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‘Daring’ Boys, ‘Caring’ Girls Banned from UK Ads in ‘Harmful Stereotypes’ Crackdown

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VIRGINIA HALE

Adverts showing a housewife looking after the family will be banned from next year in an industry-wide crackdown on “harmful stereotypes” which researchers allege contribute to “real-world gender inequalities”.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which creates and maintains advertising codes in Britain, on Friday published guidance on depicting gender stereotypes ahead of new rules coming into force in June 2019.

“An ad that depicts a man being adventurous juxtaposed with a woman being delicate or dainty is likely to be unacceptable,” states the guidance, which claims that gender stereotypes can lower viewers’ self-esteem and “limit their aspirations and ability to progress in key aspects of their personal and professional lives with harmful consequences for them and for society as a whole”.

Adverts which depict a boy as “daring” and a girl as “caring” are similarly “likely to be problematic”, as well as promotions showing men as being more capable at DIY or parking a car and women excelling at childcare or cleaning, according to the document.

Men being useless at domestic tasks such as changing a nappy will also be unacceptable, reports The Guardian.

While warning that “the use of humour or banter is unlikely to mitigate against the types of harm or serious or widespread offence identified in this guidance”, the watchdog stressed that companies would be allowed to mock gender stereotypes in a way that would encourage societal change.

CAP director Shahriar Coupal said: “Harmful gender stereotypes have no place in UK advertisements. Nearly all advertisers know this, but for those that don’t, our new rule calls time on stereotypes that hold back people and society.”

The ban follows a study from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) last year which looked at adverts including a 2012 Asda commercial which showed a mother doing most of the preparations for Christmas day while her husband sat watching television.

“Wherever they appear or are reinforced, gender stereotypes can lead to mental, physical and social harm which can limit the potential of groups and individuals,” the agency alleged in its report.

Ella Smillie, who led CAP’s gender stereotyping review, added: “The evidence we published last year showed that harmful gender stereotypes in ads contribute to how people see themselves and their role in society.

“They can hold some people back from fulfilling their potential, or from aspiring to certain jobs and industries, bringing costs for individuals and the economy.”

Breitbart London previously reported a study of major advertising companies, the results of which suggested the industry was already keen to produce politically correct and “progressive” output.

The majority of 500 advertisers surveyed admitted to prioritising so-called diversity above market relevance with the insertion of same-sex couples and non-traditional families into campaigns even when doing so clashed with their brand identity.

In addition, half of advertisers in Britain had reported using fewer white actors in their commercial spots, asserting that the demographic no longer represented “modern society”.

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