Censorship: More than movies and TV

This campervan was deemed potentially harmful to young people and was banned (OFLC)
This campervan was deemed potentially harmful to young people and was banned (OFLC)

Warning: This article contains content that may offend some readers

Another Wicked Campers camper van was banned last week by the Government-run Office of Film & Literature Classification.

It was just one more in a string of vehicles the police requested the office rule on.

The Wicked Campers were the first vehicles the watchdog had ever been asked to classify, but it wasn't the first time they had classified something out of the ordinary.

Here's a look at some of the stranger and more difficult items the office has had to scrutinise to deem if they were damaging enough to be banned or restricted.

In 2014 the office classified six car window stickers that showed very basic stick figure graphic images being sexually suggestive and/or performing sexual acts. For example, one was and image of a woman removing her underwear, and another of a woman performing fellatio on a man. 

"The stickers have a cheerfully sexist tone which is objectifying and mildly degrading to women," the case study stated.

Result: They were not banned because the sexual components were not overt enough to be likely to injure the public.

Censorship: More than movies and TV

The can in question (classification office)

In 2012 the Office classified an energy drink can called Miss Svenson's Classroom Detention, distributed by Mad Drinks Factory.

A picture on the can showed a cartoon of a blonde, busty Swedish woman in front of a blackboard.

The can read: "Allo, my name is Miss Svenson an I come from Sweedon. I love to do da spanky spanky with my big vwooden cane especially on all you nughty nughty little boyz. Za after school detention is my favorit as if I catch za boyz playin peek-a-boo at my peeky bits, den they get a good spanky spanky on dere botty botty [sic]."

The Office said the can was "somewhat degrading to teachers, to Swedish people and to women generally". But the depictions on the can were not outside of the bounds of what could occasionally be seen in a public place or in the media.

Result: It was not banned, but the distributor decided to discontinue the product.

Censorship: More than movies and TV

In 2003 FHM Magazine attached a calendar to one of their magazines featuring 13 double-page photographs of scantily clad women.

The women's pictures were accompanied by a description of their physical attributes using epithets like "sexually charged" and "deliciously plump booty".

Result: The calendar was not banned or restricted.

"Despite the fact that the publication presents images of scantily clad young women posing in a sexual manner and contains some sexual innuendo, it does not deal directly with sexual activity," the case study stated.

In 2014 the office classified a graphic novel called Lost Girls written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Melinda Gebbie.

It follows heroines from classic works of fiction: Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and Wendy from Peter Pan. It is set at the beginning of World War I where the three meet as adults to share their erotic adventures.

"Most readers will be both titillated and -- at times -- repulsed by sexual material of such scope and detail," the case study read.

It also noted that the book has been acclaimed for its literary and artistic significance.

Result: The office classified all three books included within the one volume set, restricting them to people above the age of 18.

Another book's classification that caught the public's attention was Ted Dawe's Into the River.

In 2008 the office classified a billboard advertising an Erotica Lifestyles Expo that was on display in Palmerston North.

The billboard was two metres high and a metre wide. The background image, in colour, was of a woman's breasts in close focus. Text over the image read: "Better sex, how hard can it be?"

Result: Injury to the public was not deemed likely because the advertisement was not aimed at, nor likely to be of interest to, children or young people. It was not banned.