Scroll down to the bottom for the blog response to the film Killing Us Softly.

20 Important Reasons to Study the Media

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”

Ad Archives:

About Face About-Face arms girls with the knowledge and tools they need to fight back against a culture that diminishes and disempowers them. See their gallery of offensive ads.

AdFlip The world’s largest archive of classic print ads

Adland Advertising information as well as access to commercials and an archive.

Center on Alcohol Marketing to Youth The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health monitors the marketing practices of the alcohol industry to focus attention and action on industry practices that jeopardize the health and safety of America’s youth.

The Gender Ads Project A website that examines how gender is portrayed in print  advertising.

Now Foundation – Love Your Body The National Organization for Women’s Love Your Body Project examines stereotypes around beauty and ads that both demean and empower women.

Sociological Images a blog that offers image-based sociological commentary on a wide range of social phenomena. The aim of the blog is to encourage readers to learn to see how social institutions, interactions, and ideas (including advertising) affect the individual. Check out their Pinterest account for boards on various types of advertising and marketing.

Tobacco Ads: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Trend Hunter Trend Hunter follows the latest trends in the U.S. and around the world.  Trends are both the cause and effect of many advertising campaigns.


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 150 words (8-10 sentences).  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

162 Responses to Advertising

  1. Castor F says:

    I find this film really eye-opening. I do not think a lot of people, including myself, realized how mistreated women were treated in advertisements. One thing that really stuck out to me was when they used features from four different women to make the perfect face. I find that horrifying that we look at these “beautiful” faces in ads and they do not even exist in real life. I disagree with how they use bodies of women to sell things like food and cars, things that have nothing to do with bodies. It is true when she said “The advertiser is America’s real pornographer.. Pornography has became mainstream.” It makes no sense to me and I feel an ad should show what their selling, not use a body to attract buyers. I also find it extremely sad that some celebrities do not even have say in how the editors photoshop their body and the first time they see it is published for the world. That must make the celebrities lose their confidence in themselves to see that they had to edit their bodies and not display their actual self.

    • Scarlett Ottley says:

      I agree with you Castor. It’s really sad that editors had to use different women body parts to piece together the “perfect girl” rather than using someone real. This should be known to all women so that girls aren’t losing their confidence and self esteem to ads showing women that don’t even exist.

    • Alicia H says:

      One of the top mental issues for girls in the United States is anorexia. Girls are exposed to advertisements with exceptionally beautiful women, who are exceptionally thin which only has a negative impacts on so many impressionable girls. I agree with Castor, I think it is so sad that our society is not making changes and we still chose to portray the “perfect girl” even though it is causing so much damage.

    • Gabbi L says:

      I agree with Castor because I also find it horrifying how America uses superficial bodies to sell products. All this does is promote false ideas about how to look and feel. Sex and body images have a lot of power and I feel as if the advertisers use the power for poor use.

    • Bethany K says:

      I agree, Castor. There is absolutely no need for women to be sexualized in ads that sell products or food. And it is a shame to see celebrities and other models being photoshopped as the “perfect body” that’s not possible to achieve. Thankfully, though, some people have and are still speaking about these issues which will hopefully lead to changes in the way advertisements are presented.

    • Taylor says:

      I agree with what Castor said. It’s so horrible that companies are using women bodies to hope to gain more money from selling products. There are some great, funny commercials out there that don’t abuse women’s bodies and give off sexual remarks and meanings. I respect and will buy a product from a company that does not use womens and mens bodies in hoping to sell there product from catching peoples attention in an inappropriate way.

    • Hillary A. says:

      I agree with you on the fact of women being objectified is not a big deal to some people anymore because it is so mainstream. It needs to be brought into light how we are so content with women being depicted as objects with is essentially taking away all their rights and dehumanizing them.

    • Sarah M says:

      I agree with you Castor. Advertisements has lead to many detrimental outcomes by misrepresenting the way women should look like or act. The example you used of them photo-shopping the four faces stuck out to me as well because it is putting this pressure on women and impressionable young girls to want to look like this even though this “perfect” face does not exist.

  2. Scarlett Ottley says:

    Personally, this film made me see things about advertising that I have never noticed before. When I see ads i’ve always noticed that women were portrayed sexually but never weak and vulnerable. It makes me really happy when celebrities admit to being photoshopped and take a stand against the cruel way models and famous people are changed and edited to the point where they aren’t even the same person anymore. The quote from Kate Winslet saying, “I don’t look like that, and I don’t desire to look like that,” makes me feel as if society is getting better in the sense that people are finally realizing the dangers of advertising. One thing I disagree about that Jean Killbourne had to say was that the world of advertising is only getting worse, however, I feel as if this is not true and that companies are in fact are getting better and taking people’s feelings and differences into consideration.

    • Isabella S says:

      I agree with Scarlett. Even though I was aware that ads objectify women, there were aspects of advertising that I have never thought could get to me. It also makes me happy that famous people like Kate Winslet take a public stand against the manipulation of body image of women because it brings attention to the major problem in our society, which could help begin to stop this negative was of selling products.

    • Alicia H says:

      Like Scarlett, I had always noticed how women tended portrayed sexually, but now I understand that when looked at in depth, advertisements show shocking conclusions about our culture. In several examples provided in the film, women were portrayed in strange poses making them look vulnerable, weak, and young, whereas men are strong and tough. Our society is creating an environment , which I think, distorts our views on femininity and masculinity and inadvertently causes confusion regarding the relationships between men and women. The men are dominant and the women are almost like possessions.

    • Taylor says:

      I agree with Scarlett. I am glad models are starting to admit that this is not how they actually look and that advertising it going completely out of hand. People need to start becoming aware of these cruel advertising tactics and put an end to it

    • Adith V says:

      I agree with Scarlett in how celebrities are beginning to relay a message of body positivity. This will make lots of women feel better about themselves, knowing that even famous people can relate to them.

