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The Center for Media Literacy

Advertising Age Magazine about trends in advertising

AdWeek Magazine about trends in advertising

Jean Kilbourne Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. She is the creator of the “Killing Us Softly” series of films.

Jean Kilbourne’s TED Talk: “The Dangerous Way Ads see Women”

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As discussed in class, respond to Killing Us Softly 4, the film you watched in class. Use your first name and last initial so that you may be identified. (If there is more than one of you with the same first name, last initial, be creative.  How will I know who you are?) What did you agree with? Disagree with? What made you angry? Sad? Frustrated? What part or parts stuck with you and why? Your response should be at least 250 words.  When possible, use quotes to support your points. Your argument and/or idea will be stronger if you support it.

You should also respond to AT LEAST one other person’s comments.  More class participation credit will be given to those who comment more.  I will be reading all of your comments, so check back for my responses.  Although I cannot respond to all of you individually, I will make comments where I see fit.  -Ms. Mc

137 Responses to Advertising

  1. Lois K says:

    I found it accurate but unfortunate when Kilbourne was talking about the false perceptions of beauty women have to face. This stuck with me because it’s something that girls these days struggle with and can lead to a decrease in self esteem. Due to the photoshopping and airbrushing companies like fashion magazines do to their models, this creates an impossible standard of beauty. Kilbourne states, “A body type that statistically only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable.” This body type can be thin, white, young, with blonde hair and blue eyes. This is not possible for many, especially women of color. This is also disrespectful to the models because sometimes they don’t give even permission for them to be altered.
    I also agree with Kilbourne regarding men and how they aren’t objectified as often as women. Many times, women pose seductively or most of the focus is on a section of the body. As Kilbourne said, “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” People disregard some women as a whole person and only pay attention to a part of the body, which makes it easier for them to be sexualised or looked down on. It is obvious that women are objectified more than men, but I don’t believe it should be a “grieving competition.” The objectification of men are increasing as well, plus boys are being raised in a culture where men have to be strong and cannot show weakness. These kinds of advertisement that highlights gender roles and objectification “dehumanizes all of us, both men and women.”

    • Brittney W says:

      I agree with you on how it should not be a “grieving competition”. Both genders have faced mass amounts of social pressure to be the “idealized” man or woman.

    • Viancha A says:

      I completely agree that when ads portray the “perfect woman,” it gives girls the wrong idea and lowers their self esteem. Of course girls will put themself down because they think how they look naturally isn’t good enough to meet the standards of the fake, photoshopped model.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      Very well stated, Lois. And I agree — it’s not a competition. It’s important to examine both sides. However, as Kilbourne explains, the consequences for women tend to be more serious, as women “inhabit a different world” than men, — one in which 1/3 of women killed are killed by male partner violence. I don’t want to see men objectified any more than women, but I still think Kilbourne makes a good point that it’s a different issue for men.

    • Caitlin D. says:

      I agree that it shouldn’t be seen as a competition between men and women. Both genders are heavily objectified in advertising, and it needs to be stopped. Everyone is feeling the same way about themselves, and we need to start promoting positive images and values.

    • Kevin Denza says:

      I strongly agree with the statement that girls will lower their self esteems by referring back to these unrealistic ads due to the photoshop and how they need to be perfect

    • gianna buffa says:

      I agree with you Lois. Women are starving themselves because what they see in ads is the ideal perception of beauty. Our beauty standards are unrealistic and women are trying to achieve the unachievable.

  2. Brittney W says:

    I am surprised by how much ads can affect our lives. From television commercials to egg shells, they’re everywhere. Kilbourne said that ads create a society that depicts what success or normalcy should look like. I absolutely agree with her on that. Many advertisements show skinny women as “normal” when most of the population is not like that. Also, I was amazed by how someone could photoshop four images of four different girls to combine into one picture. That is actually insane and I would have never thought to do that. Apparently four different women are not enough to fulfill society’s demands, so we only have to get the parts we want to build a perfect woman. Photoshopping people to be the “idealized” man or woman shows how much our culture is captivated only on appearance. It disappoints me when ads are still shown like this. In addition, women are still shown as objects and not people. In certain commercials or ads, women are shown with just their body. No face or identity to them. What do these ads teach? They signify that women are shown as objects and are only good for displaying their body to sell irrelevant goods.

    • Lois K says:

      I was also amazed by how someone photoshopped four girls into one picture. I never realized people would go to that extent to create the “perfect” girl. I wonder if they got permission from the models to do so.

    • Viancha A says:

      It is insane that 4 girls have to be combined to make one ideal, perfect girl. The idea that the people taking the photo of the models would rather go through the trouble to find the perfect features on multiple girls to put together than take the one photo of what a real girl looks like is uncanny.

      • Ms. McMane says:

        Agreed. I think that part of the video is especially enlightening. None of us can possibly be that cover model because she’s not even real!

    • Nick B says:

      It is crazy that this world has come to that, where 4 different people are combined into one, just to get the “perfect girl”. It is truly saddening how they are all dehumanized just to make money.

    • Miranda L. says:

      I was also shocked about how they digitally enhance girls and take four different girls to make one “perfect girl.” It’s extremely frustrating how people who make the ads can’t appreciate somebody’s natural beauty, but have to use four different girls to do so.

    • Caitlin D. says:

      I agree that women are no longer seen as beautiful unless they have a specific body type and features. It is amazing that this still continues, and that women are holding themselves to impossible standards. Hopefully advertising companies will stop using Photoshop, and start using real people.

    • Leigh Ann S. says:

      I thought it was almost comical that advertisers would splice together multiple images to create a whole new woman. It just goes to show the extent to which

    • Shane C. says:

      It is crazy that to sell a simple product, advertisers have to go to such extreme lengths. To the point where they are dehumanizing the women in the pictures by combining only their best aspects. It really shows how advertising shapes our culture. It is very sad indeed.

  3. Viancha A says:

    Magazine ads have gotten worse over the years, especially for women. Kilbourne was able to address the main concern that women are seen more as objects rather than humans. I completely agree with this because there are ads only showing women’s bodies and covering up their face to show they have no identity. But even so, if they aren’t seen as objects, they are shown as what’s expected of women in today’s society. More ads portray women exposing most of their skin, being under the power of a man, or shown as housewives caring for their children. This is frustrating because women are people too and should not be held up to these expectations. Kilbourne mentions that “For years now [women have] been getting the message that we’re supposed to be innocent and sexy, virginal and experienced, all at once.” This is completely true and sad for women. The fact that young girls are growing up being told they have to meet these expectations or else they are not perfect is degrading to those who can’t meet these standards. Every women is different and shouldn’t be subjected to the same labels. A main point that stood out was when Kilbourne addresses the fact that “[Objectification] is particularly a problem for women of color.” There are many ads with these darker women wearing animal prints to show that they are part of the wild and not humans. Also, if they are not being objectified they still are thought lowly of and are portrayed in the lower class of society because they are colored skinned. This is not right and women should not be treated like this. Ads are giving women the wrong message and teaching young girls the wrong idea on how to be “perfect.”

    • Leigh Ann S. says:

      It also frustrated me that girls are given impossible standards to conform to through advertising. It’s sad to think that girls actually feel guilty and ashamed of themselves when they don’t like the women who advertise the products they wear.

    • Elisa M says:

      Viancha, I loved when you said, “woman are people too.” Even though it may sound silly, I personally think that sometimes people really do consider woman as objects. All of the ads that portray woman this way do not help at all. The ads give the impression that it is okay for all woman to be dehumanized, which it is not!

    • Miranda L. says:

      I totally agree with you. It saddens me that girls have to live up to almost impossible standards and how ads portray “perfect” girls. It also saddens me how they portray women of color as animals. I agree with you when you said that these ads are not right and women shouldn’t be treated this way.

    • Elizabeth Sullivan says:

      It is sad that it has to be said that women are people too. Ads portray girls as objects and do so to gain the attention of men. Why would a woman being depicted as a woman not be good enough? Why does a woman have to be skinny and tall and sexy to be considered beautiful?

    • Brittney W says:

      I agree that young girls are influenced by these dehumanizing ads. Which also create expectations of themselves to be like these models, which is totally horrible for our youth.

    • Lauren H says:

      I agree with you viancha, women should not try to live up to the standards that advertisements set. Young girls should not listen to the ads that say that they have to be as pretty as those models.

      • Chris C says:

        I agree I think its so upsetting to see young kids trying to live up to un unachievable goal. Not only is it unachievable it is also unhealthy. This is not good for girls to see and be influenced by.

  4. Leigh Ann S. says:

    While watching Killing Us Softly, I was saddened by how deep the negative effects of advertising are ingrained into our society. By watching the film, I was made aware of just how ridiculous advertising has become in this day and age- I mean, erotic food ads?! It made me especially angry when Kilbourne noted, “The sexualization of little girls and teenagers [has gotten worse].” Because of how normalized the portrayal of sex has become in the media and advertising, young girls find themselves wanting to conform to yet another standard, a very dangerous one. It also made me sad that women of color are only shown as beautiful if they look or seem “white.” I believe that erasing entire groups of women from the ads that they see every single day is sure to lower self-esteem.

