UK bans ads over gender stereotypes in landmark ruling
UK bans ads over gender stereotypes in landmark ruling
16 August, 2019, 16:49
Two television adverts have been banned in the United Kingdom for promoting gender stereotypes under new rules.
Under new guidelines that were introduced late previous year and came into effect on 14 June, advertisements in the United Kingdom "must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence".
An advert for Philadelphiacheese showing two new fathers becoming so distracted by snacks that they forget their babies was banned by the ASA, which said it relied on the stereotype than men are less capable of caring for children.
Jessica Tye, the investigations manager at the Advertising Standards Authority, said that both ads contained stereotypes with the potential to cause "real-world harms", such as affecting kids' career choices.
Three people complained about an ad for the Volkswagen eGolf auto, which showed a sleeping woman and a man in a tent on a sheer cliff face, two male astronauts floating in a space ship and a male para-athlete with a prosthetic leg doing the long jump before a final scene showed a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram.
It mentioned by juxtaposing photos of males "in extraordinary environments and finishing up adventurous actions" with girls who appeared "passive or engaged in a stereotypical care-giving position", the advert had advised that stereotypical female and male roles had been exclusively related to one gender.
"By their nature, ads like these divide opinion, but these rulings are based on the guidance issued to advertisers on those gender stereotypical portrayals which are likely to be considered harmful", Craig Jones, director of ASA communications, said, adding that "as always" it would listen to industry feedback.
"Ads that specifically contrast male and female stereotypes need to be handled with care", she said.
The rules, which began to be enforced as of June, are meant to help quash gender stereotypes that contribute to problems including unequal pay and career opportunities limitations.
Mondelez, together with agency Clearcast and broadcaster ITV all defended the ad spot, with Mondelez arguing that the ad showed a positive image of men with an active parental role in modern society.
While chatting they accidentally find their babies are circulated away on it.
"It was never our intention to cause any offence with our new Philadelphia advert".
Ads that show men or women carrying out tasks with which their genders are sometimes associated, such as women shopping, will also be permitted. The message: "When we learn to adapt, we can achieve anything".
But the ASA found that the ad "perpetuated a harmful stereotype, namely that men were ineffective at childcare".
Could we see a similar type of regulation come to America?
In its ruling, the ASA said: "Taking into account the overall impression of the ad, we considered that viewers were likely to focus on the occupations of the characters featured in the ad and observe a direct contrast between how the male and female characters were depicted".
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