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June 17 2019

U.K. Banning Gender Stereotypes in Advertising--But Just the Harmful Ones

by Charlotte Hays

Do you feel that that your prospects in life are limited everytime you see an advertisement featuring a woman in a traditional role?

If you lived in the U.K., you’d be spared this sort of psychic pain. 

Britain has banned ads that rely on gender stereotyping, but only when the gender stereotyping is hurtful.

The Associated Press reports:

From Friday, advertisements must not include “gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offense.”

Examples include depictions of men struggling to complete simple domestic tasks or ads that suggest women are solely responsible for cooking and cleaning.

Complaints will be assessed by the Advertising Standards Authority. British broadcasters are bound by the terms of their licenses to comply with its rulings.

The authority says its aim is not to ban all gender stereotypes but to remove those that are harmful.

Authority chief executive Guy Parker said “put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people’s potential.”

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Does an ad have to hurt several people, one person? Who gets to decide if an ad is genuinely harmful?

Hot Air notes some of possible areas of confusion: 

This will create quite the guessing game. The government admits that they don’t want to ban all gender stereotypes. Only the harmful ones. You know… like a woman vacuuming the carpet. Get it? And as I mentioned above, you’ll have a hard time knowing if your advertisement will be yanked off the air or you’ll be receiving a fine. Anyone can lodge a complaint about your ad with the Advertising Standards Authority and they will decide on a case by case basis which ads make the cut.

In other words, unless you hire a capable psychic who can read the minds of the supreme authorities at the Advertising Standards Authority, you just won’t know until your advertisement is rolled out. What fun!

We usually see silly stories like this coming out of the coastal cities in the United States, but clearly, the social justice warriors have their claws into our special partners across the pond. If you are honestly feeling “harmed” because you saw an advertisement for a Dyson vacuum cleaner and a woman was operating it, the advertising agency might not be the one with the problem.

A better idea might be just to let consumers decide if they are harmed and, if so, refrain from buying the product being advertised.

But of course you can do that without government help.  

It would be too easy.

 





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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