    However, I have to disagree with Kilbourne when she said in the beginning of the film that men aren’t usually judged or scrutinized for their bodies, and unrealistic body standards are not as often presented in ads for men as for women. Have you ever seen a plus size male in an ad? It’s really the same “perfect body” dilemma as it is for women- tall, muscular, chiseled, and, more often than not, white. I feel that, in her mission to talk about the struggles for women, Kilbourne trivialized the ones for men, even turning that one Calvin Klein ad- you know the one- into a joke. Kilbourne made some additional comments that I didn’t agree with, such as, “Dieting is always a bad idea.”

    Overall, though, I believe that Kilbourne did a good job bringing some of the many issues with mainstream advertising to light, such as sexualization, body standards, objectification, stereotypes, pornography, and violence. Killing Us Softly was very informative.

    • Lois K says:

      I agree that men suffer from the body standards that women face. While women are expected to be skinny, pure but sexy, etc, men are expected to be masculine and show no weakness. This is what young boys and girls are taught which lowers their self esteem if they don’t fit the traits.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      Leigh, I don’t think Kilbourne is saying that objectification of men isn’t an issue; I think she’s stating that it’s a different issue, because (as she says at the end of the film) the repercussions for men aren’t the same. As she points out 1/3 of women killed in America are killed by violent male partners, and eating disorders affect far more women than men. So, while objectifying men isn’t good by any means, it doesn’t have the same consequences.

  5. Nick B says:

    I agreed a lot with when Jean stated about how many women today are just used for their bodies. Often times in advertisements, women are just displayed as objects. They are too often portrayed as a “display” in “feminine” and unrealistic poses. I am saddened by how much ads can actually effect our lives, and with the constant negative messages that are shoved in our faces. At one point, Jean stated, “ads create a society that depicts what success or normalcy should look like”. I believe that is true, however, I believe it is the society that depicts the advertisements. I think that advertisements represent our society as it already is, which is very unfortunate that it is so negative. Often in advertisements everything has to be perfect. From the look of the person or people in it to the location of the product placement to the nearest inch. It is a shame that people are used just to look good, because everyone else feels bad about themselves because of it. There really is no such thing as the “perfect” man or woman. That is the advertisers just telling us what we should like. I believe that people should try to separate advertisements from reality and really be themselves.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      Yes! This is why I like what they’re doing in Europe, labeling ads as “digitally altered.” At least then when you look at an ad, you’re reminded that it isn’t real!

    • Sara D says:

      I think what she is trying to say by “ads create a society that depicts what success or normality should look like”, is that the ads are not a realistic representation of what the world really is. The ads are showing a dream world that sets everybody’s expectations high for themselves and others which is the negative thing. The advertisements representing our society is a negative thing because other places in the world see these ads think they are our normal, while in reality, most things are completely different.

      • Brittney W says:

        I agree that people should separate from what is real and not real. Advertisements put on a “perfect” world, whereas our world is not. Everyone is different and I feel like we should accept everyone’s differences.

    • Laura P says:

      Hi Nick,
      I agree with what you said. Societies advertisements are corrupting the minds of the youth from a young age, which makes it really difficult to express self-love for every one of us. When we look in a mirror, we always wish we could be thinner, stronger, better looking… and that is what the ads make us do. It is a very pessimistic world when it comes to self-love and self-worth. Hopefully, our generation can overcome this boundary 🙂

    • Peter Shine says:

      I agree Nick it’s not right how Advertiser use photoshop and other techniques to make models get to this next level of “beauty” because it is such an unachievable look for normal people to reach and this leads to many people developing things like depression and anorexia. It is especially wrong for them to imply that it is an achievable look for us. They blur the lines of Fantasy and reality just so they can make a quick buck but in the end no one really benefits from what they are doing.

  6. Elisa M says:

    In my opinion, Jean Kilbourne covered many of the major problems for women in advertisements. However, I believe that she neglected to talk about how severe the problems that men face are. I liked that Jean Kilbourne used information such as, “for years now [women have] been getting this message that we’re supposed to be both innocent and sexy, virginal and experienced, all at once,” to support her statements. It saddens me that women are expected to do something that is simply not humanly possible. I also liked how she showed many real-life examples of women being used as objects in ads. It is strange to realize that people are seeing these ads over and over but they are still sitting back and watching them without speaking out. Jean Kilbourne did say, “[advertising and gender roles] dehumanize all of us, both men and women,” but she did not go into further detail about men specifically. It truly angered me when she said, “women of color in particular are supposed to ‘shut up’ and be ‘barely there.’” People, no matter what their race is, should not be treated that way. Overall, I believe Jean Kilbourne did a very good job explaining how women are negatively portrayed in ads.

    • Mia G says:

      I agree, it’s tough to realize that our society allows such suppressive advertisements to be broadcasted to the public. It is even stranger that more people don’t speak out against some of these ads. I think the reason the advertisement industry is able to get away with this is because people don’t believe advertisements affect them. Maybe, through more education and greater awareness of the affects of ads, things will change.

  7. Sara D says:

    The average person is exposed to over 3,000 ads a day. Most of which include over sexualized women. I did not notice these things before, but now I notice ads referencing sex trying to sell either a kids toy, food, a car, and almost everything else. Women in current, and even older ads have hidden messages saying that women are objects and are not beautiful unless they are thin, tall, blonde, and blue eyed. Women see this and constantly compare themselves to it, not understanding that it is an unrealistic goal for a large majority of women. Only five percent of the population has the capability to even look the way they do. This leads to depression, low self esteem and eating disorders in the other ninety five percent if the population. There are even sizes now in clothing that are zero and double zero. Literally saying that the women are nothing. These ads create a toxic cultural environment, causing women to believe they are not good enough. This self doubt has led to a one hundred and fourteen percent rise in surgeries like liposuction, breast implants, etc. Plus, ninety-one percent of other cosmetic procedures are women. Women are constantly trying to look like the others they see in magazines, billboards, ads on their phones, etc. What these women don’t comprehend is that the women they see on their ads are not actual women. It is common for editors to take parts of multiple different women to make the “perfect woman”.
    This does not only apply to women, men are no exception. Men are also stereotyped; typically as strong, powerful, independent. The men either have a half naked woman in the background, are in nature staring at the camera, or in some are even shown sitting on a couch while a female, most likely the mother, is taking care of a child in the background. These images of men give the impression that they are not caring and don’t have feelings or talk about anything. Anything besides the strong image of men is now seen as unmasculine. This can be offensive to the men who do have children and who care for them, taking the same amount of responsibility in raising the children. It will be extremely difficult to find an ad where the female is working a good job and the man is home taking care of the kids. It won’t be possible to find because it doesn’t exist in the media or ads that we see everyday.

    • Elizabeth Sullivan says:

      It is horrible that women feel as though they have to change their appearance to be noticed or considered “sexy.” Our society should not be a place where appearance is all that matters. Women should be told they have to look or be a certain way. The “perfect” woman does not exist, so we should not be telling people they have to be that way.

  8. Miranda L. says:

    After watching the video in class, I agree with pretty much everything Jean Kilbourne. It is very unfortunate to see these kind of ads in media, but it is even more unfortunate that these ads affect society so much. All these advertisements create almost impossible standards in society that need to be met. For example, the depiction of women in advertisements. Ads usually depict women as skinny and white. It implies the idea that all women have to look like that in order to be beautiful. However, in reality, it is a bunch of different women in the ad to create one “perfect” woman. Ads also show women as objects, unpowerful, and vulnerable constantly. I am saddened and frustrated about how unrealistic this depiction is. These standards created are almost impossible and can cause a lot of self esteem issues for people. Kilbourne says, “as girls reach adolescence, they are taught they should not be too power,” but women can be powerful too.
    This is not only the case for women though, they create standards for men. Ads portray men as muscular, tough, and shows that all guys want is a bunch of women. This is not always the case with men. Most men do not look like the guys that they show and multiple women is not what all guys want. Yet again, it creates unrealistic standards.
    The thing that surprised me the most in this video is that everyone is influenced by advertisements. Personally, I thought I was not influenced by them, but everyone is. Kilbourne said that 92% of ads are read by an unconscious mind. This shows that even if one does not realize it, they are influenced by advertisements. Overall, I believe that Kilbourne did an accurate job explaining the advertisements industry.

    • Elizabeth Sullivan says:

      I completely agree with everything Miranda says in her paragraph. Kilbourne does a great job of touching all the ways advertisements portray and effect women. Females are giving unrealistic expectations and are told that if they don’t look this way they aren’t perfect, but at the same time are told that they should be who they are. These mixed messages cause problems for women of all ages.

    • Ben L says:

      I agree with Miranda’s points, especially what she says about men. Advertising depicts men as if they are all the same and want the same things in life. However, not all men look like the men in the ads, not all men feel this need to dominate, and not all men treat women with such disrespect.

    • Lindsay Z says:

      I strongly agree with Miranda. I was blown away by the amount of issues girls deal with as a result of the portrayal of women in advertisements. It is shocking how simple advertisements can set an entire stereotype of what men and women must become in order to be considered attractive.

    • Lauren H says:

      I agree with miranda, girls should not have to deal with problems that advertisers give them. Advertisements should not be able to decide the stereotypes of people in society.

