Posts Tagged ‘PC’

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ASA logo ASA’s new rule banning harmful gender stereotypes in ads has come into force.

The new rule in the Advertising Codes, which will apply to broadcast and non-broadcast media (including online and social media), states:

[Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.

This change follows a review of gender stereotyping in ads by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).  Following the review, CAP (the rulle writing arm of ASA) consulted publicly on specific proposals to ban harmful gender stereotypes in ads, underpinned by the evidence collected by the ASA. The proposed restrictions were supported by a majority of respondents.

The evidence does not show that the use of gender stereotypes is always problematic and the new rule does not seek to ban gender stereotypes outright, but to identify specific harms that should be prevented.

The advertising industry has had six months to get ready for the new rule. The ASA will now deal with any complaints it receives on a case-by-case basis and will assess each ad by looking at the content and context to determine if the new rule has been broken.

Scenarios in ads likely to be problematic under the new rule include:

  • An ad that depicts a man with his feet up and family members creating mess around a home while a woman is solely responsible for cleaning up the mess.

  • An ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender e.g. a man’s inability to change nappies; a woman’s inability to park a car.

  • Where an ad features a person with a physique that does not match an ideal stereotypically associated with their gender, the ad should not imply that their physique is a significant reason for them not being successful, for example in their romantic or social lives.

  • 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.

  • An ad aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing.

  • An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically female roles or tasks.

The rule and its supporting guidance doesn’t stop ads from featuring:

  • A woman doing the shopping or a man doing DIY.

  • Glamorous, attractive, successful, aspirational or healthy people or lifestyles.

  • One gender only, including in ads for products developed for and aimed at one gender.

  • Gender stereotypes as a means to challenge their negative effects.

CAP will carry out a review of the new rule in 12 months’ time to make sure it’s meeting its objective to prevent harmful gender stereotypes.

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strasse poster An ad for Strasse Garage, seen in the 911 and Porsche World Magazine on 28 February 2019 featured an image of the lower half of a woman’s body wearing a black fitted mini-dress and brightly coloured high heels positioned underneath a car, surrounded by car tools and a handbag. Text positioned across the image stated ATTRACTIVE SERVICING.

A complainant who believed the ad was degrading and sexist towards women, challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible.

Strasse  Ltd said that the model in the ad was fully clothed in leggings and a tunic and was empowered by the addition of power tools. The attractive servicing referred to in the ad was in relation to their attractive prices versus those of their competitors.

They did not consider that the ad contained anything that was likely to cause widespread offence on the grounds of sex. They confirmed that they had not received any complaints about the ad.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA noted the model’s head was obscured and the text ATTRACTIVE SERVICING appeared across her crotch and legs. The model’s waist and lower half appeared from beneath the car, with her legs placed apart. Because of the positioning of her bent leg, her skirt was pulled up to reveal her upper thigh and crotch, albeit in opaque black tights. We considered that because the model’s face was not shown, the lower half of her body became the main focus of the ad.

We considered the phrase attractive servicing would be understood to be a double entendre, implying the woman featured in the ad was the attractive part of the servicing, and considered this was likely to be viewed as demeaning towards women. We considered that although the image was only mildly sexual in nature, when combined with the phrase attractive servicing it had the effect of objectifying women by using a woman’s physical features to draw attention to the ad.

We concluded the ad was not sexually explicit, but by using a suggestive image that bore no relevance to the advertised product, the ad objectified women and was likely to cause serious offence to some people.

The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Strasse (UK) Ltd to ensure their advertising was socially responsible and did not cause serious offence by objectifying women.

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home affairs committee People convicted of insulting people online should be named and shamed on a government register of offenders under new laws to censor social media, says an all-party committee of MPs.The Commons petitions committee claimed new laws were needed to combat online harms because current legislation was not fit for purpose and self-regulation by the social media firms had failed.

The committee was responding to a petition, backed by more than 220,000 people, from reality TV star and model Katie Price who demanded new online laws and a register of offenders after her disabled son, Harvey, was viciously trolled for his condition, colour and size.

The MPs believe a criminal law, which covered online abuse and included proper recognition of hate crimes against disabled people, will achieve what the petition is looking for from a register, as criminal convictions will show up as part of a Disclosure and Barring Service check, said the MPs.

The committee said a high proportion of abusive content related to football with most shockingly the name of Harvey Price used by fans as an insult for someone’s ability as a footballer.

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unicef on campus logo Comedian Konstantin Kisin had offered to perform for free in a Unicef on Campus charity event at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) in London. However he turned down the gig after being asked to sign a ‘behavioural agreement’ that banned a long list of PC topics that weren’t allowed to be laughed at.

The full list of topics listed by the organisers were racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism. The contract said: It does not mean that these topics cannot be discussed. But it must be done in a respectful and non-abusive way.

Konstantin told Radio 1 Newsbeat the experience reflects a growing trend of free speech becoming stifled on university campuses across the UK. He shared the behavioural agreement form online and tweeted:

I just received an invitation to perform *comedy* at a university…The title of this contract nearly made me puke.

