How an 11-year-old girl called out sexism - and won

Does this campervan promote rape culture?

UPDATE: Senate passes motion condemning Wicked Campers’ slogans

The Senate has passed a motion condemning Wicked Campers’ promotion of sexual violence against women through offensive slogans on their hire vans.

The motion was introduced by the Greens on Wednesday following an online petition attracting more than 120,000 signatures.

“The Senate is sending a strong message that promoting violence against women is completely unacceptable in Australian society,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens spokesperson for women, said.

Wicked Campers have said they will remove the specific slogan that sparked the public outcry, and have committed to remove more of what they describe as “insensitive” slogans in coming months.

Mamamia previously reported:

“In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it just once.”

These were the words read by an 11-year-old girl just last weekend.

Can you imagine having to explain that to your daughter? Or reading it yourself as a child? This is what confronted Sydney mother Paula Orbea when her daughter read the slogan on the back of a campervan in the Blue Mountains while driving with her grandfather during the school holidays.

The outraged mother told The Daily Mail she felt the campervan company responsible for the slogan were “inciting a rape culture”.

Paula, a schoolteacher, said that her daughter complained about the campervan the moment she returned from her drive with her grandfather.

It prompted Paula to start a petition calling for the ‘offensive’ campervans to be withdrawn from the streets. Her petition states:

“This particular phrase promotes paedophilia and resonates very badly with everyone who thinks it’s abhorrent to sexually assault a girl, especially by groomed males who think ‘she wants it’. 
Slogans such as this ring too familiar to real life atrocities, such as the recent discovery of Rolf Harris’s sexual assaults; enacting on a girl as young as eight. It is inconceivable that Wicked Campers choose to not only write the misogynistic ‘joke’ but also then publicise it through their moving, billboard vans.”

Paula 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,” she wrote on the petition.

The Brisbane-based company has been inundated with complaints on their Facebook page.

But it is not the first time Wicked Campers have come under fire.

This van was ordered off the road for being racist

In April the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) found that Wicked Campers made light of abduction with the slogan “Fat chicks are harder to kidnap” emblazoned on one of its vehicles.

The board found “there is significant community concern regarding kidnap, especially in light of current high profile cases involving the abduction and murder of children both in Australia and overseas”.

However Fairfax Media reported at the time the bureau rejected the other reason for complaint – that the slogan was misogynistic and offensive to women.


And back in 2008, three campers were ordered off the roads by the ASB for carrying the slogans “Save a whale… harpoon a Jap”, which was found to be racist, “Women are like banks – once you withdraw you lose interest” and “If God was a woman, sperm would taste like chocolate”,  which were determined to be misogynistic and demeaning to women.

Other offensive vans

Paula Orbea told The Daily Mail she, too, had lodged a complaint with the ASB. She calls in her petition for Australian to demand change.

“This business (amongst many others) thrives on pleasing a small demographic of people, who find it funny to mock those who may be living the horrible realities perspectives such as these manifest,” she writes.

“But we are the majority, not them. 
Enough. It is time to say enough – with calm, intelligent but firm resolve.”

Paula says she agrees with free speech, but asks: “where is the line?”

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

“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.

John Webb (Image: screenshot via Our World Today news)
John Webb (Image: screenshot via Our World Today news)

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

The petition, which names the company’s Australian director as John Webb, has nearly 20,000 signatures.