Tuesday, 18 July 2017

ASA bans sexist stereotypes

Quite a remarkable idea - which could have a considerable impact, with ads a major element in the socialisation of most of us.
There is always a free speech objection though, and the issue of how this might limit humour.

Advertisements that perpetuate sexist stereotypes, from men bungling housework to girls being less academic than boys, will be banned under rules being proposed by the industry watchdog.The crackdown by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will toughen rules on ads that are deemed to present activities as only appropriate for one gender or another, or that mock those who do not conform to stereotypical gender roles.It will also toughen rules on ads that “body shame” young women after an outcry over Protein World’s controversial “Beach body ready” campaign, which was not banned despite a petition with 70,000 signatures claiming that its depiction of a bikini-clad model in an ad for a weight-loss product was socially irresponsible.The ASA’s proposals, outlined in a report conducted with research firm GfK, are part of an effort to address the portrayal of women in ads in particular.The project, which the watchdog considers the most comprehensive review of gender stereotyping anywhere in the world, follows a major crackdown on “airbrushing”, which has seen major beauty ads featuring stars such as Cara Delevingne, Natalie Portman, and Julia Roberts banned. It has also banned ads featuring “unhealthily thin” models.Its proposals will also clarify the existing code relating to ads that objectify or inappropriately sexualise women and girls.“Our review shows that specific forms of gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children,” said Ella Smillie, lead author of the report.“Such portrayal scan 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.”

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Young female action characters given little or no dialogue


Audiences, especially young, female viewers, deserve to see pre-teen heroines who are as complex as the countless boys we see in movies and TV shows every year. There are so few female characters, particular kids and teens, who are allowed to be strong and smart and determined — why should the ones we have only be defined by their physical prowess, when they have the potential for so much more? Seeing these girls be as badass in action scenes as boys have for years is great, no question, but we shouldn't have to settle for just that. [Bustle]
Wonder Woman is being widely treated as heralding a breakthrough on the glass ceiling females face in the action genre (I'm not so sure - the costume ...), with a number of other high profile roles building on this narrative.

Rachel Simon, writing for Bustle, argues that these roles remain limited and limiting in what they say about equality - fundamentally, these female roles are near-mute, the characters are given very limited voice, sticking with traditional sexist roles:

The quietness of these girls doesn't detract from the power of their actions, but, as Yoshida pointed out, it is frustrating; their lack of communication takes away from their complexities as characters, and as such, they become completely defined by their bold, often violent behaviors, rather than simply enhanced by them. Yes, it's progressive and important to see young girls kicking butt on-screen, but if they can't speak for themselves or have fully-developed personalities like their male counterparts, then something's clearly wrong. And it's even more damaging when, like in Planet of the Apes, the tiny heroine is one of the only female characters to appear on-screen at all; dozens of male characters get to speak freely, but the only girl featured at all doesn't get to say a single word.

https://www.bustle.com/p/the-problem-with-all-the-badass-little-girls-taking-over-hollywood-movies-69726

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Ad industry's history on gender

... neuroscientists have found that soft drinks still work like illicit drugs, as does fat, salt, and sugar on our brains – but strangely, so do the images we “consume.” Are you sure that you are motivated by your own, sovereign mind or are other forces at play?
This massive industry manufactures societal problems such as sexism, gender, race, and age division, depression, etc. by using subtle (and not so subtle) programming that is plugged directly into the brains of millions of people across the globe.
It isn’t just women who are degraded with print and media advertisements. Men are relegated to a certain patriarchal, hyper-macho role relegating them to caveman status.
A strongly opinionated article with some frank language, this Waking Times feature provides multiple examples of the extreme (but persistent which is really the point) sexism of the ad industry, including this...

Sunday, 5 March 2017

EMMA WATSON post-feminist pose?

“They were saying that I couldn’t be a feminist and ... and have boobs.”
This is a classic feminist v post-feminist conundrum: 'Emma Watson 'stunned' by criticism that Vanity Fair cover is not feminist' - does Watson's sexualised pose make her a (willing) victim of the misogynistic media and its continuing privileging of the male gaze ... or simply assert Watson's self-confidence and desire for sexual expression?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

FILM big row over Barbie movie casting

The Barbie doll is an icon of feminist struggle - an actual woman with the Barbie shape wouldn't be able to walk with the crippling back pain she'd suffer. Makers Mattel finally updated the doll with some new body shapes and skin colours recently, but now its an actress who's facing heat - for being too fat for the role in a live-action barbie movie ... and she's come out fighting.
Amy Schumer says trolls' backlash over Barbie casting shows she’s right for role.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Mind the gender Gap: ad sparks fury

A point we'll raise frequently in Media is how gender is socialised or encoded from birth, with established commercial, retail logic and expected behaviour and aspirations signified through the prevailing binary of toys and clothing.

This Gap ad is an especially clear example of this, putting the future scholar (boy) in an Einstein tee-shirt but the 'social butterfly' (girl, presumably aspiring to become reality TV or gossip mag fodder) in a showy splash of pink...