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David Lee King

I Don’t Get It, or The Wonders of Mudflap Babe



More than one blogger this week has been pontificating on the wonders of the Wyoming Library Campaign’s mudflap girl. Here she is:

<sarcasm and nasty disagreeable Dave starts here>
I’m sorry, Wyoming. I realize that you hired “a team of Wyoming library public relations specialists” and that those professionals “have been planning this campaign for months.”

And I know you state the goal of the mudflap babe is to first allow people to see the babe, and then to somehow… miraculously… get from the mudflap babe to the realization that “There is something for me at the library, and I can grow, explore and wonder.”

Uhm… I just don’t see how the mudflap girl does that! See, I grew up in the midwest. Driving down I-70. Behind trucks. Big trucks. Lots of trucks. With mudflaps. Those mudflaps looked like the one below:

When I was a kid, everyone and my sister understood that those truckers liked scantily-clad women, that those truckers had pretty much no respect for women, and treated them as sex objects. That was just a given – especially when you tacked on all the silly sexist trucker songs and movies that were also popular when I was a kid.

[I asked my wife to take a peek. She said "but that's a naked lady!"]

Sorry, Wyoming. I simply do not see how mudflap babe shows me that libraries are “reliable and exciting.” Or how said hottie shows me that libraries “add value to our lives.” Whose value? Certainly not the women being treated as eye candy.
< / sarcasm off>

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jane

    The point is to get people’s attention, and apparently the mudflap girl done just that! Enough said!!!

  • Stealthy Librarian

    I’m hardly liberal but most of the comments smack of conservatism at its worst. Libraries face an age of extinction that in its current form will dry up as quickly as the Amazon.

    As someone who works in libraries check out this link to describe the changing face of the library (in New Zealand):

    http://www.lianza.org.nz/library/files/store_011/StrategicFramework2006.pdf

    My point being, change and regrowth has to start somewhere, and I’ve very much noticed the United States is a firm believe in symbolism. It’s not a criticism and I admire and relish patriotism, I also understand the use and history of the mudflap girl and the “play” on the image as most people obivously do but then choose to take grievance with the campaign because of old hurts.

    I’d rather people have suggestions or ways to make the promotion more appealing than be outraged at every little thing.

  • Stealthy Librarian

    I’m hardly liberal but most of the comments smack of conservatism at its worst. Libraries face an age of extinction that in its current form will dry up as quickly as the Amazon.

    As someone who works in libraries check out this link to describe the changing face of the library (in New Zealand):

    http://www.lianza.org.nz/library/files/store_011/StrategicFramework2006.pdf

    My point being, change and regrowth has to start somewhere, and I’ve very much noticed the United States is a firm believe in symbolism. It’s not a criticism and I admire and relish patriotism, I also understand the use and history of the mudflap girl and the “play” on the image as most people obivously do but then choose to take grievance with the campaign because of old hurts.

    I’d rather people have suggestions or ways to make the promotion more appealing than be outraged at every little thing.

  • http://Squashedbox.com/ gary

    Well…. You can’t argue with one thing;

    I’d have never heard of Wyoming Library were it not for the debate about ‘mudflap girl’ ;-)

    (not that I can make use of their service here in the UK)

    SquashedBox.com

  • http://Squashedbox.com gary

    Well…. You can’t argue with one thing;

    I’d have never heard of Wyoming Library were it not for the debate about ‘mudflap girl’ ;-)

    (not that I can make use of their service here in the UK)

    SquashedBox.com

  • Riko

    Hey Dave, why not grow a set of large ones and stop whining about truckers not respecting women?

    I got a clue for you crybaby, there are other professions that don’t respect women! Why not pontificate about athletes, entertainers and other multimillionaires that have no respect for women?

    The mudflap girl has been around since the ’40′s and was a way for truckers to pass the time while being away from home.

    PS- I’m not a trucker, but I just like to post a comment when someone doesn’t really know WTF he’s talking about!

  • Riko

    Hey Dave, why not grow a set of large ones and stop whining about truckers not respecting women?

    I got a clue for you crybaby, there are other professions that don’t respect women! Why not pontificate about athletes, entertainers and other multimillionaires that have no respect for women?

    The mudflap girl has been around since the ’40′s and was a way for truckers to pass the time while being away from home.

    PS- I’m not a trucker, but I just like to post a comment when someone doesn’t really know WTF he’s talking about!

  • davidleeking

    Riko – I think you completely missed the point of my post, which had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with “truckers not respecting women.”

  • davidleeking

    Riko – I think you completely missed the point of my post, which had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with “truckers not respecting women.”

  • Darren

    you are all fucking gay.

    who gives a shit whether or not someone puts a pin up girl on their vehicle or not!?

    don’t you all have anything better to bitch about?

    wow, i mean, wow… I never have, but if i were to put up a poster of some incredibly hot woman on my wall, or put a fucking mudflap girl on my truck, that doesn’t mean i treat women as an object.. and as a matter of fact, i have a lot of women that are really good friends of mine that don’t give a rats ass about something as petty as a mudflap girl.

    sexist my ass.

    if anything, people like “feminists” and “womens lib” need to grow the fuck up, get their heads out of their asses, and stop making mountains out of ant hills.

  • Darren

    you are all fucking gay.

    who gives a shit whether or not someone puts a pin up girl on their vehicle or not!?

    don’t you all have anything better to bitch about?

    wow, i mean, wow… I never have, but if i were to put up a poster of some incredibly hot woman on my wall, or put a fucking mudflap girl on my truck, that doesn’t mean i treat women as an object.. and as a matter of fact, i have a lot of women that are really good friends of mine that don’t give a rats ass about something as petty as a mudflap girl.

    sexist my ass.

    if anything, people like “feminists” and “womens lib” need to grow the fuck up, get their heads out of their asses, and stop making mountains out of ant hills.

