VW commercial with white mother and a baby banned in the UK for promoting “harmful” gender stereotypes

Saturday, August 17, 2019
By Paul Martin

17 August 2019

An advertisement comparing male astronauts with a woman sitting by a pram is among the first casualties of a British ban on gender stereotypes in advertising.

The ad, for Volkswagen, was investigated by the UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) after viewers complained it perpetuated gender stereotypes.

New rules that came into force in June prohibit depictions of gender that “are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offense”.

The commercial shows a number of primarily male people taking part in adventurous activities – two male astronauts in space, and a male athlete with a prosthetic leg doing the long jump before cutting to a mother sitting on a park bench next to a pram.

It prompted three complaints from viewers, and the ASA found it showed a woman “engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role”.

“We acknowledged that becoming a parent was a life-changing experience that required significant adaptation, but taking care of children was a role that was stereotypically associated with women”, ASA added in its ruling.

The ad can’t appear in its current form following the ruling.

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