Killing Us Softly Response

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As I watched ‘Killing us Softly 3’, I began to feel the clutch of Jean Kilbourne’s hand around my dignity as I already found myself preparing my mind’s susceptibility to her reprimanding me for being a part of the mass media culture who through its advertising objectifies women. Unfortunately for Mrs. Kilbourne however, these feelings of self-loathing were short lived. I realized that as a sympathizer for the hardships and discrimination that women are faced with, I was almost drawn into this amalgamation of carefully chosen advertising and continual castigation. I only approach this so critically because I strongly feel as though her prancing through what she would have us believe is ‘modern media’ is actually completely detrimental to her cause.

Kilbourne wastes no time in asserting that females are stricken with much more insecurity than males are growing up. She attributes this imbalance of self-esteem to the models that force women to look up to the unachievable ideal portrayed in advertising. Wherein lies the sexism? Is it the woman who’s body has been objectified for the sake of this advertising? Or is it the actual study of self-esteem amongst adolescent teenagers? With women constantly being portrayed as ‘the weaker sex’, it is no surprise that this ‘study’ would find women to be more afflicted with insecurity. But when a young girl sees a model in an advertisement and wonders ‘what do I have to do to look like her?’; a young boy is looking at the same ad and wondering ‘what do I have to do to get a girl like her?’ It’s with one-sided declarations like this that a pro-feminism lecture is turned into what the male-dominated society would deem as ‘bitching’.

Kilbourne presents advertising portraying “a body type that statistically only 5% of American women have.” When over 65% of Americans are overweight, I’d say that 5% doesn’t come into play nearly as effectively as one would have you think. Is it wrong to idealize the fit bodies displayed in...
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