The unreal world of advertising and marketing not only promotes a woman that doesn’t exist in the real world, but it causes health issues for young women and it contributes to domestic violence and relationship breakdown.
If we truly want equality between men and women, and our girls to live healthy and fulfilled lives, the endless and lazy use of semi-naked women in advertising campaigns must stop.
There is overwhelming evidence of the short and long-term effects on children of viewing sexualising and objectifying images and the influence this advertising has on their cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality, attitudes and beliefs about their own worth.
The main complaint and failure with the current advertising regime of the Advertising Standards Bureau (managed through the Australian Association of National Advertisers) is that it is self-regulated and has no ability to enforce rulings. The current self-regulatory approach for advertising is inconsistent and completely inadequate to ensure community standards around sex, sexuality, and nudity are treated with appropriate sensitivity.
The Advertising Standards Board is currently toothless. There are no penalties for advertisers who have been determined to breach the Advertisers Code of Ethics. In addition, there are no penalties for advertisers who disregard a determination by the ASB and fail to remove the offending advertisement.
Unfortunately, advertisers can, and do, ignore community guidelines with no penalty. There is absolutely no incentive to comply with any standard - in fact, the opposite; they often receive free media attention from concerned citizens who take the time to complain.
The Centre for Human Dignity believes that the self-regulatory approach of the industry is failing to uphold community standards around sex, sexuality, and nudity.
We will strive to see:
1: Stronger codes of ethics to a ‘G’ rating standard
2: Fines for breaches of the codes
3: A code that puts the best interests of the child first
The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has been the peak national body for advertisers for over 90 years. Their self-regulatory system came into operation in 1997 and it oversees both code making and a complaints handling system administered by Ad Standards, providing determinations regarding breaches of the AANA Codes. There is no penalty for advertisers who ignore community standards. The AANA codes and the process are currently being reviewed which is a great win for ACL as we have been calling for change in this area for many years.
The Federal Government is currently holding an inquiry to investigate ways to protect Australian children online.
The particular focus on this inquiry is on implementing age-verification solutions for gambling and pornography sites. This is great news and has been a key issue for ACL for many years. Take every opportunity to let your Federal MP know that the protection of our children online is of paramount importance to you and ask them to do everything they can to ensure Australia takes the appropriate steps to provide adequate safety in this area.
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