Last year, the CAP launched a ‘public consultation’ to tackle ‘harmful stereotypes’. After their review, the ASA, (aka, the ad watchdogs) said that from June 2019, ads can’t include gender stereotypes that could cause ‘harm, or serious widespread offence’.
Ella Smillie, who works for the ASA said: “We don’t see ourselves as social engineers, we’re reflecting the changing standards in society. Changing ad regulation isn’t going to end gender inequality but we know advertising can reinforce harmful gender stereotypes, which can limit people’s choices or potential in life.”
However, not all gender stereotypes are being ruled out as they aren’t seen as problematic or cause offence. The rules have been put in place as a guide to prevent and identify harmful content.
Here’s some scenario examples which are likely to cause issues in future ads:
- A man/family members creating mess around the home and putting their feet up while a woman’s solely responsible for cleaning up the mess.
- A woman/man not achieving a task specifically because of their gender. For example, a man not being able to change nappies or a woman not being able to park a car.
- A person with a physique that isn’t stereotypically classed as an ideal associated with their gender and be the significant reason for them being unsuccessful. For example, in their romantic or social lives.
- Emphasising the contrast between a boy’s and girl’s stereotypical personality. For example, a boy’s more daring and a girl’s more caring.
- Suggesting to new mums their top priority is to look attractive or to keep a home pristine, rather than other things like their emotional well-being.
- Belittling a man for doing stereotypical ‘female’ roles or tasks.
According to The Drum, since the ASA’s investigated the problem last year, 57% of UK marketers have admitted it’s impacted their own campaign imagery choices. But 51% of them agreed it’s important to choose imagery that represent modern-day society. This stat sat at just 30% in 2016.
Here’s some of the ads which sparked the consultation:
Is there any other ads you think contributed to putting this rule in place?
Hit us up on Twitter and let us know.