On September 9, 2017, our CEO Takeshi Nozawa made a presentation titled “Gender-related expressions in Japan and abroad ― Aiming for a stereotype-free society” at Gender and Media symposium organized by Asahi Institute of Journalism. He explained differences in media’s approaches between Japan and other counties with detailed examples, analyzing the issue from following perspectives.
・By stereotyping people into specific categories, we may be undermining each person’s possibilities.
・Unintentionally thinking inside the box may be a factor in generating an uncomfortable society for diverse individuals.
As a case of global initiatives, he talked about the approach taken by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
ASA, a UK-based regulator, has begun to develop new advertising regulation standards. In their report published in July 2017, they demonstrated a shift in their targets of gender-related regulations from “offensive and/or discriminatory ads” to “ads that reinforce stereotypes.” Nozawa mentioned the followings as some of the cases to be regulated.
・ads that suggest “thinner is more attractive” and promote certain body images
・ads that feature stereotypical gender roles
・ads that mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes
Stereotyping causes different reactions in different countries. For example, in a press conference held in August 2017, then-Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Seiko Noda was asked how she would “balance work and childcare.” In the same month in New Zealand, Leader of the Labour Party Jacinda Ardern protested when she was asked if she would have children on a TV program, saying “It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace.”
Media is a mirror of society. We hope the mirror will reflect a better state of society.