Sexist Ads to be Banned in 2018

It has just been announced that a new rule will be introduced in the UK Advertising Codes next year to ban 'harmful' gender stereotyping in advertising.
A review by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on gender stereotyping in advertising was published last summer. This provided an evidence-based case for stronger regulation of adverts that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics which can be harmful to people, including adverts which mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes.
Evidence in the review suggests that harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults. These stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which therefore plays a part in unequal gender outcomes, with costs for individuals, the economy and society. The review welcomed the ASA’s track record of banning ads on grounds of objectification, inappropriate sexualisation and for normalising unhealthily thin body images, but found that more needs to be done on gender stereotypical roles and characteristics portrayed in ads.
Will all Gender Stereotyping be Banned?
The new rule will not ban all forms of gender stereotypes. For example, there won’t be a ban on adverts depicting a woman doing cleaning, or a man doing DIY tasks. But, subject to context and content considerations, the evidence suggests certain types of depictions are likely to be problematic, for example, an advert which depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up or an advert that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks because of stereotypes associated with being male.
Ella Smillie from the Committees of Advertising Practice said: “Some gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children by limiting how people see themselves, how others see them, and potentially restricting the life decisions they take. The introduction of a new advertising rule from 2018 will help advertisers to know where to draw the line on the use of acceptable and unacceptable stereotypes.”
Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, said: “While advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes, we welcome CAP’s decision to introduce a new rule on harmful gender stereotypes in ads. Although companies have responded positively and constructively to our report, with welcome examples of voluntary action, there is more to do. We are determined to make sure our regulation calls out harmful and outdated practices and a new rule in the Advertising Codes will help tackle the harmful gender stereotypes identified in our review of the evidence.”

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