  3. Isabella S says:

    As a young teen in a media- driven world, I am not surprised at the fact that we see about 3000 ads a day. With that number, it is inevitable to be influenced to think a certain way on very sensitive topics such as body image and gender roles. It is sickening that many advertisers sell an image where women are men’s objects and should be at the disposal of them while men are supposed to be strong and violent. Women are also told by ads that women should be light skinned, unhealthily thin, and innocent yet experienced in sexual activity. This creates a paradox for all women especially women of color and women who are far from thin. As feminism is becoming a prominent movement in society, it is very surprising that the way women are being projected in ads are getting worse. Advertisers are becoming more cunning in objectifying women and subliminally putting in messages of how women should be. As said by Kilbourne, “Advertising sells a great deal more that products. It sells values, images, it sells concepts of love and sexuality…” I agree with Kilbourne’s statement because in order for companies to make money, they would have to find a way to sell their product and make it seem like the general public should value their product.

    • Castor F says:

      I agree with you Isabella. I think it is absolutely disgusting that women feel they need to fit a certain image to look good. That is why eating disorders are getting more and more common and it is not healthy. I feel that there should be more ads with the display of REAL people and their real bellies, scars and blemishes. No one is perfect and there is no standards people should be living up to because then society is just going to be composed of everyone looking the same.

    • Bethany K says:

      I totally agree, Isabella. It’s quite sad what advertising has become. The idea of women being portrayed as mere objects and the idea of gender roles is worrying. Both men and women should be able to be the way they want to be without worrying about American standards.

    • Rachel A says:

      I agree with Isabella. I found it shocking that the objectification of women has gotten worse. I’ve been aware of the feminist movements and thought it marked improvement, but I never realized how many ads still portray women as just an object, or only value a woman because of her body. Women are sexualized in so many things that are part of our everyday life: music videos, movies, magazines, etc. It causes women and girls to strive for the unattainable goal of flawlessness.

    • Mia P. says:

      Like Isabella, I was also shocked when I saw some of the ads in the film. Seeing the advertisements sexualizing violence or young children grossed me out, and I couldn’t believe these ads were real. I found it disgusting how some of the ads were promoting eating disorders by saying things like, “He wouldn’t like you if you were 2o pounds heavier.” These hardly subliminal messages promoting unhealthy alternatives to getting thinner are the reason for the abundance of young girls suffering from eating disorders.

    • Adam C says:

      I agree with Isabella, it is very shocking how the different ways women are objectified has gotten even worse over the years. Body image and gender roles are created and decided for us, through ads from a very young age. When we first see advertisements, they create a perception of the way different people have to be, whether it is men or women. Which should never be the case. Many subliminal messages are in the 3000 advertisements we see daily that decide how women should look. No one is perfect, and there is no perfect image of how anyone person should look or act.

  4. Bethany K says:

    After watching the film, I learned a lot about our culture; it made me think about what is seen as “important” in our society based on advertisements. I agree with all of the points Jean Kilbourne made, but it also made me feel gross as almost everything being sold (products, food, etc.) was always brought back to sex. And because we see these ads so much, specifically girls, there is a sense of body-hatred and low self-esteem. Kilbourne explains “that women are acceptable only if we’re young, thin, white, beautiful” and submissive. This could potentially lead to depression, eating disorders, and other negative thoughts. Apparently, she said that a model died due to being anorexic (to the point where you could see her bones). Thankfully, this has slowly gotten better over the past few years; a magazine actually banned models and decided to only use ordinary people in their photos. Another disgusting thing is that not only are women getting sexualized and treated as objects, but so are little girls. As Kilbourne states, “the sexualization of little girls and young teenagers [has gotten worse].” Some photos were seen with padded bras and thongs on little girls. It sounds horrible to even think about how else they may be sexualized. Talking about young girls, women are also expected to be innocent, yet sexy, but virginal. This combination does not even make sense; these ads want the impossible, and they are encouraging it to, again, teenage girls. Obviously, men and boys are also sexualized, but not in the way nor the extent to how women and girls are. Hearing Kilbourne speak and seeing those ads really made me realize how bad advertising can be. However, I see and do hope that there will be a time where nobody is sexualized or seen as objects.

    • Castor F says:

      Yes Bethany, I too find it scary that even little girls are getting advertised as sexy. It is gross and that’s how you know its gone too far. You are right, the combination of young girls being displayed as sexy yet virginal and innocent basically contradicts itself and makes no sense. I am glad that these ideas are finally being brought to public and I hope that we will soon see some more changes.

    • Taylor says:

      I agree with Bethany. It is absolutely gross that everything being sold not only in the US bu throughout the world gets related back to sex and the way a perfect woman looks. Young girls now see all of these body exposing images in magazines, on buses, on TV and more. Seeing these abnormally skinny women have led to an increase in eating disorders, depression, and suicidal rates in the US. This makes me feel horrible for future generations if this type of advertising will continue. Everyone is different and unique in there own way, nothing should make one person think they need to look a certain way for a males approval

    • Alicia H says:

      Thanks to Jean Kilbourne and several other advocates, more people are understanding that advertisements negatively impact people. Several companies are opting to label pictures that are touched up and air brushed. I agree with Bethany, hopefully, people will understand that the beauty of the models in advertisements in unattainable because it is fake.

    • Hana says:

      I agree with Bethany. It is harmful to women and girls self-esteem to say that they need to be a certain size. It causes women and girls to want to be skinny and get to “skinny” in a very unhealthy way which leads to diseases like anorexia.

    • Mia P. says:

      I agree with Bethany, as it is true how disgusting it is to see young girls being sexualized through advertisements. It is so detrimental to both males and females to see young girls being sexualized, especially at a young age. This teaches the notion that women are supposed to innocent yet sexy at the same time, like Bethany says. This combination is impossible, and results in men becoming angry that no women meet their unreachable standards and women becoming more insecure.

    • Hillary A. says:

      I completely agree with you that having romantics relationships with food is unbelievable. I also agree that a change needs to be made.

