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Thankfully we got rid of most forms of censorship in Australia, but that does not give adults the right to behave in a manner which is prejudicial to maintaining an environment of innocence for our children.  
Warning;   This story necessarily contains one tasteless sexual reference.


Wicked Campervans began operating in Cairns a long time ago hiring affordable wheels, primarily to young backpackers. For many years I was wholesomely entertained by the passing parade of witty slogans and eye-catching paintings on their vans. Proclamations such as “A baby ate my dingo” and “Virginity is curable” still make me smile.

In recent times the slogans have became increasingly crude, sexist and misogynous accompanied by sexually explicit illustrations. I will spare you the worst of them which graphically demean women and sexuality. We’re not talking bumper stickers here…..this is stuff most people can read from 50 paces, and myopic GOF from ten.

The proprietors of Wicked have been thumbing their noses at complaints from locals, and authorities failed to intervene as it seems motor vehicles are exempt from scrutiny or regulation under any Australian public decency or advertising standards legislation.

It required a courageous eleven year old girl from interstate to stop the rot. She was offended by the prominent tailboard slogan “In any princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once” and initiated a media campaign which received a tidal wave of support from around the nation.

The company has now been forced to back down and apologise and begin the huge task of erasing offensive material from dozens of their vans.

I am left wondering why all the responsible adults sat on their hands while Wicked sped so far out of control leaving one little girl to deploy the metaphorical spike mat which finally brought the vulgarity to a halt.


About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

21 responses »

  1. I’m sorry it took so long but I’m glad to see somebody made a stand.

    Along a similar vein of disrespect that women face is street harassment.

    It’s a shame that I feel the need to say this isn’t about being dressed provocatively. I know you don’t have the bandwidth to watch all but the men profess women alone, with makeup or dressed for work are asking for ‘it.’ They’re not even saying PROVOCATIVELY but for work in an office job deserve to be treated this way, all women in fact, as the reason for women to exist is for men, period.

    • I’ve read through the link Lily, and I’m not sure how Australian men compare with their attitudes and catcalling. I know some years ago there was a campaign by some women’s groups to draw attention to the offensive nature of catcalling……I certainly don’t see as much of it going on around building sites as there used to be but then again I don’t spend enough time in town these days to know. Perhaps Inga will be able to shed some more light on the topic.

      In Cairns at least, scantily-clad women (and men) wander around the street every day….they are an accepted part of the landscape (and a burden I have to bear every time I go to town). Common sense however should prevail in choice of clothing for women walking alone at night. It’s not a perfect world and there will always be deviates and nutters to be wary of.

      • The videos dealt with an office worker woman (dressed appropriate, say, to work for a lawyer or bank) being harassed by ‘just men.’ Not construction site dudes. One man was in a suit, in a financial district. My point is that we face it in America from all walks and dressed as appropriately as one could possibly be.

        To be honest, you’d expect it if wearing a bikini and walking down the road. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

        • I’d not realised how widespread the problem was Lily because I’ve never worked in a ‘normal’ workplace, and also because I was raised to be respectful towards women. I’m sorry that you have to up up with this sort of bad behaviour.

    • I don’t think I’m being naive when I say that street harassment is barely an issue in Melbourne (as opposed to the more subversive means of sexual subjugation, which are definitely present). When Nikki and I go overseas, we’re astonished at the ‘attention’ we receive from men in broad daylight; catcalling and commentary just doesn’t seem to be the culture here.

  2. Oh. And even if we’re naked, it’s not because we were ‘meant’ for that stranger to grope or yell about our looks, obviously.

  3. Spot on Gof. Why folk have to take things too far is an odd thing.

    Recently went to the Melbourne protest and was saddened to see one group selling f**k Tony Abbott tee shirts. No clever message, no humor, just straight abuse.

    I much prefer protests to be family friendly affairs especially in this case where the kids are getting hit hardest.

    It automatically loses popular support and helps let Tony off the hook.

    Wicked can easily run their program by showing just a modicum of class and dropping the extreme stuff.

    • Thanks for raising the tee shirt issue Pete. You’re right…..some of them are completely tasteless and another example of adults setting poor standards for children.

      Wicked was once a class act and it’s sad that it lowered it’s standards.

      • We saw plenty when travelling so it’s a program that works if you just play nice.

        When we went to Exmouth we saw a park owner come out to vet the Wicked van before they would let them use their caravan park. Back then they were much less rude so there won’t be many camped there these days.

  4. Wow! Great post GOF, amd timely. The Everyday Sexism Prioject and #Yesallwomen are trying to address these issues currently. The idea is that nearly every woman around the world has a harassment story. And scarily enough, once they began sharing, it appeared as though the claim was true. It’s often done by men who isolate women first (ex catcall when few other men are around).

    The “Princesss” slogan is especially disturbing, and when a girl of 9 has to see it, it takes on a whole new creep-pedophile tone. Good for her that she single handedly called attention to it.

    Thanks for a great post.

    • Sadly I suspect the same applies in Australia although as I mentioned to Lily I’ve never worked in a ‘normal’ workplace so I have no first-hand knowledge of what goes on.

      Even more regrettably in the Wicked story, the spokesperson attempting to justify the slogans was a woman.

  5. Men’s attitudes to women just seem to be hardening around the world – who can think this is funny to promulgate the sexuality of children? Too much time on the Internet methinks

    • You’re probably right GFB….it is a concern that so many young people were happy to drive around in these vans displaying the worst slogans.

  6. Yuck on the slogan – I hope they will try to come up with some new ones that are clever, instead of vulgar…

  7. What a brilliant young lady. Hopefully such success so young will inspire her to focus her obvious talents on some other campaigns too. The world needs more people like her. And maybe she’ll even inspire other young people to tackle such issues too. It just goes to show, you’re never to young to make a change.

    • You’re right Lance…..fortunately the younger generations come along with the potential to moderate the excesses and correct the mistakes of those who went before.

  8. Thumbs up to that plucky young lady. Let’s hope that this company has learned its lesson.


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