The phrase, “sex sells” hasbecome popular throughout the years. Advertisements often refer to sex as a means to sell a product.Unfortunately, for many women, this can have many negative effects. JeanKilbourne discusses just how these advertisements do so in the documentary,”Killing Us Softly 4.” Advertisements portray women in a sexual and distortedway in order to attract the consumers’ attention. Media sets a standard on howyoung women view themselves and puts them at risk of developing an eatingdisorder.
Kilbourne’s research has led her to educate those who have fallenvictim to achieving the “ideal beauty” that has evolved in today’s society. The documentary effectively demonstrateshow easy it is for advertisements to send across many different hidden meaningsthat can have horrible effects like bulimia, rapes, murders, and disrespecttowards women. These advertisements have a way of getting into our subconsciousminds and are considered agents of socialization since those viewing themconsider them to be the norm. We are affected without even realizing it. Themore exposure we get of something, the more acceptable it becomes in oursociety whether it’s wrong or right. According to the movie, every American isexposed to hundreds and thousands of advertisements each day.
The picture of an”ideal women” in magazines, commercials, and billboards are a product ofnumerous computer retouching and cosmetics. Media creates a false andunrealistic sense of how women should be viewing themselves. Instead of beingpraised for their femininity and prowess, women are turned into objects. Themedia has an overwhelming power over women’s opinion of their own body.
Youngwomen begin depriving themselves of food because they view these women onadvertisements as acceptable and desirable to society. Once they begin doingthis, they create a lifestyle in which their minds begin to trick them intobelieving that starving themselves is the only answer. Although research hasshown that eating disorders are biologically based illnesses, women arepsychologically deceived into thinking their behavior is acceptable. The onlyway to prevent this from happening in the future is to educate society from thedangers of advertising.
I agree with the negative impacts theseadvertisements can have on society. However, I also feel that advertisements attimes can be used as inspiration or motivation for those who try to sculpttheir own body through fitness and healthy dieting. Dieting in today’s societyis often associated with depriving oneself of the food they love.
We need tochange the way we view food. Dieting is simply eating food in moderation andnot splurging excessively; it should be considered a lifestyle. Models likeKate Upton and Ashley Graham are a representation of how most women look. Theyhave taken a stand to try and eliminate the industry’s desire to promote thinas healthy and instead, encourage women to embrace who they are.
Companies likeAerie have begun to send positive messages and won’t touch up their models intheir magazines. The film also shows that if media were usedin a constructive way, it would help in a tremendous way to solve the manyproblems of racism and sexism that are discussed in the works studiedthroughout the course. For example, if there were commercials on how AfricanAmericans are treated differently than whites when applying for a job or doinganything for that matter, maybe people would start feeling guilty for being sonarrow-minded. Also if there were advertisements of women acting equallyinstead of inferior in front of men, women would probably be viewed with morerespect, which could even lead to equality in the payroll department.
I thinkthis was a wonderful film because I always knew that the media had an influenceon people, but I never stopped to think twice about how effective it can be andin a negative way. The media also portrays men to be strong and forbidden toshow any qualities that are considered “feminine” such as compassion,sensitivity, intuition. Men are exposed to be more violent which is anotherissue in itself considering that’s how the majority of rapes start.
In fact,1/3 of women murdered are done so by domestic violence. The media portrays this by showing images ofyounger women in a provocative way, which can provoke pedophilia in men aswell. In conclusion, this documentary isextremely valuable to a culture that is progressively becoming more judgmental.
In society’s current state, the only answer to the problem of today’s view ofwomen is to hold them on a higher pedestal and not allow the media to turn theminto objects. Our nation has plummeted with men in charge; it may be time for achange. The media essentially shows uswhat is “right” and it is up to us to realize that that is a lie.