photo: Huggies Dad Test via YouTube
We’ve all seen commercials depicting the typical bumbling dad trying to take care of his kids (or his home) without mom around: Maybe he can’t figure out how to properly change a diaper. Maybe he’s got no clue how to use the vacuum cleaner. Maybe he doesn’t know what the heck to feed the baby.
But these sorts of stereotypes in advertising will be no more in England now that Britain’s central ad regulating agency, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has enacted legislation to ban ads that perpetuate such gender stereotypes.
“Overall, young children appear to be in particular need of protection from harmful stereotypes as they are more likely to internalise the messages they see,” the ASA said in a report. “However, there is also significant evidence of potential harm for adults in reinforcing already internalised messages about how they should behave and look on account of their gender.”
The new regulations will discourage commercials that perpetuate “gender stereotypical roles” such as women being portrayed as homemakers and men being shown as breadwinners. In ads that feature kids, it means no more ads that perpetuate the boys love trucks and girls love dolls stereotypes.
“While advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes, tougher advertising standards can play an important role in tackling inequalities and improving outcomes for individuals, the economy and society as a whole,” ASA chief executive Guy Parker said in an article published by The Telegraph.
If you’re on board with the regulations, you’ll probably also love that the ASA already has regulations against depicting women as sex objects or showing girls that are dangerously thin.
Want to know more or see how people are reacting to the news? Check out #ASAGender on Twitter.
And, if you’d like to see some gender stereotyping in action, click on the video below to see this U.S. Huggies commercial that was eventually pulled after nationwide criticism that it depicted the dads as “clueless.”
How do you feel about gender stereotypes in advertising? Tell us in the comments below.