Should advertising be less sexist?

Unilever, the firm, behind more than 400 brands from Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream to Dove soap, has pledged to remove sexist stereotypes from its own ads and called on rivals to follow suit.

The campaign, dubbed Unstereotype, was the culmination of two years of research. They found that 40% of women did not identify with their portrayal in adverts.

Their research showed that women were largely portrayed in a secondary or service role, with just 3% of ads featuring women in managerial or professional roles.

Other findings revealed almost all women (90%) felt they were presented as sex symbols and almost a third (30%) said adverts showed women as perceived by a man.

Unilever has already started to change some of its adverts, with its stock cube Knorr campaign featuring men, rather than women, in the kitchen.

Unilever was one of the first to use “real” women in its Dove brand campaign more than a decade ago, which dramatically boosted sales.

What are your views? Are you fed up with adverts making women appear as sex symbols? Is it time to change the traditional stereotyping of men and women and make advertising more realistic? Or do you think that this type of advertising is still acceptable? Can you name one advert that you can identify with?

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