Jean Kilbourne

Topics: Advertising, Woman, Child abuse Pages: 5 (1968 words) Published: February 24, 2007
Mass media plays a great part in our lives. Television, newspapers, magazines surround us everywhere every day of our lives. All of them are stuck with different kinds of ads. But how often do we pay attention to the real sense of those ads and the ways the advertisers try to sell various products to us? We see dissoluteness and challenging behavior every day in life and we got so used to it in, at first sight, such small pieces of film, and apparently of our day routine, as advertisement, that we hardly notice the big picture. For over twenty years, Jean Kilbourne has been writing, lecturing, and making films about how advertising affects women and girls. In her essay, "‘The Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt': Advertising and Violence", Kilbourne looks very deep into the connection between abuse and ads. She develops a theory in which she emphasizes dehumanizing women in ads, and shows us what terrible things sometimes can be concealed behind a simple and funny ad, and what consequences it can lead to in the end. As for me, I strongly agree with Kilbourne, and I am convinced, that harmless at first sight, advertisements sometimes turn out to be damaging, violent and insulting, especially with regard to the weak, such as women. Although Kilbourne's essay was written in 1999, nothing really has changed. Sexualizing ads has become very common nowadays. It may occur as a way to get people closer to each other, to awaken love and passion, to bring a romance into our lives – that precious love adventure, that is sometimes missing. Unfortunately, it turns out to be the opposite way. Closeness turns into distance; passion grows into power and violence (56). Taking a closer look at some of the ads makes it easy to see that they point out power of one over another in all spheres of life. It is obvious that advertisers play to our worst fears and secret wishes to get us to buy their products. They try to make us believe that happiness comes from the product. Female sexuality has become the most popular subject in a lot of ads. All the time we see women laying in sexually suggestive poses, or being naked not only in ads for such bad things as cigarettes and alcohol but even for simple and harmless products such as perfume and makeup. Ads not only dehumanize people, especially women, but turn them into objects, actually making them a product. Kilbourne compares sex in advertising with pornography and emphasizes the poses and themes of such ads. As an example, an ad for ties says "the right tie can make the most casual evening more memorable" and the picture shows a bed, obviously after a hot night, and four ties on each corner of the bed, looking like bondage (457). It is hard to argue with it, as we become witnesses of this fact every day, finding something similar on television, in our favorite magazines, in newspapers. Women appear in advertisements not only as an object of desire, but sometimes abused and even dead. "Beauty executed," says an ad for Hitman, featuring a scantily clad woman shot through the forehead and subsequently carefully arranged on satin sheets in a sexually suggestive pose. Kilbourne never says that ads cause violence directly, but she notices, "Pornography is more dangerously mainstream when its glorification of rape and violence shows up in mass media, films and television shows, in comedy and music videos, and in advertising. Male violence is subtly encouraged by ads that encourage men to be forceful and dominant," pointing at unexpected sources of aggression and danger and shocking the readers with this fact (457). We live in the world where many boundaries are being erased, and sometimes it is hard to predict where the danger may come from. It is hard to imagine how much it takes a woman to survive in this world, being weaker and more vulnerable than a man; I am talking not only about streets, but even home! As statistics say, most women get abused at their own...
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