condones the hyper-sexualisation of the female gender as a stereotype.
      I’m surprised you have told me and my daughter to let it go – actually saying it’s OK to continue giving this business the right to dangerously categorise females this way.
      I won’t be letting go but thank you so much for your perspective.

      • muttidee said

        I’m surprised that as the mother of 5 daughters Anne, that you think the issue is in the self esteem of women. The issue is with offensive slogans, mobile & blatantly in the public eye, and the damage they can do to the attitudes of our young men & women. Having said that though, even if the ‘problem’ is the poor self esteem of many women, how does this help? I’m sure the business turnover won’t change one iota if these vile slogans are removed; therefore they’re unnecessary, in poor taste and have the potential to do harm – just get rid of them… Glenne (mother of 3 daughters).

  49. Anna said

    Oh my God! I just had a look at their website and their photo gallery. I’m furious! Beyond signing your petition (which I’ve done & shared), I feel like I need to do something more but I have no idea what to do. They are advertising slogans like ‘ Looking for a meaningful over night stand’, ‘ If I wanted a bitch, I’d buy a dog’ & pictures of nude women posed on their cars. It’s just not ok.

  50. Yasmin said

    Good article, pretty disgusted that this is happening in the 21st century. Just thought I’d make a note… From Little things Big Things Grow, is actually a song written by Paul Kelly. And a protest song too, written about indigenous land rights. So, a song sticking up for the oppressed minority, actually very appropriate.

  51. Anna said

    What a disgusting company. We have them around our town too and I hate them. Hopefully the company fails soon.

    • We need to be aware, boycott and call out.
      Have you signed the petition (at the end of the post)? I’m hoping to get a real spotlight on them and get some change going.
      Thanks for your comment, Anna.

  52. david said

    I recommend a little graffiti activism. Keep a paint spraycan in the glovebox. It would only take a moment to jump out at traffic lights and obliterate the offensive words, or hit them when they are camped in your street at night using your gutters as a toilet and garbage bin.

    • Seems to be becoming a popular form of suggested activism today!
      I prefer to see how it all unfolds through the ‘proper’ channels.
      Thanks for your comment, David.

      • vickyteinaki said

        I’d suggest something a little more subtle but still powerful: get stickers made of Rolf Harris (removable without ruining paint if you want to be nice) and get people to stick them on the offending statements. Not all men? Here’s one that does subscribe to it.

      • That sounds awesome, Vicky.

    • Jason said

      Yep, what a great place the world would be if everyone started defacing things they *personally* don’t like. It really does surprise me with the amount of people who think they are “right” and that others are “wrong”. This may be morally questionable, but you can’t just go and deface other people’s property because of your own personal opinions. Imagine if you did something normal that someone else found offensive, and suddenly boom! Someone has graffitied and destroyed your property. Oh, but that would be different wouldn’t it…

      • Jason… for the love of god, READ her previous thoughts on vandalising the damned vans! I cannot stand idiots that flap their inflated lips in accusatory rage without actually having READ the argument in the first place. She never said she is going to do it. She is covering all her legal bases, she is doing the right thing. This company is NOT however doing the right thing for society as a whole.

  53. keryn said

    Next time I see this rubbish on the vans I’m going to spray paint my own version on the van, is that illegal? Lol seems its a free for all if they are allowed to write that crap on their vans.

    • Hahaha! Yes, I think it is illegal, Keryn. Ironic, isn’t it?

      • Jason said

        Yes, it is ironic how they are utilising freedom of speech, and you want to mute them by defacing / campaigning against them, because of your own personal views which you are entitled to thanks to freedom of speech.

      • I never said ANYTHING about defacing property. If I were to condone that action I would have done so.
        Calling females sluts on a public platform is not freedom of speech – it’s hatred. And I’m the enemy?
        Any further comments from you ultimately fighting against my daughter’s right to stand up and object to this, will be blocked.

  54. Kate Moon said

    I couldn’t agree more with everything you have written, those cans have always gotten been totally infuriating to me and I will definitely sign your petition. One quick note thugh that is completely unrelated but I couldn’t bring myself to let slide.. 😉 “From Little Things Big Things Grow” is much love than a TV Jingle, it’s actually an extraordinary and beautiful political song written by Paul Kelly and Ken Carmody about aboriginal land rights. Check out the full song, it’s wonderful and quite moving.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6_ndC07C2qw

    It’s always really bugged me that it was used on a superannuation ad… 😉

    • Thank you, you’re the second person who has given me a heads up about that. I’m going to change it as soon as I get through answering all the comments.
      I hate that I didn’t know that actually.
      Thanks, Kate x

      • kateemoon said

        Oops sorry! I did scroll through to see if anyone else had mentioned it but I guess I missed it. Also my last post is full of typos cause I wrote it on my tablet… I meant ‘more’ not ‘love’ and ‘Kev Carmody’ not ‘Ken Carmody’. Anyway great work you are doing! 🙂

      • Hahaha! Don’t worry about it. 😀

  55. I think it’s great that you’re taking a stand against this. And particularly awesome that you got your daughter involved. If more parents got their kids thinking about some of the injustices of this world, I reckon we would live in a better place for all.
    One small criticism though – it was completely irrelevant to mention that the young male you had an argument/discussion with was white. By doing so you just accentuate the false idea that we are different because our skin is different. I find it offensive in the same way I would find it offensive if you mentioned he was black. It just seems pointless and detracts from the excellent message you are putting across.
    Besides that, I thought the rest of it was fantastic!

  56. I think it’s great that you’re taking a stand against this. And particularly awesome that you got your daughter involved. If more parents got their kids thinking about some of the injustices of this world, I reckon we would live in a better place for all.
    One small criticism though – it was completely irrelevant to mention that the young male you had an argument/discussion with was white. By doing so you just accentuate the false idea that we are different because our skin is different. I find it offensive in the same way I would find it offensive if you mentioned he was black. It just seems pointless and detracts from the excellent message you are putting across.
    Besides that, I thought the rest of it was fantastic!

    • THANK YOU! I removed it immediately. It’s amazing when things are pointed out and also catch myself saying things like that.
      I’m very big on the language we use – I’ve been on my family’s and my own case regarding that – so I was horrified when I realised what you picked up.
      Thanks again.

  57. Nathan said

    I just had a look at the Wicked Campers website to see if it carries through all of their marketing. It does. Now, I did also notice the large amount of copyright infringement (pictures of Beavis and Butthead, Total Recall images etc) on the site.

    If you wanted to make some trouble – you possibly could.

    • I know that legally copyright may be an issue – but my personal fight is against the moral stagnation that seems to have settled over people.
      It would be disappointing if they end up having to take down images of Beavis and Butthead due to copyright laws, but not the ones calling females sluts because there is no ‘law’ against it.
      Thanks for your comment, Nathan.

  58. Andrew Rosser said

    Yes I agree that most of the signs I’ve seen on Wicked Campers are crass but there are a lot of more important things to worry about and take action about in our society.
    This is a storm in a teacup which can be managed in the family by education, wisdom and honesty. I am amazed that someone bothered to start a website about this.

    • I disagree, Andrew and many people seem to agree.
      If we don’t start with the little things, then where?
      We have a statistically prevalent rape culture – which I believe slogans like these *may* encourage as they have a public and visible platform.
      Rape culture not important enough to fight against?

  59. Nathan said

    You could probably get more petition signatures from over here

    http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/offensive-ute-art/

  60. Edward White said

    Seems inappropriate to be discussing wicked campers against a backdrop of two naked models and one with his crotch firmly pressed against the female of the two. Let’s clean it up folks on all counts.

    • My blog, Edward, is one that is actively discussing the reattainment of balance.
      I believe the image is a beautiful one, symbolically showing two people complementing each other to achieve equilibrium.
      I also love that the female is the one on the bottom, showing amazing strength.
      It’s a shame you see it as smutty and parallel to what Wicked Campers is doing.

      • Is… is Edward serious? Surely his comment was satire. Or sarcasm. Or a dig…

        It is quite obvious that this picture was not created with the same intentions that the slogans on the vans were. You, sir, need to have a really good think about how stupid that comment was.

  61. lee said

    Reading this really made me angry. I’m a guy, I like edgy humour, I think non-PC humour can be funny. But Wicked are clueless when it comes to humour. I use to think they were quite cool but no more. They are clearly idiots.

  62. Sam Wainwright said

    Well done for starting this campaign. Some years ago most of their their vans I saw had slogans that were a bit cheeky and smutty, but nothing I’d get worked up about. However it seems they’ve taken a real turn to gross misogyny. I walked past their yard in Cairns last month and saw three vans in a row with this sort of disgraceful shit. Wonder if they think some spray can modifications would be “cool” and “edgy” too!

  63. Julie Tait said

    Paula I have a young son (7 going on 8) and I am just as concerned (and so is my husband) that he see such messages. I will sign your petition and do my best to make sure that the word is spread. What a shame such people (those capable of coming up with marketing messages such as that) are out there.

  64. Disgusting, deplorable, stupid business move very arrogant , I have seen these wicked campers around for years and never had a close look at the so called slogans written on the vans, makes me feel sick that there are still cave type mentality idiots out there that are still trying to defame, devalue the female gender
    To think that this is a successfull company makes me sick they don’t deserve success! And they started in Byron Bay in very humble beginnings.

    • They started in Byron Bay in very humble beginnings now based in Brisbane…..The company started out always having politically incorrect and cheeky slogans so I kept on hearing, but it appears lately that the slogans are consistently directed at the female population….and people are getting tired of it…I’m suprised this business is still functioning…after reading a lot of comments and articles Wicked Campers repeatedly give bad service, misleading information and treat their customers like crap more often than not…so how are they still in business? My mind boggles.

      • Yes, cheeky slogans aren’t a problem – people do understand the difference and yes, we’re getting tired of it.
        Thanks for your comment, Astra.

  65. Just have to note that before ‘from little things big things grow’ was a TV jingle it was (and is) powerful song written by Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly about the Gurindji people striking for land rights.

    Off to sign your petition now. Keep up the good fight.

    • Thank you. I feel embarrassed that I hadn’t heard of this song. I thought I’d changed it before to ‘Paul Kelly sang’ but it obviously didn’t save.
      I have changed it now.
      Thank you so much for the heads up and for your support – it means a lot.

      • john said

        Rudy Giuliani applied “the broken windows” theory, not dissimilar to your Paul Kelly song (despite it being slightly off track) your intention is clear and so important on a level of consciousness that we so often let slide.

        Rudolph Giuliani: Well, I very much subscribe to the “Broken Windows” theory, a theory that was developed by Professors Wilson and Kelling, 25 years ago maybe. The idea of it is that you had to pay attention to small things, otherwise they would get out of control and become much worse. And that, in fact, in a lot of our approach to crime, quality of life, social programs, we were allowing small things to get worse rather than dealing with them at the earliest possible stage.

        He cleaned up New York like it had never been cleaned before. Maybe we should start with cleaning up those camper vans..great work.

      • My sentiments exactly – if we don’t start with all the ‘ground zeros’ then where?
        I love the comment you just put up. Awesome.
        Thanks, John.

  66. Lou Bolt said

    Offensive derogatory comments on these vans are abhorrent.

  67. Maggie pace said

    This is disgusting! Everyone has a right to express themselves without being vulgar! Everyone has a right to protest albeit with a can of black spray paint!

  68. Mitchell said

    How dare you claim this caters for the young male demographic. I make up that demographic and do not see myself as the target market for this advertising at all. How offensive that you should assume that myself and others like me would enjoy these distasteful slogans.

    • How dare I?
      It was actually a 20 year old male on my Facebook page who purported that I should relax as it was aimed at its 18-30 yr old, male demographic.
      So I’m the bad person in this scenario? Or my daughter? How about those referring to females as sluts on the back of a van?
      If you are so offended, how about throwing some criticism toward Wicked Campers, for perpetuating the myth that all young males are sex-obsessed and mindless.
      If you read my post before this one, I speak of the damaging way we are ALL labelled and categorised – including males – and how this must stop.
      If you want to point the finger, do so at the ones who put you in that category – and it wasn’t me.

    • Oh dear. Mitchell failed to read properly it would seem.

  69. Peter Hawkes said

    Present your story to http://www.haveyoursay.tv with CODE 7429.

  70. Tyson said

    wow do women not have any better things to do, then try to fuck up a company that uses humour on their vans?

    • Tyson, your comment only compounds the misogyny that surrounds us.
      You believe a company that refers to females as sluts on a public platform has pride of place in our society and that we should just shut up and put up with it?
      I don’t think so.
      Any further comments from you will be blocked.

    • david said

      Tyson, I’m not a woman and I don’t think misogynist comments are funny. I think it’s a bit sad that some people’s sense of humour has never really developed past the poopoo and weewee joke levels of preschoolers.

