Anger over ‘begging for sex’ slogan

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iol pic wld Wicked Campers-van AFP This photograph, taken in 2009, shows a woman walking past a Wicked Campers Australia van with the slogan "Save a Whale... Harpoon a Jap" written on its back window in Margaret River, Western Australia. File picture: Antony Dickson


Sydney -

An Australian campervan firm known for the eye-catching slogans painted on its vehicles on Monday faced outrage on social media after thousands signed an online petition against its “misogynistic” messages.

Wicked Campers, which is popular with backpackers, has been the subject of complaints in the past, including criticism over a “Save a Whale - Harpoon a Jap” slogan on one its vans in 2008.

The latest outrage stems from a message which read: “In every princess, there's a little slut who wants to try it just once.”

Sydney resident Paula Orbea started the online petition on Friday after her 11-year-old daughter saw the message on a van in the scenic Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, during the school holidays.

It has so far been signed by nearly 25 000 people.

“I agree with free speech, but where is the line? At what point do we say no, that's not morally correct?” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“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.”

In her petition calling on Wicked to “eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery”, Orbea said her daughter had been upset by the message she saw.

“It is inconceivable that Wicked Campers choose to not only write the misogynistic 'joke' but also then publicise it through their moving, billboard vans,” she said.

“Shame on them.”

Queensland-based Wicked Campers, whose budget vans are painted in a graffiti style, has yet to react to the petition and had no immediate comment on Monday.

But in responding to a previous complaint to the Advertising Standards Board about a slogan reading “Women are like banks - once you withdraw you lose interest”, it argued the artwork did not constitute advertising.

While it disagreed with the board's finding that the slogan was misogynistic, demeaning to, and objectified women, it agreed to replace it with something “dull” and “boring”, according to the Advertising Standards Bureau website. - Sapa-AFP

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