Ending harmful gender stereotyping in advertising

Harmful Gender Stereotyping in Advertising is Set to End

On 14th June 2019 new regulations by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) came into force. One example offered by the ASA is that under the new regulations is:

'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; a woman’s inability to park a car.'

We think this is a positive step that will assist fathers in being seen as carers of their children and at the very least put an end to negative depictions. 

How the biggest German supermarket, Edeka, got it wrong on Mother's Day - video will shock many

Earlier this year Gillette's advertisement 'the best men can be' portrayed 'toxic masculinity' and got a staggering 31 million views on YouTube. Now Germany's biggest supermarket, Edeka, with sales of £45 billion and a 20% market share, thought it would appeal to its customer base with a Mother's Day advertisement portraying fathers as incompetent, clumsy, insensitive and generally less favoured, respected or appreciated by their children than mums. Maybe they know their customers better than we do, but this seems like a risky strategy. We thought they might switch tack for Father's Day, but no, it's mum who comes out on top in that too (sorry for the lack of subtitles on this advert, but you'll get the picture anyway). The Post Millenial, a Canadian online publisher, wrote an extensive article breaking down each component of this ill-conceived advertisement. Thanks go to our friends in Germany at Papa Mama Auch for sharing this with us.

It seems highly likely that had this ad gone out in the UK since new regulations came into force it would have been banned. Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA, said:

“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  It’s in the interests of women and men, our economy and society that advertisers steer clear of these outdated portrayals, and we’re pleased with how the industry has already begun to respond”. 

Various media have reported on these regulatory changes including the BBC. FNF put out a press release relating to the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill and referencing these regulatory changes, the launch of which coincided with the publication of the Joint House of Commons and House of Lords report on the Bill, The Bill is based on its 'strategy to end violence against women and girls'. We can't help but note, that if the premise behind this strategy was advertised it might fall foul of the new regulations. You may wish to draw your MP's attention to this and to ask them to bring it ot the attention of relevant Government Ministers. If you are happy to do so,  please feel free to send blind copies of any correspondence on this to admin@fnf.org.uk.

Meanwhile, if you have seen any advertisements on television or in print that look like they may be portraying fathers in a stereotypical and negative light, please share them with us at admin@fnf.org.uk. #