  9. Caitlin D. says:

    I agree that advertising and society is pushing unreal expectations on women. Jean Kilbourne outlined this greatly in the film, and described how ad companies, as well as the media, are implying how women and men should act in their everyday lives. Women are plastered on the covers of magazines in very little clothing, and seem to imply that everyone should look like them. If you don’t have a “model” body type, then you are seen as ugly or undesirable. The chances of having this body type are slim too. The body type that we as a society view as beautiful and acceptable “only 5% of women have.” This makes fitting in or beauty seem impossible to a majority of the population, and takes its toll on most women, especially young girls. They are used in ads as well, and “sexualization of little girls and young teenagers [has gotten worse],” to the point where they are seen as objects, just like adult women. Seeing what is expected of them and how they should look, can cause girls to spiral into depression and eating disorders when they believe they aren’t good enough. Advertising companies are letting people, especially women, know what they should look like, and how they should act from a young age.
    Men are also objectified in advertising. It may not occur as much as women, but it is still happening on a scale that is worrisome. Men and young boys see violence associated with masculinity, and this is causing increasing rates of gun violence and power among both teenage and adult men. Similarly to young girls, “Boys grow up in a culture in which men are constantly shown as perpetrators of violence.” This can cause enormous pressure from others on young boys, and make them conform to society’s ills.
    Advertising has an increasingly negative effect on both men and women in today’s society. It sets standards that most of the population can’t meet, and can in turn, lead to mental illnesses and violence.

    • Lois K says:

      I also found it upsetting that people have such beauty standards for women that makes it almost impossible to reach. This is not a lesson that young girls should be taught since the repercussions are so harmful.

    • Colette G says:

      I also found it upsetting that men are so heavily influenced by advertising as well as women, although in different ways. I did not recognize this until Jean Kilbourne pointed it out in the film, but many negative standards for men are seen in advertisements.

  10. Elizabeth Sullivan says:

    Day after day girls and women of all ages are exposed to ads that tell them they are not good enough. They see skinny, unrealistically beautiful women who have been digitally altered to sell a certain product or message. Jean Kilbourne explains how these ads impact the lives of “average” women everyday. The standard that is set for females through advertisements leads t0 big problem in our country such as eating disorders, depression, and a lack of self esteem.
    On top of making women feel bad about themselves, advertisements tend to portray women as objects. From beer bottles to cars, women are seen as material items rather than humans. Kilbourne says by doing this, we condone the message that violence towards women is okay. Women also have parts of their bodies snipped out of the advertisement to focus in on certain body parts, typically breasts, to seduce or entice the audience.
    The objectification of men, while not seen as often as women, happens in advertisements as well. They are told by these ads to be muscular and masculine. Because of how we show this masculinity in our society, we once again tell mean that being violent is okay. It shows you are tough.
    According to Kilbourne, only 5% of women have the body types that models have.We set these standards for women and young girls, and by doing so, we make them hate what their own appearance and consider it to be wrong. An average day for an American consists of 3,000 ads that tell them they aren’t good enough.

    • Caitlin D. says:

      I agree that men and young boys are learning that violence is okay. This needs to be stopped so that women, as well as men, stay safe and feel comfortable in society.

    • Ben L says:

      I agree with the Ideas that Elizabeth brings up. Girls are taught through ads that they need to look a certain way to be considered attractive and this is purely demeaning to girls. Often times, this may give females poor self-esteem. Companies are worsening the mental health of girls, just to sell a product. Is it really worth it?

    • Jason O says:

      I agree with the points here that Elizabeth is making. The advertisements truly are objectifying women, and are setting unrealistic standards for them. I totally agree that this has negative effects on women and can be self demeaning. This type of advertising definitely needs to be stopped.

  11. Carlo F says:

    The objectification of women in today’s ads is something that needs to be looked at more seriously. Jean Kilbourne does a tremendous job of shedding light onto all of the flaws in the advertisement industry.
    I agree that the advertising world is trying to put impossible constraints on females. They want them to be skinny but not too skinny. They want them to dress and act like “whores” but they also want them to be virginal and pure. Seeing these ads as a female adolescent makes them aspire to be “perfect” from such a young age when in reality they could never be like the women in pictures. This is because most often the girls in the pictures aren’t usually “real”. It saddened me to see how much photoshopping and airbrushing goes on throughout all different kinds of ads with females in them just to make them into the “ideal women”. One ad that stuck out to me was when they took four different picture and morphed them into one to create the most beautiful women they could get.
    Other ads that made me sad were when an image included an black female that was said to have been made “whiter” through photoshop. This teaches the younger generation to feel the need to be white to feel beautiful when this really isn’t the case. This just doesn’t make sense to me because no matter what color you are you should have to conform to societal normalities just because an advertisement says you should. Beauty isn’t a thing that’s measured by skin tone.
    Kilborne shows us many examples of advertisements that include just portions of a female body that do not include their faces. This further proves how women are seen as sexual objects in the eyes of the advertising world. These particular ads frustrate me because it tells us that the only thing that women are needed for are their bodies and that just isn’t true.

    • Jake F says:

      I agree with you Cj, it is upsetting to see advertisement agencies try and cover up a minorities natural skin to make it seem lighter. There is nothing wrong with having dark skin but advertisement give out the message that there is and that’s why it’s so corrupt

    • Meaghan Sheridan says:

      The ad with all the different combined women stuck out to me as well. It’s crazy that everyone is being surrounded by these perfect people who they are taught to aspire to look alike, but really the people in the ads are photoshopped and fake.

    • Jason O says:

      I agree with all the points that you have brought up hear CJ. I love how you mentioned the unrealistic double standards that advertisements are setting for women. It is truly impossible for women to dress and act like “whores”, and still be virginal and pure as you said. It is astonishing that as a society we are setting standards like this for women. This type of advertising truly needs to be put to an end.

  12. Kevin Denza says:

    In the advertising industry their are many wrong things portrayed and represented in a plethora of ads in the media today. Men are affected by this industry too, but most of all women are usually the ones affected in that they show unrealistic body shapes and unrealistic expectations and how women are usually portrayed as objects which is just wrong. In making these ads usually the editors just photoshop most, and or all the flaws or imperfect features mostly on women bodies. Say some women modeled for a photoshoot and she had two different sized eyes, editors could just change that imperfect flaw with a snap of a finger, which creates unrealistic representations for young girls and women to be looking at. In the video with Kilbourne we got to see a women who posed for an ad, and we got to get an insight of how photoshop can really make you look really altered. While looking at the finished product the women now did not look like herself at all after being put through so many changes with photoshop. Women are also treated like objects to men in some situations in the advertising industry. One specific example was that there was one ad in the video which showed a man on top of a women, in a sexual context and the women was on the bottom, with a magazine of a car on top of her face. This is just so wrong in that it makes me wonder, who really its these ads go out into the open when they know they’re going to get backlash from women. The women was obviously serving as an object to the man suggesting that she was not even important which needs to be put to an end. This industry has got away with too many things, and I think it needs to finally stop.

  13. Kevin Denza says:

    In the advertising industry their are many wrong things portrayed and represented in a plethora of ads in the media today. Men are affected by this industry too, but most of all women are usually the ones affected in that they show unrealistic body shapes and unrealistic expectations and how women are usually portrayed as objects which is just wrong. In making these ads usually the editors just photoshop most, and or all the flaws or imperfect features mostly on women bodies. Say some women modeled for a photoshoot and she had two different sized eyes, editors could just change that imperfect flaw with a snap of a finger, which creates unrealistic representations for young girls and women to be looking at. In the video with Kilbourne we got to see a women who posed for an ad, and we got to get an insight of how photoshop can really make you look really altered. While looking at the finished product the women now did not look like herself at all after being put through so many changes with photoshop. Women are also treated like objects to men in some situations in the advertising industry. One specific example was that there was one ad in the video which showed a man on top of a women, in a sexual context and the women was on the bottom, with a magazine of a car on top of her face. This is just so wrong in that it makes me wonder, who really its these ads go out into the open when they know they’re going to get backlash from women. The women was obviously serving as an object to the man suggesting that she was not even important which needs to be put to an end. This industry has got away with too many things, and I think it needs to finally stop.

    • Lindsay Z says:

      I agree with Kevin. It is mind blowing how different editors can make someone look and is very harmful to society. It sets an unrealistic and impossible standard and I wish it would come to an end as well. Women should and must be treated as something more than an object.

  14. Jake F says:

    The short film “Killing Us Softly” 4, truly enlightened me about the issues and consequences that go hand in hand with advertisement. Women are a constant target in ads and are constantly objectified. Jean Kilbourne found out that commonly, if women did not have every preferred characteristic that the advertisement required, they were piece together features from all different women to make on “perfect” women.
    Obviously this look would be impossible to achieve naturally and that is why women are slowly killing themselves trying to fit the profile. This isn’t very disturbing fact but not as disturbing as something else kilbourne discovered.
    She said that “Same parents give their daughters breast enhancements as high school graduation gifts.” This disgusted me. Not only are women held to such high body standards, but they are also often portrayed as naive, sexy, and vulnerable. These are only some of characteristics that girls are portrayed as but the list goes on and on.
    All of these expectations have set such a high standard for women and such an unrealistic dream girl for men, that advertisement ha become beneficial to both genders. Thankful, Kilbourne’s observations have shone a light on all the evil in the advertising world and has started movement.
    I was happy to hear that her recognition of these problems have brought it to many others attention and have already started to make some ripples in the advertising world. One of the world’s most popular fashion companies recently announced that they will start to use the “common women” in their adds rather than the fake, digitally edited models.

    • Jason O says:

      I think that you have brought up some great points here Jake. Portraying models as “perfect” after they have been photo shopped puts unreasonable pressure on women to look that way without being photo shopped. It is impossible for women to look this way, yet the advertisements are making women desire to look like this. Women should be happy with the way they look, and not have to see photo shopped models posted on everything.

