Article from Reason by Billy Binion.

Men can’t cook, and women are bad at sports. Those stereotypes are just two of many that, as of last week, are illegal in British advertisements.

Indeed, the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) instituted a ban on gender stereotypes “that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.” According to the ASA’s overview, setups that will likely be in violation of the law include but are not limited to

The ban was implemented following an ASA review which concluded that stereotypical depictions pave the way for “real-world psychological, physical, economic, social and political harm for individuals and groups.” Specifically, it mentions that the media portrayals may influence which toys children play with, “which can have long-term impacts.” In adults, a stereotypically feminine rendering of women’s roles can decrease their “motives and ambition, attitudes to involvement in politics, performance on maths tests and preferences for leadership roles.”

Certain scenarios are exempt from the new law. An ad may depict “a woman doing the shopping” or “a man doing DIY,” so long it is not presented in a light deemed insulting by the ASA. It also permits gender stereotypes when the ad explicitly challenges them.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: BeenAroundAWhile at English Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons