The Dutch Advertising Code Committee assesses advertising on the basis of sexism for the first time

In its recent Dutch decision, the Dutch Advertising Code Committee (RCC) assessed the suitability of Suitsupply’s advertisement campaign considering their objectification of women’s bodies. The complaint was communicated by the Clara Wichmann Proefprocessenfonds in conjunction with the PILP, a project of the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists (NJCM).

Research conducted by the independent PILPG, a cooperative endeavour of the two aforementioned organisations, demonstrated that regulating bodies in neighbouring countries undertook assessments on sexism and gender stereotypes in advertising. The PILP Coordinator, Jelle Klaas, states in the research: “In the Netherlands, the Dutch Advertising Code Committee only tests for ‘morality’, which means the admissibility of nudity in the public space, but not for sexism.”

In it’s recent decision regarding Suitsupply’s advertising campaign, the RCC agreed with the PILP and Clara Wichmann Proefprocessenfondsand, and considered issues of sexism and impermissible stereotyping for the first time. “This is fantastic news,” says Anniek de Ruijter, president of the Clara Wichmann Proefprocessenfonds. “Morality, nudity or sex is a completely different standard than when the Advertising Code Authority assesses on negative stereotyping of women and the objectification of the female body. This is important as women, also in the Netherlands, still have a relatively underprivileged position compared to men when it comes to victimhood of sexual violence, sexual intimidation and discrimination.”disadvantaged.

The Clara Wichmann Proefprocessenfonds and the PILP recommend that future complaints about alleged sexist advertising should be handled in accordance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and consider matters of inadmissibility due to sexist stereotyping.

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