  5. Gabbi L says:

    I actually enjoyed watching the film because it opened my eyes to the possibilities and ideas that come across in advertising, that I would have otherwise ignored. As Jean Kilbourne points out, the average person will spend about 2 years of their life watching commercials. This sounds insane, but it is something you cannot ignore. The crazier part about that statement is how many messages and images we get out of these commercials and ads, consciously and unconsciously. I never realized it, but I completely agree with what Kilbourne says that these ads are no longer selling just products, but ideas and values. They are promoting ideas about families, race, gender, size and shape that are impossible to accomplish and leaves these people feeling bad about themselves because they aren’t up to the standard that the ads sell. I also find it fascinating how some celebrities and photographers have opened up about being photoshopped and digitally edited to completely alter their looks. One photo editor even pointed out that they take multiple images of women and blend them into one to create the perfect, iconic woman. Something that stuck with me and honestly hurt me the most is the way advertisements objectify and dehumanize women. Women are portrayed as items that can be used for sex or daily use, like cars or clothing, etc. More recently, men have also been depicted poorly in ads, but they still give them a sense of dominance, strength, and power, whereas they pose women to look vulnerable, fragile, and even child-like. I think Jean Kilbourne has had an amazing opportunity to be able to watch the evolution of advertisements over 30-40 years and be able to educate society about them.

    • Noah K says:

      Gabbi’s point on how commercials are selling ideas and values makes perfect sense. For example, some food ads tell you to go on extreme diets or to exercise until exhaustion. And that photo editor combing all the models to make a “perfect” one? How awful is that?

    • Adith V says:

      Everything Gabbi said is completely correct. The way the media dehumanizes women is ridiculous. She makes a good point about how women are turned into objects and are not appreciated for who they truly are.

    • Hillary A. says:

      I agree with you that all bodies should be represented in the media and how the is no such thing as the “perfect body”. Presenting just one specific body type as desirable and acceptable could really have an impact on people and may make them feel insecure and not worthy.

  6. Taylor says:

    Taylor A.
    After watching this film i will never look at any advertisement or commercial the same. Seeing how each different brand and company makes advertisements different and the meaning behind it is pretty crazy. One thing that made me very upset is how the director has the guts to put together “a perfect girl”. That is so sad to me because everyone should be able to be who they are and should not be expected to have perfect skin, hair, nails, body and so on. Another thing that stood out to me was that each commercial has a deeper meaning then just what words are on the advertisement. For example, some have a sexual deep meaning, others are violent and so forth. Watching commercials before this film i just noticed the product they are selling and the characters involved. Now, i will be able to point out all of the little features that i would definitely not have noticed before this film. When I heard from this film that even the models themselves were admitting they do not look like they do in these advertisement really effected me. I feel that no commercial/ advertisement should be allowed to edit ones face and body because not only is it purely fake, it also is not an accurate model for the product being sold. For example if jeans are being advertised and the editor shrunk in the womens legs and face they jeans will not actually look like that on a consumer which would make the commercial not accurate in sizing. I also do not like how women are being portrayed as sexual toys that men should use. Many advertisements consists of men holding and using womens body parts which to an outside watcher, shows its ok to use women. Not only that, but women are taught to be virginal and pure but many of these commercials make it look like women have nothing to hide or protect and are willing to do what men want

    • Julia F says:

      Taylor made a good point that when models are edited to look different, it is not accurate for the product being sold. Girls should be able to look at clothing that they want and know what it is going to look like on them, and they should feel comfortable wearing whatever they want to wear.

    • Connor Heatley says:

      You are correct that advertisements do this, and and it is awful that they lie to the consumer’s faces and there should be a fine or a punishment of some sort if the companies do this.

    • Sarah M says:

      I agree with you Taylor because even models themselves have spoken out against this and it is wrong for people to be portrayed as they are in ads. Women are objectified by ads just for the sake of product sales. They are seen as toys and I agree with your statement, it is wrong to be putting that image in the minds of the public.

    • Rachel A says:

      I agree with Taylor in that the film was very eye opening. It taught me about all the strategies advertisers use to sell their products. I had never realized all the underlying messages that exist within advertisements. I also found the fact that they photoshopped a “perfect” girl together very disturbing and I agree that models shouldn’t be dramatically edited.

  7. Rachel A says:

    I thought the film was very eye-opening; I never realized how influential ads were on our lives. I thought it was unbelievable how greatly beauty/fashion magazines contribute to poor self-esteem in girls and women. Magazines ceaselessly photoshop their models to make them look flawless resulting in many women hating their bodies because they do not look like the women in the ads. I also thought it was pretty crazy how, from such a young age, people are sexualized and taught to value beauty over intelligence and character.
    It was also very interesting to observe the double standard present in many ads: women are thought to be most attractive when they pose in submissive or vulnerable positions, whereas men are reprimanded for showing such weakness. Often in ads, men are depicted as strong and tough. Femininity is seen as a flaw in ads targeted towards men. Starting from when they were boys, society has told men to hide their feelings, and instead, do “masculine” things like play sports, hunt, fish, or even fight.

    • Julia F says:

      I agree with Rachel. Men are taught to not be feminine, so they cannot do things like cry or express their feelings, which is detrimental to their mental health. I think it’s wrong that men should have to engage in activities like sports and fighting just to fit society’s standards, even if they do not enjoy doing those things. These expectations also bring out a violent side in men, and it is not fair to judge them for that if that is how society has taught them to behave.

    • Dylan Mc says:

      I also agree that advertisements inspire women to achieve unattainable body goals. The women are made to look perfect, and are then advertised as the “normal” body type that not a single woman actually has. This can cause girls to feel like they are ugly and do not meet the societal standards of beauty.

    • Neve H says:

      Rachel made a good point when she talked about men in advertisements. The controversy of women in advertisements has been talked about before, but I learned about the issues men are presented with from this film. Advertisements makes both men and boys feel that they have to act strong and tough, without showing any feminine side of them.

    • Sarah T. says:

      I agree with Rachel that ads are very influential in some unbelievable ways. Double standards, mainly directed towards women, portray American culture’s separation of genders. The consequences of advertisement create emotional disconnection. Women seem to become objects that are slowly becoming invisible to be attractive. Men are unable to show weakness that leads to their inability to connect and have intimate relationships.