    • Nikki said

      No Tyson, we women have NOTHING better to do than fuck up a company that promotes misogyny in their lame slogans and shit ugly vans. I could concentrate on raising my three sons to be decent men… oh, hold on… yes, supporting this petition is part of that.

  71. Hey great post will sign the petition, just a note that I almost didn’t spot the link to the petition because its small and way down the bottom, you should post the link at the beginning too so more people sign!

  72. Peter A said

    So many comments really hit the spot, i don’t have any fresh ideas on the subject but i just want to say what a pleasure it is to encounter a forum where almost every comment receives a considered and positive response, congratulations and thank you

    • Thank you SO much, Peter.
      I’m trying to respond to everyone who has written a comment because that was my motto from the moment I started the blog – of course I NEVER, ever imagined I would find myself with so many wonderful comments of support and solidarity – as well as those who don’t. That’s OK. Everyone is entitled to their thoughts, as long as they don’t insult.
      Thanks again. x

  73. Lindy said

    Obviously they go for shock value with their marketing which works great for their age bracket…however…I don’t want my kids to read it… This is purely a marketing ploy, but it makes an impact on my kids and the way they think. There is a responsibility that goes with marketing and I don’t feel that dragging women down and promoting a rape culture is the responsible way to market your company. Surely they can find a way to market themselves without degrading women and still get a laugh from their 18 – 38 year old age bracket…its kind of insulting to that age bracket to think thats the only way they can get their attention.

    • Shock value and sex sells is so pedestrian (and dangerous) in this day and age.
      We need to evolve and move on as an intelligent species.
      Unfortunately, it does paint a sad image of that young, male demographic (as some have become angry with me for pointing out) but they should be angry with business such as this – not with me – for pigeon-holing them into that category.
      Thanks for your comment, Lindy.

  74. billsbooze said

    Part of me is tempted to bust out the old Stephen Fry quote “It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what?” But if there was a similar joke was about black people, there is no way it would be on a van. But that in itself isn’t a solid argument that we SHOULD ban them, it only argues that it would be CONSISTENT to ban them, and consistent is not the same thing as right. I dare say the question should be “Does the benefit of banning signs on vans out-weigh the cost banning signs on vans?” I don’t know the answer. I suspect it does, but I’ve never seen it discussed in this fashion, only in the “This offends me, hence it should be banned”.

    Personally I find this side of modern social justice liberalism weird. Part of liberal ideal is letting people do what they want so long as it doesn’t harm others. But then the social justice angle seems to want to bring in a lot of censorship to bring about the social change they see as good. I appreciate there is a positive/negative liberty thing going on here, i.e. by removing negative stereotypes you can enhance someones liberty, even while curtailing someone elses. But that’s why the decisions need to weighed up in terms of cost/benefit rather.

    P.S. Please don’t accuse me of “mansplaining”. That is a cop out.

    • I wouldn’t accuse you of that because you presented a rational and calm debate. That is genderless.
      There are two points of your argument, though, that I’d like to contest.
      I have – at no point – said the petition is to ban slogans. Please point to that evidence.
      I am calling out for the removal of degrading and misogynistic slogans that send a negative message. Just those.
      No female on the planet wants to be refered to as a slut – yet this business gets to use a public platform to do so.
      You come and tell my daughter she’s not allowed to feel bad about seeing that.
      I just want them removed because it’s dangerous for any females to be refered to as that. The statistics of abuse against females is staggering.
      What more do you want?
      Secondly, you’re here presenting your own perspective of the argument and saying they’re my words.
      They’re not.
      I am focused on the action of degrading groups of people – whether male / female / black / white etc.
      Wicked Campers have also demonstrated racism with the ‘Save the whales, harpoon a Jap’ *joke* – which is also in my post.
      This is not a man v woman thing – it’s the action I’m looking that – whomever may fall victim.

      I would like to know where we draw the line and why it’s the perpetrators who decide where that line is drawn. Over 80,000 people have read this and 98% of comments have been in favor.
      Not enough to be listened to?
      I really don’t know what else to say.
      Thanks for your comment.

      • billsbooze said

        You moved to get the advertising standards board to find the slogans in breach of the act. That is essentially banning them. If you don’t consider it “banning”, fine, but that is what I meant. Anything akin to “governmental control of private actions” is what I mean when I say “ban”. I apologize if this is inaccurate.

        Anyone is by all means allowed to feel bad if he or she sees a Wicked Camper sign, but so is a fundamentalist Muslim who sees a sign saying “1 Man + 1 Man = Love”. But that doesn’t mean such signs should be banned. Hence why the debate needs to be had on a cost/benefit basis.

        “I just want them removed because it’s dangerous for any females to be refered to as that. The statistics of abuse against females is staggering.”

        And that is where the matters of fact are important. If there is good evidence that Wicked Campers slogans are increasing violence, then I will be 100% behind you, not just tentatively like I am now. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that language does not have power etc etc. But still data is important, even if getting that data is hard. The closest area that I actually know quite a but is pornography and sexual violence. That shows the difficulty in the research into these social matters. For instance, there is indeed a significant correlation between watching of violent pornography and committing sexual violence, but conversely, numerous studies have tried to link the prevalence, and/or legality of pornography to sexual violence. And not once has a study found an increase in sexual violence (in fact, about half of them find a negative correlation). (Just a for instance, (Arch Sex Behav. 2011 Oct;40(5):1037-43) looked at what happened in the Czech Republic when porn became legal in 1990.) I know this seems a bit of a tangent, but my point is, while on one hand I am asking for evidence to support your view that removing these slogans would be beneficial to women/the groups in questions, I’m admitting that generating such evidence would be very difficult.

        So maybe it is the case that we should act before we have evidence, but if it is, then we should be clear about it.

        I feel this is where a lot of these kind of dialogs (whether climate change/deniers, gun control/pro gun etc ) tend to be much more successful in preaching to the converted, rather than changing anyones mind. Sometimes one doesn’t have all the answers, and there is nothing wrong with admitting that.

        P.S. Sorry for misrepresenting your argument. If I did (and it appears I did), I did it in good faith. (And I’ve probably done it again, in which case, apologies in advance).

      • I think it’s virtually impossible (actually…impossible) to prove that Wicked Campers cause paedophiles to assault a child (for example).
        But it morally contributes to a problem.
        Years ago, when I was a young lass in my beautiful tin-can of a car with no air-con, I remember new laws were just coming in about cars complying with exhaust pipe emissions. As I always had to drive with the window open in summer to cool down, I remember wondering if I could ‘sue’ people whose cars were bellowing out smoke and playing havoc with my asthma. (I didn’t actually want to sue anyone). Of course I wouldn’t be able to because I couldn’t prove that one particular car caused me illness, of course. BUT laws were put in place because, looking at the big picture, we understood that it would cause damage down the line to both person and environment.
        I see this as EXACTLY the same.
        Condoning (and possibly giving permission to enact) the sick perspectives of the few in our society at the risk of innocent people, is admitting we have become become morally corrupt. Why are we taking that risk? ‘Free speech?’ Even they have boundaries.
        We have became so consumed with the letter of the law, we have lost our way regarding our moral and ethical obligations, as the ‘village raising the child.’
        Thanks again for the debate.

      • Si Spencer said

        I’m very conscious of the civil liberties and freedom of speech issues here, but there’s a very obvious flaw in that argument when defending racist, misogynistic or homophobic slogans.

        It’s called the libel law. Nobody who defends free speech would say that it extends to malicious lies about individuals or groups and that’s exactly what these slogans are – malicious lies. Don’t invent hate laws or curtail free speech, simply apply the laws we already have. It is libellous to suggest that any young girl is a slut.

        Prosecute and ban accordingly, as you would any malicious untruth.

      • Exactly. Exactly.
        Thanks, Si.

      • surfsimple said

        No, Si. The slogans on the vans do not constitute libel. They are merely offensive.
        I will illustrate the difference.
        If for instance, i say “Si is a dickhead”, I am not engaging in libel. I have merely expressed an opinion, which in any reasonable person’s mind is a general expression of my disdain for you. It my also be made with humorous intent. Whether or not it is offensive is irrelevant, because “dickhead” is a subjective term. So is “Princess”, and likewise, “slut”
        If however I say, either knowing it is untrue, or without being able to prove it is true, “Si is a paedophile” and propagate that idea by speech, in print or by other means so as to sway others to believe it is true, I have committed libel.
        Libel law is one of the little strokes of genius coded into our country’s legal DNA. It allows a person to defend their reputation, without allowing every little slight and insult to be dragged into court and punished.
        For what it’s worth, I think many of the slogans discussed are highly offensive. I find the idea of prosecuting people who offend me to be the greater of two evils.

  75. Chris said

    Thanks, Ive also written to my MPS, and also paid to promote a link to your change petition on FB to people in Australia who have ‘liked’ Wicked Campers FB page… hope it helps… https://www.facebook.com/wickededgyorenough?focus_composer=true&ref_type=bookmark

  76. Lynette said

    Good on you for following this up! I have long found wicked campers slogans offensive!

  77. Dean Murray said

    These vans must be set on fire and wheeled down a large hill.

  78. Ant said

    I think the person who composed this complaint is the princess in question. Get the fuck over it. Seriously….. Too much time on your hyands.

    • Charming.
      The princess you’re referring to is my 11 year old daughter.
      So it’s time to insult her for speaking up, over the slogans of the vans?
      You disgust me with your predictable response, offering nothing constructive.
      Further comments from you will be blocked.

  79. Jan said

    I am definitely supportive of these disgusting slogans being removed. Their vehicles are also barely roadworthy rust buckets endangering other road users. Misogynistic fools.

  80. TKK said

    It’s a larger attitude that the “silly slogan” supports in the mind of people who ARE rapists and domestic abusers…. that “it’s just a joke” and “everyone thinks it’s funny” and “its no big deal, the victim really wants it.” or the “spouse is property” ….

    If a joke is supporting attitudes that dismiss victims, abuse or rape, then it’s not ‘just a joke”.

    Feminists don’t think all men are rapists…. Feminists don’t think people who make rape jokes are rapists…

    But RAPISTS do… and take anything they can latch on to as societal approval, including victim blaming.

  81. Dan the Girl said

    Well done – signed, posted and shared. Can a complaint be lodged with the AHRC as a breach of the Sex Discrimination Act as well?

  82. Milly said

    Ever watched sex in the city?

  83. tawny Christian said

    Just disgusting.

  84. Anne Marie said

    I just want to commend your daughter! The fact she is willing to stand up at her age is a testament to how she was taught to value all people. I am disgusted with these slogans, and anyone with a mother, sister, daughter, wife should be. Thank you for starting the education and the fight

  85. joshua said

    people need to grow up and worry about more important things that matter

  86. Ebony said

    I have seen a few Wicked campers make it out here to Western QLD, but not as many as I used to see when I lived on the coast, and I don’t ever recall seeing any slogans like THIS on them!! I seem to recall them having some quite witty travel-oriented things on the back, certainly no gender-bashing, so I am really shocked to learn about this.

    Nonetheless, there seems to be a fairly simple solution: the vans themselves are graffitied all over, yes? So I am going to go out and buy a can of black spray paint from the hardware store and leave it in my car (at least during winter, until the temperatures up here start to make that dangerous!) and if I EVER see something as downright repulsive as that little princess slogan I will have no qualms in spraying over it. I would normally never condone graffiti or interference in any way with people’s private property, but this is an extreme case and we have the right on our side! Furthermore as you’ve noted, the owner is actually making loud and inescapable public statements by turning his vehicles into billboards like this, so there is an argument that they should not enjoy the usual protections given to private property. Anyway, it seems highly unlikely that the owner of Wicked Campers, himself thumbing his nose at authorities in the form of the ASB, would mount legal action over someone graffiting-over an offensive part of one of his already-graffitied vans. If he did, I would be THRILLED to have an opportunity to argue in court that the slogans on his ‘billboards’ constituted sexual harassment.

    I have never felt the need to be a (for want of a better word!!) ‘militant’ feminist before, but this is just so abhorrent….. I am honestly shocked that vans like that red one are still driving around without some right-thinking man or woman having done what I’ve just suggested. It seems like such a natural reaction, and maybe if it were to happen a few times to vans that really cross the line, they would tire of having to re-write their obscene statements and finally think of something funny to put on the back instead. Or maybe not, but either way it might finally force the authorities to pay some attention to this company, since from what you’ve said the ASB seems a bit toothless in its response thus far.

    I might delete this comment later in case I am ever in the position to actually do this haha!!!

    • A comment earlier tried to dupe me into expressing my consent about graffiti (which I don’t condone) but I do understand the frustration of feeling unable to do anything against something so mean.
      Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  87. Maire said

    I had a similar issue in nimbin my young girl in the car just learning how to read. Slogan “blow on her face and she will never leave you” I also went to make complaints but didn’t have photo evidence. The two young back packer girls who hired the van where from another country and had no idea what it meant and were very upset about it when i told them. The slogan only increased their vunlrablity. I contacted the owner who is a total arse and made a joke of me for being concerned.

