'Harmful' gender stereotypes will be banned from TV adverts in the UK, including depictions of only women doing housework and caring for children, or only men doing 'typically female' tasks.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have written new rules into their Advertising Codes, applying to adverts which ‘are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence’ amongst viewers.
Following a review by the ASA, the ban was put in place after men, women and children were shown adverts and asked questions to gauge how men and women were presented in them. One of the adverts included Aptamil’s 2017 advert, which showed a baby boy growing up to be a ballerina and a baby boy growing up to be an engineer.
The ASA’s review stated: ‘This opposed beliefs amongst parents who thought that children could aspire to any career regardless of gender.
‘Whilst most participants did not feel that these gender stereotypes were offensive or harmful, they did feel that there was a missed opportunity to show greater diversity of gender roles and aspirations.’
They found evidence that harmful stereotypes could ‘restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of young people and adults’.
ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker said: ‘Our evidence shows how harmful gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us. Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people’s potential.’
Examples of problematic scenarios include a man with his feet up whilst a woman cleans the home, a man being belittled for carrying out typically ‘female’ tasks, and anyone failing to achieve a task based purely on their gender.
Another banned scenario that should make mums happy, is ads targeted towards mothers that suggest looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is more important than emotional wellbeing.
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