    • Hillary A. says:

      I agree with what you wrote about how women are portrayed as delicate in advertisements. Many women are still seen as items that one could use for a prop, say in music videos and magazines. It is sad that many young women look to this as how they should behave– powerless and dependent on men.

  8. Alicia H says:

    Personally, prior to watching this film, I would have blended in with the general American population and said that advertisements had little to no effect on me. However, now, I see that advertisements really do have strong impacts on people. In the approximate 3,000 advertisements the average American looks at in one day, there are so many models with unattainable standards. Only tall, thin, beautiful women are portrayed in ads and that is “a body type that statistically only 5% of women have,” and we are taught to desire the bodies of models. With anorexia being one of the top mental illnesses amongst girls in the United States, it is frustrating to see that we continue to press the idea of being thin is perfect. When girls hear their idols say things like, “nothing tastes as good as skinny,” they feel this pressure to be skinny. Society has taught girls that in order to be accepted one has to be young, beautiful and thin. I also never noticed how in so many ads women are portrayed in such vulnerable positions making them look weak. This idea of women being weak and men being such strong characters poses so many dangers. Boys are growing up in a society where men are depicted as the perpetrators of violence and are almost always dominant in relationships. This idea only strains personal relationships and distorts a man’s idea of women, treating them more like objects and conquests rather than partners.

    • Julia F says:

      I agree with Alicia that before watching this film, I would have said that advertisements don’t affect me. However, after seeing a bunch of examples of ads and learning the effects that sexualizing and objectifying women have on them, I realize how much ads affect everyone. 92% of an ad’s message is received unconsciously by the brain, so most people have no idea that the ad is even affecting them. In reality, girls are greatly impacted by ads that contain messages telling them how to be pretty, what they should look like, and how they should act.

    • Jillian K says:

      I agree with Alicia. Before I learned about the hidden messages behind advertising I believed that they didn’t influence me. Now that these things have been brought to my attention, such as the extremely skinny and photoshopped models I will never be able to look at ads the same way. It is impossible to argue that the unreachable beauty standards of most models are part of the cause of the anorexia epidemic in young girls. It is a proven fact that seeing people like that in ads are destroying young girls self-esteem, and the fact that it could be completely avoidable is frustrating.

    • Hayley A. says:

      I agree with Alicia, as it is very clear how girls develop eating disorders from seeing these unrealistic looking women in ads. This is also the cause of depression in some girls, and lowers their self esteem. Every person has flaws and instead of hiding them with photoshop in advertisements, they should be celebrated because no one is perfect.

    • Michael H. says:

      I agree with Alicia in that before seeing this film, I would have been considered one of the people that just blended in and did not see problem with the advertisements. But after seeing this film, I have also become much more aware of how they are trying to sell things that are false. It is unbelievable how advertisers get away with so much, even though they are hurting so many people, both physically and mentally.

  9. Julia F says:

    I think it is interesting to look at how much has changed in the advertising industry over the years. While more attention is being drawn to the issue, women continue to be sexualized in every way possible. Kilbourne mentioned that the sexualization of little girls and young teenagers has gotten worse throughout time. It is disheartening that girls are taught from a young age that they need to be sexy and beautiful and that is all that matters in life. According to Kilbourne, “a body type that statistically only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable.” Not only are these women already a rare body type, ad creators almost always use photoshop to make them even thinner and more “perfect.” I found this very interesting because it shows just how unattainable beauty standards are and always have been for women. It is disgraceful to create a culture where girls are unhappy, starving themselves, and hating themselves because they cannot look a certain way- simply because it is physically impossible for anyone to look that way. Another point that I found interesting, but upsetting, is that men have been included in more and more ads recently and, like women, are sexualized. Men and women are portrayed differently in ads; women are portrayed as shy and fragile, and are usually dominated by men, whereas men are portrayed as powerful and strong. This leads women to believe that they are weak and must be submissive to men, but it also makes men feel as if they need to remain tough at all times and never let anyone see their feminine side. It is also frustrating to see that some people overlook how this portrayal of men affects their mental health, because it is not just women who suffer from sexualization and unrealistic standards in ads. Additionally, Kilbourne’s presentation made me realize how different races are portrayed in advertisements. These ads teach women that the whiter or more light skinned you are, the prettier you are. Usually, only tall, thin, white models are seen in magazines and fashion shows. This makes women of different ethnicities and cultures feel like they are not beautiful, and they often try to change themselves to fit this standard.

    • Hayley A. says:

      I agree with Julia, as beauty pageants for children show the sexulization of young girls, as they walk down the runway in bikinis. This teaches girls that they have to stay looking thin, and most likely lowers their self esteem, comparing themselves to other girls. The obsession with appearance is very evident in advertisements, as women must have the perfect body, hair, and skin for them to be desirable to men.

    • Neve H says:

      I agree with Julia when she talked about how races are portrayed in advertisements. Although it has gotten better throughout the years, there is still a limited diversity in models. And the times different ethnicities are used, they are digitally enhanced to look more American.

    • Grace Boyle says:

      I agree with Julia because now that I think about it, children are getting sexualized. Today in many advertisements, we see young girls dressed in little clothing, and we see grown women dressed like innocent little girls. Children are being used in the modern world to portray innocence.

  10. Hana says:

    Hana C.
    After watching this film I will never think of advertisements the same and I will always look for the meaning behind them. Not only seeing people trying to sell a product and blow it off like it does not affect me. The film showed me just how unrealistic the beauty values we hold to people in our society are. It shows how women have to be young, beautiful, skinny, white and blue eyed. Trying to hold people to this standard of being young looking forever. Targeted towards women and not to men is saying that when you get old you are no longer going to be pretty, while when men age its seen as them getting wiser, more mature and sometimes more handsome. Showing the double standard between how men and women are desired to look in American culture. Jean Kilbourne opened my eyes to the many problems with body image that people face today in our culture, unrealistic body images that imply women have to extremely skinny, innocent and sexy at the same time. That men have to have defined muscles, be a certain height and show no emotion because anything feminine like caring for someone or showing empathy is a weakness. Advertisements also show that a women has to have a partner and kids to be happy with their life. Not showing powerful women that are more focused on their jobs and trying to take all of their opportunities before starting a family. Advertisements also show how men should want to have more than one sexual partner and not want to settle down with kids and a significant other. This is unrealistic because all people, not just women, want to have a relationship with someone that they can trust. Advertisements show how people in American culture are “supposed to be” or how people should want to be. No women should have to be objectified or should feel like they have to objectify themselves and no man should feel that they have to be tough all the time and show no emotion that may be considered feminine.

