Canadian Advertising Foundation. (1995, October 2). No Sex Please. Maclean’s, p. 36.
The following list, taken from the Canadian Advertising Foundation, reveals only a few excerpts of the foundation’s voluntary guidelines regarding gender portrayal:
- Advertising must avoid the exploitation of nudity and the irrelevant segmentation of body parts.
- Boys and girls under 16 must not be portrayed as displaying adult sexual characteristics. Adult women must not be portrayed as girls or with childlike characteristics while maintaining adult sexual characteristics.
- Social and sexual interactions must portray women and men as equals and must not reinforce stereotypes, such as male dominant/female submissive.
- Using or displaying a woman’s sexuality in order to sell a product that has no relation to sexuality is by definition sexually exploitative.
- Advertising must not portray sexual harassment as acceptable or normal, and should avoid representing women as prey or objects of uncontrolled desire.
Questions for Reflections and Discussion
- This article appeared near another article called, “The Shock Effect,” which was subtitled ‘Advertisers face a backlash over sexual images.’ What is a backlash?
- When do you think the above guidelines were written? Could they have been written in response to a backlash?
- Why, in your opinion, were these two articles placed so closely together in the magazine? Read “The Shock Effect” and describe what you think is the magazine’s opinion regarding advertising.
- Would you add to, discard, or change any of the above guidelines? Discuss this among groups.
- Do these guidelines represent one group more than another? If yes, who and why?
- Brainstorm and discuss popular advertisements that directly conflict with these guidelines.
- Create your own advertisement for your own product. Make it in such a way that is acceptable to these guidelines. Is this a difficult task? Why?
These guidelines are important because they reveal how people should and should not be treated. Youth must be aware of positive and negative portrayals of oneself.
Patricia Morrison Batten
© 2017 CYS