EU Wants to Ban ‘Sexist’ TV Commercials

Chris Irvine, London Telegraph, September 5, 2008

TV regulators have been asked to take a zero tolerance approach to sexist insults and degrading images by the EU’s women’s rights committee Photo: GETTY

MEPs want TV regulators in the EU to set guidelines which would see the end of anything deemed to portray women as sex objects or reinforce gender stereotypes.

This could potentially mean an end to attractive women advertising perfume, housewives in the kitchen or men doing DIY.

Such classic adverts as the Diet Coke commercial featuring the bare-chested builder, or Wonderbra’s “Hello Boys” featuring model Eva Herzigova would have been banned.

The new rules come in a report by the EU’s women’s rights committee.

Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson urged Britain and other members to use existing equality, sexism and discrimination laws to control advertising.

She wants regulatory bodies set up to monitor ads and introduce a “zero-tolerance” policy against “sexist insults or degrading images”.

Ms Svensson said: “Gender stereotyping in advertising straitjackets women, men, girls and boys by restricting individuals to predetermined and artificial roles that are often degrading, humiliating and dumbed down for both sexes.”

She added: “Gender stereotyping in advertising is one of several factors that have a big influence in efforts to make society more gender equal.

“When women and men are portrayed in a stereotypical way the consequence may be that it becomes difficult in other contexts to see women and men’s resources and abilities.”

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