  15. Laura P says:

    Even before the Advertising Unit in our English class, I’ve already seen multiple people on social media attempting to end the toxic ad campaigns in our society. One of the points that stuck to me was a post about the correlation between models and women in our society. The post showed a story of a girl who realized how ads/ depictions of women in the media affected her self-consciousness; which later led to depression and anorexia. Similar to the post, Kilbourne mentions in her clip on how little girls are affected by ads when a woman is shown in a sensual manner. The ads subliminally get hardwired into the brain, making girls from a young age of 10 begin to feel self- conscious with the way they look.
    These type of ads are brainwashing females into believing that their body, face, and other facial features have to be 100% perfect… no blemishes whatsoever. Giving this message to little girls is not good, as it will take longer to get over their self-consciousness.
    Societies advertising towards girls are extremely dangerous and can lead to a lot of problems down the line. Hopefully, ads like these won’t degrade the next generations physical attributes.

    • Julia D says:

      I completely agree Laura! The thought that these ads affect people subconsciously is just scary. Women should not be degraded at all and the fact that young girls are paying the price (depression, eating disorders, low self esteem etc.) for companies to sell their products is simply wrong.

    • Meaghan Sheridan says:

      I think it is horrible that children that young are surrounded by these ideas. While it is exciting to know that there are people out there fighting to change advertising and help send a positive message to these children, it is still a problem today. Everyone should be able to feel happy and confident no matter what they look like and I agree that advertising puts a strain on this.

    • Jennifer S. says:

      I agree with you Laura! These ads are really getting into these young girls head and it is affecting them on the way they look at themselves. It is a big issue because they will have difficulty loving their true body and not base it on these “models” and “women” on these ads.

  16. Adrian Ramirez says:

    The film “Killing Us Softly 4” illustrated the style women and men mostly women are depicted in the media. Jean Kilbourne supplied various patterns of ads which have a tremendous influence on how we perceive both genders through distorted and negative lenses. I feel like our generation knows that not everything in the media is realistically achievable, but this documentary has in some ways revealed precisely how evident, inaccurate, and stereotypical marketers are when it comes to the portrayal of women when selling products or any other item. American advertising has created messages for both men and women that are unhealthy and quite frankly silly especially when it comes to perceptions of body image and sexuality. I do believe that these ads are one of the leading causes of low self-esteem in women. With a relentless portrayals of women being tanned, skinny, and long-haired, young girls have now begun to think that this is what they need to become. However, the kind of women that are represented in the media is unattainable and is the main reason why plastic surgeons are wealthy.

    • Owen F says:

      Yes Adrian you definitely bring up some good points!
      Women these days are definitely growing up with the idea that you have to dress and look a certain way to be accepted instead of being themselves.

  17. Shane C. says:

    Advertising companies run a dirty business, they have corrupted the culture of america and how we perceive our day to day. They portray women as only being objects and sex toys. From using four different women in one add to create the “Perfect Women” to only using the skinniest models in fashion magazines, and making young woman believe that, being anemic and 7 feet tall is the pinnacle of fashion and beauty. Though this repeated showing that women need to be this way it causes girls who can’t achieve that “Beauty” to develop mental disorders, such as eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. Along with this need to be skinny, advertisers show that “Women of Color in particular are suppose ti ‘Shut up’ and be ‘Barley there’.” Advertisers try to disadvantage Color women as the common worker and that they have no opinion or voice. This is absolutely terrible and wrong and is damaging to our society as a whole.

    • Ty B says:

      I agree with Shane. Advertisers have gone way too far, and their at the point where they are giving little girls eating, and mental disorders. They put unrealistic expectations on women, use stereotypes, and barely feature people of color.

    • Owen F says:

      I completely agree with you Shane,
      Women in advertising are shown as nothing more than mere objects does nothing but help lower self esteem.

    • Lauren H says:

      I agree with you Shane, it is not fair to treat women as if they belong to men. Advertisers should not have the power to give females eating and mental disorders.

  18. Ty B says:

    Jean Kilbourne did a great job in “Killing us Softly 4” to highlight the ridiculous, and unrealistic expectations put on women, just to sell products. She highlighted one ad that photoshopped four women together to make one “perfect model” that was impossibly thin. This goes to show how much photoshop is used on advertisement models. This has extremely negative effects on the women seeing the ad, it lowers self-esteem, and even causes eating disorders. Possibly even scarier, when little girls see these ads, it teaches them that they need to strive to be like this. Kilbourne said “To a great extent, advertising tells us who we are and who we should be”, this is very true as basically every ad you see has a skinny woman posing. Kilbourne also did a great job highlighting the stereotypes depicted in ads. She shows how women are always taking care of children, never the father, and how women are constantly sexualized and how men are always portrayed as dominant. Overall, it is a great thing that Kilbourne is shining so much light on the situation, and helping make the world a better place.

    • Joe G says:

      I agree with Ty about the use of Photoshop and digital editing in advertisements. I also find that the use of four models to create a perfect model is absurd, and can lead to negative effects on others striving to look that way. I was pleased to see that some countries were shown to have banned edited photos in their advertisements.

  19. Meaghan Sheridan says:

    Overall, I think that Jean Kilbourne did a very good job on exploring the influences of advertising in America. There were numerous things that she discussed that I strongly agreed with. One of the topics she talked about, which I agree is a big issue, is the fact that women are turned into objects in advertising. In her movie, Kilbourne shows many ads in which women are depicted as objects such as beer bottles or cars. Kilbourne says, “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” To me, this is one of the worst outcomes of us living in a world surrounded by advertising. Women are put down in ads and men begin to see them as less of a person and more of a thing. As Kilbourne explained, this leads to violence. Another topic of discussion, which made me really upset, was about the body stereotype of women. Women are told that they need to be a certain body type in order to be “beautiful” and this idea comes from the models that are seen in advertising. Models in ads are overly skinny and many of them have eating disorders. These women try so hard to have the perfect body that they harm themselves to get it. I think this is horrible women shouldn’t have to live in a world where they are told that only one body type is beautiful, especially when this perfect body is ultimately impossible to acquire. While many of the issues resulting from advertising in our world are surrounding women, I think that Kilourne should have gone further in talking about the degrading stereotypes of men, and how they are affected by these ads. While she did lightly touch on in by saying, “One thing that has changed in recent years is the increase in ads that objectify men,” I wish she would have gone into depth on the topic. The same things that are happening to women are happening to men as well. Both genders are affected greatly and it is important to look at both.

    • Mia G says:

      I also thought it was strange how Jean Kilbourne kept brushing over the topic of men in advertising. More than once she stated how the problem just wasn’t as serious for men. Although I cannot say I know much about the subject, I am sure there is more to it, and I wish Jean Kilbourne would have explored that a little more.

    • Jason O says:

      I think that Meaghan brings up some really great points here. The stereotyping and objectifying of women in advertising is unbelievable. However, I also wish that Jean Kilbourne would have gone into more depth on the topic of men in advertising. I think it is important to note that even though advertisements are heavily affecting women, they are additionally affecting men. I wish that she went into detail about this.

  20. Owen F says:

    During the film, “Killing us softly 4” by Jean Kilbourne, I started noticing a few patterns taking place in advertisements that all girls had to conform to if they wanted to be the “ideal” model. Women portrayed in modern adds have to be skinny, to the point of being anorexic or malnourished to be classified as a model. This portrays a negative image onto other women looking at these ads by making them believe that to look good they need to get skinny at a dangerous level. Like Kilbourne suggest “Stereotypes wound all of us. They wound women, they wound men, and they also make for pretty terrible relationships.” This shows that Kilbourne realized that there are stereotypes in media that have a negative impact on people viewing such content, but she also brings up another point.
    While Kilbourne acknowledges the fact that women in advertisement leave a negative impact on our self image by making everyone want to be abnormally skinny, she also points out that women in ads help shape the type of women men desire. “A body type that statistically only 5% if women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable.” This show us that only a small percent of the population has the traits we are all leaded into thinking makes people look good. This constant bombardment of the “ideal women” into men’s heads makes men believe that if you want to be accepted in society, you have to have a women that is extremely skinny.

    • Adrian Ramirez says:

      I agree with Owen the evidence presented in this film obviously presents connections between advertising, negative body image, and self-esteem. We normally only see everyday people in ads when they are compared to fit models, most of the time used in a humorous way, and this is a real problem.

  21. Giana D says:

    I found it appalling how the advertisement industry modifies woman’s features. I agree with Jean kilbourne, that this just creates an unrealistic fantasy of what girls think they should look like. The way these advertisers digitalized these women just shows how they see them as objects and not people. I agree that this creates lower self-esteem and disorders in young girls. I find it disgusting how advertisers portray women as nothing but housemaids or a sex objects, when young girls have so much potential than being a ditz. I do however think it’s great that people are realizing this in Europe, and are trying to make a change. I also agree that media literature should be taught in schools to prepare children not to listen to dehumanizing ads.

    • Zoe H says:

      I agree, often with how women are depicted as being childish such as having there finger in their mouth. This shows men from the start that they have the power to become “over” women because they r depicted as children or easy to manipulate and not smart enough to notice when they are being deceived.

