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Harmful Gender Stereotypes in Ads to be Banned

Date: 22 February 2019

Gender |Stereotypes to be bannedFrom 14 June 2019 you will no longer be able to use harmful gender stereotypes in advertising.

This new rule has come in after research by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority). This concluded that not enough was being done about harmful gender stereotypes in advertising.

This stereotyping could result in restricting the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults.

The ASA advised that these stereotypes are reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes.

It is important to know that they aren’t banning gender stereotypes outright, but are simply seeking to reduce any harmful content that should be prevented.

You may be wondering what the ASA/CAP considers to be ‘harmful’ gender stereotyping? To hellp, they have issued the following examples of scenarios that could be problematic:

  • An ad that depicts a man with his feet up and family members creating mess around a home while a woman is solely responsible for cleaning up the mess.
  • An ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender eg a man’s inability to change nappies, a woman’s inability to park a car etc.
  • Where an ad features a person with a physique that does not match an ideal that is stereotypically associated with their gender. The ad should not imply that their physique is a significant reason for them not being successful, for example in their romantic or social lives.
  • An ad that seeks to emphasise the contrast between a boy’s stereotypical personality (eg daring) with a girl’s stereotypical personality (eg kind) needs to be handled with care.
  • An ad aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine, is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing.
  • An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically ‘female’ roles or tasks.

The rule and guidance does not intend to prevent ads from featuring:

  • Glamorous, attractive, successful, aspirational or healthy people or lifestyles
  • One gender only, including ads for products developed for and aimed at one gender
  • Gender stereotypes as a means to challenge their negative effects.

Visit ASA’s website to find out more on this new rule –

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