this is a really, really bad idea:
A large majority of the European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a report on media and gender equality that, among other things, argues that advertising "deemed to portray women as sex objects or reinforce gender stereotypes" should be prohibited.Let me clarify some things first. One--I don't support sexist advertising, and I try not to purchase products from companies who use it. Two--the European Parliament signed onto a report. It's not legally binding, and there's no plan to enact a law making it so.
But the potential for trouble should something like this report be enacted into law is enormous, and problematic for people who are actively fighting against gender stereotypes, because at the margins, sexism is often in the eye of the beholder. The current election season is proof of that. And imagine the outcry if there were a government agency placed in charge of determining whether or not a particular ad were portraying women as sex objects or reinforcing gender stereotypes. Few people would ever be satisfied with those decisions in the first place, and what's more, the race would be on to create ever more offensive viral ads distributed via the internet or through other underground means.
Most people understand that we can't legislate away feelings of sexism any more than we can legislate away racism or any other irrational prejudice. The best thing we can do is confront individuals when they engage in sexist practices or speech, and exert economic pressure on companies that exploit those images, either individually or through group action.