Wicked Campers running out of luck

In Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Government, National Headlines, Queensland, Transport

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Australian campervan company under fire for ‘misogynistic, sexist’ slogans

From abc.net.au, 12th July 2014

An Australian campervan company is facing an online backlash over slogans described as sexist and misogynistic painted on the sides of their vehicles.

More than 12,000 people had signed a Change.org petition by Sunday afternoon calling on Brisbane-based Wicked Campers to remove slogans they say are degrading to women.

People are also bombarding the company’s Facebook page complaining about their slogans.

Sydney mother Paula Orbea said she was prompted to start the Change petition after her 11-year-old daughter told her about a van she spotted in the Blue Mountains.

The slogan, “In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it just once”, outraged Ms Orbea, who helped her daughter register a complaint with the Advertising Standards Bureau.

She also blogged about the incident, and was blown away by the public outpouring of support and comment, including more than 130,000 hits on her personal blog, which usually sees about 50 hits a day.

“I was livid,” she said.

“I believe these [slogans] are changing the way we see each other through these labels.

“I just feel like it’s wallpapering our lives, this idea, this obsession with sex, and creating a sex-obsessed male and a victim female, a hyper-sexualised asking for it female.”

She said her daughter was upset because she thought the slogan could be referring to a child like her.

“It made her fear being perceived that way – especially by someone she may cross paths with who may agree with that perspective,” Ms Orbea wrote on the petition.

She has posted a number of examples of other slogans the company has painted on their vans at the Change.org petition, including “A wife: an attachment you screw on the bed to get the housework done”, which she argued were degrading.

“I agree with free speech, but where is the line?” Ms Orbea asked.

“At what point do we say no, that’s not morally correct.

“We’re not the enemy for saying we don’t like to be referred to as sluts, that we all are begging [for sex] and hyper-sexualised.

“We have the right to say, we’re not happy with that.”

Complaints upheld in previous cases

Wicked Campers, registered in Queensland but operating across Australia, offer cheap campervans aimed at a primarily young backpacker market.

Ms Orbea has called on Wicked Campers Australian director John Webb to eliminate “misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery” from their vans.

The online furore follows a finding by the Advertising Standards Bureau in March upholding a complaint about the company’s slogan: “…fat girls are harder to kidnap”.

The company has been subject to numerous complaints in the the past six years.

The board found that Wicked Campers made light of the serious issue of kidnap, which breached a section of the Advertiser Code of Ethics, by depicting material contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety.

The complainant argued the advertisement was sexist and misogynistic, but the board found it did not breach section 2.1 of the code, which requires advertisements to not portray material that is discriminatory or a vilification on gender, race and other grounds.

Wicked Campers did not respond to the bureau’s finding.

The ABC has contacted Wicked Campers for comment.

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