  11. Mia P. says:

    Mia P. (period 2)
    In the film, Killing Us Softly, Jean Kilbourne explains the detrimental effects that advertising has on society. Every advertisement that Kilbourne showed in this film stuck with me and made me realize how often magazines advertisements objectify women. I didn’t even realize how disgusting some of these ads are, portraying women as fragile objects while men are depicted as strong and violent. I agree with her statements regarding the decrease of self esteem in women because of ads that star women with a certain body type. She provides a statistic while saying that, “A body type that statistically only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable.” Most commercials place an emphasis on an ideal body type showing that women are supposed to be skinny to be attractive to men. It frustrates and angers me that magazines photoshop already skinny models into perfect specimens that average women can never live up to. This causes an increase in the amount of women and young girls suffering from eating disorders. This made me extremely sad because many young men and women are hurting and killing themselves because they are trying to achieve a unachievable body type that society deems perfect. Though they are small steps, I personally believe we had made some improvements in society to break the idea that there is only one idea of beauty. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty showed that uniqueness and differences, that are typically called flaws, should be celebrated rather than looked down on. Also, people like Kilbourne are bringing awareness to terrible advertisements advocating violence in men and insecurities in women.

    • Gabi P says:

      I agree with Mia about advertisements portraying women as fragile objects and portraying men as dominant and violent. This is harmful as it plays into the stereotype that femininity includes fragility and submissiveness while masculinity includes violence. I also have seen the Dove Campaign and I think it is great and is one of the things I had in mind when I was writing my response and mentioned how we have taken a step forward for the better in advertisements. We should celebrate our differences and unique traits instead of seeing them as flaws that need to be fixed.

    • Hayley A. says:

      I agree with Mia, as the advertising industry has improved, but still has a long way to go. There have been more models showing their support for more diversity in advertising. Kate Winslet criticized photoshop when GQ Magazine reduced the size of her legs, and she responded by saying, “I do not look like that and more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that.” This is a positive response from someone in the public eye, as many young girls look up to her.

    • Hillary A. says:

      I am also shocked at the fact that advertisements are still featuring unhealthy models.This produces an extremely toxic mindset in the minds of women. Companies glorify anorexia and being as thin as physically possible. This shows that companies value capitalism rather than the common health of their consumers.

  12. Gabi P says:

    Killing Us Softly 4 was an interesting film to watch in class that gave me a different view of ads which I have become accustomed to. I agree with points made by Jean Kilbourne regarding the pressure put on girls by advertisements to strive to be attractive, which is unhealthy and detrimental to the self-esteem of many girls and women who are not and cannot reach that “goal”. Something in the film that made me sad and disgusted was the association of sexiness with being childlike and the sexualization of children. For obvious reasons, children should not be sexualized. The world is, unfortunately, filled with child predators and openly sexualizing kids in advertisements is abhorrent and dangerous; “The sexualization of little girls and young teenagers [has gotten worse].” Something that stuck with me is the fact that separate pictures of models were cut and morphed together to create one “ideal” photo, and that it looked so realistic, I have probably seen something like that many times and never thought that could be the case. For me, that reinforced my thoughts about girls being pressured to strive to look a certain way which is unattainable, especially since the ad used the body parts of multiple women instead of one. I think that over the years advertisements have gotten more inclusive of body types and ethnicities which is a really good step, and I think that in the future we will hopefully be able to keep it up an make a healthier environment for adolescents to grow up in.

    • Hayley A. says:

      I agree with Gabi, as advertisements continue to photoshop women to make them look thinner, despite the fact that it has a detrimental impact on people seeing these ads. Women may feel like they are not good enough, but in truth, these bodies are unrealistic.

    • Dylan Mc says:

      I agree with Gabi that is it sad and terrifying that children and babies are being sexualized in advertisements. This can be extremely dangerous because it makes this a societal “norm,” while also encouraging inappropriate behavior. At the same time, it can lead to problems in the future. This is a serious issue that must be addressed.

    • Samantha S says:

      I agree with Gabi on mostly everything, especially about models being morphed together. The fact that editors are now able to combine several different models to create the “ideal” and it not be noticed, is scary. It affects younger girls when they cannot attain this image that doesn’t exist, which is very problematic.

  13. Jillian K says:

    While the whole video was very surprising in the way that advertisements objectify men and women, the part that I found the most sickening was the increased relation of sex and violence. In most advertisements involving this, there is a woman highly sexualized and extremely pretty, and most times she looks like she’s been battered or even killed. As Jean Kilbourne said in the film, pictures of violence influence us. Seeing constant advertisements of women being assaulted is normalizing domestic abuse, and, in some cases, promoting it to sell a product. I find it very alarming that this has become commonplace in our society, to the extent that most people don’t even recognize it as dangerous. What is also very frightening about this, is that this objectifies women to the point where it becomes acceptable to assault them. As Kilbourne said, “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person.” Advertisements that dehumanize women and people in general and imply violence are making it look standard. Making violence in this world commonplace will be detrimental to our society as a whole, and the use of violence in advertisements is just pushing it in the wrong direction.

    • Adith V says:

      I agree with Jill. They way that sex and violence have any relation is really terrible. Also the way that women are portrayed is horrible. It is a problem that has to be fixed.

      • Dylan Mc says:

        I also found it interesting that violence is being advertised as sexy and attractive. It is really frustrating because it also promotes violence, and suggests that women enjoy being beaten and abused. However, in reality, no women enjoys these things, and it needs to stop being glorified and encouraged.