  22. Julia D says:

    Kilbourne, in the movie “Killing Us Softly 4,” accurately represents the cruel reality girls have to face when it comes to the media. Advertisements constantly encourage girls to see themselves as objects rather than people, by turning objects into women and women into objects. The idea that women and objects become one, influence us all quickly and sometimes subconsciously. Advertisers also use unhealthy images to portray a concept of “normalcy” that is often unreachable. The media almost never uses a photograph of a woman considered beautiful that hasn’t been photoshopped. The fact that ads sometimes use up to four women to create the image of one “perfect” one just goes to show that the standard girls think they must live up to is unrealistic. The average woman is a size 14 and it is frustrating that ads use images of women who are a size 00 to represent beauty when the reality is that only 5% of the population has that body type. The effect this has on society and young girls is real and should not be overlooked. Studies have shown that girls who are exposed to these concepts at a young age are more likely to develop depression, eating disorders and low self esteem in the future. Today, the average American sees up to 5,000 ads every single day and will spend approximately two years of their life watching television commercials. Since ads are everywhere (schools, buildings, sports stadiums, billboards, bus stops, buses, cars, elevators, medical offices, airplanes, food, etc) it is not something people can simply avoid.

    • Zoe H says:

      I agree with Julia, that the average woman weighs a significant amount more than what is portrayed unrealistically in magazines and other ads. Even though obesity is a rising problem in America I do not think the right approach is shaming people to what they look like on the outside but rather what they feel like on inside making their bodies healthier.

    • Kristin M says:

      I agree with Julia, standards in advertisements for women are often unreachable or even fake. Photoshopping women’s bodies can have a negative impact on those viewing the ads, but it can also be seen as advertisers shaming the people modeling in the ad.

  23. Mike T says:

    In our country today, women are urged to have an unrealistic body type that not even healthy supermodels have. This goal of beauty contributes to low self esteem, eating disorders and even depression. This documentary shows that sex is used to sell everything which is in fact true. The part of the film that stuck with me is how this movement of speaking up against objectifying women is starting to grow. Jean Kilbourne is not the only speaker that shows this. This film also rips apart the idea that plus size and normal size models are inadequate to skinny models with eating disorders. I also agree with Lois, she stated that young women and adolescents are losing self esteem and becoming depressed. These ads that objectify women should not be on television. Lastly, I agree with Elizabeth who said that 3000 ads are seen a day on average by American people. These ads make not only women but men feel bad about themselves.

  24. Zoe H says:

    “Killing Me Softly” 4, was eye opening and angered me after being shown what all these ads that are mostly subliminal actually mean. Many of these advertisements although ma y help companies sell their products are dangerous in many shapes and sizes. These advertisements that don’t even include real women, are not only being edited highly by computer graphics but they include several different people to make only the desired traits. When women, especially young girls not sure of what is right and wrong yet are being taught that all of the models that they see, most of which look very similar are what they are supposed to be. It deeply saddens me that people of color or other races, not white are rarely depicted in advertisements and when they are they are shown as being lower class or not as important as those who are white. One thing I think that the film did not really go into depth about but is important is the way that advertisements impact men. Men are being taught to objectify women, the way that many ads were doing. Advertisements are also creating a society that men are taught that it is “cool” or even encouraged to sleep and see many different girls in short amounts of time, but if a women were to do the same thing as a man that sleeps around she would be called a “whore” or “slut” perhaps. One thing from the film that really stuck with me is how many advertisements, the average person sees a day and it has made me more aware that almost everything you look at is a way for a company to sell you their products.

    • Katie S says:

      I also agree with Zoe that there is not enough diversity of race in advertisements. I also wish that the film had gone more into depth about the physical and emotional effects on men from advertisements, since the film was focused on women.

    • Gianna B says:

      I agree with Zoe. The difference between women and men in ads are very noticable. The men are portrayed as masculine and violent, whereas women are portrayed more vunerable. It is also impossible for women to achieve the body type of the models in ads because they are all created with computer graphics, and it’s sending the wrong message to young girls.

    • Lindsay Z says:

      I agree with Zoe. It disgusts me how companies will use subliminal messages to get people to buy their products. Advertisements have poisoned our brains and will continue to do so until more people realise the extent of the issue.

    • Jenna P says:

      I agree with Zoe. The fact that companies use multiple women to create a single picture so they could get all the desirable traits is disgusting, and it also sets an unrealistic beauty standard. I also agree that young girls are greatly influenced by how women are depicted in advertisements because it teaches them how to look.

  25. Katie S says:

    After watching this film, I have come to the conclusion that I do agree with the statement that women are often seen as objects in advertisements. They are also deemed as vulnerable and very feminine. I also agree with the fact that women are are secondary in ads, especially ones with men in them. But men are also often stereotyped into being tough and very masculine. Although I did not have any strong disagreements, I would have liked to see more stereotypes on men in advertisements. What frustrated me were stereotypes for both men and women. That they could only be seen in one way. This also frustrated me because now, it is difficult to look at an advertisement without completely analyzing its flaws. I am also saddened by advertisements because it does not leave me any hope for change any time soon. Seeing how women and men are still being portrayed now, it seems like companies will continue to objectify humans. The parts of the film that stuck with me were the parts that addressed fashion advertisements. This is because it made me realize that the fashion industry isn not all it seems. Instead of advertising clothing, bodies and expectations are advertised. I never realized this until seeing the film. It also made me see how tough careers for models must be. They constantly have to maintain a certain body figure. They also have the pressure of using their bodies to earn money for the company they are modeling for. Advertisements not only impact viewers but also the ones making up the advertising.

  26. Kristin M says:

    I agree with all of the points that Jean Kilbourne made in her movie. Advertising affects people every single day, whether they realize it or not. People cannot avoid seeing advertisements in schools, on buildings, in the media, etc. In the video, Kilbourne says, “Advertising sells a great deal more than products.” Images and phrases seen by the public in advertisements can be misleading in many ways. Advertisements market different concepts of values, sexuality, romance, and success. When people see these advertisements, their own views are affected and altered. This is especially true for young children. For example, Kilbourne states, “As girls reach adolescence, they’re taught that they should not be too powerful.” Young girls growing up see women depicted in certain ways in advertisements and go on to believe that they should be that way too. Their minds are corrupted by other people’s ideas before they have a chance to decide their own views on things for themselves. Kilbourne goes on to say that,
    “[Advertising and gender roles] dehumanize all of us, both men and women.” Advertisements often turn people into objects or trivial things, rather than actual beings. This can lead to an escalation of violence in society. Advertising encourages people to think a certain way, and receiving the messages shown in them is unavoidable.

    • Kelcie L. says:

      I agree Kristin. It is nearly impossible to not receive messages through ads. It is also a problem how the ads dehumanize society and makes us think about how we should live and look in order to feel a certain way.

    • Grace M says:

      I totally agree with you, Kristin. I hadn’t realised until this unit how much advertising affects us as much as it does, sometimes without us even knowing. I agree that advertisements corrupt us into thinking a certain way before we are able to make our own mind up about a certain topic. Advertising companies definitely show ads to children earlier on purpose. It is sad to think that ads turn people into objects which shows children the wrong idea.

  27. Gianna B says:

    After seeing “Killing Me Softly 4” I started to notice how ads were affecting women all over the country. Women are starving themselves in order to achieve the “perfect” body type when it’s impossible to do so. These ads are teaching girls from a young age to believe that being skinny and thin is considered beautiful and being overweight is unattractive. This poses a health risk for young girls who are now developing eating disorders to maintain their small figure. Women perceive these ads as the beauty standard and it is changing the way women view themselves. Instead of being confident they lack self-esteem and have body image issues. Ads use extremely underweight models to convey that being skinny is pretty. However some magazines have stopped using professional models all together to help stop the spread of eating disorders, but there is still a long way to go before women are perfectly comfortable in their own skin.

    • Chelzea W. says:

      I too was pleased that the film spoke about how advertisements affect real people and can cause real problems. Low self-esteem and eating disorders can be caused by many kinds of advertisements and it’s great that this is finally being acknowledged.

  28. Ben L says:

    The impacts of advertising today are inescapable. Ads are everywhere and we feel the effects of them whether we are aware of it or not. This increased exposure to advertising changed the way people see the world. People feel they have to be like the people in the ads; Even if they are underweight or airbrushed models. Jean Kilbourne, author of Killing Us Softly 4, points out, “To a great extent, advertising tells us who we are and who we should be.” I agree that this is true. Girls may see a picture of a model who looks happy and she is skinny. Isolated, this is not all that bad. However, increased exposure to these ads sends a message to young girls: If you are skinny you will be happy. The idea that the youth of our world feels the need to mimic the people in the media makes me sad about the future. Kilbourne explains, “The sexualization of young girls and young teenagers [has gotten worse].” The younger that girls start being exposed to these ads, the earlier they want to embody the models shown in the media. It makes me frustrated that the ads don’t depict positive role models for children? One part of the film that stuck with me was how the companies making the ads often do not even use real women. The company take a woman or several different women and then retouch the image(s) to make it look exactly how the company wants it to. So, what this tells us is that women today are striving to look like someone that doesn’t even exist. This retouching of images is creating impossible expectations of beauty. This angers me a lot and it needs to stop. Overall, I really enjoyed the film and agreed with a lot of the points Kilbourne made.

    • Jason O says:

      I think that Ben has brought up some really great points here. It truly is astonishing how much women are edited in advertisings to make them look even more perfect. I agree that this sends a terrible message to women, this message being that if you are skinny and beautiful, you will be happy. This also frustrated me a lot and I think that it needs to be stopped.

