Finding new things to get upset about
In Europe, the politically correct madness continues:
In Madison Avenue’s mind’s eye, women are still preternaturally obsessed with the cleanliness of their kitchen floors, while men ruminate constantly about which shaving products will render them more attractive to the opposite sex.
The European Parliament has set out to change this. [This month], the legislature voted 504 to 110 to scold advertisers for “sexual stereotyping,” adopting a nonbinding report that seeks to prod the industry to change the way it depicts men and women.
The lawmakers’ ire has many targets, from a print ad for Dolce & Gabbana (which had a woman in spike heels pinned to the ground and surrounded by sweaty men in tight jeans) to Mr. Clean, the 1950s advertising icon whose muscular physique might imply that only a strong man is powerful enough to tackle dirt.
[That’s right, the idea of men being physically stronger than women is just as offensive to European sensibilities as pornographic trash when it comes to pushing a product]:
The concern, according to the committee report, is that stereotypes in advertising can “straitjacket women, men, girls and boys by restricting individuals to predetermined and artificial roles that are often degrading, humiliating and dumbed-down for both sexes.”
[Degrading and humiliating apparently means showing a woman in her kitchen]:
Mary Honeyball, a British lawmaker and a member of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, which developed the report [has compiled a] rogues’ gallery [of objectionable advertisements that] includes an ad for LG Electronics featuring the muscular backside of a naked man who is facing a washing machine (a spot that won an advertising award in Cannes). But it also includes a gray-suited businessman in a Lufthansa ad, and a Miele campaign that features a woman, potholder in hand, fawning over a cake in an oven.
[As always,the main thing is to make certain groups of people feel like aggrieved victims yet again]:
Eva-Britt Svensson, a Swedish member of Parliament and author of the report on advertising images, said that, at this point, legislators were pressing simply for self-regulation among advertisers. But she also suggested that consumers could act.
“If they have more information and awareness about the impact of gender stereotypes,” she said, ” they can start boycotting products.”
— “Europe Takes Aim at Sexual Stereotyping in Ads,” posted Sept. 9 at The New York Times website at nytimes.com