Cultivating healthy Christian attitudes towards gender as sexist ads banned

Sat 15 Jun 2019
By Ruth Sax

We are less likely to see sexist adverts on our screens as ‘harmful gender stereotype’ ads have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Following a review which found some campaigns restrict people's choices, aspirations and opportunities, the ASA have banned companies from showing harmful or offensive scenarios in their advertising.

From adverts to women not being able to park a car, or men who cannot change a nappy, although sometimes the case, there are many men and women who can and do, and adverts which perpetuate potentially damaging gender stereotypes will no long be allowed to air; on TV, radio, online and on social media.



Christian gender justice specialist, Natalie Collins told Premier these adverts can have a damaging effect, she said:

“A big advert in 2017, was one of the things which triggered this whole process, which showed a baby girl growing up to be a ballerina and a baby boy growing up to be a scientist.

“It reinforces limitations and as a society and particularly as Christians, we should be advocating to help people not to be limited by any part of who they are, but actually that we can flourish into all different roles and ways of being.

“So I think that this is just one factor in many factors which leads to limitations on boys and girls,

men and women.”

Natalie told Premier how she believes Christians can cultivate healthy attitudes towards gender: “Really it is about thinking holistically about this, what type of language we are using. When we are in church, are we asking women on to the tea rota, on the childcare rota and inviting men onto the preaching rota? How are we ensuring that we are asking everybody to be involved in different activities, rather than lamenting that to boys or girls, men or women.

“My husband's full time at home with the children and does lots of the admin for my work, and you know that is an opportunity for me and him to challenge some of the ideas.

“I think where we don't conform to these ideas of traditional views of men and women; I think it's really important that we advocate that.”

The ASA said the review had found evidence suggesting that harmful stereotypes could "restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults and these stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes".

"Our evidence shows how harmful gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us. Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people's potential," said ASA chief executive Guy Parker.


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