Yes, this is a watershed moment. Now, whoever is the creative director, the fact is gender stereotyping is now 'officially' off creative limits. In a few decade's time, when we look back on gender-stereotyping work retrospectively, it will feel like those 1980s' smoking ads. While at the time, smoking seemed so alluring, we know now it's a 'killer'. These ads had a damaging impact on society and the health of a whole generation. We moved on. Equally we know how damaging stereotyping is for young girls and boy, men and women. In an age of #BelieveHer, #MeToo and #YouKnowHer, the zeitgeist is demanding change, and it's finally, here. And, without these constraints so many other creative possibilities begin to open up. A new generation is growing up who don't want to be constrained by traditional notions of gender and sexuality.
Our point of view is we'd never have had to legislate for this if we'd had women and non-binary creatives shaping work in the first place. The fact is for the last two decades, men (mainly white, straight males) have dominated creativity. As the majority, their humour, point of view, their fantasies and biases have played out in creative work, which is why this legislation exists. So, while this is timely, the fact is we still have a long way to go to change the diversity of the teams who make the work, which is why our Equality Standard exists. We give companies their change 'map', and for all aspects of diversity. Bring on more companies who gain the Equality Standard; that's where the real work has to be done.
There are growing movements around being pan-sexual, non-binary and gender fluid. Creatives, this is your new brief. And, we can't stop at gender. We need to go beyond and look deeply at other kinds of stereotypes, around race, age, disability, neurodiversity, faith, LGBTQI and all the intersections between. Right now, with our fragmented, polarised society, advertising has the power to shape an inclusive world, for everyone.