This week, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in Great Britain released a report on gender stereotypes in ads titled “Depictions, Perceptions, and Harms.” As reported by the New York Times, the agency, which regulates advertising, found that stereotypes could “restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities” of viewers — with particular concern regarding teenagers and young girls, as they develop their understanding of the world and their place in it. The report calls for the creation of new standards and practices to amend these biased and biasing advertisements. For the purpose of the report, gender stereotypes are said to “relate to body image, objectification, sexualisation, gender characteristics and roles, and mocking people for not conforming to gender stereotypes.”
Oh snap, it’s almost like someone noticed how the omnipresent, self-interested advertising industry has an impact on how people view themselves and shapes their aspirations!
“Gender stereotypes have the potential to cause harm by inviting assumptions about adults and children that might negatively restrict how they see themselves and how others see them,” says the report, under “Key Findings” that should be astonishing to approximately no one. “These assumptions can lead to unequal gender outcomes in public and private aspects of people’s lives; outcomes, which are increasingly acknowledged to be detrimental to individuals, the economy and society in general.”