    • Bethany K says:

      I agree also agree with Jill. The fact that so many advertisements are romanticizing and sexualizing violence is dismaying. Sexual assault and abuse is a serious topic and a horrible act, yet these ads make it seem as though women should want it (well, they imply this by putting figures of shadows over women on the ground). Violence should never be connected with love/sex.

    • Connor T says:

      I strongly agree with Jill. Violence in ads should not have any sort of positive tone, let alone a sexy theme. The connecting of violence to anything positive, especially in an advertisement that is perceived and mentally digested subconsciously, can have drastic effects on society over a long period of time.

    • Hillary A. says:

      I agree that showing models with sexualized bodies and youthful faces is quite disturbing and paradoxal.

    • Hillary A. says:

      I strongly agree that showing models with sexualized bodies and youthful faces is quite disturbing and paradoxal.

    • Michael H. says:

      I agree with Jill in that I was also very disturbed by this in the film. The promotion of violence as it is linked to being sexy is very sickening. This shows how that advertisers do not care what the ad shows, as long as it sells the product it is fine. With sexual abuse becoming an increasing issue in our society this is very alarming.

  14. Noah K says:

    Jean Kilbourne’s film Killing Us Softly 4 exposes the objectifying and complete cruelty of the advertising industry. I was surprised and appalled at the ads, statistics, and other points she brought up during her presentation. One thing I found disturbing was the excessive use of violence and sex excessively used in ads. Massive brands like Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana have, on multiple occasions, put their clothes on women who were being sexually aggravated or even abused. Many of us in TZ have definitely seen ads like these in our parent’s Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines in our lifetime. This should never be a scenario that we should live in, let alone accept in society. On the other hand, the accomplishments that Kilbourne stated about women’s rights in advertising did bring a bright side to the darkness. Such as a British magazine only allowing average-sized females to model for them, breaking the stereotype of grotesquely skinny models always being the ones who should be behind the camera. Also, the EU made a law stating that models must always be above a certain weight level in order to walk major European runways. These accomplishments gave me what little hope I had for the future.

    • Gabbi L says:

      I agree with Noah also; I think portraying sex and violence, especially together is astonishing. Sexual abuse is a real problem that should never be taken lightly and these ads have almost encouraged the ideas of it.

    • Hannah L. says:

      I also think that the world is working towards better advertisements. The new laws being passed in Europe are breakthrough and I really hope that America can follow their lead. I especially like the law that says digitally altered models must be labeled, so that girls can see that they are in fact comparing themselves to someone who doesn’t exist.

  15. Connor Heatley says:

    Connor H.

    What surprised me most was how many ads we see a day and how much they affect us. The movie as well as the article that we read in class said that we see 8% of an ad and 92% of it we process subconsciously. The film also explained that we see over 3000 ads a day, which sounds unbelievable. Jean Kilbourne talked about the sexulization of men and women. She said that models are photoshopped and can sometimes have up to four different people on one face. Models get their legs extended, and their legs and waist thinned. Models purposefully starve themselves to be thinner and it got so bad that clothing companies made size 0 and size 00. Jean Kilbourne described it as, “A body type only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable.” This is showing that women and girls are being shown what they should look like, when in reality it’s impossible.

    • Max G says:

      I agree with what Connor said. Using different body parts from different women creates an impossible image to get for women. Models and other girls who try to look like these fabricated images can go through numerous mental issues and can get deadly results from trying to be an impossible person.

    • Jonathan Y. says:

      I agree with the point Conner makes about the impossibility for women to live up to these standards. They literally would have to stretch themselves, and be better than 4 different women to be considered “beautiful.”

  16. Adith V says:

    The film was was very informative and interesting. A lot of the things I learned were actually very shocking. I find the gender stereotypes that are imposed on young girls appalling. Girls should be whoever they want to be, not who the media wants them to be. One part that really stuck with me is that they used the faces of four different girls to make one face. It just shows that the “perfect girl” does not exist. So girls and women should not have to think about being perfect because what they strive to be is not even real. I also never really noticed that the media also objectifies men(obviously less than women). Men are supposed to be surly and tough. And they are always dominant over the woman. Its frustrating that the media began to objectify men to combat the objectifying of women, but it did not make the situation better. Neither gender should be objectified. Making men super “masculine” leads to violence which can solve no problems. This has had a very negative effect on our society. It’s good to know that Kilbourne and other activists try to shed some light on this topic in order to fix some problems in society.

    • Max G says:

      I agree with Adith. I also think that stereotypes on young girls shouldn’t be in ads. I also never noticed that the media can objectify men, especially to counter objectifying women.

    • Michael H. says:

      I also found this very alarming Adith. Girls should be able to do what they want and by the increasing focus of gender stereotypes this is becoming harder and harder. The media should not be able to control how we feel about ourselves and how we portray others.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      “Girls should be whoever they want to be, not who the media wants them to be.” Agreed, Adith!

  17. Hayley A. says:

    “Killing Us Softly” 4 is a film that shows the real truths of advertising. Women are often sexualized in advertisements, portrayed as inferior to men in many cases. The impact that this has on young girls and women in general, is not positive. Adolescent girls seeing these advertisements teaches them that women should behave in a position lesser than men, which is definitely not the message we want to send to younger generations. As said in the video, “As girls reach adolescence, they’re taught they should not be too powerful.” This is frustrating to me because young women should be taught to have a voice and be empowered, but instead are often pictured without their face in the shot, showing that’s not the important part. If a woman is in an advertisement, she is most likely thin, and pretty, as our society has come to see this as the “ideal” appearance. This has a negative effect on the people seeing these advertisements, as women feel like they are not good enough compared to these beautiful, skinny models. Our society has a long way to go in learning to accept every body type, as “A body type that statistically only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see desirable or acceptable.” Most women in advertisements are also photoshopped to make them have an unrealistic looking body. As supermodel Cindy Crawford once said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford”, showing that women in these ads do not actually look like this in everyday life, due to photoshop, makeup, and airbrushing. This quote stuck out to me because Cindy Crawford is a very famous supermodel, but even she admits that models in magazines are edited.

