UK regulator set to ban ads depicting bumbling manchildren

Vows crackdown on sexist commercials next year

Ads depicting manchildren incapable of carrying out basic household tasks, and women in the role of Stepford Wives clearing up their mess, are to be banned in a crackdown by the Advertising Standards Authority.

It follows a review conducted by the watchdog following the public's reaction to the "beach body ready" advertising campaign in 2015, depicting a bikini-clad model in an advertisement for a diet product.

Under the new rules due to come into force next year, the ASA said it will crack down on sexist stereotypes where people are mocked for not conforming or that reinforce gender roles.

However, the ASA said it would be "inappropriate and unrealistic" to prevent ads depicting a woman cleaning. But new standards on gender stereotypes might elaborate on the types of treatments that might be problematic.

These might include: an ad that depicts family members creating mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up; one that suggests an activity is inappropriate for a girl because it is stereotypically associated with boys; or featuring a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks.

ASA chief exec Guy Parker said portrayals that reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society "can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people".

"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."

Ella Smillie, lead author, said such portrayals "can limit how people see themselves" and that "tougher standards in the areas we've identified will address harms and ensure that modern society is better represented". ®




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