Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising's Image of Women

Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising's Image of Women



in the original killing of softly I said that I would be asking of you something that no one has ever asked before and that is to take advertising seriously these days we do take advertising more seriously advertising has increased from a twenty billion dollar a year to a 180 billion dollar a year industry the average American is exposed to over 3,000 ads every single day and will spend three years of his or her life watching television commercials just the commercials the ads as you know are everywhere they're on radio television newspapers magazines billboards bumper stickers here one company brags about its ability to put advertising in your face all over the place and at the same time everyone in America still feels personally exempt from the influence of advertising so wherever I go what I hear more than anything else is I don't pay attention to ads I just tuned them out they have no effect on me now I hear this most often from people wearing Gap t-shirts but that's another story it certainly is true in fact it's more true than ever that advertising is the foundation of the mass media the primary purpose of the mass media is to sell products advertising does sell products of course but it also sells a great deal more than products it sells values it sells images it sells concepts of love and sexuality of romance of success and perhaps most important of normalcy to a great extent advertising tells us who we are and who we should be what does advertising tell us today about women it tells us just as it did 10 and 20 and 30 years ago that what's most important about women is how we look the first thing the advertisers do is surround us with the image of ideal female beauty so we all learn how important it is for a woman to be beautiful and exactly what it takes women learn from a very early age that we must spend enormous amounts of time energy and above all money striving to achieve this ideal and feeling ashamed and guilty when we fail and failure is inevitable because the ideal is based on absolute flawlessness she never has any lines or wrinkles she certainly has no scars or blemishes indeed she has no pores women's bodies continue to be dismembered in advertising over and over again just one part of the body is used to sell products which is of course the most illuminating thing you can do to someone not only is she a thing but just one part of that thing is focused on most often the focus is on breasts since we are a culture that is certainly obsessed with breasts and breasts are used to sell absolutely everything the most dependable fishing line in the world women are constantly told we must change our lives by increasing our breast size and the stakes are high does your husband wish to had larger breasts and if he does the implication is very clear you better change your body as opposed to changing your husband basically we're told that women are acceptable only if we're young thin white beautiful carefully groomed and polished and any deviation from that ideal is met with a lot of contempt and hostility you never thought you'd lose your looks either and look at the kind of real contempt that there is for this woman who's portrayed as completely valueless no these days the greatest contempt is for women who are considered in the least bit overweight as in this classic I'd probably never be married now if I hadn't lost 49 pounds which one woman told me was the best of harassment for fat she'd ever seen the primary message that young women and girls get in our culture today is the message in this ad at the top it says the more you subtract the more you add what a horrible message the more you subtract the more you add at least one in five young women in America today has an eating disorder the most common of which are anorexia and bulimia and if you think of an eating disorder as any kind of disordered attitude towards eating and one's appetite it's probably closer to four out of five now where else could this image of thinness come from if not at least in part from the media images that surround us and that tell us in order to be acceptable we need to be painfully unnaturally thin no wonder we have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world in general teenagers are hyper sexualized in our culture today here a young woman very young very thin walking down the street envisioning herself in black lace a magazine for young women and girls called Jane has on the cover an article 15 ways sex makes you prettier there continue to be lots of ads that normalize and trivialize battering and battering is the single greatest cause of injury to women in America imagine an ad like this for the woman being shot trivializing copy like this great hair never dies advertising is one powerful force that keeps us trapped in very rigid roles and in very crippling definitions of femininity and masculinity we need to get involved in whatever way moves us to change not just the ads but these attitudes that run so deep in our culture and that affect each one of us so deeply where there were conscious of it or not because what's at stake for all of us men and women boys and girls is our ability to have authentic and freely chosen lives nothing less you

41 thoughts on “Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising's Image of Women”

  1. Men are constantly bombarded by images of sexy women in the media. It's difficult for men to concentrate on their work and retain realistic expectations toward women. Just like it's difficult to stay thin in a society that constantly offers you fatty food.

