Regulating gender stereotypes in advertising: a socio-legal analysis

Davies, David (2019) Regulating gender stereotypes in advertising: a socio-legal analysis. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis analyses the European Union’s powers to challenge gender discrimination in the private sphere by combatting harmful gender stereotypes in advertising. It evaluates various forms of ‘good practice’ through legislation, regulation and policy at member state level and conceptualises what a unified code of regulation might look like in the light of the European Commission’s failure to incorporate a provision on advertising in the Goods and Services Directive of (2004). The thesis investigates the European concern to challenge gender stereotypes in advertising through ‘soft law’ measures such as action programmes, roadmaps and parliamentary opinions and critiques the lack of progress at both European and national levels. Thus, demonstrating the inadequacy of the Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (2010) (currently under review) which has failed to achieve a unified code on gender stereotypes or indeed to provide effective mechanisms to tackle what the Commission deems to be harmful advertising in an age of pervasive online activity. This thesis seeks to address the gaps left by the two Directives by scrutinising the ways in which gender stereotypes are tackled at the national level in three jurisdictions: United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden. Taking a comparative and socio-legal approach, the thesis analyses the effects of European level regulation within the domestic systems given their different legal frameworks, legal cultures and differing attitudes to gender equality and regulation of advertising. Against the backdrop of the sociological theory of Erving Goffman, and the concept of performativity developed by Judith Butler, the thesis explores the intersection between law and sociology; the interface between regulation and the performance of gender in everyday life. Drawing upon interview and focus group data from the three countries, the thesis exposes the gaps between theory, law and practice in the failure to regulate adequately advertising imagery and to ensure gender equality in Europe. Notably, focus group data will be presented to demonstrate how teenagers in the three member states feel about the use of gender stereotypes in advertising with data from interviews of academics, practitioners and regulatory bodies exploring how individual member states are tackling the problem. Bringing together discourses from the self-regulatory bodies, NGOs, academics and focus group participants, the thesis offers recommendations for best practice to tackle the negative effects of gender stereotyping in Europe.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5801 Advertising
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ1075 Sex role
K Law > KJ Europe
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 08:31
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 10:12
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84359

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