The UK is banning adverts that portray sexist stereotypes
Britain decided to ban advertising showing women who can’t park or men who struggle to change a nappy in a crackdown on gender stereotypes. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said a review had found some stereotypes were harmful, citing ads that belittle men for carrying out tasks seen as female, or suggest new mothers should prioritize looking good over emotional wellbeing.
“Our new rule calls time on stereotypes that hold back people and society,” said Shahriar Coupal, director of the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which sets the advertising standards applied by the ASA.
Starting next June, adverts featuring a depiction of gender roles that could cause offense of harm will be axed, it said. The ban will apply to broadcast and nonbroadcast media, including TV, radio, newspapers and social media. It follows a campaign for weight loss products featuring a bikini-clad model with the tag line “Are you beach body ready?” that drew a barrage of complaints. In November, retailer Marks and Spencer came under fire for a window display juxtaposing men in suits and women in knickers, while two months earlier Sweden’s advertising watchdog said a viral meme showing a man staring at another woman was sexist.
“Harmful gender stereotypes in ads contribute to how people see themselves,” said Ella Smillie, CAP’S gender stereotyping project lead. “They can hold some people back from fulfilling their potential, or from aspiring to certain jobs and industries, bringing costs for individuals and the economy.” Women’s rights groups also welcomed the move.