Image via Shutterstock
The UK’s advertising watchdog has placed a ban on adverts featuring “harmful gender stereotypes” as well as those likely to cause “serious or widespread offence.”
The rule is based on a review of gender stereotyping by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an organization that controls the UK Advertising Codes, covering both broadcast and non-broadcast ads, inclusive of online and social media, according to the BBC.
The ASA explained the decision by claiming there was evidence suggesting harmful stereotypes in adverts could restrict dreams and opportunities of both men and women, leading to unequal gender outcomes. ASA chief executive Guy Parker also described that such negative portrayals could in time contribute to the limiting of people’s potential.
Examples of ads that are probably unable to make the cut with the new regulations in place include a 2017 television commercial by Aptamil baby milk formula that showed a female baby growing up to become a ballerina, and male infants becoming engineers or mountain climbers.
Other possibly “problematic” scenarios include campaigns of men or women failing at tasks due to their gender, or ads that mock men for acting out stereotypically female roles.
However, not all traditional projections of gender will be deemed out of line. ASA will be looking at each concept through its “content and context” to see if it contains “harmful” messages. The ruling was also announced last year to give advertisers time to implement changes.
However, the criteria used to determine what is acceptable remains unspecified and unclear.