A move by the Advertising Standards Authority to eradicate adverts judged to promote gender stereotyping has come under fire from an unlikely quarter after Nanette Newman, face of Procter & Gamble's Fairy Liquid campaigns throughout the 1980s, came out against.
At issue is the ASA’s view that tougher sanctions should be imposed on brands which show women bearing ‘sole responsibility’ for carrying out household chores or men ‘trying and failing to do simple parental or household tasks’, which are considered to enforce stereotypes that a woman’s place is in the home.
Labeling the proposed ban as ‘dangerous’ Newman argued on BBC Radio 4 that the fairer sex is ‘more caring’ owing to their unique ability to bear children and that this needed to be reflected in advertising. Newman said: “Who is to say that because women are at the moment the only gender that can produce babies that there is something in them that is more caring and wants to create and nest and likes all the things that are connected with homes? And that shouldn’t be considered something that shouldn’t be advertised?”
Going further Newman asserted that it would be ‘quite dangerous’ to hand boardrooms the power to ban such depictions.
This stance puts her at odds with the ASA however that depictions of women carrying out household chores could have a more insidious impact in that they ‘can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults.’
Newman is best known for delivering the ‘now hands that do dishes can feel as soft as your face, with mild green Fairy Liquid’.
Rival consumer goods conglomerate Unilever has already declared a statement of its intent to stamp out gender stereotyping from its advertising.