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Advertisements: inquiry announced

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ASA, stereotying, objectification, inquiry, women in advertisementsGender stereotyping in advertisements and the impact of such advertising.

In recent years, there has been increasing political and public debate on equality issues.

The objectification and sexualisation of women in advertisements, presenting an idealised or unrealistic body image, the mocking of women and men in non-stereotypical roles, the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles, and gender-specific marketing to children are all issues that have gained considerable public interest.

And the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced that it wants to find out more about these them.

Consequently, the group will be doing three things: examining evidence on gender stereotyping in advertisements, seeking views from a range of stakeholders, and commissioning its own research into public opinion.

At this stage, ASA said, it is ‘being open-minded’ about what stakeholders and research tell it about gender stereotyping in advertisements and the impact of such advertising, and will shape the project as it moves forward.

In particular, ASA is keen for people and organisations to send in any research they have on this issue.

Evidence can be sent here.

The project will then report on whether ASA is getting it right on gender stereotyping in advertisements.

And if the evidence suggests a change in regulation is merited ASA will set out the best way to achieve it.

The Advertising Standards Authority is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising and covers all media.

It applies the Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice, and its work includes acting on complaints and proactively checking the media to take action against misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements.

Earlier this month, the Guardian reported, the ASA banned a Gucci advertisement for ‘irresponsibly’ featuring an “unhealthily thin” model.

And in February, the watchdog banned a campaign featuring girls taking slimming pills to lose weight for a beach holiday after 200 complaints that it promoted an unhealthy body image among young women.

The chief executive of the ASA, Guy Parker, said: “We’re serious about making sure we’re alive to changing attitudes and behaviours.

“That’s why we’ve already been taking action to ban ads that we believe reinforce gender stereotypes and are likely to cause serious and widespread offence, or harm.

“And that’s also why we want to engage further with a wide range of stakeholders on the effect of gender stereotyping on society, including through our ‘call for evidence’,” he continued.

“I look forward to hearing from stakeholders as this important work progresses.”

So do we.

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