Television commercials are stuck in the stereotypes of the past when it comes to offering a modern portrayal of contemporary women, according to a new study by Havas which seeks to draw attention to growing gender blurring in society.
‘The Future is FeMale’ was commissioned in order to better establish how far gender equality has taken root in the UK in recent years, highlighting a growing disconnect between advertisers and the consumers they seek to reach.
It found that close to half of all female respondents (47.8%) expressed resentment at how their sex was represented in advertisements, compared to fewer than a third of men (29.6%) who were likewise discombobulated by the appearance of their fellow gender in commercials.
A major turn-off for both is nudity, shattering the sex sells misconception, with fully 93% of women stating that they disliked ads which flaunted female flesh – with more than half of men feeling put off at the sight of a semi-naked male.
Marianne Hurstel, Havas Creative’s chief strategic officer, said: “The media is raging with arguments about pay gaps, harassment, sexploitation, rape culture, mansplaining, and manspreading, not to mention gender fluidity, transgender equality, gender-neutral language, and the place of women at the top of society.”
The survey solicited input from 12,000 men and women scattered across 32 different countries, close to half of whom believed there was no single gender with half of men and two-thirds of women vowing to raise their children in a gender-neutral way.
Mindful of these trends the Advertising Standards Authority is cracking down on depictions of stereotypical gender roles - with new guidelines seeking to ban such commercials from next year onwards.