This morning, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) published its report Depictions, Perceptions and Harm to review and update the way gender roles are stereotyped in advertising.

The report reveals that stronger regulations for ads are necessary, as some current ads are deemed potentially harmful and could have negative implications for the public.

As of 2012, the ASA has been conducting research on how offensive and harmful ads can be, a case that has only strengthened following the public’s outcry over 2015’s Beach Body Ready ad for Protein World (at top) – which received 380 complaints.

The new regulations will make changes to six aspects (which are explained more fully in the below photo): including the roles that gendered characters assume in ads; their characteristics; the sexualisation and objectification of characters; mocking people for not conforming to gender stereotypes; and depicting an unhealthy body image.



Going forward, this means that ads featuring women cleaning and taking sole responsibility for a family’s mess; a man failing to complete household tasks; or the inappropriate sexualisation of women and girls will be deemed unacceptable.

“While we recognise that advertising is only one factor in the wider context of the reinforcement of gender stereotypes, we’re keen that we play our role to address ads that have the potential to harm,” says Ella Smillie, the ASA’s project lead and regulatory policy executive, CAP. And rightly so!



To read the summary report, click here