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Most of us have seen the Wicked campervans on the roads, sporting grossly misogynistic slogans such as “Save a lollipop, suck a d**k”, “Save a tree, eat a beaver”, “Fat chicks are harder to kidnap”, or the one I most recently experienced, “In every princess there is a little s**t who wants to try it just once”. The general reaction among women to these campers is a resounding what the fuck. These slogans promote rape culture, sexist jokes and the objectification of women. They also get the campers owners, Wicked Campers, loads of shock publicity. The Brisbane-based van hire company has established itself as a “laidback” company that’s not afraid of crossing the line for a laugh. In reality, these slogans haven’t been well received by the general public. A petition signed by more than 127,000 New Zealanders and Australians caused Wicked Campers founder, John Webb, to remove the “princess slut” slogan from his campers, but there are still countless other offensive slogans on the vans.
The slogans aren’t only misogynistic—they also have racist and homophobic jokes written on their campers. It seems the company has left no stone unturned in their quest to offend every minority possible.
Although people have shown disgust at the Wicked campers slogans in both New Zealand and Australia, the Brisbane community has definitely been the most active in advocating for change. Wicked Pickets is an Australian community group committed to taking action to remove the sexist, racist and homophobic slogans on Wicked Campers. On 25 July, they organised a rally in Brisbane which featured speakers such as Betty Taylor, the founding director of the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Network; Paula Orbea, who initiated the petitions against Wicked Campers a year ago; and Adela Brent, an activist in the Latin community and counsellor for women survivors of sexual abuse. Each speaker drew links between Wicked Campers’ vilification of women and violence towards women in the community.
However there was a dark cloud over the rally as a police officer harassed and intimidated the marchers, despite them having police permits in place prior to the event. At one point the heckling from the police got so vocal that one of the speakers had to wait for them to finish before speaking. The rally organiser, Anna McCormack, says “the irony of this at a gathering to oppose men’s violence against women has not been lost”.