The ASA’s reply to my complaint about their Gender Stereotyping Debate

Back in September I sent a complaint (which can be read here) to the Advertising Standards Agency about their disturbing, intellectually dishonest and very poorly referenced report on Gender Stereotypes.

Below is their reply. Prepare for your palm to hit your face. Note the astonishing weaselry with regard to the website mra-uk.

My complaint pointed out that there is a plethora of evidence against the gender neutral argument, and I assume the phrase ‘I’m sorry you feel that some points were missed’ is supposed to cover this, while the phrase ‘conclusions reached by the report reflect the general body of evidence which tells us that achieving greater gender equality is desirable for many reasons’ neatly side steps the issue.

And, of course, they fall back on ‘preventing any potential for harm’ as an excuse without engaging in any debate over who has the right to determine the definition of ‘harm’.

What a surprise.


Thank you for getting in touch about your concerns, in particular for drawing our attention to dead links in the report – we are in the process of identifying & rectifying those links so should have that fixed soon.

On your other specific issue about the MRA-UK website, the assertions you are concerned about are not directly linked to that website, rather a general summary of the content we had seen on that and similar sites.

In relation to your additional concerns, I’m sorry you feel that some points were missed or misrepresented.  Clearly this is a sensitive and often provocative topic about which there are a range of views, which we have tried to reflect in the report.

The conclusions reached by the report reflect the general body of evidence which tells us that achieving greater gender equality is desirable for many reasons, and that reinforcing stereotypes wherever they appear can hinder that pursuit.  Clearly advertising is not the only influence in reinforcing stereotypes, but it is right that we act to prevent any potential for harm.

The ASA will reflect the learnings of the report in a way that is proportionate and reflective of the evidence base, taking into account as it always does, the need to balance commercial freedom of speech with our objective to protect consumers from ads that harm, mislead or offend.



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How to complain about the Advertising Standards Agency’s Report on Gender Stereotypes in Advertising

So this happened a while ago, but the UK ASA decided to put together a whole load of ideological rubbish to pave the way for changing guidelines / legislation on what does and does not constitute sexist advertising (probably because they were sore about not being able to rule against the Protein World ‘beach body ready’ campaign, but want to make sure that they can next time something like that comes around).
Jordan at has taken the time to put together an in-depth look at the weaknesses of the report, which you can read here.
If you are as concerned as I am about the clear ideological bias and agenda of the new guidelines you can complain to the ASA by emailing Of course, please be very polite!
Here is the text of the complaint I have just sent them, feel free to use as a template:
Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to express my concern about ideological bias in your Report on Gender Stereotypes in Advertising.

The report has clearly been compiled from a standpoint of bias in favour of gender neutralist ideologies, taking the assumption that steps should be taken to bring about equal outcomes for different groups of people for granted. It also ignores a plethora of evidence based in hard (rather than social) science. For example, the work of Cordelia Fine is cited, while the work of academics such as Simon Baron-Cohen and Steven Pinker is not mentioned at all.

I would also like to point out that many of the sources that might indicate a different assessment of gender equality are handled highly disingenuously. The report presents those who may disagree with the gender neutralist argument as arguing ‘in favour of gender stereotypes or inequalities’. A rather underhand phrase which seems to be designed to side step the idea that factors other than discrimination may lie behind differences in outcomes for men and women, as well as keeping the distinction between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome conveniently out of readers’ minds – not to mention the question of how far public institutions ought to be making it their business to bring about equal outcomes.

Further dishonest (and frankly erroneous) handling of sources can be found on p. 23 where the claim is made that the website asserts that ‘the gender pay gap has been closed‘. The website does no such thing, and in fact presents detailed statistical analysis explaining that the 18% pay gap is a highly misleading statistic, representing average earnings only, and that the statement that women are paid less than men for the same work is not true when like for like factors are controlled for. In addition the website draws attention to the fact that national data illustrates that women under 35 now out earn men. The link provided in support of the assertion that these claims ‘are not supported by evidence’ simply links to a page citing explanations for the gap in median earnings – the very same statistics mrauk looks at in great depth.
The report also states that the website claims ‘women are over represented in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields’. Again, this is an outright falsehood. The site presents detailed evidence that when medical sciences are included (making it STEMM rather than STEM) the statement that women are overrepresented within those fields is also factually correct. The compiler(s) of the report are clearly guilty of either gross intellectual laziness or gross intellectual dishonesty – potentially both. The link provided as proof that the claim is ‘not supported by evidence’ is dead, and also appears to be to an online magazine article rather than any academic material.
Following on from this, the report as a whole is very poorly referenced, with many links being dead or not addressing the point that is being made.
Using ideological logic (i.e. that being exposed to content that does not fit in with an idealised vision of how society should be can ‘potentially cause harm’) to control what the British public can and cannot see is deeply troubling. Exercising top-down control in this way to bring about sameness between different groups of people is frankly Orwellian and something I personally find highly disturbing.
The idea that advertisements should promote life as it ‘ought’ to be (or rather as one group of people think it ought to be) is an assault on freedom of expression and creativity and crosses the line into propaganda.
As a woman from an ethnic minority background I refuse to be used as a shield for these endeavours and feel it is my duty to speak out against them.
Yours Faithfully
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Here‘s my latest article for The Backbencher: Corbynmania at Glastonbury: Why Drugs are Bad:

