Image: © Graham C99 via Flickr

UK bans gender stereotypes on TV ads

TV adverts will no longer be able to show sexist stereotypes like women being bad at parking or men being unable to change a nappy.

What it means: Any feminists who feel their blood pressure may need raising a little may want to check out these lists of recent sexist ads from around the world (TLDR; it’s not for women unless it’s pink! Hand a man his own child and he’ll probably just sink to the floor in a quivering, incompetent mess!) Now the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which makes the rules for UK advertising, has had enough.

It’s banning adverts with gender stereotypes that “cause harm or serious or widespread offence”. From next summer, you can show a woman washing up, but not doing all the housework while her hubby cracks a beer on the sofa. Or you can show a dude driving a sports car, but not say he’s driving because the busty blonde next to him couldn’t possibly figure out how to park the thing.

Ella Smillie, boss at CAP, says the reason is that “harmful gender stereotypes in ads contribute to how people see themselves and their role in society”. And that has implications for the economy: show enough women flunking school coz ‘maths is hard and lipstick is cuter’, and you risk discouraging real-life, smart-as-hell women from doing things like studying STEM subjects and/or developing new technologies, medicines and businesses.

Drill into enough heads that stay-at-home dads are ‘unmanly’, and businesses are less likely to want to develop maternity-equivalent paternal (or shared parental) leave policies for staff. And so on.

Read our explainer on gender inequality.

Recent articles

Reader Comments