  88. Elizabeth Purse said

    I would like to see such comments removed from these vans.

  89. Caro said

    Congratulations on your tenacity Paula and I hope you’ve started something big!

  90. Zaimon Vilmanis said

    If I had children, I know that I would not want them to read “my wife is an attachment that I screw onto the bed to get the house work done”. Why would I want to expose them to such an idea? What makes you think that a young child could understand the complixities of your “joke”? Please, there are plenty of rude jokes that 18-30 yr old guys like out there, that don’t demean women and are cleaver enough not to confuse or mislead young minds. Have a go! Try harder!

  91. Preben Warren said

    Really not necessary.

  92. Lisa said

    I personally find these hilarious!!! I’ve never seen one in person though I would love to! I am female. I have children, both male and female.

    It is up to us as parents to explain how this is just a quote and does not mean to affect anyone in a negative light. Should the jokes be directed at both male and female? I think so. But not my company not my issue.

    I’ve got more balls than any of the ‘targeted group’. Mine just happen to be on my chest. My son seen one of these pictures and had absolutely no idea what it meant. My daughter seen as well and said ‘Good thing I’m not a princess’.

    • You are entitled to your views and I applaud your tenacity and the strength you seem to be passing onto your children.
      I hope, however, that your daughter doesn’t cross paths with a male who believes she ‘wants to try it once’ because the term princess is a label that has been placed to represent females. Is your daughter immune to assault because she doesn’t identify as a ‘princess’? What IS a princess, for that matter?
      It’s the male holding the thought that’s the danger and these vans condone that thought. Do we really want to allow these messages to subliminally wash over us? You have strength of mind, many others do not. They’re the ones I worry about on both ends of this problem.
      Thanks for your comment, Lisa.

  93. Jerry Lynch said

    I am a 53 year old bloke, enjoy a bit of vulgar humour, love a joke that pushes the boundaries etc but only in a situation where someone who doesn’t appreciate the humour that I do is exposed to that humour. Thats where these vans cross the line, as in the case of your daughter, they are inflicting their brand of humour ( I have yet to see a really funny one) I live in Central Otago so we have a lot of these vans about. I think I might carry a squeezy bottle of brake fluid… It lifts paint over a couple of days… Consumer activism…

    • Thanks, Jerry. I think many people agree – including me – that having a laugh is the best.
      They most certainly have crossed the line and the funny (odd) thing is ANYONE can do that. It’s actually harder to be clever with one’s humour.
      This business should not be rewarded for their misogynistic and degrading slogans.
      Thanks for your comment.

  94. Debby Myers said

    This is something that should have been knocked on the head years ago, thanks so much for bringing it to light. I have shared and others are sharing. I live on the coast in Victoria (Barwon Heads) so we see these appalling vans from time to time, they are more prevalent on the Great Ocean Road I think, they don’t always come through here. Thank you.

  95. Denise said

    The slogans on the vans used to be quite witty and while some were suggestive they weren’t that bad, but it seems that the design team is running out of clever quotations and has resorted to more in the way of filth. It’s all well and good saying if u don’t like the sayings on the van don’t hire wicked campers, but it’s the people driving and walking past theses vehicles that see the offensive words more. If a little girl can recognize that these are horrible words, then we owe it to her and other children to shield their eyes and minds from having to witness it.

  96. Stephen allerston said

    This is horrendous and needs to be stopped.

  97. Elizabeth said

    If these were racist comments it would be illegal. Why is sexism ok but racism isn’t? Sexism affects 50% of the population and it isn’t ok. Keep going with your good work.

  98. astra Sbizzirri said

    Hi Paula
    Have u thought about posting this forum on the Facebook Page of The project….. Perhaps this is an issue they will put to air? Just a thought.

  99. Melissa said

    If the slogans were printed on the dashboard or anywhere else inside their campers it would be fine but to bd on the outside in HUGE print for anyone to see is pretty bad!

  100. Donna Sutherland said

    Whilst I think most of the art work and slogans on wicked campers are in good taste and funny. These are simply not acceptable on any level. What next racist slogans

    • Sadly, they’ve done racist slogans too, Donna.
      ‘Save the whales, harpoon a Jap’.

      • bec said

        That’s not intended to be racist. It targets the Japanese for their whaling activities. That’s the reason for the use of the word Jap.

      • But racism is when you put everyone in the same pool, Bec, which this slogan does.
        I’m sure there are Japanese who find whaling as abhorrent as you or me.
        There’s no excuse for it – along with any other stereotypical grouping – like all girls are sluts.
        Thanks for your comment.

  101. Nobby said

    Is there a counter petition I can sign?

  102. Nobby said

    you are just the worst
    Wowser comes to mind.

    • I’m the worst?
      Interesting.
      Goodbye.

      • Rosie Wood said

        Well that must make everyone, including myself, that signed the petition wowsers. Proud to be a wowser in this case. Thanks for starting the petition. I am sick of seeing this demeaning stuff around the mountains as well. I doubt the petition will change the minds of those who don’t want their sick minds changed (unless they eventually grow up) but I hope the petition gets to have these smutty messages painted over and our children protected from the filth. No girl or woman deserves to feel so unworthy, nor should our boys be allowed to think it’s ok either

      • Of course there are always going to be those who will never budge but this post has struck a chord. There has been a solid outcry.
        Thank you so much for your support.

  103. Victoria said

    If the company refuses to listen then target the consumer. Ideas could be leaving leaflets at the info counters at airports where rental car info is displayed, letter writing campaigns to backpackers’ hostels requesting they not allow these vans in their carparks etc etc. Most importantly, get this viral. Share this post, write a comment on the Wicked FB site, write a review for TripAdvisor. Let the potential consumer know these slogans are unacceptable. Make them rethink hiring one as they will feel embarassed to drive it. Don’t harrass people but show scorn. The backpacking community is BIG on word of mouth reviews and the word will soon get around that hiring one of these is a shameful experience.

    Sorry about typos, arthritis in my hands and hard to type.

    • There are some great suggestions there, Victoria. Thank you.
      We’ll see how Wicked Campers respond to the petition – they may actually listen and change some of their more harmful slogans.
      If they don’t then, yes, we’ll need to take further action.
      PS Fixed those typos for you. x

      • don't believe everything you read said

        To be fair, you should fix typos for all or not fix them at all. You pointed out a non-supporter spelt waist incorrectly. You should be fair 100% of the time.

      • Typos due to arthritis is different to a person who left a rude comment.
        However, I’ve taken your comment on board and removed the PS from Wayne’s comment.

  104. Verina said

    Paula how wonderful to see all the positive comments!
    there will always be the trolls and the ones who just don’t get it..
    but they are few here…
    congratulations to you and to your daughter!!
    Peaceful people power often brings the right change…
    proud to be working along side of you mi amiga..
    muchas gracias…

  105. Pania Brown said

    Hi I just read this article and it ruined my day because I couldn’t get my head around the thought that some people don’t see this as offensive and actually would think it was funny. I’ve seen these campers around New Zealand but luckily I’ve never seen one with these comments on them. How do the people hiring them feel, do they really think it’s funny? I find the whole thing unbelievable and horrific. I sent it onto as many Fbook friends as I could and got just as many incredulous responses as I had. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be following one of these slogans down the highway for a while with kids reading it from their seats. I wonder if the drivers get hassled when they stop at all. I would hope so. Absolutely unbelievable,w ell done for starting something to stop it, I hope you get all your signatures.

    • I’m sorry I ruined your day, Pania, but I am very grateful for your support and encouragement.
      Funnily enough, some commenters have told me of stories where the overseas tourists weren’t aware of the meaning behind the slogans on the van they hired and were horrified.
      Thanks for your comment.

  106. Chris said

    How long did it take Wicked Campers to get 10 thousand likes? This petition to ask them to rethink their inappropriate van slogans gained over 12,000 signatures in 2 days!…

  107. why don’t we all call his 1800 number, it will cost him money and business

    • As tempting as that sounds, I still hold out (a naive) hope that the founder hears the outcry and actually changes.
      I would like to give him that chance.
      Thanks for your comment, Antony.

  108. Paul said

    Honestly, what these people have written on their vans is both offensive and embarrasing. No respect!.. don’t they have daughters and mothers (or decency apparently?) I believe in freedom of speech and all but not when it only encourages disrespect and ultimately dissension in society. What kind of family values is this suppossed to imbue in the minds of the young. Then they’ll probably sit around shaking their heads wondering whats wrong with the world..

  109. elizabethellencarter said

    At the risk of being very unpopular, I believe that the public visual space should be G-Rated.

  110. Grace said

    I teach a Social Justice and Equity unit at university and I plan to use this discussion in my next gender class. I find the argument that if these slogans were directed at men then feminists would be chuckling. Feminism is about equality for all and that means treating all with fairness and respect. If someone is disrespecting a person based on gender, race, creed or sexuality then they are not feminists. The term feminist has been sullied by those who perpetuate hatred.

    • Lovely to meet you Grace – I’m SO into Social Justice and Equity.
      I agree that the word ‘feminism’ has been soiled and it has also frustrated me enormously for the same reasons you wrote.
      That’s why, in my penultimate post, I call out for people to be Actionists – to look at the action of a person, regardless of gender, race, social standing etc and just focus on that.
      I would love to had how your discussion went. I’m a high school teacher and am passionate about the education of our youngins!
      x

  111. Jennifer Ensor said

    I just signed your petition and I agree that these vans are truly offensive. It both amazes and disgusts me that this company can get away with what they are doing. I’m wondering if it would be worthwhile to approach one of the morning breakfast shows, to gain more coverage for your campaign and to prompt the ASB into taking more affirmative action. Perhaps you could even approach Melinda Tankard Reist, a well known author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for women and girls (she has a blog) for further support. I have often seen her appear on Sunrise and she is very good. Wishing you all the best in making a difference!

  112. James said

    Good work to take a stand on this, as it not only gives you and others a forum for voicing opposition, but brings out the same tired arguments for all to see and dissect. The oft-quoted Stephen Fry opinion is essentially meaningless itself, as Fry is voicing HIS sense of offense at other people being offended. So at worst it’s an attempt to set up a hierarchy of offense, with, predictably, a white class-privileged male as higher up. At best it’s just one guy’s opinion – about opinion. On a separate tack, I’m always astounded by the sense that those in the target demographic (or aiming into the target demographic) for these adverts that they are edgy humour, when in fact these sexist attitudes are deeply conservative, as they’re about preserving male power and privilege to set the terms FOR ‘humour’, and reflect the worst and most reductive (sociologically speaking) aspects of their granddad’s generation. And yes, I get the ‘not all men’ argument but these examples reflect age old systemic power structures – be they mindsets or behaviours – that reduce women to the virgin/slut false dichotomy (in which women are reviled either way) or a household implement. I don’t see conceptualizing ignoring (and implicity being complicit with) these kinds of texts as rising above them, is productive. Take a stand. Good on those who do.

    • Thank you, James. Thank you.
      I’ve been answering everyone who has commented and at times have been brain tired. Your comment articulates perfectly how I feel. I love your observation about the Stephen Fry comment. Spot on.
      Let’s hope something positive comes of all this, or at the very least let people feel the buzz of standing together for a common goal.
      Thanks again for your encouraging words, James.

  113. eedaj said

    I am a young female and this is SO FAR from opressive or offensive. Lighten up! Get a sense of humor and get over yourselves! The only thing I find oppressive or offensive is saying that this effects ALL women. No, it doesn’t. Or am I not a woman? I’m confident enough to know that a joke painted on a van doesn’t equate to rape. How do you even make that leap? Chill out.

    • I never made that ‘leap’. There is a difference to what I’m saying to your interpretation above.
      What it does is condone a dangerous thought; one that refers to girls being little sluts who ‘want it’. Well, they don’t and they also don’t need a visual and moving public platform spreading that vile perspective.
      If you think this is funny, good for you but your voice and ‘sense of humour’ is in the minority, if you care to read other comments that have been made here.
      If stereotypically being labelled as a slut, or an attachment to be screwed to do the housework, is dandy for you then that is your choice – but I will not be standing down.
      And no, it doesn’t affect all women – until it does, and then what? Will you laugh it off?

      • James said

        The problem with the ‘get over yourselves’ argument is: what part of ourselves are we supposed to get over? The part that thinks a woman (and in this case an 11 year old girl) should be able to live in a landscape free of messages that falsely encapsulate and diminish her in one swoop? The part that thinks maybe a girl shouldn’t have to grow up in a society as full of ingrained sexism and as callous to her rights to self determination as our great-grandmothers? When we get over ourselves with (e.g. don’t do anything about) these kinds of narratives is it is ultimately our right to speak BACK to them we end up getting ‘over.’ We become (through inaction) complicit in their methods and (by silence) compliant to their messages. That’s not getting over, it’s giving in.