  2. She is totally right.
    I would say we all are full of trash in hour heads. That's why couples nowadays can't stay together more than 2 years, and there's more loneliness everywhere, because people have these absurd expectations of being with a flawless person.
    All of this makes me wanna vomit.

  3. I think it's so sad that the representation of women in the media went in the direction of "freeing the body" since then. Instead of eliminating the use of the female body as a tool to sell products, women embraced this. Now the attitude is: Well, if I'm proud of my naked body, then this is power. In my opinion, it's just drinking the kool-aid.

    I've been watching America's Next Top Model since I was a teenager (embarrassingly) and I watched the new season this week. I literally had to watch this video again to cancel out the sexism. The first photo shoot was a nude photo shoot where Ashley Graham said "fashion is increasingly using nude photo shoots." How is that FASHION?! It used to be scandalous when a model/actress reached that echelon where they took their clothes off, like Hale Berry, or it was just called…Playboy! Now models have to start their career naked?! So what are they selling… besides their pride…

  4. What a load of garbage. Ads display something desirable. Just because you want to give up and surrender yourselves to your own flaws doesn't mean that the world should celebrate your fat fucking asses.

  5. Why do feminist have to turn every issue into a woman's issue? More than twice as many men turn to steroids than women turn to starving themselves. I guess the feminist just looked that over. Also women like tall men and unlike women with fat, men cannot change their height. This isn't a women's issue, this is everyone's issue. If you really want to make a difference, don't buy the product that has an advertisement you don't like. It's that easy.

  6. It's better to be fit and good looking than fat and ugly. From a guy's point of view, when i see guys on TV super ripped and well dressed and shit, I'm like damn, i wanna get ripped too now. I don't see how that's really bad. 

  7. she probably has been repeating the same exact thing for 10 years. She is repeating exactly what she said in the same tone of voice in the first video.. I hate how she speaks, try to be a little for subtle when trying to persuade.

  8. As Jean Kilbourne so effectively points out, advertising is a part of our lives that has been so ingrained into everyday living that we hardly even realize it anymore. Most people truly believe that they don't pay attention to advertisements and have the ability to tune them out, but upon further examination that is found to be simply not true. As she says at the conclusion of the video, it is up to us to have authentic and freely chosen lives and to say no to the negative subliminal messages of advertising.

  9. As women we are the ones who are so concerned with out outward appearance that we go to many lengths to receive our image of perfection. There are many women who go against the norm and live "naturally", so if we all really wanted to we could. But, we do what makes us feel good. What is most important is that there are many variations of sexy not just what is stated here. Advertisements don't just focus on thin, white, blonde, young woman; but, instead there are a variety of beautiful women in our advertisements today. And something we should see more diversity in. 

  10. I can see how advertisements focus on a woman’s body as an object and not on the woman themselves. However, I don't feel it is only negative. Some women don't mind being sexy. Some women use their sexiness and objectivity as a resource to make a living (and for some a good one at that), for some their confidence is boosted by being seen as sexy. I agree it's not the only thing a woman wants noticed, but sometimes it's not all negative. 

  11. I know a lot of guys that don't think model thin is attractive. But I know loads more that do. They're being spoon fed the same bullshit. I wish more people were comfortable in their own skin. At size 14 I'm not "ideal" to societies standards. Even though I'm pretty confident as a person, by even so, it's hard to jot get suckered into this guilt trap. I just have to remind myself: I'm not beautiful like you, I'm beautiful like me.

  12. Women must also take responsibility for the "normal altering" almost all of them do to themselves – primarily wearing cosmetics & removing hair from legs and underarms.  Women do not look like that naturally.  This dilemma all starts with the average women, not with ad agencies or men.  If you are female, try not doing those things and you will see a harsh negative reaction from other women.

