Green Party Deputy Leader Amelia Womack has called for a ban on sexist adverts, claiming they ‘harm all genders’. The calls were made in a piece for the Huffington Post, in response to a plan to tackle sexism in advertising released by the Advertising Standards Authority earlier this week.
Womack’s calls follow a widespread public backlash against sexist gender representation in adverts, including Protein World’s infamous ‘Are you beach body ready?’ billboards, which polling suggests over half of UK women deemed to be offensive.
The Green politician argued in the piece that “for too long sexism has simply been accepted as part of advertising, and women’s bodies treated as a tool with which to sell products.” The article also sought to address concerns as to whether or not banning particular adverts constituted censorship: “For those who cry censorship every time the word ‘ban’ is even mentioned – it hurts no one to miss out on these harmful images. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to cause harm, especially when you have a platform that can reach thousands or millions of people.”
Other public figures and politicians have called for similar action to be taken against advertisers, including Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.