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U.K. Regulates Away Gender Differences in Advertising

It will be interesting to see how this goes. Advertisers in the U.K. are now banned from using “gender stereotypes” in advertising campaigns in broadcast and non-broadcast media including on-line and social media. The regulation, originally passed in December, states:

[Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.

What does this mean you ask? The regulator provided some examples:

  • An ad that depicts a man with his feet up and family members creating mess around a home while a woman is solely responsible for cleaning up the mess.
  • An ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender e.g. a man’s inability to change nappies [diapers]; a woman’s inability to park a car. 
  • Where an ad features a person with a physique that does not match an ideal stereotypically associated with their gender, the ad should not imply that their physique is a significant reason for them not being successful, for example in their romantic or social lives.
  • An ad that seeks to emphasise the contrast between a boy’s stereotypical personality (e.g. daring) with a girl’s stereotypical personality (e.g. caring) needs to be handled with care. 
  • An ad aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing.
  • An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically ‘female’ roles or tasks. 

Now, it is my understanding that the goal of advertising is to connect on an emotional level with the audience in order to create a memorable image of your product. Like it or not, most stereotypes used in advertising resonate because they are based in reality. These guidelines seem to be mostly rooted in gender stereotypes. While the Left is increasingly insistent that there are no fundamental differences between men and women, this is simply not true.

The justification for this is just amazing. According to Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority:

“Our evidence shows how harmful gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us.  Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people’s potential.  It’s in the interests of women and men, our economy and society that advertisers steer clear of these outdated portrayals, and we’re pleased with how the industry has already begun to respond”. 

Ads contribute to inequality and limiting people’s potential? On what planet? Despite ads using gender stereotypes women have made incredible progress over the last 70 years. On both sides of the pond, more young women than men are attending college. Increasingly, they are also earning more than their male peers. This is actually impacting the rate of marriage according to some studies.

Next, if the portrayals are outdated, why do they resonate with consumers? Perhaps because young dads may not be equipped to change a diaper with a high level of skill? Perhaps little boys are actually more rambunctious than little girls on average? There have actually been studies done that show boys and girls have a preference for certain types of toys as young as nine months. This is information the Left likes to ignore. It is actually probably much more likely that the drive to suppress normal boy and male behavior are responsible for the fact they are achieving at lower levels on average than their female peers.

Now, the ban does not apply to all gender stereotypes. Examples of ads that the regulation does not cover are:

  • A woman doing the shopping or a man doing DIY.
  • Glamorous, attractive, successful, aspirational or healthy people or lifestyles.
  • One gender only, including in ads for products developed for and aimed at one gender.
  • Gender stereotypes as a means to challenge their negative effects.

So really, the regulation is aimed at eliminating stereotypes that portray men and women as different. it also seeks to eliminate those that imply that physical attractiveness has social and romantic benefits. Of course the woke ads that challenge gender stereotypes are acceptable. Like the one Gillette put out to fight “toxic masculinity”.

However, the regulation will allow that there are some products that are targeted at a single gender. Don’t tell the LBGTQ lobby. Last I heard, these distinctions don’t exist. Not even for feminine hygiene products.

“Wokeness” is now being regulated in the U.K. The only question is how long before the trend reaches our shores if the intersectional left gets in to power.

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