07 September 2008 ~ 0 Comments

EU putting an end to 'sexist adverts'

I don’t know how I feel about this. Are we going to get women bodybuilders as opposed to men, commercials about Viagra with women, and male models in facial cosmetic adverts? That would be a nice change, it may actually spark conversation about the social construction of gender.

At the same time, there is a “free speech” consideration, a danger of becoming too ‘politically-correct.’ Who gets to determine what constitutes a ‘sexist advert’ and what does not? Should a ‘brand name’ not have the right to market its products using gender stereotypes if it wants to? Is it not up to us to reject these stereotypes instead of government regulation doing the critical thinking for us?

I suppose any ‘ban’ on advertising is probably a good one in my book since I don’t run a marketing business like Yeah! Local and I certainly have no interest creating promotional campaigns that may be offending large populations. In a ‘free market,’ the sales of goods and services are supposed to correlate with supply and demand, not consumer manipulation via simulation on the idiot box. Of course, companies will argue that advertisement is a way of spreading word and putting out information about their products, but if a product is good, does it really need to be artificially ‘sold’ to the consumer?

I don’t have the answer. I shall wait to see how this one plays out.

London: Advertisements that use sex to sell or promote gender stereotypes could be banned by the EU. Members of European Parliament want TV regulators in the EU to set guidelines which would see the end of anything deemed to portray women as sex objects or reinforce gender stereotypes, reported the Telegraph.
This could potentially mean an end to attractive women advertising perfume.
Such classic adverts as the Diet Coke commercial featuring the bare-chested builder, or Wonderbra’s Hello Boys featuring model Eva Herzigova would have been banned.

The new rules come in a report by the EU’s women’s rights committee. Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson urged Britain and other members to use existing equality, sexism and discrimination laws to control adverts.
Svensson said: “Gender stereotyping in advertising straitjackets women, men, girls and boys by restricting individuals to predetermined and artificial roles that are often degrading, humiliating and dumbed down for both sexes.” AGENCIES

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