Skip to main content

Banning sexist advertising is like the lilac lapel coat from Acne Studios – impractical yet desirable

Sweden – the mystical land of unbreakable darkness and enduring daylight. Of fresh, crisp air and achingly cool style. A haven for all things foodie, as long as it's fermented or laced in lingonberries. The fatherland of Ikea flat pack furniture, Abba, picture postcard forests and story book bears.

And now also the land where all outdoor sexist advertising is banned – in Stockholm at least, with other Swedish cities set to follow suit. The question is, do we the British adopt the same policy for our own advertising, as we have taken in H&M, & Other Stories and Monki to our own high streets, or does what constitutes sexist prove so problematic, it's akin to asking how long is a piece of string? Let's delve in.

Stockholm City Council recently agreed to ban all outdoor advertising that perpetuated sexist stereotypes from its city. Daniel Hellden, one of the capital city's deputy mayors has been pushing for the ban for three years. He explained that sexist advertising had made his own daughters “feel bad” and he did not want Stockholm to have a part in it.

Stockholm is not the first city to issue a ban on sexist advertising. Paris also voted to ban billboards that included sexist stereotypes or “any degrading, dehumanising, or offensive representations of women or men” in 2017.

There are no plans afoot for cities like London to follow suit, but perhaps there should be. Over the last few years the UK's Advertising Standards Agency has cracked down on adverts that perpetuate negative gender stereotypes such as the “beach body ready” adverts. It has also been fighting for new guidelines for the portrayal of women in ad campaigns and tougher rules to prevent body shaming in advertising.

The ASA reported that a review conducted in July last year found that specific forms of gender stereotypes in ads contributed to harm for adults and children. Ella Smillie, the lead author of the report, said: “Such portrayals can limit how people see themselves, how others see them and limit the life decisions they take. Tougher standards in the areas we've identified will address harms and ensure that modern society is better represented.”

But perhaps an all out ban on sexist advertising, certainly on billboards, would be a swifter solution. The difficulty, as we have seen only recently, is reaching an agreed consensus on what constitutes sexist.

Just last week the ASA investigated complaints about two adverts. An advert for Tunnocks tea cakes showing a female tennis player holding a tea cake at the top of her bare thigh with a slogan saying “serve up a treat”. This advert was banned on the basis it objectified women.

However, an ad for Paco Rabanne's aftershave XS, which showed a male model undressing in a bathroom while women secretly watched, was not banned as it was considered the advert was “humorous in tone and not humiliating or denigrating to the man”.

Maybe it's simply time advertisers did away with the tired old adage “sex sells” and came up with some bold new ideas?

It's just like the lilac lapel coat from Swedish design house Acne Studios, it's completely impractical - see it here - but that doesn't mean it's any the less desirable.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life on Mars, "gangster" Peppa Pig and the Loewe dinosaur trainers

So it turns out Button Moon was a lie.

This reporter is of course referring to the 1980's children's TV show, which followed Mr Spoon and his family of fellow kitchen utensils, as they day-tripped off to Button Moon in a junk model space rocket.

There the family would enjoy all manner of adventures before returning back to earth in time for tea. Mr Spoon made space travel look a sinch. It transpires space travel is not a sinch.

NASA, alongside the European Space Agency, is planning to bring Martian rocks back to earth to see whether the planet is inhabited by aliens. However, this daring mission is not a simple matter of astronauts rocketing up to Mars, picking up a few rocks in their space buckets, and returning back to earth that same afternoon.

As it turns out, the whole venture is going to be something of a palaver on the basis we are not, as yet, able to land a rocket on another planet and then take back off again. This means bringing the rocks home will take at least thr…

Hawaiian shirts, "gammons" and the crack at the Home Office

Aloha. You find this reporter lying back on a sun lounger, pina colada in hand, to announce the latest fashion trend for men, the Hawaiian shirt.

Formally the mainstay of the 'zany dad' and Tom Selleck as Magnum PI, the Hawaiian shirt looks ready to bedeck the most trendy of backs - and fronts - across the fashion hemisphere this summer, with Prada leading the charge. The most desirable of fashion houses has launched an exclusive collection of Hawaiian shirts for Mr Porter, the male arm of Net-a-Porter.

And the feeling on the street is, Britain's most fashionable men are ready to embrace something a little more vivacious and adventurous this season. The 'fun' trend is already rolling out to the high street with All Saints stocking their own versions. Back at the high end, Stella McCartney and Burberry have designed their own bold printed shirts with 'jolly motifs'.

Just don't get too complacent over this new fashion staple and pair it with loose fitting…

The Hugh Grant Interview, appetite suppressing lollipops and the Jacquemus straw hat

"No more rom-coms for me" declares Hugh Grant. This reporter caught up with, arguably, the king of rom-com Mr Grant recently to find out more. Dim the lights, crank up the music player. Three, two, one...

"Fame, I'm gonna live forever..."

Good evening and welcome to Fame, the celebrity spotlight televisual programme, presented by none other than This Reporter. As you can see (!) we have moved to a brand new studio following last week's furore with Oasis legend Noel Gallagher.

This reporter recognises this new studio does not hold quite so much of the glamour, the pizazz, the je ne sais quoi of the former studio. Indeed it looks a little like someones disused box room, but the move was deemed necessary due to the threat of 'cataclysmic retribution'.

On with the show, and tonight's guest is a much-loved British actor, as famed for his floppy hair and endearing upper class hesitance, as his back catalogue of romantic comedic excellence. Starring in…

Rudd's resignation, Trump's visit and Kat Von D's indestructible eyeliner

You better watch out. You better not cry. Better not pout. I'm telling you why. Donald Trump is coming to town.

More about that later. First, some serious news. (This reporter puts on her most sensible of news reading glasses). The Guardian reports today (Monday) that Amber Rudd has "dramatically" resigned as home secretary after "repeatedly struggling to account for her role in the unjust treatment of Windrush generation migrants."

The documenter of our times continues: "The home secretary was forced to step down after a series of revelations in the Guardian over Windrush culminated in a leak on Friday that appeared to show she was aware of targets for removing illegal migrants from Britain.

"The pressure increased late on Sunday afternoon as the Guardian revealed that in a leaked 2017 letter to Theresa May, Rudd had told the Prime Minister of her intention to increase deportations by 10 per cent - seemingly at odds with her recent denials that she w…

This week's must-have purchase - the wedding jumpsuit

This reporter declares we have reached peak wedding obsession.

With the realisation that in a few weeks time we will no longer be able to speculate over the finite details of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding, because it will be done and dusted, it appears the media is already trying to move our focus onto another potential wedding extravaganza - the nuptials of three-year-old Princess Charlotte.

The Evening Standard newspaper ran an article alluding to just that. With no sense of irony, it discussed the fact that whilst Charlotte is undeniably a Princess and fourth in line to the throne, when she marries (note the "when", not if) and has children, they will be unlikely to have titles.

The newspaper goes on to explain that there are only two ways to become a British princess. You either need to be born the daughter of a prince or you have to marry one.

But this reporter is still stuck several sentences back, struggling to come to terms with the assumption Princess…