  • Biblojo

    Hi Dave — I wondered what the *flap* was all about (LOL)
    I think that they should alo use the nasty “Calvin Peeing” flap —

    or perhaps the bulldog one . . .

    It is an intresting point Meredith made about reclaiming and adding dimension of reading and thinking to the exaggerated female image shown on the typical mudflap.
    but I do wonder at its effectiveness; to whom is it supposed to appeal and get in the library? teenaged boys perhaps? Are you insulting your current clients by attempting to reach out to some unkown sector? How can alienating your chief dempgraphic be good? However, if most have a sense fo humour about this and it results in a change in perception of the library as a stuffy boring place and increases the demographic, then I’d say it was okay :-)

    Jo

  • Biblojo

    Hi Dave — I wondered what the *flap* was all about (LOL)
    I think that they should alo use the nasty “Calvin Peeing” flap —

    or perhaps the bulldog one . . .

    It is an intresting point Meredith made about reclaiming and adding dimension of reading and thinking to the exaggerated female image shown on the typical mudflap.
    but I do wonder at its effectiveness; to whom is it supposed to appeal and get in the library? teenaged boys perhaps? Are you insulting your current clients by attempting to reach out to some unkown sector? How can alienating your chief dempgraphic be good? However, if most have a sense fo humour about this and it results in a change in perception of the library as a stuffy boring place and increases the demographic, then I’d say it was okay :-)

    Jo

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  • rfd10

    At this late date in the discussion, I need to point out that no one above mentioned that the campaign was to advertise the ChiltonLibrary 2.0, an automotive repair product from Gale. It is an online resource purchased by the Wyoming State Library for the whole state. Who would use an automotive repair online book more than people who drive and fix trucks and have mud flaps? And I heard it has been used by this demographic! So much of this criticism is totally out of context.

  • rfd10

    At this late date in the discussion, I need to point out that no one above mentioned that the campaign was to advertise the ChiltonLibrary 2.0, an automotive repair product from Gale. It is an online resource purchased by the Wyoming State Library for the whole state. Who would use an automotive repair online book more than people who drive and fix trucks and have mud flaps? And I heard it has been used by this demographic! So much of this criticism is totally out of context.

  • davidleeking

    Hi, rfd10 – not positive, but I’m pretty sure Wyoming has added that little tidbit after the fact. Judging by what I wrote above (ie., quoting from their website), I think I’d have picked up on that.

    Just sayin.

  • davidleeking

    Hi, rfd10 – not positive, but I’m pretty sure Wyoming has added that little tidbit after the fact. Judging by what I wrote above (ie., quoting from their website), I think I’d have picked up on that.

    Just sayin.

  • http://www.lonniejanderson.com/ Lonnie Anderson

    WOW!!! I just read all these posts! I am the guy who came up with this whole campaign. I born and raised in Kemmerer Wyo believe me this is a tough crowd to reach. But I was able to do it. The campaign worked enrollment up 35%.

    PS. My aunt actually asked me for a sticker she could give to my cousin to try and get him to go get a library card. The sticker is one small part of the campaign.

  • http://www.lonniejanderson.com Lonnie Anderson

    WOW!!! I just read all these posts! I am the guy who came up with this whole campaign. I born and raised in Kemmerer Wyo believe me this is a tough crowd to reach. But I was able to do it. The campaign worked enrollment up 35%.

    PS. My aunt actually asked me for a sticker she could give to my cousin to try and get him to go get a library card. The sticker is one small part of the campaign.

  • http://www.lonniejanderson.com/ Lonnie Anderson

    You guys have been talking about this for a year…damn that is cool.

  • http://www.lonniejanderson.com Lonnie Anderson

    You guys have been talking about this for a year…damn that is cool.

  • Bob Hatton

    What a bunch of thin skinned people if you look at the breast line (or lack of) I think it is done in good taste I have been a mechanic all my adult life I remember the calenders in the old days. Now every body is afraid of stepping on the toes of the feminist movement. It looks like a nice shaped woman with the smarts to put her nose in a book and learn more. quit winning and go the gym and work out more if it bothers you so bad.

  • Bob Hatton

    What a bunch of thin skinned people if you look at the breast line (or lack of) I think it is done in good taste I have been a mechanic all my adult life I remember the calenders in the old days. Now every body is afraid of stepping on the toes of the feminist movement. It looks like a nice shaped woman with the smarts to put her nose in a book and learn more. quit winning and go the gym and work out more if it bothers you so bad.

  • marissa melton

    I ran across Mudflap Girl With Book on a television show and was so amused by it that I did a web search to find out its origin. I think it’s brilliant. And I just happened to run across Lesley Broughton, Wyoming State Librarian, yesterday at the National Book Festival and we had a conversation about it. They kept the Mudflap Girl materials off of their main display table because they are controversial — but Ms. Broughton shared the story about how this was conceived as a targeted campaign and had worked well. I’m totally behind it. Great creative ideas often strain the boundaries of what some people see as acceptable. Those same ideas can stick in the mind and change opinions. You see how this discussion has been going on since 2007? The idea worked.

  • marissa melton

    I ran across Mudflap Girl With Book on a television show and was so amused by it that I did a web search to find out its origin. I think it’s brilliant. And I just happened to run across Lesley Broughton, Wyoming State Librarian, yesterday at the National Book Festival and we had a conversation about it. They kept the Mudflap Girl materials off of their main display table because they are controversial — but Ms. Broughton shared the story about how this was conceived as a targeted campaign and had worked well. I’m totally behind it. Great creative ideas often strain the boundaries of what some people see as acceptable. Those same ideas can stick in the mind and change opinions. You see how this discussion has been going on since 2007? The idea worked.