    • Jacob G says:

      I agree that ads impact everyone in our society, even if you think you can tune them out. Before watching this film, I was unaware to many of the hidden messages ads send about what is acceptable in society. I also agree that ads create impossible aspects of beauty that can hurt self esteem.

    • Joe G says:

      Ben, you bring up a great point how young children should have better role models. As you said we often see bad messages or unattainable goals set for kids through role models. Digital editing is one of the few ways we see this today. I agree that children need more positive role models, so they can strive for the right ideals.

  29. Kelcie L says:

    What I liked about the film was how well Kilbourne showed the reality of girls in the media. They are shown as objects rather than people. With advertising companies portraying girls and women as objects, girls and women are expected to live up to standards that are not healthy or possible. What made me frustrated was that ads are the big source of the problem for girls have eating disorders, depression, and lower self esteem. What really stuck out to me was how much of an ad we take in and remember without even knowing it. This is really concerning because we see ads so often and yet we can take in so much of the ad without even realizing. Another thing that frustrated me is that there are so many ads for awareness about depression and eating disorders, yet the reason many girls have these issues is because of the ads they see in the media. Also, the film really didn’t talk much about men in the media and this bothered me. boys can have the same problem of trying to live up to the exceptions that the media portrays, but it is not talked about. Overall I liked the film and I learned a lot about what the media is doing to our society.

  30. Kelcie L. says:

    What I liked about the film was how well Kilbourne showed the reality of girls in the media. They are shown as objects rather than people. With advertising companies portraying girls and women as objects, girls and women are expected to live up to standards that are not healthy or possible. What made me frustrated was that ads are the big source of the problem for girls have eating disorders, depression, and lower self esteem. What really stuck out to me was how much of an ad we take in and remember without even knowing it. This is really concerning because we see ads so often and yet we can take in so much of the ad without even realizing. Another thing that frustrated me is that there are so many ads for awareness about depression and eating disorders, yet the reason many girls have these issues is because of the ads they see in the media. Also, the film really didn’t talk much about men in the media and this bothered me. boys can have the same problem of trying to live up to the exceptions that the media portrays, but it is not talked about. Overall I liked the film and I learned a lot about what the media is doing to our society.

    • Chelzea W. says:

      I was also fond of how the objectification in women was really brought to light in the film. It’s an issue that is often left in the dark and needs to start being talked about more often.

  31. Mia G says:

    Watching the film “Killing Us Softly” 4 in class really opened my eyes to the way I perceive advertisements. Jean Kilbourne opened her talk by acknowledging that no one believes they are truly affected by ads. This certainly rang true for me; even though I see ads constantly while flipping through magazines, I have always believed I have had control over which ads I pay attention too. After listening to Kilbourne, I am more aware of how the constant bombardment of advertisements affects me. Being a teenage girl myself, the media messages Kilbourne discussed made me especially angry. Particularly, the association between violence and materialism created by advertisements shocked me. Kilbourne had said “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” Kilbourne followed this with subtle examples of ads dehumanizing women; often done by only showing parts of that person. But even more extreme examples were shown; women posed lifeless on the floor, constrained by men or surrounded by intimidating figures. While these images alone were hard to look at, it was even harder to imagine a consumer being persuaded to buy a product after seeing one of these scenes. Seeing the film made me wonder “Why is violence admirable in our society?” Keep in mind that images such as these are used to sell handbags and perfume! Violent motifs retained in advertisements reflects how desperately social revolution still needs to occur!

    • Jacob G says:

      I totally agree that ads dehumanize people through objectification. It is wrong and can lead only to violence. Kilbourne also opened my eyes to the messages ads send. Before watching the film, I didn’t realize the extent to which they impact our society.

    • Joe G says:

      I was also angered by the fact objectification leads to a myriad of harmful things such as violence. Violence is a tricky topic as movies can sometimes suggest violence is good or can make one more entertaining or likeable. When in reality, violence rarely solves everyday issues. I agree and find it very surprising that violence is used to sell products such as perfume.

    • Colette G says:

      Mia, I also find it frustrating that advertisements encourage violence and make it seem acceptable. It is also true that ads dehumanize people, which worsens the problem of violence. It was bizarre to see advertisements for clothing brands and such show such violence in the film.

  32. Jason O says:

    The film Killing Us Softly 4 astonished me with the information given regarding the portrayal of men and women and messages that those ads send to us. Prior to viewing this video, I was not aware of all the hidden messages in advertisements, and the negative effects that they have on society.
    One thing that really stuck with me, and that I agree with, is the notion that advertisements push unreal expectations and standards for women. Women are portrayed in almost every advertisement as being inferior, weak and with almost no clothing. Kilbourne describes the women being used in advertising as “having a body type that statistically only 5% of women have”. These advertisements are portraying perfect women, thus making almost every woman seeing the advertisement self conscious of their own image. The women used in advertising are also imposing an impossible double standard on women in society today. Kilbourne says the advertisements tell women that “we’re supposed to be both innocent and sexy, virginal and experienced, all at once”. Advertising objectifies women and has negative impacts on the women that view this content.
    Kilbourne also stated that “one thing that has changed in recent years is the increase in ads that objectify men. Before watching, this I was completely unaware of how men are now being objectified in ads. Advertisements show men that they need to be handsome, wealthy, and fit in order to be happy. Additionally, it angered and frustrated me that men are almost always associated with violence. Today, “boys grow up in a culture in which men are constantly shown as perpetrators of violence”. As a man, I personally take offense to this stereotype, and believe it to be false. These advertisements are portraying unfair and false stereotypes of men.
    Something that I am now sure of is that advertisements are heavily influencing and damaging our society. It is clear that “advertising and gender roles dehumanize all of us, both men and women”.

    • Carlo F says:

      The fact that you brought up about the body type of females in ads that only about 5% of females have is crazy. But its even crazier to see that society is trying to show that that body type is the body that a women needs to be pretty when in reality it is super rare to have. And I also agree with your disagreement to the way men are portrayed as violent.

    • Jacob G says:

      I was also shocked by the many subliminal messages ads convey that I had never seen before. I think you make a good point when you say that ads are damaging our society by creating gender stereotypes. It is totally wrong to try and sell the image of a perfect person, man or women. All it does is lower self esteem.

  33. Jennifer S. says:

    All of what Jean Kilbourne said was true. Women and Men are being portrayed in ways that people do not even realize. Men are seen as these strong, serious, superior people that tells the readers that, that is how every male should be. Women are portrayed as sexy and passive and that is not okay in our society. These ads are telling the viewers that this is the way they are supposed to look, feel and be. Kilbourne stated that, ” Basically we’re told that women are acceptable only if we’re young, thin, white, beautiful, carefully groomed and polished, and any deviation from that ideal is met with a lot of contempt and hostility.” Young ladies growing up are having to face the reality of these ads and they end up having eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. It is sad to think of these things because males or females want to be like all the stereotypes these ads put out in the world. That was what stook out to me the most because these ads are making people judge themselves for the way they look. People want to look like these ads, but in reality it is all photoshopped.

  34. Peter Shine says:

    I agree with what Kilbourne said about the ways that advertising affects the mental state of girls who are born into a world where appearance and the need to look slender and slim is so great that to look different is looked down upon. I think it is absurd that because of the fake images that ad companies use many American women will develop eating disorders while trying to fit into the impossible to achieve standards of appearance given to women by these Ad’s. I believe that if an ad applies photoshop to their images that they should disclaim that the image is not real. I also like how Kilbourne talks about how women are seen as objects that are taken apart so only the parts that the advertisers like remain. This can show men that women are possessions and not other human beings.This can also make women feel that her body does not match with what society feels like she should look like. Which is something that shouldn’t happen. Advertisers should try and use people that don’t make others feel that they are second rate instead they should use women that real so others aren’t always trying to chase this impossible standard of beauty. But men are also affected by these ads . These ads give men false ideas of beauty which can lead them to believe that their partner is not good enough. This could lead to domestic abuse which is one of the leading causes of women’s deaths in America. Overall Kilbourne made a very nice presentation. It is nice to see people trying to change the way American view each other in a positive way.

    • Jacob G says:

      Good point Peter. I totally agree that it is wrong for ads to try and fabricate a false picture of what people should be. People shouldn’t have to fit into a certain description, and like you said, the pressures of appearance can lead to very negative mental impacts.

    • Daniel K says:

      I agree with you Peter, that it is wrong to use fake images to women beautiful and how they are used as objects to appeal to everyone from Men to children on how they should be and be treated.

    • Mariam L says:

      I agree with you Peter. I think that advertisers should use real women instead of photoshopped models. It makes most normal women feel inadeqaute and that they need to alter their appearance.

  35. Lindsay Z says:

    After watching the film “Killing Us Softly” 4 I became very frustrated. I could not believe how the ads were depicting both men and women. As someone who strongly believes in women’s rights, and equality as a whole, I was very upset by how the women were being portrayed. The advertisements made women seem weak, vulnerable, and like objects. Also, they had altered the images to an unrealistic human. The men in the advertisements were seen as powerful and almost godly. Some of the advertisements made it seem like in order to be a man, you must be muscular, heterosexual, and bigger and stronger than women. Some of the advertisements even made it seem like men needed to hurt women in order to be authoritative. This, in my opinion, is a disgusting portrayal of both genders. Humans are so much more than that.what stuck out to me was the dominance of white people in advertisements. It makes the watcher think that they must be white or have light skin in order to be considered attractive. Something else that stuck out to me was the fact that children who are seeing these advertisements are thinking that they have to be like that at a young age. Kilbourne states, “As girls reach adolescence, they’re taught they should not be too powerful,” and, “The sexualization of little girls and young teenagers [has gotten worse].” This, to me, is terrifying. All I would want for a young person is for them to be happy in their own skin and advertisements are taking that away from so many people. Enough is enough.

