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UK To Ban Ads That Promote Gender Stereotypes

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After tackling advertisements that promote inappropriate sexualization and an allegedly unhealthy body image, the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority will soon be cracking down on advertisements that promote gender stereotypes, Advertising Age reports.

According to the summary of ASA’s published report on “Depictions, Perceptions and Harm,” the organization claims to have found evidence that gender stereotyping in ads “might be harmful to people.”

The conclusion of the study claims, “Gender stereotypes have the potential to harm by inviting assumptions about adults and children that might negatively restrict how they see themselves and how others see them. These assumptions can lead to unequal gender outcomes in public and private aspects of people‘s lives; outcomes, which are increasingly acknowledged to be detrimental to individuals, the economy and society in general.”

As a result, Gary Parker, CEO of the ASA, said in a statement, “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, an author of the report, explained a “problematic” ad could be one that involves a woman cleaning up a household mess. Other examples include a man who is shown to be incompetent at household tasks, or any advertisements that imply there is a certain way a man or a woman should act.

According to the New York Times, another potentially prohibited ad would show a girl growing up to be a ballerina:

“The report tells us that there is a case for change in the way we regulate gender stereotypes in advertising,” Smillie said. “We’ll be using everything that we’ve learned in this report to draft new standards for advertisers, and we’ll be making announcement about that by the end of this year.”

The ASA’s report comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan waded into the controversy surrounding ProteinWorld’s “Are you beach body ready?” advertisements. Saqid banned the ad, claiming it promoted confidence issues.

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