Adverts in the UK are set to be banned from using gender stereotypes – including campaigns depicting families creating mess while the woman has ‘sole responsibility for cleaning it up’.
Yeah, about time! Where are we, the 1940s? No.
ASA – the Advertising Standards Agency – published their report saying ads that mock people for not conforming to gender types or reinforcing gender roles had ‘costs for individuals, the economy and society’.
— Demelza Stevenson (@deestevenson) April 22, 2017
New standards aren’t intended to ban all forms of gender stereotypes – but, subject to context and content considerations, ASA’s evidence suggests there are certain depictions are ‘likely to be problematic’.
These include adverts that suggest a specific activity is inappropriate for boys because it is stereotypically associated with girls, or vice-versa – or ads that feature a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks.
ASA said it had conducted a review following the reaction to that ‘beach body ready’ campaign in 2015.
The advert prompted a ‘wave of complaints’, it showed a model in a bikini, advertising a slimming product, which critics called ‘socially irresponsible’.
Chief Executive of the ASA, Guy Parker, said:
Portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people.
While advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes, tougher advertising standards can play an important role in tackling inequalities and improving outcomes for individuals, the economy and society as a whole.
Pleased to see crackdown on sexist adverts. It's not "a bit of fun" when it perpetuates gender stereotyping or objectifying women #equality
— Michelle Bellingham (@Dr_M_Bellingham) July 18, 2017
A progress report will be made public by the end of the year, with training and advice on the new standards will work before they come into force in 2018.
Ella Smillie, lead report author, said:
Our review shows that specific forms of gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children.
Such portrayals can limit how people see themselves, how others see them, and limit the life decisions they take.
Tougher standards in the areas we’ve identified will address harms and ensure that modern society is better represented.