    • T Berkowitz says:

      I agree with Lindsay that a lot of male advertisements made it seem like in order to be happy or be able to “pull off” the product the ad was selling you had to be very muscular and very sexy looking.

      • Sam P says:

        I ageee with Lindsay, ads are making young viewers think they have to be just like the models portrayed in the ads but that is not right. Humans are so much more than what people are portrayed in ads. It’s sad your skin tone and the way you look affect what kind of person you are, it shouldn’t be this way you should just be happy with yourself.

  36. Jeannie Granahan says:

    After watching “Killing Us Softly” 4, I was saddened by the objectification in ads that is considered the norm for our society. I believe Kilbourne hit the spot on many of the major issues in advertising. Personally, equality and respect are very important to me, and it was very saddening to see the disrespect of both men and women in advertising that often goes unnoticed. The only thing that I can disagree with in the film is how dismissive she seemed with the objectification of the male bodies. Although it is less common and different, like she said, it is still very important that that does not happen. Even though men are displayed more “powerful”, they are still being dehumanized and disrespected. Besides that, Kilbourne was pretty spot on with her concern for the objectification of women in advertisements.

    • T Berkowitz says:

      I agree with Jeanie that Kill born hit the spot with equality and respect. Equality and respect need to be shown more for women and diverse skin tones.

  37. Chelzea W. says:

    Although what Jean Kilbourne spoke about in the film “Killing Us Softly 4” was not the most pleasurable thing to hear, it was disturbingly true. Even now in this day and age, we as a society are rarely able to depict each other in a realistic viewpoint, especially in media and advertisements. Kilbourne makes it abundantly clear in her film that people in advertisements are not even seen as real living people, but objects. She also points out that this form of objectification is customarily shown through women and young girls. What stuck with me most however, is how Kilbourne explained how these unrealistic goals that are set for the women of today can lower their self-esteem significantly. I myself had never realized why exactly I had such a difficult time seeing myself as ideal. It took me a very long while to discover that I only had these feelings towards my own self because my whole life I had been surrounded with images and advertisements of beauty standards that were the opposite of who I was. Most girls in magazines and T.V were skinny, had long silky hair, and perfectly tan skin. With my thick thighs, poofy afro, and dark melanin complexion, it was no wonder I felt so incapable of being seen as pretty. Kilbourne herself states that “We’re told that women are acceptable only if we’re young, thin, white, beautiful, carefully groomed and polished.” I for one am certain that I am not the only person out there that is hoping for these standards of beauty are not here to stay. As someone who considers herself an advocate for diversity, I believe that media and advertisements are things that heavily require this.

  38. Jacob G says:

    When watching, “Killing Us Softly”, the part that stuck with me the most is the way in which advertisements create such a rigid picture of what a person should be. I find it appalling that both boys and girls are told specifically how to look and behave in society, especially in a day and age where we claim to be accepting of all different kinds of diversities. Kilbourne states that, “we’re told that women are acceptable only if we’re young, thin, white beautiful, carefully groomed and polished, and any deviation from that ideal is met with a lot of contempt and hostility.” Similarly with men, “masculinity is so often linked with violence, with brutality, with ruthlessness.” If these ideals are being instilled in people from young ages, it can lead to all kinds of problems ranging from low self esteem to poor life choices.
    Another part of the film I liked was the discussion of objectification. Mostly seen with women, people are increasingly being made into “things” by focusing only on the body and sometimes not even having a face in the ad. Kilbourne makes a very good point when she says, “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person.” Objectification can only have harmful outcomes and we must recognize and try to stop it.
    Although I agree with most of Kilbourne’s points, I do not believe that ads are, “always the same unless race enters the picture.” This is because all ads differ in what they are selling as well as the message about society they are conveying. For example, one ad can be selling a product linked with sex while another ad can be linked with comfort or safety.

    • T Berkowitz says:

      I strongly agree with Jacob on the thought that its sad that ads are trying to make me someone who i don’t want to be. I also agree that objectification with women needs to end.

  39. T Berkowitz says:

    Watching the film “Killing us Softly” made me realize a lot of things about advertising that I had never really noticed before. Fro example, the way that women in ads are never looking at the camera because they are supposed to be scene as the “less powerful” character. Or how most fragrance ads are about not only selling the fragrance but selling sex and a promising relationship. The only thing I would have to disagree with in the film is that men can betrayed just as “powerless as women” in some ads. I found that throughout the documentary all the ads that have been shown have a male as a dominate and or more powerful part . Another problem that I did not realize about ads until I watched this film was the difference in race. Mostly all the ads that we saw were either white skinned americans with blond hair and blue eyes or bodies, not faces, of either hispanic or african american skinned tone. Very rarely do you see the face of a hispanic or an Asian on a advertisement. I do believe that the ways of advertising need to change. There needs to be more women in action and more diversity.

  40. Joe G says:

    The short film “Killing Us Softly 4” by Jean Kilbourne exposes the audience to the influences of media and advertising. Kilbourne showed many examples of how advertising is affecting everything and everyone in the world, especially women. When on the topic of women in advertising Kilbourne displayed events of a woman’s body being objectified. I absolutely agree with Kilbourne in that objectification needs to be stopped. In several beer, car, or even food advertisements, women are digitally morphed into objects without life. This gives off a message that women are disposable and aren’t thought of as human beings. Objectification can also lead to violence. Kilbourne states, “‘ Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person, ‘”. This quote furthers the argument of how terrible objectification can be. What angers me most is that the media fails to combat this problem. Everyday women (and sometimes even men) are allowed to be objectified and changed in every way with almost no consequences. The fact that it is okay in today’s society to allowing a person’s life to be diminished to a nonliving object truly saddens me.
    While I do agree with Kilbourne on most of her points, I disagree with some of Kilbourne’s views on race in advertising. Kilbourne said during the film that, “‘ Women of color in particular are supposed to ‘shut up’ and be ‘barely there’,'”. I disagree with this statement because through my search in magazine for advertisements I did not find this to be true. In fact, I saw almost no difference between women of color and women not of color. In my magazine I saw plenty of ads featuring black women and saw no mistreatment of them.
    Personally, what stuck with me the most was the sexuallizing of little or young children. The reason why this stuck with me is because our society is teaching kids at a young age to conform to these beliefs. Sometimes the objective of the ad is humor, which is completely fine in my opinion. However, the times that the advertisement steps over the line of humor and crosses into dangerous territory is what stuck with me. Girls and boys are dressed in raunchy clothing which can promote bad behavior for adolescents. I believe societal values or beliefs should stay far away from children. Children often see others depicted in certain ways and learn at early ages that they have to live in a certain way.

  41. Jenna P says:

    After watching the lecture, I agree with the majority of what Jean Kilbourne said. I find that it is true that women have to live up to many unrealistic beauty standards in order to be deemed as “sexy” or “desirable” in the face of society. For so long, the general public has been so fixated on looking a certain way, on dressing like everyone else, and making sure that people follow the status quo. I find it scary that advertisements and the media affect us this much. It struck me how she said something along the lines of, “women of color are only considered ideal if they fit Western standards or have Caucasian features.” This is because, personally, I see advertisements for brands like Victoria’s Secret or Brandy Melville and, for the most part, the models look the same: blonde, blue-eyed, and skinny. I rarely see women of color, especially women of Asian descent, in commercials or in advertisements. This lack of accurate representation influences society negatively because it gives a skewed portrayal of how you are supposed to look. Concerning events such as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, I find it appalling that the models are little more than skin and bone. However, I find it even more appalling that girls, especially teenagers today, look to these events and models as inspiration to become skinnier, to try and fit into the unrealistic mold that society has imposed.
    However, I disagree with Kilbourne’s statement that men do not suffer from the same consequences that women endure. From personal experience, I rarely see overweight or obese men in ads; instead it is usually a model with a six-pack and well-groomed hair. I don’t think that it’s fair to state that all the negative results yielded from advertising falls onto the shoulders of women, when in reality, men are portrayed in a certain light as well. This stereotyping of men and women, the faulty depiction of what people are supposed to be and act, like hurts everyone.
    I hope that we, as a society, will work harder to create an environment in which we do not need to resort to objectifying women or sexualizing objects in order to sell a product. We should work together to manifest a non-toxic and positive society that has advertisements that sells products, not societal ideals.

    • Grace M says:

      Jenna- I totally agree with everything you said here. You brought up models having little diversity, the majority of them being thin, blonde haired, and blue-eyed, with little to none Asian models. Honestly, I never gave it much thought until now that there are very few Asian models modeling for the big fashion shows and clothing lines where young girls look up to. This is a crazy and scary realization and I hope it changes soon because young girls should be shown that not everyone looks like the skin-and-bone Barbie doll.

