Advertising is “Killing Us Softly”

Posted On April 13, 2010

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This video shows gender differences in advertising, in a humorous way

Jean Killbourne’s Killing Us Softly 3 had some really interesting observations that made me think of how women are really treated in advertising. One statistic that she pointed out that I knew already, but still amazes me is that the average American is exposed to around 3,000 ads a day. That number is truly amazing, I mean just think, do you believe that you see that many ads a day?

Even Models Have Flaws

One point that Kilbourne makes that I agree with is when many advertisers use women, they using women who are considered flawless and very beautiful, showing how women should look. One thing I never realized is that many of those images of women are fake, as computer retouching is used to make them look perfect by society’s standards. Computer retouching not only tells models that they have flaws, but it is placing an image that is altered for viewers, and women think that it is real and how they are supposed to look.

An Image That is Glorified- Yet Impossible to Obtain

Kilborune referred to how commercials encourage women to buy beauty products, take diet pills to obtain a beauty

An image that shows a women in a cage

that is shown in so many advertisements and commercials. Kilbourne stated that the commercials make women feel that they can look like that, it’s just that they aren’t trying hard enough. I agree that this pressure puts an unrealistic goal for women to try to look like what they see in advertisements.

Women Are Not Objects- But In Commercials They Are

Portrayal as an object

I never realized that in many advertisements, that women are basically used as objects. Kilbourne stated how some ads only emphasize the body parts of women, and their face is never shown. An article I read by Media Awareness Online said “Women become sexual objects when their bodies and their sexuality are linked to products that are bought and sold”. It makes sense because a women’s body in an ad can attract a male viewer’s attention because they are attracted to the women’s face or body.

Anybody For Some Scientific Evidence?

I read another article by the Telegraph.co.uk that said “Researchers scanned the brains of certain men as they looked at a photograph of a woman in a bikini and discovered that sections of the brain that usually reacted to objects lit up”. With all the advertisements that have a similar approach in selling a womens’ body to catch viewers’ attention, this study does not surprise me.

Almost Killed Softly

Advertising is ruining many women and young girls’ self esteem because so many ads are telling them how they need to look. Killbourne has raised interesting arguments and has exposed advertising agencies for their methods, but is there a solution to this problem? The only way to change this perception is for more emphasis on positive advertising. Women should love who they are because that is what makes them different from any other person in the world.

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