Depictions of traditional mothers and hopeless fathers to be banned next year

Next year, a new rule will be introduced in the UK Advertising Codes, banning “harmful and outdated” gender stereotypes. A review by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) suggested, “harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults. These stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which therefore plays a part in unequal gender outcomes…”

Depictions which are likely to be problematic include, “family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up or an ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks because of stereotypes associated with his gender.”

Ella Smillie, Committees of Advertising Practice, said: “Some gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children by limiting how people see themselves, how others see them, and potentially restricting the life decisions they take.”

Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, said: “While advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes, we welcome [the] decision to introduce a new rule on harmful gender stereotypes in ads.”

Nanette Newman, an actress who appeared in 1980s Fairy Liquid commercials, told the Daily Mail, “I find this ban ridiculously over the top. What a bizarre world we live in where the adverts I starred in might today be considered harmful, yet it’s considered perfectly acceptable for women to be shown on mainstream TV having sex.”

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