Why? Eva-Britt Svensson, a Swedish member of the committee, explained as follows:
Gender stereotyping in advertising straitjackets women, men, girls and boys by restricting individuals to predetermined and artificial roles ...
This is a very clear-cut expression of liberal autonomy theory. According to this theory, our status as humans depends on our ability to be self-determining individuals. Therefore, whatever is significant about our own self which is not self-determined, but rather "predetermined", is a held to be an impediment from which we must be liberated.
Our sex is something we don't get to determine for ourselves; therefore, Eva-Britt Svensson follows the theory logically in speaking of gender as a limiting impediment placed on the individual (a "straitjacket" responsible for "restricting individuals").
If your aim is to make the fact of being male or female not matter, then you will of course deny that there is any natural basis to gender difference. So again Eva-Britt is following the theory logically when she calls gender roles "artificial".
How might we criticise Eva-Britt and her autonomy theory? Some of the more obvious objections are that:
a) Science has shown conclusively that gender difference is not entirely socialised, but is also biologically hardwired. Therefore, it's not true that sex distinctions in society are artificial.
b) We don't experience the fact of being distinctly male and female as negatively as Eva-Britt claims. Few of us would want to be "liberated" from our masculinity or femininity. Our heterosexuality generally leads us to appreciate at least some aspects of gender difference.
c) We don't develop and fulfil ourselves as neutered individuals, but as men and women. Therefore, even if our sex is predetermined, it is nonetheless highly significant to a full expression of who we are. It would be a loss of our individual potential to reject our masculine or feminine natures.
If you look at a photo of Britt-Eva Svensson, a woman who rejects femininity on principle, you don't get a sense that she has been liberated toward a larger, happier sense of self; she looks defiant, but tightly-wound and shrunk into herself. If you had to choose whether she looks full-natured or denatured, which would you say?
d) If the aim of the theory is to maximise autonomy, then a contradiction emerges. If you attempt to maximise autonomy by allowing people to freely choose in any direction, then people will choose other goods besides autonomy, for instance, by following a 'predetermined' masculinity and femininity. So you don't get the autonomous outcome you were seeking by following this option.
However, if you attempt to maximise autonomy by coercively repressing non-autonomous choices, as Eva-Britt is seeking to do, then you limit autonomy by removing the ability of individuals to choose in any direction. So again you don't arrive at the condition of autonomy called for by the theory.
Either way, the theory doesn't work.
e) There is much in life which is predetermined. We generally don't self-determine our own sex, our ethnicity, the culture we inherit, the religion we are raised in, our sexuality, the traditional form of the family, social mores and patterns of life. Are we really to reject all these significant aspects of existence simply because they are inherited rather than self-created?
Autonomy theory strips the individual of much that is of value. It is onerous in its implications. We are more likely to experience a true sense of liberation by rejecting its demands and embracing what is best in our given natures as men and women.