    • Neve H says:

      Hayley made a very good point on how these advertisements impacts younger girls. Girls feel the need to look a certain way at a age much younger than you’d expect. And when girls are raised thinking in this mindset, it is very hard for them to see that they are more than just a body as they grow older.

  18. Dylan Mc (P. 2) says:

    After watching this film, it is almost impossible to avoid noticing all of the advertiser’s sneaky tricks to sell their products. Previously, I would only glance at ads and feel that they had no effect on me, which is clearly false. The part that stuck out to me the most occurs when Jean Kilbourne mentions that people view around 3,000 ads per day, and only 8% of those ads are received by the conscious mind. This statistic is frightening because it shows how advertisers are inflicting detrimental effects on society without anybody even noticing because they feel immune to these ads. The part that made me most frustrated occurs when Kilbourne says, “for years now [women have] been getting this message that [they are] supposed to be both innocent and sexy, virginal and experienced, all at once.” Clearly, this is not possible, as a woman cannot be both a virgin, while simultaneously being experienced in sex. I totally agree when Kilbourne points out that advertisements promote this idea, and claim that is what men crave; I see this on almost a daily basis in ads everywhere, and it is horrible. This can inflict lots of stress and pressure on young girls, who feel they must be an object of sex, while also being a “good girl”. Additionally, the saddest part occurs when Kilbourne points out that “a body type that only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable.” This is disgusting because it leads women to feel like their natural body is not enough, ugly, and not normal. They are left to feel like outcasts, and that people will only like them if they are insanely skinny. This can cause numerous mental health issues, such as eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem, which is extremely sad because these young girls are aiming to look like women who do not even exist.

    • Grace Boyle says:

      I agree with Dylan response to in ads women are supposed to be virginal yet expireneced. This is true in the modern world because women in ads are portrayed as sexy and experienced but yet have to be pure. Dylan stated that Kilbourne said “this is what men crave”. Men should not “crave” this as it is impossible and could lead to an unhealthy relationships. This is also true in the play Hamlet, where Ophelia is portrayed as virginal, yet she is experienced with Hamlet.

    • Gabi P says:

      I agree with Dylan’s points regarding the double standard women face, having to be good at sex and while also being “pure” and virginal. That is virtually impossible and reinforces an aspect of society which labels women as easy or sluts if they are sexually active but expects them to be good in bed. It is an enigma that can negatively affect how women view themselves and make them feel like they must behave a certain way because society and advertisements tell them they should in order to be desirable or have value.

    • Casey K. says:

      I agree with Dylan women should not have to feel so insecure about what they look like because they see a picture of someone with an impossible body. In the advertisements there is a message the women have to play two roles, having a dark side and a pure side, which can absolutely not happen in real life and may cause women to become crazed with fitting both personalities instead of being themselves.

  19. Max G says:

    After seeing this film, it’s hard to see ads the same way. The ads appeal to the fantasies more than reality, which causes lots of negative effects for both men and women. Women are told 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 idea is met with a lot of contempt and hostility.” For as long as there have been advertisements, we have seen images of perfect bodies with perfect hair and perfect clothes. Sometimes these ads even define what ‘perfect’ should look like. Many people, especially younger adults whose self-esteem and self-image are still developing, may come to think that these perfect images are normal. It can also harm men when ads show that “masculinity is so often linked with violence, with brutality, with ruthlessness. Boys grow up in a culture in which men are constantly shown as perpetrators of violence…and talking, communicating, is so often seen in our culture as a weakness in men.” This is also seen in the documentary “The Mask You Live In,” when the boys show that they don’t talk about their problems because it is considered “unmanly” and can cause terrible outcomes.

    • Connor T says:

      I agree with Max in that it is difficult to look at advertisements with a positive light after seeing the film. Knowing that girls are being subjected to subconscious bombardment from these ads with horrible results like eating disorders and depression makes me uncomfortable seeing any types of these ads that promote or feature extremely thin models.

    • Michael H. says:

      This is very true Max. The way that advertisers portray people is very fake and unrealistic. The effects of this can be detrimental to us as a society and can cause harm to us as individuals as well. Nobody is perfect, but that is not what the media wants us to think.

  20. Neve H says:

    As astonishing as Killing Us Softly by Jean Kilbourne was, for me it was not so surprising. Being a teen in this century, all my life I was exposed to these advertisements. It started out with playing with perfectly skinny, blonde and blue eyed Barbie dolls to scrolling through an Instagram feed of girls looking and acting the same way. With all these advertisements saying how we should look and act in order to be socially accepted, it is a making major impact on women and men all ages. Not only does it make many people insecure, but it also diminishes individually between people. When everybody is wearing the same hairdo or the same trendy clothing, everybody becomes the same. This makes me sad because no longer are people expressing who they are though clothing and other things. But throughout the years, people, girls especially, are trying to reach this impossible status quo and in the process straining themselves. It comes as no shock that anorexia and depression are the most common mental illnesses in girls because the stress of being perfect is taking a toll on their mental health. That is why I think it is really nice that countries and magazine corporations are making note of when pictures are digitally enhanced and trying to incorporate everyday people rather than paid models. In addition, Jean Kilbourne is also a very reliable source considering she has been researching advertisements in the past 40 years.

