The phrase, “sex sells” has
become 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. Jean
Kilbourne discusses just how these advertisements do so in the documentary,
“Killing Us Softly 4.” Advertisements portray women in a sexual and distorted
way in order to attract the consumers’ attention. Media sets a standard on how
young women view themselves and puts them at risk of developing an eating
disorder. Kilbourne’s research has led her to educate those who have fallen
victim to achieving the “ideal beauty” that has evolved in today’s society.

     The documentary effectively demonstrates
how easy it is for advertisements to send across many different hidden meanings
that can have horrible effects like bulimia, rapes, murders, and disrespect
towards women. These advertisements have a way of getting into our subconscious
minds and are considered agents of socialization since those viewing them
consider them to be the norm. We are affected without even realizing it. The
more exposure we get of something, the more acceptable it becomes in our
society whether it’s wrong or right.

    According to the movie, every American is
exposed to hundreds and thousands of advertisements each day. The picture of an
“ideal women” in magazines, commercials, and billboards are a product of
numerous computer retouching and cosmetics. Media creates a false and
unrealistic sense of how women should be viewing themselves. Instead of being
praised for their femininity and prowess, women are turned into objects.

    The
media has an overwhelming power over women’s opinion of their own body. Young
women begin depriving themselves of food because they view these women on
advertisements as acceptable and desirable to society. Once they begin doing
this, they create a lifestyle in which their minds begin to trick them into
believing that starving themselves is the only answer. Although research has
shown that eating disorders are biologically based illnesses, women are
psychologically deceived into thinking their behavior is acceptable. The only
way to prevent this from happening in the future is to educate society from the
dangers of advertising.

     I agree with the negative impacts these
advertisements can have on society. However, I also feel that advertisements at
times can be used as inspiration or motivation for those who try to sculpt
their own body through fitness and healthy dieting. Dieting in today’s society
is often associated with depriving oneself of the food they love. We need to
change the way we view food. Dieting is simply eating food in moderation and
not splurging excessively; it should be considered a lifestyle. Models like
Kate Upton and Ashley Graham are a representation of how most women look. They
have taken a stand to try and eliminate the industry’s desire to promote thin
as healthy and instead, encourage women to embrace who they are. Companies like
Aerie have begun to send positive messages and won’t touch up their models in
their magazines.

    The film also shows that if media were used
in a constructive way, it would help in a tremendous way to solve the many
problems of racism and sexism that are discussed in the works studied
throughout the course. For example, if there were commercials on how African
Americans are treated differently than whites when applying for a job or doing
anything for that matter, maybe people would start feeling guilty for being so
narrow-minded. Also if there were advertisements of women acting equally
instead of inferior in front of men, women would probably be viewed with more
respect, which could even lead to equality in the payroll department. I think
this was a wonderful film because I always knew that the media had an influence
on people, but I never stopped to think twice about how effective it can be and
in a negative way. The media also portrays men to be strong and forbidden to
show any qualities that are considered “feminine” such as compassion,
sensitivity, intuition. Men are exposed to be more violent which is another
issue 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 of
younger women in a provocative way, which can provoke pedophilia in men as
well.

    In conclusion, this documentary is
extremely 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 of
women is to hold them on a higher pedestal and not allow the media to turn them
into objects. Our nation has plummeted with men in charge; it may be time for a
change.  The media essentially shows us
what is “right” and it is up to us to realize that that is a lie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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