Yesterday, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) announced their plans to impose tougher regulations on ads portraying potentially harmful gender stereotypes.
As a woman, who’s very much aware that women in advertising are either portrayed as Cinderella or sex objects, and men as Mr DIY or hapless parent, I think it’s great news.
But what exactly will this mean for advertising?
- Not all ads depicting stereotypes will be banned, but those depicting scenarios – such as a mum having the sole responsibility of cleaning up after others in the family – will be.
- Ads that suggest certain activities are only appropriate for one gender will be banned.
- Ads that mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes will also get the axe.
So, it won’t mean we can’t show a husband cleaning the driveway with his new Black & Decker power hose or mum in the kitchen rustling up her Bisto gravy for Sunday lunch.
But it does mean we can’t depict a husband – for instance – telling his wife that power washing is a ‘man’s job’, or a dad lazily watching TV while mum slaves in the kitchen.
Is that so bad?
Actually, it’s a brilliant opportunity.
It means that as an industry, we’ll be forced to lift our game and be more creative when it comes to selling and telling stories instead of using tired and outdated stereotypes to prop up our ideas.
We’ve already seen some brands challenge gender stereotypes head on. Think This Girl Can, #ILookLikeAnEngineer, and You Can Make it by Pot Noodle.
But the time has come to normalise gender diversity in everyday advertising.
And it’s about time, too.
“It means that as an industry, we'll be forced to lift our game and be more creative when it comes to selling and telling stories instead of using tired and outdated stereotypes to prop up our ideas.”