  42. Grace M says:

    I think that in “Killing Us Softly 4”, Jean Kilbourne brings up many great points about the way women are perceived in today’s society. Kilbourne even talks of women being seen as objects or shown as this “perfect” woman, when in reality, she doesn’t even exist. When Kilbourne shows advertisements of women being shown as objects to probably appeal to men just for lust or sex, it makes me angry. In some ads, women are shown as symbols, beer bottles, cars, and sports objects. This is all to get the attention of a male and what HE wants. Women should not be shown as objects just for a man and his personal needs. This objectifies women and shows that they have no thoughts, feelings, or worth, if they are just inanimate objects. Another point that Kilbourne brings up is that many advertisements are giving the wrong idea to young girls in our society. Many of these ads show slim, beautiful women showing off their body, which put the wrong picture in their head of what “beauty” is, since the woman on the ad is not even real. It was even shown that young girls are developing eating disorders and becoming depressed because they cannot look like the model in the ad. What frustrates me even more is when advertisements make it seem like how women look is all that matters. Being pretty, skinny, and attracting men are the most important thing in life, right? At least the ads seem to think that anyways. I think women should look however they want and not be judged on what they wear or what they do, because beauty is certainly not everything. I really enjoyed Jean Kilbourne’s movie and thought that it gave great insight on how women are shown throughout society. At the end of the movie, she also started talking about men and boys and how they are supposed to be strong and tough, but, I believe we should stop stereotyping men, and women, for how they SHOULD act because of their gender. They should be able to act however they would like and not be judged for it, just live their life happily.

  43. Sam P says:

    In “Killing us Softly 4”, Jeanne Kilbourne shows us the truth about ads. I would have never noticed what the ads were trying to convey until I watched this video. I think it is so sad that the stereotypical woman should be so skinny, blonde, have blue eyes and be white. Since not everyone can look like this this causes woman to have less self esteem and many other problems. Not only are woman portrayed like this, they are also portrayed as objects rather than people. They don’t even have enough respect to have their face in ads sometimes only their bodies. In my opionion ads do have to change and show people who you could relate to more instead of photoshopping all their pictures.

    • Emma B says:

      I agree that advertising has models that have certain stereotypes that not everyone can fit under. Creating these stereotypes creates self esteem and body image issues. There needs to be a change in how women are portrayed in media that shows everyday women of all shapes, sizes and races.

  44. Lauren H says:

    The film “Killing us softly 4” by Jean Kilbourne, frustrated me because it showed me that advertisers have such a big impact on how our society is shaped. It disgusting that advertisers pray upon children and adolescents from a young age. Children are easily persuaded by the advertisers which makes them an easy target. These advertisements have taught young women that they should be pleasing the male and working to get towards the “perfect body” of a model. However, this is unrealistic because many advertisers use photoshop. Which gives women a false image of what they should look like because not even those models could look like they do on the magazines. Women usually are never happy with the way their body looks because of they keep trying to strive to be as pretty as a model, which will never happen. Advertisements have caused females to have higher rates diseases such as depression and anorexia. Advertisements also teach women that they should always be trying to please the male. Women want to become skinny, buy make-up, and buy new clothes, so that they are attractive to men.
    Men are also shaped by ads, but are affected in a different way. Advertisements for men usually shown that the women will always listen to them. The man is always dominant and masculine. If a father is in an advertisement, he is always the griller, always has his life put together, has a good wife who obeys him, and is always the money maker. This gives the male the idea that he should have those characteristics. Younger men usually look aggressive towards the woman, in advertisements. Which appeals to younger boys, who think that this is how they should treat women in their relationship. Which causes problems because the male becomes more aggressive toward the woman in real life. He wants his partner to be obedient to him and act just like the stereotypical woman. A large amount of women deaths are caused by domestic violence. Jean Kilbourne has opened the eyes of many people, and has shown them the horrific things advertisements do to people. Because of Jean Kilbourne some countries have put restrictions on advertisements, and hopefully one day all people will be equal in ads.

    • Colette G says:

      Lauren, I agree that it is wrong how advertisements depict men as aggressive, which can cause them to be violent against women they are in a relationship with. It is also upsetting that advertising has made it seem as though women need to be submissive and constantly try to please men.

  45. Colette G says:

    In the film “Killing Us Softly 4”, Jean Kilbourne explores how advertising influences American culture and values. I thought this film was particularly interesting, as it provides an explanation for many American cultural ideas which I see as backwards and questionable. Although many deny it, people are constantly being influenced by the advertisements that they see.
    It is frustrating to know that common disorders experienced by women and girls can be traced back to advertising. Depression and eating disorders often occur in females because they feel that they are less than perfect. The mold for women that is near impossible to fit into was created by advertising. They are led to believe that they need to be “thin, white, beautiful, carefully groomed and polished” to be acceptable. Advertising has made women think that their natural, healthy bodies are not good enough. Also, it saddens me that advertising has caused Americans to value beauty so much. Even elementary school children are taught not to judge things by their outer appearances, yet advertising asserts the opposite.
    Another frustrating part of the film was when Kilbourne discusses how advertising has made domestic violence seem acceptable. Advertisements romanticize men beating and threatening their partners even though it is the leading percentage of murder among American women.
    It is truly saddening to know that advertising is making America into a society that values beauty and material possessions over all else, objectifies both women and men, and causes people to feel inadequate if they cannot reach certain standards.

    • Patrick C. says:

      Colette, I agree with you so much. I think that it is horrible for advertisers to promote an “Ideal Body type.” I really hope that these advertisers change the way they operate as it is hurting many people emotionally.

  46. Patrick C. says:

    In Killing us Softly 4, I agreed with most of the ideas that KilBourne presented in the film, and I also felt is very accurate and relevant to today’s society. Especially when she spoke about the terrible problems in the modeling industry. There should never be any reason that anyone should feel too “Fat” or “Not skinny enough”. The part that made me the most angry, was seeing no signs on change in advertising. In the start of the film, Jean showed us some of the ads from around 1990-ish. And then, she showed us various ads from today’s media. I was absolutely shocked to see that the ads had gotten worse in terms of the way that they objectified women, and had hidden messages that were so horrible. Furthermore, I agree with Kilbourne when she says, “But many people do not fully realize that there are terrible consequences when people becoming things.” We will be in serious trouble if our advertisers continue to run ads making women, and others feel this way. Lastly, what stuck with me the most was when Kilbourne spoke about the model who was fired because she was not “skinny” enough. This really outraged me when I watched the film, and I was shocked that something like this could even happen in the world. No one should ever be put in this position, I can only imagine how upset this model felt when she was told this by her boss. Overall, I thought it was a great film that influenced me to try and make changes in our advertising world.

  47. Daniel K says:

    In Killing us Softly 4, I agree with her points that women are being objectified and used to get peoples attention and they are depicted as weak, skinny and beautiful and how men are imaged as a strong, hardworking and dominating in ads

  48. Mariam L says:

    In the film “Killing us softly 4”, Jean Kilbourne makes a lot of good points about how women are treated in society based on how they look. Ads affect everybody in America and other counties. I agree with many of the things she said especially how these unrealistic beauty standards cause many women, even children, to feel like their bodies aren’t good enough. This can cause them many serious eating disorders. Not only is it saddeninig, it is also dangerous. So many of the models in the ads are deathly thin. This is not how the majority of women look like. But women feel like this is what they need to look like in order to be happy. These ads are telling women that it is not what’s in the inside that matters, it’s not how smart you are or how good of a person you are. They’re telling women that men will only look at you if you’re pretty and skinny. It’s also insulting to men because most men are not like this. So many men actually want a stable relationship and fall in love with women because of their personalities. These ads also sexualize women’s bodies such as only zooming in on their breasts or butt. It is as though women are being shown as an object and just something for a man’s pleasure. There are ads portraying men as being rapists and the perpetrators of violence which I think is absolutely disgusting. The mixture of the ads objectifying women and men create a horrible combination. I think Hilbourne should have explained a little bit about the ads that are not cruel/objectifying. I think I would show an example to children about ads that are not offensive.

  49. Chris C says:

    I thought the film was very good but it is very concerning to me how the media has began to objectify women. This has become a serious problem in society. Self image problems eating disorders and depression all can be linked to girls wanting to create the “perfect image” that these starving models portray. This has me outraged because young girls are now starving themselves, and forever battling with themselves in order to become this perfect girl. And the images of these women are almost never natural , they are digitally altered, or multiple images of different women molded together to make one :perfect woman” . I believe in what the countries in Europe are doing. I believe that only using healthy/fuller looking models is a good idea. Doing this will make young teens feel better about themselves making it an achievable goal rather than one in which they have to starve themselves to obtain. Doing this will help children greatly. It will make there goal to look like those models they see who are healthy rather than other models who look like they are starving. The image that the media portrays is horrible for children to see. This is why the media needs its portael of both men and women to be changed. Without these much needed changes, society will continue to look at these portrayals of both men and women and compare themselves to them.

  50. Emma B says:

    The film “Killing Us Softly” really opened my eyes to the issues of today’s media and advertising. Most ads objectify women and their bodies. Also, making women out to only care about looks and impressing men. Ads with models so thin they are unhealthy looking. Seeing ads like this is upsetting because it pushes unhealthy body images for young women. Having a body like those models is extremely unrealistic. This is not just a concept for women, but for men too. Most ads show huge muscular men with perfect faces and bodies. Just like women, this creates unhealthy body images and issues for young men. Ads like this can lead or even promote eating disorders on young people. There needs to be a change in the way “everyday” people are portrayed in ads. Ads effect everyone even if they do not believe it does. If healthy body images are shown in ads, people will begin to get influenced positively.

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