Watch­dog cracks the whip

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

TRA­DI­TIONAL por­tray­als of housewives are to be banned from ad­ver­tise­ments in a crack­down on sex­ist stereo­types by watch­dogs.

De­pic­tions of women be­ing solely re­spon­si­ble for cook­ing, clean­ing and child­care in com­mer­cials will dis­ap­pear.

But at the same time, it will be­come wrong to sug­gest only men are ca­pa­ble of do­ing DIY or are use­less when it comes to chores and car­ing for ba­bies.

The changes come from the Advertising Stan­dards Author­ity (ASA), which ar­gues that th­ese stereo­types are lim­it­ing the as­pi­ra­tions of both women and men.

The ASA will also crack down on im­ages that ap­pear to sex­u­alise women or sug­gest it is ac­cept­able for them to be un­healthily thin. The watch­dog said: “A tougher line is needed on ads that fea­ture stereo­typ­i­cal gen­der roles or char­ac­ter­is­tics which can po­ten­tially cause harm.”

Con­sumer goods gi­ant Unilever has al­ready blocked the de­pic­tion of women as sex ob­jects un­der a pol­icy it calls ‘Un­stereo­type’. In the past, its Knorr TV ad­verts used to show a mother and daugh­ter in the kitchen, but they now fea­ture a fa­ther and son. Guy Parker, the ASA’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “Por­tray­als which re­in­force out­dated and stereo­typ­i­cal views on gen­der roles can play their part in driv­ing un­fair out­comes. Tougher advertising stan­dards can play an im­por­tant role in tack­ling in­equal­i­ties.”

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