        Both ‘jokes’ may look contemporary, but the genealogy for those kinds of narratives is a very old one, they are both mechanisms to barter favour between groups of men, by way of a wink and a nod, with the degradation of women as the currency in the transaction.They are tools in the reinforcement of male power to define. There is no real irony inherent in these, the ‘jokes’ aren’t poking fun at the attitudes that create them, they’re poking fun at – in actuality, degrading – the images of girls and women IN them.

      • ^^^ What James said.
        So good.

  114. Trisha said

    I’d just like to point out that Australia does NOT have free speech. I know that we think we do, mostly because we watch so much American produced material. We have freedom of the press, but individuals are NOT allowed to say whatever they like whenever they like, particularly not in a public forum.
    There’s too much ‘it’s my right’ ‘everyone’s entitled to their opinion’ that goes on in our society. And the vast majority of Australians believe that they are absolutely in the right to voice whatever they like.
    Our society has been sliding down a slippery morally bankrupt slide and the promotion of ‘self’ and the ideals of ‘personal rights’ has come at the expense of the value of others and personal responsibility.
    Nobody has the RIGHT to say anything they want, particularly if it denegrates others.

    • I know, right? We can’t just say what we want because then there would be complete chaos.
      I think what you wrote is perfect. I was interviewed this morning by the ABC and Daily Mail and it was exactly what I said to them; that we are all about what’s legal cording to the law, but seem to have lost our moral and ethical compass.
      Thanks heaps for your encouraging comment, Trisha. It gives me comfort.

  115. Chris said

    Wicked joined Facebook in 2009 – 5 years to reach 10,000 likes – petition to ask them to remove inappropriate slogans, over 14000 likes in only 2 days – thats Wicked got 11 Facebook likes per 2 days, that makes the petition over 1,000 times more popular – hmmm. take notice Wicked, make the change!

  116. Chris said

    your please sign petition her slink at the top seems to just link to this page?

  117. Bill said

    Hi
    One thing all of these situations leave me with is that humor, of any stripe and on nearly any topic, is often about approaching a topic or broaching a subject that is otherwise taboo, difficult, or stressful to bring to light. That much humor is about exposing a thing to consideration in a way that does not alienate an audience. The problem many people have with the equation that “joke = approval” is that it is simply not true in so many cases. The thing that makes a joke funny in many cases is the irony or juxtaposition of the ridiculousness of the statement. Or that it brings to light some part of our internal dialogue and exposes it to a bit of ridicule. Often, it holds up an uncomfortable truth about ourselves that we wouldn’t acknowledge in any other way. Sometimes it is only through laughing at something that we can take away its power or that we begin to change ourselves.
    Sometimes it makes people uncomfortable or is in poor taste or poorly timed or just a bad joke but that is the price to pay to not censor the world into submission. I think an individual’s right to do things in poor taste or that give offense is simply greater than anyone’s right to censor expression because they find it offensive by orders of magnitude. I think that is the gist of the “it is a joke” argument.

    while I think this company is solidly in the bad jokes/poor taste department, they have definitely succeeded in the no publicity is bad publicity department. I noted many in your comments section had never heard of this company… now they have and while many commenting here are in support of you, how much free publicity did you give them to people who don’t care about the jokes?
    Could you have posted or raised this issue in a manner that didn’t put the company name front and center in the article (maybe blur it or refer people to your protest page if they want to know and then support).
    Since the company is so blatant about this, I doubt you have cost them a single customer who changed their mind or somehow didn’t know about the joke on the back. Nope, you probably added customers or reinforced as the people this would appeal to are probably taking some glee in offending you. So I bet they don’t blow off the complaints, I think they take joy in them and have office parties every time an article like this goes viral.

    • This company has been complained about since 2008 and continue to cross the line by ignoring upheld complaints made to the Advertising Standards Board.
      I’m not sure how we campaign against a business’s bad practices without exposing them; especially since they’ve done nothing to change over the years.
      Personally I don’t concur with the cliché that they are now receiving all this free publicity. Maybe they’ve gained a few fans – but the response has been overwhelmingly positive (and angry), confirming the opposite.
      The ABC and Daily Mail have interviewed me and put up an article online today and there’s another article coming from the Courier Mail.
      There are also many, many, many comments that have been made in this forum, demonstrating enormous frustration at this business; including stories of horrified backpackers who have ended up with terrible phrases they didn’t quite understand on the back of their van but which directed the wrong attention toward them.
      I don’t think they’re feeling joy but if they are, it’s actually irrelevant.
      I’m sorry you feel that they may be a bit hard done by being called out for calling little girls sluts; but it’s NOT funny.
      Thanks for your comment.

      • Bill said

        I don’t think they are being hard done by. I just think that, yes, you gave them free publicity. It is not a cliché. I am in America and I saw this story, had never heard of the company before this. And I am 100% sure by their behavior that they not only don’t care about the complaints, they view them as a badge of success. That if the visibility you raised garners them even one customer, they are happy to lose any of the others as “not our demographic” in exchange. Please remember that your audience is an echo chamber that will reinforce your demographic (just like theirs does). That they have been positive and supportive means you have a good following, not that it was an effective post at making a change.
        Maybe take an outside opinion on the actual effectiveness of this article? 🙂
        Personally, I would not have had their name in the article and specifically noted it was to deny them any shred of publicity. Linking to the protest (again without their name) is great but the only way to fight someone who thinks your negative publicity will attract some of their audience is to not give it to them.

  118. Nicole Smith said

    Link isnt working to sign the petition. These jokes arent jokes find something funny instead of sexist bogan vulgarities

  119. T said

    Not at all impressed with Wicked Campervans. I think their comments are disrespectful, ignorant, classless, rude and show a lack of regard and empathy for others. I would be embarrassed to be seen in one.

  120. Natalie Jensen said

    Hey there, I have a son. Both my husband and myself work hard to ensure he sees both genders as valued, respected beings. I have signed, and I can only hope efforts like yours ensure he never sees this trash written on the back of a vehicle on our roads.

  121. Kate said

    Wow I had no idea things like this were legal! If I saw one degrading either sex as something of a play toy in a place where it can be shoved in the face of our children id be taking my spray paint too it.

    Talk about disgusting. The worst thing is they think it’s all a big joke. Not so funny when people do actually think like this and these silly comments on the back of a van help clarify to rapists and abusers that they aren’t the only ones.

    Seriously. What our we teaching our sons and daughters.

    • Exactly, Kate. I have to admit that even though there has been the most unimaginable and overwhelming support, it still jars me when I get the comments telling me it’s a joke and that we should just get over it.
      They’re calling girls sluts. Not on.
      Thanks for your comment.

  122. Adam said

    Bahahahahaha!!! A word of advice.. Next time you visit the beach wear some underwear…. The amount of sand built up in your vagina is phenomenal!!

  123. I’ve made a few complaints myself… some of their artwork is clever (although I seriously suspect not licensed (Breaking Bad, Seinfeld, etc.) and runs copyright infringement every time they make money off of illegal images) but when I see racist comments as well as the inane sexist ones (The photo I complained with them about showed one of their vehicles stating “Just like Pearl Harbor, there’s a Nip in the air”) .. HOW can that not be an infringement? It would be one thing if the comment was INSIDE the vehicle but their argument of “if you don’t like it, don’t rent it” doesn’t hold water when it’s on the exterior of the vehicle.

    These idiots need to be shut down, and the only way is to being a LARGE public eye on them. So keep taking pictures, keep sending in complaints and keep them going viral.

    • Thank you, Robert.
      Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any organisation that can really enforce anything – anytime the ASB has upheld a complaint, they seem to shrug it off and continue doing what they’re doing.
      I believe some of these slogans are illegal but who do we go to for lawful removal?

  124. Tim said

    I agree that the things on the campers are disgusting. I am a 39 year old father of two boys whom I hope will grow up to have the kind of loving relationship with their wife that I have with their mother. I do want to add however, that the problem we see on the campers is part of a bigger issue that stems from the loss of self respect young men and women have today and the loss ofsocial respect they are taught to show for each other in the dating and mating game. Principles like loyalty and fidelity are rare. Alcohol is a central theme. Some forms of Feminism are as much to blame for this unprincipled freedom as money grubbing capitalism and bone headed males. Why is it ok to see near naked women posted on billboards in public streets? Why do women dress as if it is a game to see how much they can show rather than having some kind of respectful dialogue to share values and ideas/intersts with a potential male companion? I am in despair that my innocent young boys are going to be bombarded by this culture of disrespect. Why should my two young boys have their minds polluted with this sexualised garbage? Most young men, who are sincere will struggle to find genuine self sacrificing love from a young woman today – the kind of disrespect and sexual stupidity is the only alternative they will ever know. I do not say that this is an excuse for the obscenity on the campers, only to point out that there is a wider problem.

    • I agree wholeheartedly, Tim. I am a high school teacher and have run workshops with students with the goal that respect is what *must* be taught.
      This current sex-obsessed paradigm is damaging both our boys and girls and they enact what they’ve been ‘taught’ by the media, ads and shows that surround them (and an unimaginable amount of porn) on each other and ultimately become desensitised to its seriousness as it’s been normalised.
      The reason I started this petition is exactly for the reason you discussed – the bigger picture. I believe taking action on some of these slogans is just a way to show we are tired of dangerous ‘free speech’ that will ultimately lead to bigger problems down the track. Well, we’re already seeing the horrible statistics and examples of the rape culture our youth are currently navigating through.
      Thank you so much for your comment, Tim.

  125. Lynda said

    Just yuck. I’m happy to laugh at jokes that are actually funny but this is truly disrespectful.

  126. Lindsay Olsen said

    The messages on the rear of the vans I find offensive, and I’m a man. It shows no respect for women and I don’t find them funny. It also reflects poorly on those customers who choose to use that company’s services. I wouldn’t hire from that company. Nor would I ever recommend it to anyone else.

  127. In Australia, in the fight against discrimination we don’t always have the language to tell people that their tacit approval of this kind of thing is still approval.

    My case in point is, “all girls are sluts” = “boycott Mcdonalds” This young man is using what is commonly called “false equivalency” this is where someone from the dominant group of power using a specious comparison to undermine/demean/devalue the discriminated persons experience. A good straight female friend of mine recently told me I “should not be so vocal on the whole gay marriage thing”, and she understood what I was going through because she had “suffered discrimination as a blonde female”. I called her out on her false equivalency, yes she has suffered discrimination but hers is not enshrined in law.

    Also your young male is coming from a place of privilege, in the USA they refer to the concept of ‘white privilege’. Most women at some point in their lives have been objectified sexually either by a third party like the media or another person, many same sex attracted men have also experienced this within our own communities. Most heterosexual men have never been in the position of being sexually objectified and possibly find the idea quite titilating (if done by women) But the law has gay panic defence which basically excuses heterosexual men from acts of violence including murder because they were so hocked they were hit on by a man. My point here is not to bang the gay rights drum although I am, but I’m telling this to make a point. A position of privilege is were all of society seems to show your faces, tell your stories, make your jokes, so that when someone else from outside that privilege stands up and says “this is wrong it has to change” the people in privilege get defensive, telling us to get a sense of humour or worse.

    Please keep up the good fight. Although I find Wicked Campers tasteless and they don’t offend personally, I think it’s wonderful you are trying to stop them spewing what can only be described as hate speech from one corner of the country to the other”

    • Spot on, Peter. If you have Facebook, you can go on my Questions for Us page and see the conversation that unfolded with the young man.
      I spoke of his privilege and how easy to is to tell me to relax about it from his completely different experience to mine that has no comparison.
      I have had every cliché in the book thrown at me – but it just makes me more determined to continue.
      Thanks so much for your comment, so well put.

  128. Ruby said

    As a woman, I personally don’t find these offensive at all and found them quite funny. In my opinion if a slogan like that is all it takes to change a young mans mind about women then his perspective was already heading that way anyhow.

    However there is a time and place for things like that and the back of a van (where it’s exposed to children) is NOT one of them. I don’t want my 4 year old son asking me what a slut is.

    I have signed your petition in the hope that they tone down their slogans.

    • Thanks for signing, Ruby, I really appreciate it.
      I have never believed that these slogans can ‘change a person’s mind’ but they do condone and normalise perspectives that, as you said, are already in that person’s mind. I don’t wish to cross paths with said people. It’s a subliminal wash and has no place in the public sphere.
      Time and a place – spot on.
      Thanks again.