  13. @Tyler Reinking Yes we shouldn't blame men, that's profiling. But you also have to think about who's the majority of people running the media? Men. An actress on the show Game of Thrones (which I will not watch because of the sexualization and you know, the raping) said that she didn't want to do nude scenes anymore because she  wanted her character to be liked not just for her breasts and they basically told her that if she didn't play ball, they would find someone who would. Realistically, of all the women that have ever been faced with the "to get along, you have to go along" approach, most of them wont turn them down. "After all is it just this one time and I'll never have to demean myself again" – says millions of women, which in turn makes the rest of us feel like we have to keep up. It's a vicious dirt cycle. Life is filled with a lot of them. And if reincarnation is the real deal, god please let me come back a white and with a penis because man, that is a sweet deal.

  14. What a lot of people don't understand is that there IS a standard of physical beauty. There IS a difference between someone who is pretty and someone who is ugly. You can't just shrug it off as if it's something that doesn't exist. BUT this does not mean that anyone should be valued less; which is what society portrays. If we didn't have ads, we'd still notice what is beauty and what isn't beauty. But it's society that says BECAUSE you aren't beautiful, you're worth less. Which isn't true.

  15. Before you blame men and spread ignorance, you should recognize that these products are being sold TO WOMEN / FOR WOMEN. Have you ever thought about Victoria's Secret? Have you ever purchased it? If so, you're contributing to the problem. It is ignorant to blame solely one gender for this issue. Men are at fault, but so are women. Women participate in this type of advertising by modeling, and they support these ads by purchasing the products.

  16. I'm pissed. My friend sleeps on the floor above me and he just grew outstanding with girls. He found the Master Attraction site (Start looking in Google) by Jake Ayres. All he's doing now is fucking women. He's continuously pulling sexy girls back. I hear it. It's disgusting. I wish he had not discovered that site. My closest friend just signed up and got a blowjob a week later. I'm jealous!

  17. I do to some extent agree, but the fact is the pressure is not nearly as extensive towards guys. Other than being tall, all guys can work out and groom themselves. Healthy women are being pushed into doing surgery, as the new standard includes straight noses and C/D-cups on all frames. Guys are way more visually stimulated than women, thats why I think, the pendulum will never swing the other way. Also, when you can't sell a burger without a woman faking an orgasm something is sick and wrong.

  18. So by your logic, you then agree with everything men do in this world? As we as women should blame ourselves for feeling bad for every commercial/ad that had a woman in the team responsible for it? More guilt- just what we need…..

  19. Where can I find the full version?? All I could find was this version where she seemed totally rushed the whole time.

  20. The answer is not to take away the rights of others but rather, to exercise your own personal responsibility and to live in a way that you feel is right.

  21. I'm pissed. My nephew lives above me and he in recent times grew extraordinary with a lot of women. He discovered the Master Attraction site by Jake Ayres (Google it). All he's doing now is screwing women. He's consistently bringing girls back. I hear it. It's yucky. If only he had not discovered that site.

  22. However, also – I think that people should excercise their right to ignore these advertisements. It's easy as one, two, three – If you are offended by the media, than turn it off!!

    The reason for these different portrayels are that marketers have studied what sells to their target audiences. If the people change what is effective in getting them to purchase a product – than the advertisements will change.

    So the solution is – change yourself, that is all that you are responsible for.

  23. Generally in marketing – statistics shows what is effective for selling something. There is no moral concern in this. In America, a capatalistic society, the goal is to create desire within the consumer by provocative marketing techniques. If these techniques are effective, than they are implemented continuously.

    I think that buisnesses and the media has rights – rights to advertise in ways that they think will earn them a profit.

  24. Are you saying that there aren't any women who work in other positions in marketing firms and departments? The only role filled by women in the creation of an advertisement is that of the model?

  25. This video makes me want to take out all of my piercings and through out my makeup! but I just cant do it..

  26. Advertisements have unrealistic standards of beauty, but everything else in this documentary is bullshit feminist psuedoscience. Men are not animals that rape and murder women just for wearing a bikini.

  27. By the same token, it is women who judge other women the hardest (would you disagree?). I could say the same about finding imperfections beautiful (which is true, but I don't find any one physical characteristic, as far as I can tell, absolutely necessary), but if I also like modern media-style beauty, I am seemingly often demonised as being a part of the machine and part of the "oppression and rape culture".

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