An outraged mother and her child recently brought attention to the inappropriate language used by a long-standing car company in their advertising. Despite the slogan’s 70-year history, Nicole Van Dijken and her 7-year-old son were taken aback when they spotted a car with the phrase “no birds” prominently displayed on the side.
As the Australian mom struggled to understand the meaning of “no birds” and explain it to her young son, she couldn’t help but feel that the car rental business had crossed a line. The company in question is Bayswater Car Rental, founded in 1958 in Perth, Australia, and known for adhering to outdated practices that have since been replaced with a more inclusive approach.
In the past, the company exclusively employed male drivers, hence the “no birds” sign on their cabs. The term “birds” or “delivery girls” was used to refer to female employees in the industry. Bayswater relied on customers to pick up their rented cars, putting the responsibility of driving in the hands of the customers themselves.
Van Dijken expressed her frustration with the offensive slogan and the challenge of explaining it to her son. She shared her thoughts in an interview with ABC Radio Perth’s Jo Trilling, stating, “This is something that never fails to make me furious whenever I see it. It’s a derogatory term, and now I have to discuss it with my son, which I did.”
According to Van Dijken, the use of the “no birds” slogan belongs to a regrettable era of the 1950s and 1960s, and it has no place in modern society. She strongly believes that it is unacceptable to refer to women as “birds,” and she questions why the company still retains such an offensive slogan.
Despite the public outcry, the company has shown no intention of changing its slogan. Instead, they redirect customers interested in learning about the history behind “no birds” to their website, where they explain that back when Bayswater Car Rental began, having “delivery girls” was considered a standard extra service in Australia.
While some individuals argue that the term “bird” was once used in a friendly context, a man expressed his desire to see this derogatory term removed from the company’s branding, acknowledging the changing societal norms. However, a female voice added, “When I was younger, during the rise of feminist activism, there was a strong opposition to this slogan. Even my mother wrote a letter to The West newspaper to voice her objection. It’s disheartening to see that they are still allowed to use it.”