  129. Sim said

    Have signed the petition. I’m also wondering if it would be worth lodging a complaint with the Australian Human rights Commission? They investigate and conciliate issues around discrimination and from what I’ve heard, take things like this a little more seriously than the world of advertising…

    Good luck, they have been around a long time and don’t seem to really care about the issue at all.

  130. lolsy254 said

    I do not understand for one moment, why if they want to use some kind of slogan, this was the best that they could come up with?
    Why not use a slogan about…Travelling, camping, spending time with friends/family, holidays?
    So not only are these slogans offensive, but they make absolutely no sense what-so-ever either?

  131. katie said

    so freedom of speech isn’t ok if it offends someone, somewhere?

    • So freedom of speech can’t happen when many, many, many say it’s dangerous?

      How about the freedom of speech of Wicked Campers who have blocked people from commenting on their FB page.
      Convenient.

    • Traci said

      Freedom of Speech does not equal Freedom from Consequences. You can call your mom a bitch all you want, but if she up and slaps the hell out of you for it, you can’t say you didn’t deserve it, even if she truly is a bitch. This is about treating people with respect and putting an end to the things that encourage the rape culture that we live in.

  132. John Giles said

    We must demand that government use its power to levy fines, seize property, and cage or kill people in order to coerce people to comply with our standards.

    • kiprone said

      They tried that in Russia, China and North Korea. It’s called communism. Do you really want that?

    • *Our* government? That’s a good one, John.
      What do they care?
      They’d probably applaud Wicked Campers’ savvy business practices; which also includes renting out sub-standard vehicles (according to many reports and articles).
      Joking aside – I actually wholeheartedly agree that it *should* be a better way.
      The government should be a servant to its people; not the other way around.
      They should be putting in and enforcing laws that provide protection to all and if it fails to protect – then it has to provide justice.
      Not enough is being done to teach our developing youth because we are not combating the slogans, lads mags, girls’ mags, ads, shows, movies, YouTube and insatiable Internet porn; *that’s* what is teaching our kids. No protection. All those things in that list surrounds them. Surrounds Us.
      We most certainly do not live in a just society in ever-growing areas of our lives and for that I’m shouting ENOUGH!
      If we can’t do it with the slogans, how are we ever going to get the massive problems like Internet porn? We may as well just hand over the reigns officially.
      Well not me.
      Thanks for triggering that comment out of me, John. I much appreciate it. Honestly.

      PS I don’t think we should be caging or killing people for anything.

  133. Change is only ever made when people care enough to raise their voices above the din of conformity.

    I want to raise my voice above the cacophony of a demographic that thinks that is ok, that thinks this is funny, that thinks this doesn’t matter, doesn’t impact negatively on the lives of everybody. It’s not just women who are harmed by this, it is also the young men in our societally who are lead to believe that this is ok. We do a disservice to the entirety of our society, when we do not have equality.

    To paraphrase ‘No man is an island… every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… For I am involved in mankind” (thanks John Donne, sorry I chopped up your beautiful poem so much. But it was true in the 16th century as much as it is true today) We are all apart of this together. Without each other we do not exist. Men cannot exist without women, and the same can be said the other way around, sure our genitals divide us into two sexes, but intimately we are all human beings. No gender should be subservient or denigrated in relation to the other.

    • I LOVE that – I want to raise my voice above the cacophony of a demographic that thinks that this is ok…
      Can I put that paragraph up on my Facebook page? If yes, how do you want me to refer to? Full name? Yishi alone?

      Thank you so very much for your articulate comment, Yishi. It confounds me why people fight to keep it this way. So hateful for no bloody reason.

  134. kiprone said

    Consider, for a moment, the woman who was arrested recently for making racist comments on the train. if you can find proof that they have done the same, try a secondary action of taking the complaint to the police. might give them something to think about

    • A few people have suggested the police, but I don’t think there’s a lot they can do.
      This has to be dealt with rules with reasoned lines that can’t be crossed; with consequences that are actually enforced.
      People can’t keep moving the line forward and say that it’s their right to do so – especially when they’re in the bloody minority.
      It’s degrading and they’re rubbing it in everyone’s face.
      Thanks heaps for your comment, Lyndon.

  135. […] read Paula’s blog (which I strongly urge you to do if you’re interested enough to have read this far, because her […]

  136. Jill said

    ” in a capitalist cesspool that will stop at nothing to make money.” Wow – I thought that was a great bit of descriptive writing, and accurate too – from a different Jill

  137. Adam said

    There are jokes about both genders that are funny, and they also have a time and place (by that I meant that they need to be shared among people that know each others intentions and sense of humor). When they are out for everyone to see as they are on the wicked campers, that’s a whole different story. The fact that children see them for starters makes it unreasonable. I was planning to hire one once, but the trip itself never eventuated. My reasoning for considering them was certainly not because of these slogans as I hadn’t seen any quite that crude until more recently, but because of the price and I was going to be on a very tight budget. To appeal to their intended market they really only need to make their name known and associated with affordability – nothing more. Most young travelers on a budget probably couldn’t care less what their transport looks like. If they want to make them distinctive there’s all sorts of things they could paint on them. If they want slogans or quotes, there’s plenty of inspirational ones that if they looked on social media they would see are very popularly being shared around by the kind of people that would be looking for budget transport. They would likely get more business too because I would bet like myself, there are others whou would be too embarrassed to drive around in something with such stuff written all over it.

    • Thanks Adam and I wholeheartedly agree.
      Backpackers seem to be popular customers and I get that fun, edgy vibe Wicked Campers were probably going for to appeal to them
      But, yes, they’ve crossed the line with too many slogans.
      Thank you for your reasoned comment and support.
      I appreciate it.

  138. XYZ ABC said

    Interesting.

  139. Traci said

    I would’ve responded to him as follows.
    “By saying “not all men are like that”, then you can logically conclude that there are some men who are like that. And exactly what constitutes “not all men”: 1% or 20% or even 99%? So long as there is even one man in the world who would take this stuff seriously, and not as a joke, then there is a problem. Would you want any of the women you know being treated like this: your mom, sister, aunt, niece, grandma, daughter, wife, etc.? If the answer is no, then you need to see the seriousness of these so-called “jokes” and help to put an end to it instead of defending it and being part of the problem. Because you ARE part of the problem if you cannot see what is wrong with these slogans! And while you are at it, I suggest you try having some empathy and imagine how you would feel if you were a woman.”

    And BTW, I loved your daughter’s response! 🙂

    • Yes! Traci, yes. I keep saying that businesses run by people who think this is fine, trolls on the internet who use threats in their dialogue and so on – all exist and all walk amongst us. How is anyone to know who they are?
      They don’t have signs on their heads for us to be able to tell – but hey, we have a business that DOES have signs that condone and normalise gender stereotypes – sometimes dangerous ones. Let’s start there.
      PS I loved her response too – it was verbatim.
      Thank you Traci for commenting.

  140. Christopher Trotter said

    I feel shocked and outraged at the number of posts supporting this type of behaviour… I fall in to this demographic of young males and wholeheartedly support you on this post!!! Great job!!’

  141. David Wolf said

    “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

    Paula,
    Thanks for making a difference in trying to have this rubbish removed from our roads.

  142. really said

    Thought I would let all know that “wicked campers” have a face book page where you could leave them a comment or two…..

    • They have stopped us from practicing *our* freedom of speech by disabling the ability to leave a comment.
      Those who did before that, had their comment deleted and then blocked.
      Unsurprising really.

      • really said

        I think you can still report their page as offensive .even if you cant leave a comment….. Interestingly photos of the vans on some of the other wicked web and fb sites for other countries (spain) dont seem to have the same bogan slogans on them. Is Australia the only country to allow this type of offensive slogan? I also did a bit of a google on the company and found lots and lots of complaints about vehicle breakdowns, overcharging and very bad treatment of customers both here and other places around the world….. The owner also has a interesting background ……

      • They’re dodgy on heaps of levels and yes, I think we are just about the only country allowed to.

      • surfsimple said

        I’m not sure you understand the concept of freedom of speech. You are practicing it with this blog. You are using it to express your opinions, unfettered by law or the will of government, or those who find your opinions offensive.
        Ironically you are using it in an attempt to stop wicked campers from doing the same.
        You have also blocked commentators, as well as editing your own sexist remarks.

      • I do know that I am afforded the same liberties as everyone else with free speech and think it is an essential part of society. I was not categorising people in upsetting ways, however, merely asking for some respect in that they promote dangerous attitudes.
        I have answered just about every person who wrote on this forum – which is something rarely seen; leaving myself transparent and up for attack, but it’s important to discuss these issues in a civil manner.
        The only comments I’ve blocked have been those who have threatened me with physical violence – one to take we to the woods and put a bullet in my skull and I expressed myself badly ONCE when thanking a man for mansplaining. I changed that comment because I am a human being with faults, just like everyone else, and agreed that it was out of line. Isn’t that what we ultimately want from the human race?
        I don’t wish to talk to you further, you have made your point clear and trolled through my comments for attack.
        Wicked Campers complemented me on my poise in their apology to me and agreed that they need to reassess some of their slogans.
        Goodbye.

  143. signedconcerned said

    There is a lot of concern here about what this is doing to our daughters, but maybe we should also worry about what it does to our sons. This kind of crap will disappear when the target market is repulsed by it. Until then, these mobile insults to our humanity normalise repugnant attitudes.

    • I completely agree and have spoken often about the terrible injustice we’re doing with our boys and men – labelling them as mindless and sex-obsessed.
      This hurts everyone.
      Thanks for your comment.

  144. Liam said

    Well, at least you seem to have changed his mind about the importance of fighting rape culture at it’s very root. Cudos!

  145. It seems that this one is the only acceptable saying that they have on one of their vans – “This van is rented by f**kwits to f**kwits”.

  146. Flow In said

    i’m going to be carrying a spray can around, if i see one of these vans it is getting “rape culture” sprayed over it. thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. you are right, your little princess deserves a better environment to live in.

  147. […] One of our supporters, blogger and activist Paula Orbea, decided she had had enough after her young daughter was exposed to a certain van while out with her grandparents. She wrote on her blog: […]

  148. Shona Findlay said

    Not welcome in the Blue Mountains at all the police have been telling them to move on if it has this kind of writing on the van.
    To make them stop the complaints need to come from the people hiring the van’s.
    If the police & public are telling them to move no there not welcome because of what is on the van they will complain to the place they got the van , that they cannot stop anywhere due to what is on the van …..word will get around with tourists not to get the van’s as you will not be welcome anywhere .they will have to change or go out of business. … be the change you want to see in the world
    ( Grande) .be brave call the police if you see the van somewhere there ate laws agent’s this public language, tell the driver your self we don’t appreciate the language on the van & they are not welcome in your town with that van …Don’t be rude ….just explain.
    If you really wish to see them gone , You have to be willing to at least use the law that is in place to stop it and make the call.

  149. kaybee said

    I have signed your petition Paula. I do wonder whether it will change Wicked’s attitude though. I think that the petition would be more effective if sent to our politicians. Wicked will not change their strategy voluntarily.
    What I don’t understand is why these slogans come under advertising? They are not advertising the company’s product or part of the company’s trademark (which would not be approved). These slogans are offensive and there must be a law relating to offensive slogans?

  150. Im 27, and a lot of friends my age have been sharing your article disgusted.
    It’s promoting rape couture and a sever gender divide.
    Men are not emotionless pigs (to the most part). Women are not simply a mans sexual property.
    Young women AND men are finding them less and less tasteful.
    i personally thing that if i can explain it out to my boys of 6 and 8 without having to sexualize the answer, its fine.However, there are a few that completely cross the line.
    Just so you know, the 18-30 year old male demographic are NOT all impressed.

    • Spot on, Ami. I think we have to drop the labels we have attached to each other and just recognise that people of all ages, gender, race etc. are (on the whole) outraged about this.
      Thanks for your comment.

  151. Julia Hunter said

    Almost all the men I know are intelligent, kind, hard working, reasonable, talented and funny. Why do they allow themselves to be judged by what these slogans imply about them?

  152. really said

    Talking at home about this today and it suggested that a petition should also be sent to Prime Minister Abbott, as he is our Minister for Women.

    • Stephen Day said

      I have been moved to right to Mr Webb today. A copy of the text is below.

      Mr John Webb
      Wicked Campers
      79 McLachlan Street
      Fortitude Valley
      Brisbane QLD 4006

      14/7/14

      Mr Webb,

      A short letter from a soldier to a businessman.

      I have seen your vans around and about. Sometimes the slogans painted on them made me smile. But mostly they didn’t. In fact if I think harder about it I can’t remember the last time I thought one of them was funny. That should tell your
      something; soldiers are pretty tolerant of edgy humour.

      I have just seen one of your recent slogans: “… In every Princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once …”

      That slogan has prompted this letter.

      A boy does what is easy; like painting slogans that belittle women to catch attention. A man does what is right; like standing up when someone is belittled.

