The United Kingdom’s
Ministry of Social Justice ad regulator has stricken two advertisements from the approved list for following longstanding gender stereotypes.
On Wednesday, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced that they “drew the line” over ads by Volkswagen and cream cheese maker Philadelphia for perpetuating the offensive stereotypes, according to DW.com.
In Volkswagen’s case, their ad featured men participating in adventurous activities, while women sat on a beach next to a baby buggy. According to the ASA, “images of men in extraordinary environments and carrying out adventurous activities” vs. “women who appeared passive” were stereotypical and not nice.
Volkswagen pushed back against the judgement, arguing that their advertisement featured men and women “taking part in challenging situations.”
The Philadelphia cream cheese advert, meanwhile, featured two men easily distracted by the snack while forgetting about their babies, which the ASA said “implied that the fathers had failed to look after the children properly because of their gender,” and “relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for children as well as women.”
Philadelphia’s parent company, Mondelez UK, said that they are “extremely disappointed with the ruling.”
UK authorities introduced the new rules in June, after pressure from campaigners focusing on sexism. The new rules focused on banning “gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offense.”
A spokeswoman for the women’s rights group the Fawcett Society, Ella Smillie, told the Reuters news agency advertisers need to “wake up and stop reinforcing lazy, outmoded gender stereotypes.”
“We know that children internalize [gender stereotypes] in a way that limits their aspirations and potential in life,” she added.
A study by data and consultancy firm Kantar showed less than one in ten adverts have an authoritative female in it, despite research which shows consumers respond better to women than men in adverts. –DW.com
While the ASA cannot fine Volkswagen and Philadelphia, the advertisements won’t be able to taint impressionable UK minds anymore.