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UK bans car ad featuring a mother with a baby because of its ‘harmful gender stereotypes’
Image source: YouTube screenshot

UK bans car ad featuring a mother with a baby because of its ‘harmful gender stereotypes’

Simply outrageous

The United Kingdom has banned what it deemed harmful advertisements from running in the country after it enacted its ban on commercials that promote "harmful gender stereotypes."

What are the details?

The commercial spot, which is an advertisement for Volkswagen's electric eGolf car, features a mother placidly reading a book on an outdoor bench while her baby rests peacefully in a nearby stroller.

Other people featured in the ad include a man camping on a clip, three male astronauts on a spacecraft, and a male para-athlete running a track.

A spokesperson for the ASA said, "By juxtaposing images of men in extraordinary environments and carrying out adventurous activities with women who appeared passive or engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role, we considered that the ad directly contrasted stereotypical male and female roles and characteristics in a manner that gave the impression that they were exclusively associated with one gender."

Volkswagen e-Golf Commercial / Advert 2019www.youtube.com

"We concluded that the ad presented gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm and therefore breached the Code," the statement added.

Jess Tye, who is investigations manager at the ASA, told the BBC that the scenes contained in the Volkswagen ad can certainly cause "real-world harms."

"It's about thinking about what the cumulative effect of those gender stereotypes might be," Tye explained.

What else?

The ban on controversial advertisements went into effect in June after the ASA determined that advertisements featuring men and women in stereotypical fashion could be "limiting people's potential." The rules stipulate that advertisements "must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offense."

The Volkswagen ad wasn't the only commercial impacted by the move, either: The ASA nixed a Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial after it portrayed fathers as bumbling and scatter-brained while having the responsibility of caring for their children.

The ASA determined that the ad — which featured men caring for a child who was accidentally whisked away by a restaurant conveyor belt because they were distracted by food — "relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for children as well as women and implied that the fathers had failed to look after the children properly because of their gender."

You can read more about the ASA's advertising rules here.


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