The YWCA Metro Vancouver has created a new tool aimed at helping people report ads that they think are too “problematic” and sexualized.
The tool, which can be found on their website, immediately sends a complaint to Advertising Standards Canada, a federal regulatory body for advertising content.
“It gives people the opportunity to report ads that perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes, sexualization or hypermasculinazation,” acting director Amy Juschka explained. “A lot of people don’t know that we have the power to report ads that violate the Canadian code of advertising standards.
“This is really an easy tool that allows you to take action.”
Chantelle Krish, director of advocacy and communications for the YWCA Metro Vancouver, says the tool is important to reduce the harms that sexualization can have on society.
“Research shows that sexualization in media is linked to things that impede gender equality, for example sexism, the development of sex attitudes and beliefs, as well as a tolerance for violence towards women,” Krish said.
She referred to a 10-year study by the American Psychological Association that showed a correlation between exposure to sexualized content with depressed mood, low self-esteem, and eating disorders, three of the most common mental health issues facing women today.
Canadians who want to report sexualized content can do so as long as the ad has been published in Canada within the last three months, and violates the Canadian code of advertising standards.
“We want to give people the opportunity to take action,” Juschka said. “We want to empower them to report ads that are problematic.
“It sends a powerful message to advertisers that people don’t want to see these types of ads and that they won’t tolerate them,” she added.
The YWCA says six to seven complaints have already been filed using the toolkit since its launch just a few days ago.
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