The Advertising Standards Agency has finally noticed that the year is 2017 and that adverts that routinely show women doing the housework, cooking, or in desperate search for the ultimate bikini body are actually harming the development of young viewers.
Under strict new watch dog rules, commercials which are judged to encourage such gender stereotyping –which, yes, men, includes you being crap at housework too – face being banned.
The decision made by the ASA to develop stronger rules against gendered stereotyping follows a year-long inquiry, which concluded it was “potentially harmful” to viewers and “can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults”.
It’s like that wall we’ve been talking to for decades has finally listened.
The rules will come into play from next year, following finalisation by the Committee of Advertising Practice.
However, the new standards will not ban all stereotypes. Women will still be seen cleaning, and men doing DIY jobs. Instead, it will focus on gender dynamics depicted, like a woman having sole responsibility for cleaning up after the family, or men being terrible at simple household tasks and parenting.
The report also seemed to suggest that adverts could also be banned if they implied that certain activities, like science or math, were only appropriate for boys, and vice versa.
The move has been welcomed by just about everyone, particularly women’s equality campaigners:
No more beach bodies, useless dads, mums who do all the cooking & cleaning? We’ll see .. but this is good news https://t.co/TpP6j2kSBY
— Sophie Walker (@SophieRunning) July 18, 2017
— Girlguiding (@Girlguiding) July 18, 2017
Great to see that outdated & stereotypical gender roles will be banned in adshttps://t.co/z71YPCH8ww
— Women’s Aid (@womensaid) July 18, 2017
Girlguiding, a leading charity for empowering young women and girls, formed their own Girls’ Attitude Survey 2017.
After speaking to more than 1,600 young women and girls between the ages of 11 and 21, they found that 93% think the advertising industry should stop using gender stereotyping, while 47% admitted that seeing gendered stereotyping in the media the week they were surveyed made them feel less confident to do what they wanted.
Sadder still, 59% of girls and young women said they felt pressured into looking differently after having seen airbrushed images of models in that past week.
Here’s hoping stricter rules on image manipulation is high on their list of priorities to tackle in the future.