Campaign aims to switch off gender stereotypes

July 9, 2024 BY

Alex Lee (left) and Lewis Garnham in a still from the 'Communication Breakdown' video. Photo: SUPPLIED

COMEDIANS Alex Lee and Lewis Garnham are taking aim at harmful gender stereotypes in advertising as part of a new Women’s Health Victoria campaign.

Announced on Monday this week, ‘Commercial Breakdown’ is a new campaign shedding light on the gender stereotypes now showing in Australian ads by shEqual, Women’s Health Victoria’s advertising equality project.

In the midst of Australia’s crisis of violence against women, advertisers continue to broadcast harmful stereotypes about masculinity. Advertising continues to be highly influential in shaping society and men’s attitudes and behaviours towards women.

‘Commercial Breakdown’ is a Gogglebox-style video featuring Lee and Garnham, who call out the harmful messages they see in recent Australian ads.

While women are stuck at home, cooking, cleaning, caring and shopping, “the Aussie Bloke” is out with his mates, in the great outdoors, sports-betting, beer-drinking, crypto-punting and winning, but never at home.

“The Aussie bloke” is telling Australians that excitement, fun and success are all found outside the house, in the spaces where women are not welcome.

The campaign notes two-in-three men believe there is a mismatch between how they feel about success and how advertising portrays it. The 2023 Price of Success report studied 4,000 men in the UK & US, and showed that for most men, winning wasn’t everything, and advertising makes them feel worse about themselves.

‘Commercial Breakdown’ encourages Australians to have a conversation about the harmful gender stereotypes they see in ads, and to support brands and agencies to create ads that contribute to a better Australia.

“The average Australian is exposed to thousands of ads a day, so what happens in those ads matters,” Women’s Health Victoria manager of gender equity and capacity building Lauren Zappa said.

“That’s because advertising is a powerful multi-billion-dollar industry that exists only to influence us. We want to give people the tools to challenge gender stereotypes and to support brands that promote authentic, respectful, and diverse portrayals of all Australians.

“Most ads still feature young, white, able-bodied, cis-gendered and heterosexual people, leaving many in our community unseen and unrepresented.”

To see the campaign video, head to vimeo.com/966210447

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