UK-based industry watchdog Advertising Standards Association just released new regulations intended to cut down on the gender stereotypes that run rampant through advertising, which is great for them, but somehow more irritating for us.
Per Mashable, the report from the ASA identified six different kinds of gender stereotypes and then presented a comprehensive set of findings about how these stereotypes are portrayed in advertising and how they might affect those watching. This kind of self-awareness is admirable, but will likely never, ever, in a billion years, happen in the United States!
The new standards in the UK are not intended to prohibit all stereotypes—an ad can still show a woman cleaning and a man doing something involving a car or physical labor, or whatever—but they will apply to stereotypes that “can potentially cause harm.”
Via the report, those stereotypes include:
An ad which depicts family members creating mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up.
An ad that 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.
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The advertising industry has dragged its feet on catching up with the way consumers actually live, choosing to market their products in a way that reflects the preconceived notions promoted by the creatives who come up with the concepts. Hence the Mr. Clean ad from this year’s Super Bowl, clearly meant as a cheeky appeal to a harried housewife’s withering sex drive by turning the mascot for cleaning products into the unsexiest thing I can think of.
Big Yogurt has been targeting women for decades; as it’s traditionally marketed as a dessert, it’s an indulgence, sinful and decadent and For Women Only. Consider the tone of this Jell-O Mousse commercial, which I would argue would not fly under the UK’s new standards.
Everyone like dessert, not just harried mothers who need five minutes of dead silence away from the screaming of their children and a dishwasher begging to be emptied!! Anyway, great news for the UK and less so for us, stuck dealing with crap like this.