      A boy is focussed on himself; oblivious to the impact of his behaviour on others. A man seeks to serve something bigger than himself; conscious that his actions should contribute to a greater good.

      A boy takes advantage of the weak. He will try and make a quid out of their mockery; he knows no better. A man defends the defenceless. He knows he can do this and make a living.

      As we are lowered into our graves we are naked. All that we have left is our character; the essence of which is often captured on our gravestone. I don’t know you personally
      but I reckon the way your public image is developing yours won’t read too well: “Here lies a bloke who made his living belittling others” would seem to be about right.

      If anything I have written is not clear or you would like to dispute it I would be happy to meet you in person to discuss it.

      Stephen Day DSC, AM
      Soldier

  153. Well done Paula! Signed the petition! You’ve certainly got a national conversation happening around this. Wicked Vans …they should be renamed horrendous. It’s been on every news site today. Congrats.

  154. Joe said

    I reckon we should flood their 1800 number with complaints. Afterall, it doesn’t cost us, does it?

  155. Damien Wool said

    Hi – I’m a Male aged 36 and have seen these for years and have not been impressed. I would also like to ask how do we get the condom vending machines in mens toilets modified, the pictures potray women badly and the statements are poor, I don’t like taking my son into public toilets as these stand out like sore thumbs and they don’t need to see pictures of women in poor light.

    • Make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau. Take photos when you can.
      They’re generally successful when they find it breaks their ethical codes and standards.

  156. Carolyn said

    Children need not be exposed to this kind of trash. It’s not funny nor clever. It shows a lack of respect on so many levels.

  157. Tim said

    Where’s the petition to not be offended by everything?

  158. […] feminist Paula Orbea launched a campaign that went viral against Wicked Campers, a rental van company in Australia with fans that feature degrading slogans about women on them. […]

  159. Blue said

    As a male I agree that those slogans are completely inappropriate to have on a vehicle, or pretty much anywhere for that matter.

    But the flipside to some of this is that women should feel free to be sexually adventurous and as promiscuous as they choose (and not be stigmatised because of it). Let’s not insist that women have to be princesses and aren’t allowed to be sluts (though I don’t personally like that term). Being a slut is not necessarily a bad thing.

    My girlfriend and I are swingers and have encountered many women who very much enjoy behaviour that others might consider “slutty”. There are even some women who enjoy being called a slut, as long as it’s not said in a context intended to insult. The sad part is that we’ve also encountered many women who are afraid to indulge their desires because society insists they have to be chaste princesses. When they find that the swinging community doesn’t judge them for being promiscuous (or for being chaste) it’s a groundbreaking moment of relief and joy for them.

    So as much as it’s not an appropriate slogan to have on a van, inside some princesses there IS a woman who wants to try being slutty at least once. 😉

    Oh, and before anyone questions if our swinging is just an excuse for me to cheat on my girlfriend – we have an amazingly close and honest relationship, we only ever play as a couple (with other couples and singles), my girlfriend is often the one to suggest we go swinging and she gets way more extra attention than I do (as is typical in the swinging world).

    • A slut is a derogatory term and this is not referring to women, it’s referring to girls. There’s no other way to see it and most people agree.
      I certainly don’t think that the slogan writers had women in mind when they penned it.
      Thanks for your comment.

      • Blue said

        Ah, I see where you’re coming from. Honestly, I hadn’t read it that way. Maybe because I don’t associate girls with sex. I interpreted it as “Inside every woman who maintains a chaste facade to meet society’s expectations, is a woman who wants to try uninhibited raunchy hedonism just once” – which in my experience is true for quite a few.

        I definitely don’t agree with that slogan being on a car, the probable intent behind it, or the vulgar language used, but I don’t agree with society oppressing women’s sexuality either.

      • That’s why it offended my 11 yr old daughter so much.
        Thanks for your response, it’s appreciated.

      • surfsimple said

        Why do you say the slogan refers to girls, as opposed to women?
        I see a lot of long bows being drawn by yourself and others on this blog. Invoking Rolf Harris repeatedly would be a good example…

      • Because of the amalgamation of all the words – ‘princess’ (a common term for girls) ‘little slut’ and finally, the ‘wants to try it just once’.
        It would be safe to assume that most women have had sex, so coupling all of that together made it strongly appear to be about girls.
        It’s obvious you don’t agree and that’s your prerogative, however I merely stated a case based on the response of my 11 year old daughter who was the one who saw the slogan (I wasn’t there) and was upset by it. Am I to ignore her feelings over yours? What sort of parent would I be if I did?
        Normalising these perspectives in such a public platform is dangerous for our girls – and all females; and let me just add that certain slogans do NOTHING for our males either, continually painting them as sex-obsessed and looking for female prey. (One of their slogans was of a male drooling with his hands up in a stalking fashion saying: ‘We’re here for your daughters’.) Some may find this funny, but others feel fear that these sorts of ‘jokes’ are being continuously washed over us and slowly altering how we see each other. Just so you know the most common search engine term that gets people to my blog is, ’12 year old sluts’.
        I’d say the success of the campaign shows that most people agree. It even reached the Senate yesterday.

  160. Luke said

    Disgusting

  161. robert said

    women OR girls, this stuff is not needed..replace it with charity advertisements if we must have something to read on the dirty campers

  162. KikiTheSlayer said

    Quit sooking, it’s having a giggle. If you take offense to that you seriously need to adjust your attitude.

  163. Claire said

    It doesn’t matter if it refers to men or women, this sort of crap should not be written on the side of a car. I don’t WANT to explain it to my not-yet 10year old and why should I have to??? It’s just sad that there are obviously enough retarded people around willing to drive a car that’s this obscene and keep this hire company in business.

  164. Rachel said

    Having just fininished studying advertising and media, I know that shock tactics and publicity stunts are common. The difference with this is that it has been around for a while and nothing has come of it. Usually they run the campaign, it gets some complaints so they take it down but they hope it makes its way into the media and results in free advertising. The whole process duration is a few weeks or a month, but for this, one of those previous complaints was in 2010. Do you remember all the controversy over that Viagra company and their billboards? Pretty sure that was pretty tame compared to this.

    • The Advertising Standards Board CEO stated yesterday that Wicked Campers have ignored their upheld complaints against them. The ASB has found them in breech of ethical codes and they have refused to change their slogans.
      Surely we can’t just stand by and let them keep going about their business?
      Thanks, Rachel.

  165. Terry Kreutz said

    Meanwhile women and children are being bombed and killed in Gaza. No signatures for them. But the moment a well coordinated individual starts going on about a perceived slight grafitied on to the side of a hire van, suddenly it’s Armageddon and it’s time to march to Parliament house. Truly, this society is so far gone that it amazes me people can still remember their names.

    Needless to say I will not be signing this. I am in fact utterly shocked, appalled and completely disgusted at the egocentric, selfish nature of so-called feminism today. I grew up bullied and racially abused throughout my childhood, but as a boy was simply told to “deal with it”, and I still see that going on to this very day. Look at the teenage suicide rate among boys for where that leads. Again, few, if any signatures. Believe me, few of you know what real hardship is if the the worst thing in your life are some offensive jokes not even directed at yourselves personally, spray painted on the side of some dinky hire vans to get some tasteless attention..

    Anyway, I wish you all the best with this, and hope that perhaps one day you will wake up from this selfish miasma you have surrounded yourselves in and realize just how many things there are being neglected that are far more important than a bad taste advertising campaign.

    Such as the beginnings of an overt shift in this country to segregate the haves from the have nots, signalling the biggest fundamental social change in Australia’s history since the world wars. In my mind, that is a far more important thing to be active about and harassing the ABC for interviews over than a few rude jokes on some vans. Because unlike those vans, that will effect not only us, but our children, and their children’s children for generations to come.

    • You don’t know anything about me, Terry.
      For years I have been fighting for numerous causes like the femecide of girls in India and China – as well as the horrible way we are grooming our boys and men into navigating the world through a violent and sex-obsessed paradigm.
      This affected my 11 year old daughter – *she* is the one who lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Board. Would you like to assure her she has nothing to fear and that she’s safe from someone thinking she’s a slut and ‘wanting it’, because everything we see normalising that perspective is just a joke?
      I’m confronting *a culture* that normalises perspectives that think less of women – AND men.
      I have to say I’m getting a little tired of the ‘fight bigger issues’ cliché. I’m fighting against rape culture which is a MASSIVE issue. A 16 year old girl, last week in the US, was drugged, raped and it was shared on social media.
      We are saturating our world with ‘jokes’ that girls are sluts and that boys are mindless, violent and sex-obsessed. When you say something often enough, it becomes accepted as ‘the way it is’. I for one, do not what it to be normal for boys to be groomed into believing that they’re naturally like that, as much as females of ALL ages being shown as hyper-sexualised and gagging for it.
      Rape Culture IS a bigger issue and I won’t stand down for the sake of *all* our youth – because from little things, BIG THINGS GROW.
      I have written many posts on a variety of issues – including one where I point out how women disrespect men.
      So please do not come and assume you have me figured out and claim I am egocentric and selfish – isn’t that what Wicked Campers are? Yet, I’m the bad person in this scenario?
      I too was bullied as a child, as I spoke a different language and I believe the more offensive slogans by Wicked Campers bully people too – of all demographics.
      As for the haves and have nots – I couldn’t agree more and I am continually teaching my girls and my students at school, the crucial importance of helping anyone in need. Our government, however, is who you have to lobby about the attitude towards the ‘have nots’.
      If you believe I have to satisfy every person’s perception of what petition I should get going before I tackle this issue, then I’m going to have to disappoint. I have, however, written a massive variety of posts trying to create a better world for all, one step at a time.
      I wish you well and hope you can channel that anger you feel towards me and aim it at something actually worth fighting.
      Start your own petition about something you feel passionate about – I’ll support you.
      Thanks for your comment, Terry.

    • peachy said

      It’s my personal belief that we have to stand up for little important issues just as much as the big ones. If you don’t stand up for the small things merely because there is another, bigger issue – you will always find a bigger issue. Terry – you are not obligated to sign the petition, especially since you see no harm in the slogans. But those who are offended by this are entitled to. I think it’s a shame that rather than creating your own campaign against the things you object to, ie the situation in gaza or Australia’s financial climate, you seek to bring down someone else’s campaign. I wish you the best also and if you do commence campaigns for any of the issues you have mentioned, you will certainly have my support.

      • megs304 said

        To those who think it is not important to make sure our own laundry is clean before judging someone else for their stains (i.e. women and children being bombed overseas), I ask, how can we try to help those overseas if we are attacking our own community. Whilst I also understand some may joke between small groups, publicly displaying a wanton lack of respect for others in our community shows that we don’t practice what we preach, and does nothing to raise standards anywhere, let alone overseas. It is never acceptable to deny someone’s right to self respect, and to suggest a wife’s place is to get the housework done is abhorrent to all those women who suffer domestic violence both here and overseas.

  166. Sean McCarthy said

    I respect your opinion, but I think sometimes people take life a little to seriously.

    For myself even from a young age I was able to share incredibly sexist jokes about women to women, does that mean I’m going to go home and beat my wife? Or bash up women? Or think any less of them? No not at all. Being a 22 year old male I have a chuckle at some slogans. Of course I don’t have kids but from personal experiences these slogans have got nothing on what is said around the school yard, does that mean we should ban schools? Of course not, maybe we should not shelter future generations and educacte them further and we might resolve bigger issues in society like unexpected teenage pregnancy which I would think would have a far bigger impact in there lives.

    And just for the last part, if your reading this is think I’m a womaniser or some sort I’m not, I’m actually gay, like I said to start I respect your opinion but here is mine also.

    • Hi Sean,
      I’m not sure where you got the impression that I’m claiming every male who sees a slogan like the one that upset my 11 year old, will cause him to go and bash women or think less of them. I’m confronting *a culture* that normalises perspectives that think less of women – AND men.
      I have to say I’m getting a little tired of the ‘fight bigger issues’ cliché. I’m fighting against rape culture which is a MASSIVE issue. A 16 year old girl, last week in the US, was drugged, raped and it was shared on social media. That to me is far more horrendous than teenage pregnancy (which sometimes, sadly, comes from rape).
      We are saturating our world with ‘jokes’ that girls are sluts and that boys are mindless and sex-obsessed. When you say something often enough, it becomes normalised and accepted. I for one, do not what it to be normal for boys to be groomed into believing they’re naturally violent and sex-obsessed, as much as females of ALL ages being shown as hyper-sexualised and gagging for it.
      Rape Culture IS a bigger issue and I won’t stand down.
      Perhaps the feeling you felt of this issue being targeted toward you as a male, really shows that it upsets you that males are represented the way they are and that you don’t fit that definition – shouldn’t you be angry at businesses like Wicked Campers too?
      One has to start somewhere to call out action that’s unacceptable, so why NOT this business that is literally taking the piss?
      The Advertising Standards Board CEO said on radio yesterday that it has been many years that Wicked Campers has ignored the upheld complaints of slogans that were deemed to have crossed the ethical standards.
      Why should they still be allowed to make money?
      Thanks heaps for your comment, Sean.

