Cultural Anthropology-A18: Yi,Zhou
April 21, 2011
Response Paper: Killing Us Softly
Who are we? Who am I? With the average American exposed to approximately 3,000 ads a day they all remind us of who we are not and who we should be. The images we are constantly bombarded with by the mass media don’t just sell products they “sell values, images, concepts of love, sex, and normativity”, standards to which we so often compare ourselves to. Ads reinforce gender binaries, all making a statement about what it means to be a woman in this culture of thinness stressing a particular importance on physical beauty. Jean Kilbourne’s film Killing Us Softly explores and exposes the detrimental effects of the objectification and dehumanization in the representation of women in the popular culture, specifically advertisements. With only less than five percent of women of the entire population that reflect the images of the women advertised, the majority of women are left to feel ashamed for not trying hard enough. Women’s bodies are increasingly subjected to strict scrutiny under a magnifying glass by our superficial culture, these actions bring forth and further feed the shame and embarrassment women associate with their bodies, their sexuality, their size, and their weight. Spending self-conscious days, weeks, months, and even years in front of a mirror and scale, inspecting our bodies in front of a mirror comparing ourselves to the images spread over magazine covers as women we are repeatedly reminded that our bodies are home to imperfections and there is always room for improvement whether that be through exercise, plastic surgery, dieting, or over the counter “beauty and health” products. Rosales 2
Is this self-improvement or self-destruction? Today, 1 in 5 women are likely to develop an eating disorder and cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever before. More and more women each day are going under the knife for breast enhancements...