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Being Targeted by Hope Not Hate

It’s been five years since I started this blog – anonymously at first because I was warned about how people with views like mine are targeted and harassed.

I’ve been very careful with what I say online so haven’t had any problems until now, but since giving up my anonymity to become part of a group of like minded UK women (The Liberty Belles) someone has clearly decided that it’s time make sure we are silenced before the public has a chance to hear what we actually think.

It seems that the attention of the radical left was called to us after we started a group called Ladies for Philip Davies, in support of the only MP in parliament willing to stand up against radical feminist ideology and policy. It is clear that for him to be publicly supported by women is something that leftist ideologues must avoid at all costs.

The organisation Hope Not Hate has targeted us with an incredibly dishonest and malicious article which can be read here in which we are branded ‘far-right extremists’ without one single example of our views being put forward as evidence for this.

Of course, we understand that it is standard procedure for the social justice left to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being part of the far right, however this article is simply so bizarrely unfounded and unfocused that it can be used as an example of just how low they have to sink when they have no arguments whatsoever to put forward against our actual opinions.

We also discuss the article in this live stream.

The following is our message to David Lawrence, the ‘researcher’ who put the piece together.

I hope his reply will illustrate how interested he is in truth, reason, openness and respecting women:

Dear Mr Lawrence,

Firstly we would like express our disappointment that your research clearly focused on ways to create our guilt by association rather than taking an interest in the nature of our opinions. We also feel that you made certain to contact us in such a way that we had little or no chance to respond to your allegations. It is our hope that this was a mistake and that you will be willing to withdraw your article or at least amend some of its more scurrilous statements. We are sure you would never want to mislead your readers or cause women to fear for their safety, which has been an unfortunate consequence of your work, as we explain below.

Regarding accusations of racism – these are especially spurious given the fact that one of our founders (Natoya) is mixed race and another (Catherine) has an ethnic minority background.

We set up Ladies for Philip Davies in support of Davies’ attempts to challenge radical feminist policies in UK parliament, policies which we believe do little to help women and waste precious time and resources. We notice that you also did not include a link to our interview with Davies. We hope that this was not because, had they watched it, your readers would have been left to judge for themselves where we stand on the political spectrum and would have realised that we do not hold any remotely extremist views. If you choose to leave the article online, we request that you give your readers the chance to make their own choice by linking to our video.

The accusation that we hold “extreme right-wing views” is not supported by any evidence in your article. None of us hold any. We as a group came together to discuss our issues with feminism and why we do not believe it works towards genuine equality. As such we have spent little or no time discussing far right ideologies. If you had bothered to read any of our personal blog posts you would have been able to confirm this. We would be very disappointed if you are aware of our work, but do not wish to draw your readers’ attention to it because it does not support any of the allegations you make in your piece. If you do not have time to read any of our writing, perhaps you could include some links so your readers can judge for themselves? We would also like to point out that several of us identify as non-feminist rather than anti-feminist, as you claim. Given that you did not make the effort to clarify this, we would also like to give you the opportunity to clarify this information for your readers.

The statement that some of us are involved in the Men’s Rights community is true. However as people are increasingly beginning to realise – particularly since The Red Pill documentary – the objectives and opinions of the Men’s Rights community have nothing to do with the far right.

Most of us identify as libertarians and classical liberals, while one of us defines herself as socially conservative. No amount of research and digging on us will ever suggest otherwise. We have no links with The National London Forum beyond one of our number speaking there on a platform about male genital mutilation. If you had approached Elizabeth for comment she would have explained that she was not aware of their true ideological bent, and that had she known of any links with the anti-Semite David Irving, or any bigot, she would not have accepted the offer. In fact several other members of the group had never heard of The London Forum until your article came out.