I just think it reflects an attitude among a group of people, people at university particularly, where it seems that they have become places of indoctrination rather than learning.

Students are being taught to prevent offence rather than to seek truth and pursue experiences.

Universities used to be all about that, but now it seems they’re places where students are being taught to be woke.

Konstantin pointed out that it is dangerous to work with hypersensitive PC groups:

I didn’t turn down this gig because I’m some racist, homophobic, xenophobic, ableist comedian. I turned down this gig because if you sign a contract like that, you’re exposing yourself to someone’s bad interpretation.

If someone writes a contract like that, the chances are that they will be hypersensitive, vigilant and trying to catch you out. I’m just not interested in that.

After their censorship was found out, organisers, Unicef on Campus, apologised

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Slender Man Blu-ray Slender Man is a 2018 USA horror by Sylvain White.
Starring Joey King, Javier Botet and Annalise Basso. BBFC link IMDb

Slender Man tells the story of a tall, thin, horrifying figure with unnaturally long arms and a featureless face, who is reputed to be responsible for the haunting and disappearance of countless children and teens.

Slender Man, as released in US theaters this week, is not a complete movie. While originally the producers developed a much darker take on the character, bloody-disgusting.com were told that the producer Screen Gems’ mandate was that it should be PG-13. The target was and always has been for teenagers.

However insiders told bloody-disgusting that Sony/Screen Gems were succumbing to fear of a PC backlash that started when the father of the girl who stabbed her classmate called it distasteful. 2018 isn’t exactly the year of reason, and the studio was scared into back peddling their horror film.

The father of the victim whose life was nearly claimed by two girls that worshipped the Slender Man had spoken out against the film, citing how they feel disgraced by Hollywood making a film about events that led to tragedy.

This also caused Sony and Screen Gems to release the film with very little promotional materials to it and it did not screen for critics.

bloody-disgusting’s sources confirm that several major scenes from the film were completely removed by the studio leading up to this past weekend’s release. Slender Man, as presented to audiences, isn’t a complete film; many of the striking scenes that were teased in the first trailer, like one of the characters stabbing her eyes out, or another ripping her tongue out after encountering Slender Man in the woods, are completely missing from the film.

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slave montreal festival posterThe Montreal International Jazz Festival has explained its decision to censor a show featuring a white woman singing songs composed by black slaves.Festival CEO Jacques-Andre Dupont said the decision to abruptly cancel SLAV partway through its run was made for a mix of technical and human reasons, including security concerns raised by the escalating vitriol surrounding the show. He also said that the show’s star, Betty Bonifassi, had broken her ankle and indicated she was no longer able to continue.

He said that while many protesters were peaceful, the festival and the theatre where the show was performed were concerned by the aggression of some protesters and the rising division and anger surrounding the show. He said Bonifassi’s decision to not continue was prompted both by her injury and the criticism.

Dupont said the festival and the production company would absorb what he said would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses associated with cancelling the show, including paying the performers.

SLAV, one of the hottest tickets at this year’s jazz festival, was the subject of protests claiming ‘cultural appropriation’ of black culture and history. It was described as a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs and a journey through traditional Afro-American songs, from cotton fields to construction sites, railroads, from slave songs to prison songs.

Black activists denounced the show and its mostly-white cast, and U.S. musician Moses Sumney cancelled a gig at the festival in protest.

Amid a storm of international media attention, the festival announced Wednesday it was cancelling the remaining performances and apologizing to anybody who had been hurt.

The renowned Quebec playwright Robert Lepage who directed the show criticized the decision to cancel it, calling it a direct blow to artistic freedom. He said in a statement that actors pretending to be someone else is at the very heart of theatre:

When we are no longer allowed to step into someone else’s shoes, when it is forbidden to identify with someone else, theatre is denied its very nature, it is prevented from performing its primary function and is thus rendered meaningless.

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king and i 2018 posterThe King and I is back in the West End, 67 years on from its Broadway debut.But its portrait of a white woman being both fascinated and repelled by a society depicted as both backward and barbarous is winding up a few PC critics.

The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish whinges The King and I one of the most problematic musicals of the 20th Century American canon. Michael Billington expresses similar sentiments in The Guardian , saying it seems to endorse the idea of the civilising influence of the west on the barbaric east.

The Independent’s Paul Taylor detects a smack of imperial condescension to this story of a widowed, well-bred Victorian governess who… gives a funny foreign despot… a stiff dose of Western values.

Time Out’s Andrzej Lukowski, meanwhile, calls the musical kind of racist … like an elderly relative who you make allowances for on grounds of age.

Director Bartlet Sher responds that the show remains resonant, powerful and extremely well-conceived. He also dismisses suggestions the piece has dated, saying its views on colonialism, gender equality and the conflict between modernity and tradition make it as timely and powerful as ever.

I wonder if these PC critics would have banned British cave rescuers from helping out in Thailand lest heroically saving children’s lives affirms ‘white saviour’ stereotypes.