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ASA announce stricter controls on stereotypical gender representations within advertising


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The advertising standards authority (ASA) have announced from 2018 they will be enforcing stricter controls on stereotypical gender representations within advertising.

While we will still see women cleaning and men engaging in DIY in our advertisements, no longer will a specific gender be represented in a manner which is considered offensive or harming.

According to the ASA, such ads negatively reinforce gender stereotypes, creating gender inequality and can potentially create long lasting negative effects upon social, economic and emotional values. Their report found that such advertisements can limit the overall potential of individuals and groups within society.

In their report, the ASA said that current advertising regulations are strict on ensuring advertising should not cause serious widespread harm or offence; one such example being their CAP codes to protect women from sexualisation and objectification. No regulations currently exist to address the issue of gender stereotyping.

Such examples of ads which would be deemed harmful under new regulations include:

- An ad which depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up.

- An ad which suggests an activity is inappropriate for a girl because it is stereotypically associated with boys or vice versa.

- An ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks.

Though possibly a little later than some may have wanted, the imposition of new regulations in the advertising sector demonstrates the media industry is responding to changing societal moods and trends. We now live in a society where women are working and consistently demanding for further advancements and equality in their fields, where men are no longer ashamed to say they are a single father, and where children are encouraged to freely engage in activities regardless of stereotypes.

As gender roles are becoming more varied, organisations are having to adapt to reflect such changes, and the faster these changes happen the sooner gender stereotypes will become invalid.

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