Legitimizing Sexist Advertising: A Critical Focus on the Danish Consumer Ombudsman’s Guidelines and Adjudications of Complaints of Gender Discrimination

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Feminist media studies have highlighted gender discrimination in advertising since the 1960s. Despite this focus and political attention on combating sexist stereotypes and prejudicial portrayals in advertising the problem persists. Few scholarly endeavours have thus far probed how the national agencies tasked with preventing sexism perceive and address such representations in marketing. To remedy this research gap this study investigates the Danish Consumer Ombudsman’s (DCO) definition of sexism and its evaluation of stereotypical representations of gender in marketing campaigns by Danish companies. The DCO is empowered to ensure non-discriminatory representations in advertising. Utilizing feminist critical discourse analysis as a theory and methodology the present study addresses two aspects of the institutional and discursive practices of this authoritative body, scrutinizing its latest Guidelines on gender-related advertising of 1 April 2012 and examining its application of these guidelines in adjudications of complaints against sexism. Applying the lens of post-feminism and sexism to the analysis, the article indicates how the DCO legitimizes and normalizes sexist advertising and offers significant insights into practices that perpetuate inequality in the media and its regulatory institutions. Ultimately, the article reveals how the very societal institutions established to safeguard gender equality reproduce gender discrimination.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research
Volume28
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)329-342
Number of pages14
ISSN0803-8740
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

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