The origins of mudflap girl

I've seen mudflap girl from the car during road trips, but I never thought much about her until Magdalene Taylor dug into her history for Mel Magazine.

She is America's big-breasted, disproportionate everywoman. She is the embodiment of kitsch erotica. She is the bodacious North Star of the working-class road warrior. She is Mudflap Girl, and she is the proud owner of some of the most iconic hogans in recent history. 


In today's culture, she might not be quite as appealing as she was in the 70s when the photo started to appear. After all, she's a portrait of hypersexualized femininity, and she might propagate unrealistic beauty standards. Still, her legacy lives on, and her image is sometimes reclaimed as a symbol of feminism (she's in the logo for the blog Feministing).

You can buy her as a sticker, a chrome decal, a cookie-cutter or as cufflinks. You can have her holding an AR-15reading a bookwearing a cowboy hat or dressed in goldrainbow or red, white and blue. You can buy a version where she's "fat," another where she's a man with a beer belly, and yet another where she's a mermaid (in case your trucking route takes you through the ocean). Meanwhile, in Sex and the City, Samantha often wears a necklace with a Mudflap Girl on it throughout most of Season Four. In 2007, the Wyoming State Library featured the version of Mudflap Girl holding a book as part of a statewide reading campaign. 

So, regardless of who "owns" her, Mudflap Girl has been distilled into so many different forms that no one will ever truly possess her. Like a nomad whose real home is the road, she'll always slip through your hands. 


In 2011, Wired ran a story about a man who claimed that mudflap girl was his mother, but the actual origin of the symbol can't be verified. Perhaps her home is on the road.