Activists are far from happy campers with what they claim are a Brisbane-based company’s offensive slogans on their rental fleet of vehicles.
A group called Wicked Pickets rallied in the CBD this weekend against some of the phrases on Wicked Campers’ vans, claiming they were sexist and promoted violence against women.
Wicked Pickets founder Liz Upham says slogans like “she can’t wrestle, but you should see her box”, “fat chicks are harder to kidnap”, “it’s better to be black than gay because you don’t have to tell your parents” and “a wife: an attachment you screw on the bed to get the housework done” do not belong on the streets.
“They’re saying it’s ok to kidnap a woman, they’re saying it’s ok to use gaffer tape against a woman, they’re pretty much saying it’s ok to rape a woman: that’s what their messages are,” Ms Upham told the Daily Life.
“You couldn’t put this stuff on a fixed billboard, how is it acceptable for these slogans to be driven down our streets in front of us and our children?”
Social worker and mother Megan Hall said Wicked Campers was desensitising people to the sexualisation and abuse of woman.
“It is time to expose them for what they are … these messages are not funny, they are not intelligent or witty,” she said.
“They are hateful, sexist and promote a violent and objectifying culture that says women are possessions to be used by men at their will.”
Civil libertarians agree the slogans are in bad taste, but do not think they should be banned. The Council for Civil Liberties’ Terry O’Gorman told the ABC it was a matter of free speech.
“In a free society, offensive comments, bad taste comments, offensive speech is what defines us as a democracy,” he said.
He also questioned whether such sayings encouraged violence against women.
“Most sensible adults … and even teenagers would look at these sayings on Wicked vans, would see them as a poor, low-grade attempt at juvenile humour and would see it in that light.
“I don’t think there’s a cause and effect between these particularly tasteless comments on vans and violence against women.”
The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has upheld 49 complaints against the company over the past five years and dismissed 25, according to its website.
Community outrage at one particular slogan – “in every princess is a little slut who wants to try it just once” – led to the federal Senate unanimously passing a motion calling for it to be removed in July 2014.
The rally called for legislation to be strengthened to force Wicked Campers to remove slogans deemed offensive and organisers want to meet Queensland’s Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath to discuss the issue.