Bumbling dad commercials are cringeworthy. So the U.K.'s doing something about them.
Thanks to new advertising rules, you won't be seeing the clueless dad tropes on British TV.
You know the type. Mom's on a trip/taking a rest day/somehow escaped from the Stepford wives and left Dad (gasp!) to take care of the chores. He bumbles around the house, burning dinner, and acting as if the laundry machine were impossible alien technology.
So let me get this straight, you put this "clo-thing" in the "ham-per?" Photo from iStock.
Well, there'll be no more of that nonsense. New regulations proposed by the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Agency will nix dated gender stereotypes in television commercials. Advertisers will face tougher guidelines around images of diaper-phobic dads or glorified-maid moms.
The agency won't ban all stereotypes — they point out it'd be "inappropriate and unrealistic" to try to wipe out traditionally gendered imagery — but they do want to change some of the cringeworthy gendered stereotypes we're used to seeing in ads.
Basically, if a mop company wants to have a dad in their commercial, he's going to have to act as if he's actually seen a mop before.
A single ad, image, or story isn't itself a problem, but it can get overwhelming when every single paper towel, mop, or diaper company seems to fall back on the same old tropes.
Research hints that these kinds of stereotypes can actually affect people in real life. The agency hopes that guiding advertisers away from them might in turn have real world benefits.
The United Kingdom notably has stronger limitations on what can appear on TV compared with the United States.
But the best reason to wave goodbye to those old ads might be that they just don't match the real world anymore.
Men who change diapers or take their kids to the park aren't chipping in or babysitting. They're being dads. And the idea that Mom is destined to be the sole housekeeper is something better left in the 1950s — and on '50s television.