The UK’s advertising supervisor, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has banned advertisements containing “harmful gender stereotypes” that cause serious or widespread offence. Advertisements like those showing women unable to park or men unable to change diapers are included in this ban. In addition to this, advertisments depicting negative stereotypes, hate speech, and “harmful discriminatory behaviour” targetted at homosexuality is also considered an offence, although there is no mention of heteronormative depictions.
After carrying out research into gender stereotyping, the organisation, responsible for administering UK advertising codes, found that such representation hinders people’s overall potential. The review also showed that “harmful stereotypes restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults and these stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes.”
The nature of penalties to be given to offence committers has not been specified beyond the warning of tougher penalties. The ASA plans to carry out a 12-month review to consider whether the rule and guidance are meeting their objective to prevent harmful gender stereotypes and update the guidance to reflect ASA rulings, after which it will consider whether additional monitoring is required.