Businesses in the United Kingdom had better avoid showing a little boy playing an intense game with a toy gun or showing a young girl pretending to nurture her little doll.
If businesses don’t avoid such appalling and disgusting imagery, they run the risk of getting heavy sanctions for violating a new rule dictated from brilliant minds within the Advertising Standards Authority, the body that administers UK advertising codes.
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The rule is as clear as it is absurd: “[Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.”
Americans know the word is spelled “offense.” Sheesh.
Anyway, I’ll move on.
The reason for this new rule, according to ASA, is apparently watching a young man shoot a toy gun or a young girl play with a doll could “contribute to violence against women and girls” by “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”
A goal of the rule would be help “prevent ads featuring groups of only boys or only girls playing with a toy, on the basis that the absence of one gender or another within a group can strongly imply that a toy is unsuitable for that gender.”
ASA gave a list of ad types that might end up being problematic under the new rule. For instance, “An ad that seeks to emphasise the contrast between a boy’s stereotypical personality (e.g. daring) with a girl’s stereotypical personality (e.g. caring) needs to be handled with care,” ASA explained. (There’s that spelling again.)
“An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically ‘female’ roles or tasks,” would possibly be sanctionable as would an ad that “depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender.”
This kind of regulation isn’t bad because it wants to decrease violence against women. That is an excellent goal.
But the problem is, as is always the case with leftist social justice warriors, that they believe killing free speech is the answer.
If a toy gun maker wants to feature only boys in its commercial, then so be it. If a girl’s doll maker wants to dress a bunch of young girls up in pink dresses and hair ribbons and have them playing with dolls, then fine.
These are not damaging stereotypes.
These are realities. And not damaging ones.
If you want to give your girl a toy gun, do it. If you want to buy your son a doll that doesn’t make laser noises, help yourself.
The underlying assumption of regulators like ASA is that any type of gender stereotype is negative. And that is simply not true. In a world that wants to tell us God didn’t make “male and female,” an ad that tries to make Nerf warriors out of boys can seem dangerous.
But what is actually more dangerous is to deny what we know is true about children.
They are created in the image of a loving God. And he made them male and female. He made them differently, with different strengths and passions.
Although such a statement seems outrageous to the left, I hope for the sake of our children, we embrace their intended design, not deny it.
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