'Harmful gender stereotypes' banned under new advertising rules

Ads with harmful stereotypes will be banned from today

Friday, June 14, 2019

Ads featuring "harmful" gender stereotypes - such as a man being unable to change a nappy - are banned under new advertising guidelines that come into force today.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the new rules block ads featuring gender stereotypes which are likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Under the new rules, an advert showing a man sitting down while his wife cleans around him would be banned, as would one showing a woman unable to park a car.

Advertisers will also need to be careful in ads where boys are portrayed as daring adventurers, while girls are overly caring or submissive.

The changes are in response to a review that found some ads could reinforce harmful stereotypes.

Advertising Standards Authority spokeswoman Shabnum Mustapha told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that stereotypes seen on screen can lead to “real world harm”.

“If little girls growing up are constantly seeing ads where they’re told that they have to behave in a certain way or look a certain way or be certain professions, it can affect what subjects they choose at school, what they do at uni what careers they go in,” she said.

But she insisted the new standards are “not banning all stereotypes”.

“We’re not saying that a woman can never be in ads where she’s doing the dishes or a man can never be in ads doing DIY. What we’re saying is it’s about context,” she explained.

“If an ad is saying only a man can do this because she’s a man or only a woman can do this because she’s a woman, that’s where we’re going to intervene.”

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