Standards body unveils plan to crack down on sexist advertisements | Media

Advertisements that perpetuate sexist stereotypes, from men bungling housework to girls being less academic than boys, will be banned under new rules being proposed by the industry watchdog.

The new crackdown by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) will toughen rules on ads that are deemed to present activities as only appropriate for one gender or another, or that mock those who do not conform to stereotypical gender roles.

It will also toughen rules on ads that “body shame” young women after an outcry over Protein World’s controversial “Beach body ready” campaign, which was not banned despite a petition with 70,000 signatures claiming that its depiction of a bikini-clad model in an ad for a weight-loss product was socially irresponsible.

The ASA’s new proposals, outlined in a report conducted with research firm GfK, are part of an effort to address the portrayal of women in ads in particular.

The project, which the watchdog considers the most comprehensive review of gender stereotyping anywhere in the world, follows a major crackdown on “airbrushing”, which has seen major beauty ads featuring stars such as Cara Delevingne, Natalie Portman, and Julia Roberts banned. It has also banned ads featuring “unhealthily thin” models.

Its new proposals will also clarify the existing code relating to ads that objectify or inappropriately sexualise women and girls.

“Our review shows that specific forms of gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children,” said Ella Smillie, lead author of the report.

“Such portrayal scan limit how people see themselves, how others see them, and limit the life decisions they take. Tougher standards in the areas we’ve identified will address harms and ensure that modern society is better represented.”

The ASA said it is not looking at implementing a blanket ban – it will still be acceptable for ads to feature a woman doing cleaning or a man doing DIY tasks – but there are…

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