To portray men as bumbling domestic fools may or may not be a viable advertising strategy – that so many do it implies that it works* – and to portray men as bumbling domestic fools may or may not have societal implications. But to ban the portrayal of men as bumbling domestic fools is censorship. Something which has no place in a free and liberal society. Quite obviously, the same applies to women being shown as domestic goddesses but entirely incapable of filling up a computer with the necessary bits and bytes.
Yet this is what we have now come to in Britain, we have such censorship:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Ads that perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes such as a man struggling with household chores or girls being less academic than boys are to be banned, the regulator has announced. The new rule – that ads must not include gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence – comes into effect in June following a consultation. Scenarios likely to be “problematic” include depictions of a man with his feet up while a woman takes sole responsibility for cleaning up, and a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender, such as a man struggling to change a nappy or a woman being unable to park a car, the Committee of Advertising Practice (Cap) said. Advertisers will also have to tread carefully when contrasting stereotypical personalities of boys and girls or if they belittle a man for carrying out stereotypically “female” roles or tasks. [/perfectpullquote]
This is censorship, there is no other word for it. Hey, it might all be in a good cause, it’s still censorship. Thus we have to conclude that Britain is no longer a free and liberal society.
The Committee of Advertising Practice has replaced the Lord Chancellor’s Office in determining what may and may not be said in public. We had that 50 year period when no arm of government was controlling our speech and now it’s all back. We can say f**k, as the LC wouldn’t allow us to, but can’t mention the implications of f**k in a dimorphic species because CAP won’t allow us to. It’s not exactly an advance, is it, to simply replace one censor with another, one set of fashionable nostrums about speech with another?
There’s always the suspicion that the same prodnoses have just found another office to operate from….
*Women dispose of some 80% or so of domestic spending. Advertising is very largely aimed at women therefore, ads are a reflection of what sells to women.