  167. […] the mighty wealth of Facebook I was gifted with this article from the Questions for Us blog which discusses a particular company (henceforth referred to as […]

  168. shelby said

    What annoys me about wicked campers is that when they first started and became popular it was because of the talent and amazing graffiti art going onto the vans and now they find that it is acceptable to put rude and offensive messages on their vehicles. Its not acceptable and they should revert back to the art that got them famous.

    • Exactly. Many have commented on how witty and cool they used to be. I’m not advocating for the business to go under, but to simply get rid of those dangerous and offensive slogans.
      Thanks, Shelby.

  169. Sarah Jackson said

    Um, this kind of crap is also damaging to boys as well. How about none of us have to see it

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you and I’ve written many times about the effect this type of slogan (and paradigm) is having on the way we are grooming boys and men. I have also mentioned how this business is racist and has also put up homophobic slogans. This business affects many people.
      In this particular case, however, the word used is ‘slut’ and it affected my 11 year old daughter – so I can only drive this from her experience.
      Thanks, Sarah.

  170. Have you thought of encouraging people to write individual letters, like Stephen Day’s above? A petition is great, but as Amnesty International well knows, there’s nothing like a deluge of individual letters being delivered to the same address to make people who ignore everything else take notice.

    • Hi Mary.
      Sure! I encourage people to make their feelings felt in any way that is reasoned, rational and firm. The petition was just my way to get through, but other forms are absolutely encouraged.
      Thanks for your comment.

  171. Daniel said

    Well i showed my partner the above picture and she found it quite funny and said typical of aussie humour.It may not be decent in all eyes but hey this is the world we live in currently.Kids/teens have access to so much nowadays with the internet but we cant bubble wrap them forever.It craps me to tears how some parents react to certain things not just this….I was a single parent for 8yrs of my daughter and been open n honest on all aspects has given her an understanding on society and issues at hand.She is now 15, very independant and aware of things in society because of this…I think parents need to be more open on issues and stop going around them, yes give them understanding on right n wrong.I must say though that for an 11yr old to say she say she saw something terrible because she knows and understands the word ‘slut’ and the context it was used in strikes me as quite odd but hey obviously its something you have explained to her and well done for been open on it.This sort of thing has been going on for decades on both sides of the gender and across all ages, take a breath, educate your children to have thier point of view not just yours on things and good luck on the petition but probably a waste of time!!

    • Hey Daniel,
      You just said they’re surrounded by everything on Internet – that we shouldn’t bubble-wrap them (which is virtually impossible) – and then surprised she knew the meaning of the word. There are a lot of oxymorons there.
      She knows the word because a girl used it when she was in Year 5 and asked me what it meant. So I carefully explained it to her, as I can’t bubble-wrap her and navigated her through it. I would prefer not to have that conversation with her – but as you said, it’s everywhere.
      Noone is denying people make jokes, creating a nanny-state of dictatorship – it’s merely asking that the sexist, racist, homophobic etc slogans be kept where they should be – amongst friends and not in a public sphere.
      The petition is getting close to 100,000 signatures, Wicked Campers have taken down their sites, so I believe people have, in fact, had enough as a line has been crossed.
      You sound like you’ve been a great parent to your daughter, please respect my parenting too, as I support my 11 yr old’s experience; whose opinion is her own.
      Thanks Daniel.

  172. Freedom of speech does not come with a caveat that one must not offend others. I have a dear sweet friend who would agree with your position 110% but has no qualms about advertising her opinion that all [US] Tea party members are racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobes and I am none of those things. Go forth and spread your message, our modern Saint Joan of Arc, but your right to be righteous is no more important than their right to be crude. [IMHO] And yes…… I rather think the jokes are in bad taste.

  173. Fiona said

    Just thought I’d put out there to all those people who keep saying it’s free speech – Australia does not have free speech and we have laws against such vulgar and repulsive hate speech and images.
    The owner of the company has the right to hold such opinions, but he does not have the right to broadcast his opinions in such a public forum.
    A business is not a person and so does not hold the same rights as one.
    Just think, if this garbage was an ad on TV, it would not be allowed.

    When I first encountered Wicked Campers, I thought they were rather cool with witty quotes and nice art. But as time went on they became foul, even the art has suffered – every one I see now looks like the ‘artist’ rushed it and couldn’t be bothered.

    Shame on you Wicked.

  174. av said

    If I was a policeperson, every time I saw one of these Wicked Vans, I would stop it, check the licence of the driver, breathalyse the driver, check everyone for drugs, give the van a good going over for road worthiness, (there’s bound to be something that could be defectable), make the occupants empty it out for a good look through, anything that inconveniences them. People would soon stop hiring Wicked vans if the word got around that police were targeting them. And let’s face it, if you are happy to drive about in a car with these slogans on it, you’re saying loud and clear that you are a likely target for police attention anyway.

  175. Janet said

    Some people have said there might be action if the camper slogans were racist or anti- disabled. Well, some of them are. There are also slogans promoting driving drunk, taking drugs and cruelty to animals. The company must be so proud of itself.

    For those who advocate the right to free speech (not constitutionally legislated in Australia) as much as the right to be offended … whatever happened to manners and respect for others? Why does your right to be “funny” (yeah, right) override the right of my children to be protected from your public crudeness? If you’ll agree to be disgusting in private, I’ll agree to be privately offended.

    And for Daniel, who advocated being open and honest with children but also seemed puzzled that a child knows the meaning of the word ‘slut’ … how many unwelcome conversations do you think parents will have to have with their children when they are subjected to overtly sexist or racist comments and images on an innocent road-trip? Let’s allow children to be children. If you don’t agree, by all means show graphic images and misogynistic content to your own children … but leave mine out of it!!

  176. James said

    I wish people who want to comment on feminism would actually take some time to do some reading about what it encompasses. If we take one of the reasonably common (and elegant) definitions of feminism(s) as ‘Positions from which to critique and dismantle patriarchy’ (the systemic subjection of women), then protesting these crude sexist narratives fits well within that definition. It also fits within the behaviours of a pro-active, responsible human being. I struggle to see how fighting battles large and small against forces that work to degrade and disenfranchise women, be it through political, economic, or sociological mechanisms, or yes, misogynistic sloganeering on the backs of vans (for all to see) can then be slammed as self-serving and egotistical. By that logic, anyone asking to be treated with respect, dignity, and humanity is self-serving, is egotistical.

    The problem with the tired old proportionality argument (go fight a bigger battle) is its logical endpoint just leads to stasis and ultimately leaves us voiceless. And means nothing that needs to change – changes. I mean – to follow that logic – once we learned of the Holocaust, or the Rwandan Genocide, or the killing fields of Cambodia, we then couldn’t in all conscience protest anything else. No civil rights movement in the U.S., no Aboriginal land rights movement, no campaigns for fair compensation for labour and fair conditions, no women’s rights, no freedom from abuse for children. Speaking back to power and abuse of power are not abstract concepts, and systemic power can even be exercised by some callous opportunist with a campervan company and an eye for profit who is probably banking on well entrenched protection narratives (e.g, get a sense of humour, don’t take it so seriously, go protest something ‘important’, you don’t have to look, etc) to shout down the voices of protest.

    Respect to you, Paula, and to all those who have signed, and posted thoughtful and humane comments. Sometimes all we can do is act locally, on what’s in front of us. One abuse at a time. These might just be a few vans, but the mindset they represent is much larger, and insidious and far-reaching in its mechanisms.

    • THANK YOU! THANK YOU!, James, for your rational and succinct comment.
      That last paragraph just hits the nail on the head – I’ve never understood how people expect to fight ‘the bigger issues’ without looking for the source/s that may support, normalise and condone the problematic perspectives and actions.
      ‘One abuse at a time.’
      Perfect.
      Thank you so much.

    • astra Sbizzirri said

      Thank you for posting an articulate and intelligent perspective of this issue. I really liked reading your thoughts.

  177. Yawny McBored said

    Yawn. I’ll be honest, the only reason I continued reading this diatribe was to see just how far the conservative propaganda would go, and rest assured, I was not disappointed. I can only imagine how crisp the air must be being so high up on your soap box.

    I honestly hope that in your entire life you have never once laughed at a joke regarding race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any form of controversial topic, because otherwise you would look like an enormous hypocrite. While I don’t necessarily agree with the views presented on the vans, fact of the matter is, right or wrong, some people may find that humourous. Be comfortable with the fact you have obviously instilled a good set of morals in your daughters, and stop trying to be an overwhelming buzzkill on the rest of the world’s population.

    P.S. Change.org petitions typically effect exactly zero change in today’s society. Stop wasting people’s time.

    • Some people find it humorous but most don’t. A joke amongst friends is one thing – a van promoting girls as sluts is another.
      And you think it’s a buzzkill to get it removed? Far out.
      It is actually me who is yawning at your predictable (albeit alarming) stance.
      Goodbye.

      • megs304 said

        Yawny, my question for you, as my children are 8 and 10, and do know what a vagina is, but not what a slut is (yet), are they expected to find these slogans funny? How do we explain to them how it is absolutely hilarious for Daddy to only sleep with Mummy to get the housework done? Between consenting adults these comments can be accepted (and some funny, others are just vulgar), but to have these vans drive past my kids primary school everyday publishing their comment is not acceptable in anyway or form! What I said and did at 20 was different to what I say and do today, and I accept that, but can you tell me you do not acknowledge my right to protect my children?

  178. tealtomato said

    I’m so sorry your daughter had to experience this. Thank you for putting yourself out there in making a stance against anti-feminism. The backlash you’ve encountered makes me sick. The very best to you!
    tealtomato.com

  179. Natalie said

    To be honest, I agree to some extent, but you are suggesting that girls are innocent princesses who thinks that sex is vulgar, which is not the case. I’m more annoyed about the fact that the jokes are aimed solely at men, when women (including myself) can be just as bad. And that is no compliment for either gender.

    I don’t like the fact that it is not up to you to hide it from your children if you see fit – the cars can obviously be seen by anyone. Showcasing these kinds of slogans to your own children should be at your own discretion – whether they are sons or daughters.

    • I’m not suggesting that at all. The slogan hyper sexualises girls and it’s dangerous for girls to be perceived that way. It has nothing to do about seeing sex as vulgar, at all.
      I agree wholeheartedly that many of these slogans demean men in the same manner – representing them as sex-obsessed – I have written about that often.
      I think we’re doing an equal disservice to males.
      Thanks, Natalie.

  180. Richard Sedgman said

    These slogans are offensive and degrading. I felt rage as I passed a van the other day. It was all I could do to control myself.

  181. Karina said

    My husband is Norwegian and finds these vans awful aswell. He said in his home country they have strict laws against what they call ‘eye pollution’ and these vans would definitely be under that category. I don’t agree with the staff member who says if you don’t like it don’t buy it. When these things are driving in front of us, parked beside us etc we have no choice, its in our face and our families faces. It’s different to computer games and films etc, you have to take steps to engage in those, these are just there whether you like it or not and sadly enough most often in our most cherished pristine nature spots. I find it embarrassing that this is the impression of Australians given to foreign visitors.
    He suggested another way things could be done in case the Wicked management doesn’t have the ears to listen, he suggested targeting their customers. He said why don’t people photo copy a notice stating how they are basically driving around a very offensive billboard and show a link to the campaign saying over xx (whatever the campaign number is) Australians all feel the same way. Then stick that in the windsheilds of all parked Wicked vans they come across. If anyone lives in the key tourism spots like Cairns and Byron Bay there is ample of opportunity to do this there. It could also be a good story opportunity for the journalistic field, so I would also suggest taking the results of this campaign and the feedback you have received here and in the campaign to a variety of journalists around the country to pick up on. Good luck and thanks for being the one to do something about this!

  182. Gary said

    First of all, thank you Paula for starting this petition. I have come across these vans numerous times as most people in Australia has and just feel sad every time I see them. When I was a young man in the early 80’s we totally painted up our vans to look a bit like the hippie vans of the 60’s. It was an eyesore for some and a joy for others. We knew that we were responsible for what was painted on it and felt pride to own and drive the van around.
    The Wicked people have capitalised on the old hippie van ideal and put fourth their own distasteful, twist with the slogans. I don’t care what they say is their market, the vast majority of young men today would not write these things themselves on their vans, but are maybe happy to drive around on a short holiday. I’m sure that its only because they can hide behind “It wasn’t me who wrote it, it came this way”.
    Start a Facebook campaign targeting these people. Let people upload their Wicked Van pics and get global ridicule towards these guys. I know this will work, because the people who think its cool to rent these vans will mostly drop it if they feel targeted, only those who like to provoke will be left. That will be to few to run a business. Make these vans as unpopular as fur. The media will be interested if your numbers are high. Foreign media will probably be interested just because these controversial vans are allowed to exist. Ozzie media will follow suit.

    Just my 2 cents

  183. Janet said

    Yawny McBored stated that “Change.org petitions typically effect exactly zero change in today’s society. Stop wasting people’s time.” I’m sure Yawny will be pleased to know that in this instance the petition HAS worked, resulting in an apology from the company to both Paula and the community, and a promise from Wicked Campers to remove insensitive slogans in coming months. Well done to the company for realising that a huge proportion of the community does not want its children subjected to this crassness.

  184. mel said

    Well done Paula & well done to your daughter- you did it! I just got the update this morning that your petition went all the way to the senate and Wicked Campers now have to remove all offensive vehicles off our roads.
    Well done 😊👏👍

  185. Tiffany Trickey said

    YOU DID IT.! well Done! I was SO incredibly pleased to read that Wicked vans have now been banned from writing such obscene statements on their vans! So proud of you and everyone that signed this petition. 🙂

    • Thank you! It has been overwhelming. It even reached the Senate yesterday when Greens senator Larissa Waters put forward a motion that as passed, against Wicked Campers’ misogynistic slogans.

  186. Lane said

    PEOPLE POWER!!! Well done, everyone.

  187. Shell said

    I’m am baffled at the wallpaper behind this post. talk about offencive. maybe you don’t realize it is there but it is not at all appropriate.

    • My blog is about balance and it’s a beautiful image of dancers creating the perfect balance with their bodies.
      They are not engaging in anything sexual so I’m not sure how it’s in appropriate. I see something beautiful.
      Thanks Shell

    • Janet Van Dijk said

      That’s so funny! Just last night my husband and I were admiring those beautiful images and I said to my husband that someone would surely miss the point and complain about them. Sure enough, it’s happened. While I support people’s right to find them offensive if they want (strange as that seems to me), they at least have the option to click out of the site and not be affronted by them, or to let their children see them. They can also choose not to visit any museums or similar places that display the beauty of the human body. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to stop our children seeing the offensive camper slogans. And much harder to explain. If my children saw this wallpaper and asked questions, all I would have to say is, “those are two naked human bodies.” Simple. They understand that people are naked underneath their clothes. They do not understand crude objectification of females.

  188. Peter Vandoren said

    Not everything in life is politically correct and if it was it would be boring. My advise is to grow a sence of humor and stop taking life so seriously. And as far as kids go. I have 3 kids and I have never sheltered them from anything like swearing etc so at a early age they were told that they are adult words and because of that it’s not a novelty to see or use these words and at age 7-9-18 none of them swear. I see kids that are kept away from these things and they think it’s cool to swear etc as soon as parents are not in the room why try and shelter kids from things they will encounter in life.

    Ps the word slut is a word used for a person that does as they want not just in the bedroom but in all aspects of life and does not care what others opinions are of them. That sounds like the type of person we all want to be right?

    • That may be your definition of slut, Peter, but it’s not the general consensus. At all. Are you teaching your children to be ‘sluts’ with that definition?
      I don’t shelter my daughter from anything – I merely help her navigate through what she does see or hear, if she doesn’t understand.
      She is the one who made the complaint to the ASB and it was something that was widely supported. Wicked Campers themselves have agreed (and been very respectful – just as every reporter I spoke to in the media) AND was a motion unanimously passed in The Senate.
      I have no doubt you’re a great parent but the response to this (something I never anticipated) has been enormous and demonstrates a line was crossed.
      I have written a follow-up post if you’re interested.
      Thanks for your comment.

      PS Swearing is a completely different kettle of fish to some of the slogans we’re talking about.

  189. Janet said

    I am curious as to where Peter got his definition of “slut” from … I have just consulted nearly ten official sources and that definition is not listed. As far as I am aware, the only meaning of slut apart from a prostitute or a sexually promiscuous woman is a slovenly, unkempt woman. Those definitions to me imply low standards — not something “we all want to be.”

  190. Lisa said

    I think it’s interesting that he himself says he would look to change small things as they occur when it comes to encountering sexism. Small things? Like perhaps confronting an organization that knowingly or unknowingly perpetuates rape culture and sexism?

    • Yes it’s a common problem when people feel the urgent need to defend something they inadvertently condemn in their dialogue later – if you get that far, that is.
      Generally people fight fire with fire and get nowhere. At least this guy admits he doesn’t know what to do – predominantly because he has been completely desensitised to what sexism and rape culture is.
      Thanks heaps for your comment, Lisa.

  191. godtisx said

    Rage on, the only people who give a damn/do a damn thing.

    Wicked Campers? I say how about torching them?

    *Just kidding.*

  192. Richard said

    Offensive to you and to many, but not to all and maybe not even to most. I think these vans are for young people, who are attracted to the shock value of the slogans, in a way it is an artistic albeit crass reflection of our society today, but if the shit sticks…wear it. Take your webpage for example, its soft porn. Now that’s ironic. Art reflecting life, reflecting the shit that is everywhere in our society today.
    If you want change, then you need to go to your local member of parliament and demand it, or hire a lawyer and take wicked to court. Otherwise, accept that we all live on this blue green orb bouncing around the sun and we all are offended by the strangest things.
    I would like to ban extremism, but where do you begin. Do we lock up people who speak about bringing down the government, yes because its the law. Do we lock up people who threaten to blow up a bomb, yes, its the law. Do we lock up journalists who write articles that are not true, no, because we have relative freedom of speech. Do we lock up people who graffiti our public spaces, yes. Do we lock up people who put political stickers on their cars, no. What about companies that promote unhealthy eating to our nation’s youth (think eye-saw capitalised M along main roads), ah no.
    If as a country we ban personal expression, where will it end, all women must wear a berka in public? Should we ban free speech? If so, then we will enter a very dark age.

    • They said they would. They didn’t. No integrity. Only said it because they wanted the very large and negative outcry to stop.
      The Advertising Standards Bureau has ruled against many of their vans as having crossed Community Standards. They stick their two fingers up at it.
      Step one was to ask them.
      Step two is definitely going to be legislative. I thought I’d ask first, though.
      This company perpetuates perspectives toward women (and men) that suck. As you are not one, it’s easy to say his right to say it overrides the sex he targets (at times). This is not about the many other good slogans – clever ones – not the ones with great art work – it’s about those that marginalise women through gutter humour. It certainly offended my 11 year old daughter.
      And that a certain small demographic has the right to laugh and snort at sexist innuendos over those who don’t want to but have *no choice*, simply demonstrates the selfish system it’s become.
      John Webb must be tickled pink to have guys like you in his corner – although I’d doubt he would ever return the favour.
      He has no integrity.
      Thanks for your comment.

      • Richard said

        Bad publicity is good for business. You have (i guess) inadvertently caused this company to reach an even larger audience and potentially earn more rental bookings by expressing yourself on social media (assume there is nothing in this for you, although what I have been exposed to in marketing, nothing would surprise me anymore). These executives will be analysing all the internet data and exploiting it to their corporate advantage. Like it or not, Congrats you may just have helped them make more money.
        My Grandfather told me if you are upset about a problem, then don’t talk about it, don’t worry, whinge and whine about it, act, go and do something to fix the problem.
        I rarely comment on topics for this reason, but my girlfriend forwarded me your link and my reaction is to fix the problem. The problem as I see it is, twofold. First, you think that the words on a van are going to or have somehow damage your daughter. If this is the case, then as a Mother, you must go to court and fight for her and prove the damage and then seek compensation. Case closed. With our legal system, if you win the legal argument, then under jurisprudence you will have established case law record which can then be used by other plaintiffs to also sue for damages. You could also go down the path of a class action. So, either way, if you really are a ‘warrior’ then fight through legal action and this one action will expose the company, as a defendant, to too much risk which in turn will add operating cost to their business model making it less profitable. I’d imagine they have slim profit margins, so it may even cause them to close to avoid losing money. Rather than close, they will, if reasonably minded, make appropriate changes to the vans words and continue to trade and make profit.
        Second, I see the other problem for me is the protection of free speech. The van’s words are free speech, and as such the problem is with people like you and others wanting to prevent freedom of speech. Communism started out as a principled ideology, presented simply in George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”, “we are all created equal”, then it morphed due to the corrupt nature of humans controlling others, ” we are all created equal, some, more equal than others”. So it is true with restricting freedom of speech. We pretty much have free speech “all words are just words” but if we are not careful and we start making laws to control speech (words) then with new laws, “all words are just words, some more illegal than others” and then you really are on a fast and slippery slope of political correctness gone wild. My point: words are just words. Words do not harm. People harm. Words can provoke but they can never kill, maim or harm. At best they can cause positive change and at worst that can cause disgust – but they can never draw blood (unless you are so offended and extremely insane that you go and kill the author as recently happened in Paris to the cartoonists and political satirists). Educate you daughter to be tolerant, that she can achieve many things because of the relative freedom she enjoys as an Australian living in this country. Explain to her that it is the very fact that she has seen these vans with these words, that she should be grateful to be in a country where words can be printed without going to jail, even if the words are vulgar and offensive. Teach you daughter about what you value and what’s important and right and to not give credence to things that are not important (like immature prose by twenty somethings trying to get some free publicity). Teach her not to react, but to think then act and then make the change happen that she has though through.
        BTW – I don’t know J Webb and have no desire to help him or his company. I am Australian and as a franchisee of this country, I’d like to keep speaking freely. Ours is a capitalist culture, that cant be helped due to history, consequently we are inherently selfish and competitive, it is the system of which men and women are in together. Just know that if you make a change to speech laws that it may make you happier that you look good in-front of your 11 year old, but buy the same token, you will have caused a butterfly affect, ramifications of which you can not imagine. So please be mindful of what you seek. Be mindful and thoughtful with your pursuit for justice. I wish you every success. Good luck.

      • I did take action and am continuing to do so. I find the argument that the fear of ‘giving them publicity’ should render one silent, completely useless. The only way legislation can occur is through public awareness and support – an it was massive. It got to The Senate…in four days.
        I have done all the things you mentioned, including educating my daughter.
        I also think Freedom of Speech is important – as I am allowed to do here. BUT there must be a line because if this is permitted then that would mean EVERYONE has the right to be sexist and racist, under the guise of humour – *in public spaces*. You mentioned my blog was soft porn (?) and yet, it’s not on an electronic sign on the side of my car. It’s a small blog that people can CHOOSE to read.
        That choice is not afforded to the wider community by Wicked Campers.
        Lastly – it is not *me* who believes I should sit and dictate what is right or wrong – a government body – the ASB makes those decisions. We now need to hold those businesses who do not adhere to the rulings by taking them down, to be penalised.
        Thanks for the chat.

    • megs304 said

      Is their right to free speech greater than my right to free speech? When consenting adults mention something that I find offensive I have a choice to object, accept or move away. My children do not have that choice on their way to and from school. Especially if the ‘larikins’ are carrying on out the windows. Does their right to free speech override my childrens right to feel safe in their own neighbourhood from vulgar visitors?
      Some of the quotes and pictures are clever, some are not. Some will be questionable, some acceptable. John Webb gave the public the right to cover-over any quote that was in ‘bad taste’. Google it, there are several mentions in previous news articles, and there was a statement on their website, but I cannot find that currently.
      I don’t suggest anyone replace the ‘art’ with their own, just cover-over what they find distasteful. Yes, it is subjective, and he has put it out there by pushing the bucket – let’s fill it, with blanks and demonstrate our right to free speech.

  193. Emily said

    Thank you!!! x

  194. david polhill said

    Good for u stepping up n doing something!!! Have been fighting porn stuff for years… check out the high percentage of rapes and female bashing caused by males using/reading porn!
    Ur comment it will trigger something in a male mind spot on!!!
    Raise the standards n clean up the country for the sake of women all over the world…. Australia needs to be the top shelf not the drain!!!

  195. fraserevan said

    These are such disgusting slogans. Now, I wouldn’t normally say this but the whole “if you don’t like it, look away” thing makes me think… why not just keep a handy spray can of paint in your car? With everyone spending all their time “looking away” from misogyny, they won’t notice that the offending writing isn’t there anyway.
    (I am saying this tongue-in-cheek, obviously…)

    • Well, John Webb said in his original Press Release that people were free to spray over any offensive slogans and many were doing just that. He is now saying – as of two days ago – that we’re not.
      But you’re right about people looking away – it should be easy.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  196. […] It is coming up on two years this July since Wicked Campers – and consequently its deeply disappointing owner, John Webb – entered my family sphere directly; through my then 11 year old daughter; with one of their worst van slogans. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: