Government Will Outlaw Advertisements Showing Gender Stereotypes

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

The UK government announced Tuesday it will outlaw advertisements that feature gender stereotypes after it received complaints on ads portraying housewives cleaning and children playing with gendered toys.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said ads reinforcing gender roles or making fun of those who do not uphold them have “costs for individuals, the economy and society,” according to the BBC, which detailed ads previously found problematic by viewers. The ASA performs a regulatory function similar to that of the Federal Trade Commission.

“Portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people,” said Guy Parker, the ASA’s chief executive, to the BBC. “While advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes, tougher advertising standards can play an important role in tackling inequalities and improving outcomes for individuals, the economy and society as a whole.”

An advertisement depicting two male babies growing up to be mountain climbers and engineers while a female baby became a ballerina received public criticism for containing gender stereotypes, but the ASA told BBC that it would not launch a “formal investigation” into the ad. Similarly, the ASA acknowledged it received complaints concerning a KFC ad in which a man with anxiety is mocked, but chose not to take action.

A 2015 “beach body ready” ad from Protein World sparked the agency’s review. (RELATED: Feminists Start Campaign Against ‘Beach Body’ Advertisements)

The ASA plans to institute new rules in 2018.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the ASA, but received no comment in time for press.

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