Perhaps the most deliberately underhand tactic you appear to have used is to list extreme right wing figures who have given THA talks, without mentioning that they host talks on a number of unusual and extreme topics, including speeches by radical leftist thinkers such as (in April of this year) Russ James of the Socialist Workers’ Party England, which is currently urging its supporters to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. We are sure you will agree that this kind of omission does a terrible disservice to your readers and is something you will wish to correct as a matter of urgency. If not, may we enquire whether you will be writing an article accusing the SWP of having links to right wing extremism?

We are five ordinary women not professional speakers with advisors and agents. Natoya Kadifa, a trained journalist, met with Claire Khaw personally to find out who the person behind the extreme online persona was and found a timid keyboard warrior. We find her opinions repugnant and have refused to share a platform with her in the past; she has subsequently harassed our group so much that most of us have had to block her on social media. Again, you would have learnt this if you had made any genuine attempt to ask if we had any connection to her. We find it particularly bizarre that you were able to take the time to connect with Khaw (which, we understand, is how you were able to learn that Natoya had attended her talk) and yet made zero attempt to contact any of us as individuals in good time before the piece, rather sending a single email to our group email address 24 hours before going to press. We would like to point out that it is very easy to contact us via the info we have in our public Twitter profiles. We do hope you will agree that your readership deserves a much higher and more rational standard of journalistic investigation.

We have nothing to hide, and had you contacted us we would willingly have discussed our passion for true egalitarian values. To be as clear as possible, the values we stand for are:


Classical liberalism

Free speech

Civil rights

Equality before the law

Small government

These are all antidotes to far right and far left authoritarianism.

Finally and most importantly, some of us now have genuine fear for our own safety and the safety of our families, given that the website you write for appears to have links with Antifa via Searchlight Magazine and Unite Against Fascism. Antifa extremists are currently on trial in the US for carrying out unprovoked violent attacks on women and men whom they believe to hold right wing views. In the light of this, your labelling of us in those terms without having done genuine research into our views is a possible threat to our safety; your article effectively ‘marks’ us as persons of interest for sinister authoritarian left wing groups, such as Antifa and BAMN. We hope that your article was not written specifically with that cowardly goal in mind and that the errors and omissions were the result of shoddy research which you will be happy to amend, or remove from the internet entirely.

Given that many of your readers are likely to hold the opinion that women are not safe either in society or on the internet we are sure they will greatly appreciate you dealing promptly with this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Elizabeth Hobson

Natoya Kadifa

Paula Wright

Catherine Kitsis

Belinda Brown


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My latest blog for The Backbencher

This is me writing on some of the latest violence and lies from the gender activists that will not attract any attention from the mainstream media:

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I’m now blogging for

I am now writing for here’s my article about those pesky feminists who just can’t survive without policing what people say:

The Tangled web of Feminists, Free Speech, and the Internet

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A law unto itself: NUS commissioned investigation concludes ‘no-platform’ is illegal. They see ‘no reason’ to change policy

Commissioning a QC to write a 37-page opinion regarding the legal status of the NUS’ no-platform policy must have been expensive. Expensive, and paid for with funds earmarked for the improvement of the lives of students. And yet, when Christopher McCall QC found that (except in the case of officially proscribed groups, such as terrorists) the no-platform policy is likely to be illegal, what did the NUS do? Nothing.

Nor can we read the legal opinion, as it has been kept ‘confidential’. Well done on transparency there, NUS.

McCall found that no-platforming groups or individuals not on official proscribed lists may fall foul of section 43 of the Education Act 1986, which contains the following:

‘Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government of any establishment to which this section applies shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers.’

One would like to think that a student union would be pretty excited about securing every freedom possible for its members – especially those protected by law.

But sadly this does not seem to be the case. Instead of addressing McCall’s concerns, they issued a statement claiming that there was ‘no reason’ for them to change their policy. Like the friend who asks for advice and then gets annoyed when you tell them something they don’t want to hear, the NUS are demonstrating – yet again – breathtaking immaturity and arrogance.

Whether they are deciding that ‘cisgendered’ gay men just don’t deserve representation on LGBT committees, or proclaiming that some people have more equality than others these individuals are a law unto themselves. But Google Christopher McCall’s judgement and it seems that not many people are talking about this. They should be. As Sam Leith points out writing in the Evening Standard, this raises important issues; for example, will the NUS or individual SUs be held responsible if a legal challenge to a no-platform decision were to be brought successfully?

Since the opinion itself has not been published we also don’t know whether it contained any pearls of advice regarding safe-space policies either. Could it be that SUs may simply have no right to prohibit music and publications as they see fit? I would certainly like to know what a legal expert has to say about that.

The NUS spends a lot of time and energy fighting individuals and groups they consider to be fascist. There is perhaps a deep irony, then, when a group that is supposed to oppose despotism is arrogant enough to decide that the laws of the land simply don’t apply to them.

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