    • Kezia M says:

      Hello Neve, I totally agree with you points. I feel as though advertisements are making us, consumers, lose individuality by promoting the same things over and over again: skinniness, beauty, and submission in girls. Since ads keep telling the viewers what is acceptable, it seems as though ads want to put everyone into boxes and label them as “attractive” or “unattractive”. Ads set our standards of beauty if we give it the power to.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      “As astonishing as Killing Us Softly by Jean Kilbourne was, for me it was not so surprising. Being a teen in this century, all my life I was exposed to these advertisements.” 🙁

  21. Connor T says:

    After watching Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly 4, I was surprised by the amount of overwhelmingly sexual ads featuring extremely thin, often photoshopped models. Promoting looks that nobody can physically attain is horrible, and the fact that millions of girls around the world physically cannot avoid seeing these ads every day is disappointing and worries me. I did not think ads affected us as a whole, but when it was shown that a society which was introduced to television had an immense spike in girls developing anorexia and depression, I was very shocked. It is frightening to think that something as simple as an ad, when repeated to us dozens and hundreds of times over and over, can subconsciously affect a girl’s life that drastically. It angers me that there is no regulations on ads despite invoking eating disorders for young women all across the country. I was very shocked by when Kilbourne said “Way back in 1989, Oprah Winfrey’s head was put on Anne Margaret’s body for a TV Guide cover. Neither women gave permission, by the way.“ The way that a magazine can change how an actress or model looks by combining two or more bodies into one using photo editing without either women’s permission seems like a strong violation of each women’s rights. This film was very educational and has completely changed the way I look at advertisements.

    • Kaylei W says:

      I agree that there should be regulations limiting what advertisements can show, similar to those already in place in other countries around the world. Similar to Connor, I am also surprised at how much ads affect our lives, basing our society on the type of products we own. Advertisements condition us into wanting things we do not need and have us believe that we want to be as similar to the “perfect image” as possible.

    • Max G says:

      I also agree that regulations should be placed on ads, especially ones that photoshop women on different bodies. The fact that neither Oprah Winfrey or Anne Margaret gave permission to create the ad should have prevent the ad.

    • Stephen says:

      I feel the same way about these kinds of ads as you. I think it’s also surprising that we have absolutely no regulations in this field of advertising. If it were up to me, I would make a myriad of changes, starting with the sexualization of women and how detrimental that is. Also, I believe that you need to ask permission from models/celebrities before making changes to their photos, like in the case of Kate Winslet.

  22. Grace Boyle says:

    I am very surprised to see how many advertisements sexualize women. In today’s world, women in advertisements are portrayed as unrealistic. Many women in these advertisements are extremely thin and “flawless” as shown in the film “Killing Us Softly”. It is shocking to me that on average people are exposed to over 3000 adds a day. Now that I have had time to think about it, I realize that everywhere I go, I will always be able to see some sort of advertisement. These advertisements are detrimental to the way that we think. In todays world when we see advertizements with sexulaized women we tend to not think twice about it because it is now our type of “normal”. Jean Kilbourne talked about how many women in advertisements are not even real. These “women” are photoshopped bodies, faces, and features to make one person. These bodies are not real ,and Kilbourne exclaims that they are “A body type that statistically only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable. Women should not be changed in order to fit the “norm”, because no one is really like that in real life. It is sad to see that young girls look up to these celebrities and models in these magazines, when they are not even what they look like in real life. These advertisements could be one of the causes of why many young girls are diagnosed with eating disorders. Kilbourne helped me realize that what is seen in advertisements, most of the time is not real. Kilbourne further helped me realize that many advertisements have deeper meanings to them. Kilbourne’s message about the real meanings of advertisement will stick with me because I will now look at advertisements more clearly, and ask myself “is what is on this ad make any sense to the product the company is trying to sell me?”

    • Casey K. says:

      I agree with Grace that it is horrible that advertisements are so unrealistic with women that could not possibly exist, and that those images shape how society views beauty and make women feel they need to look like. It is not fair or acceptable that women constantly feel self-conscious because they are taught they must have certain appearances and make themselves sick over it.

    • Kaylei W says:

      Like Grace, I am astonished at the amount of advertisements we see every day and how it subconsciously affects us everyday. After watching the video, I was shocked at the regular placement of ads, like buses or the tops of taxis, probably because I see those ads in my everyday life. I agree that one would not consciously understand the deeper meanings of ads just by skimming them, many do not even realize there is a deeper meaning to understand.

    • Sorcha H. says:

      Grace talks about young girls looking up to models and actresses who are portrayed as impossibly skinny, and who may not even look like that in real life. This is an unfortunate reality. Girls grow up wanting to be like and look like their role models, who are often actresses and models. This is an impossible standard, I believe it is unfair to be showing girls unrealistic body types when only 5% of women actually look like that.

  23. Kaylei W says:

    Learning about advertisements and the hidden messages encrypted in them was extremely astonishing. I had no idea how often people’s bodies were objectified, and all to consume someone to buy a product. Kilbourne, the creator of the Killing Us Softly series, pointed out, “Advertising sells a great deal more than products. It sells values, it sells images, it sells concepts of love and sexuality, of romance, of success, and perhaps most important of normalcy. To a great extent, advertising tells us who we are and who we should be.” I agree that when readers see an ad, they don’t just see the product, they see the lifestyle that comes with it. For example, if you buy this hair shampoo, you won’t just have soft hair, but men will be falling at your feet. I was also dismayed to find that women’s sexuality in such a stereotypical way, lowering may readers or viewers’ self-esteem. Being surrounded by “perfect” women who have smooth skin, long hair, small waists, and flat stomachs will make any girl question their beauty at some point in their life. Kilbourne stated, “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.” The fact that marketing companies use bodies to sell items such as cars, beer, or other objects, stuck with me. I cannot wrap my head around how people would think that photoshopping a car onto a woman’s face would sell the vehicle, but it does. Turning women into objects does only damage, and can lead to violence. Kilbourne believes, “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person”. Seeing violent ads at a young age can teach many children the wrong message, that violence can be justified. Many horrible messages are spread throughout advertisements, slowing deteriorating our society.

    • Sorcha H. says:

      I agree with Kaylei, because everyday products such as shampoo, are advertised to make it appear that men will fall at your feet if you use it, which is ridiculous. I also find it incredible that ads replace womens’ heads with pictures of cars to try to sell the product. It is unbelievable that people use this type of advertisement, but more so, it is surprising that it actually works. This is an example of objectifying women to increase revenue.

  24. Samantha S says:

    I personally found the video very eye opening and borderline scary. While it was already apparent that ads were sexualizing women, and that they were using body types almost never seen in real life; it’s really shocking to find out exactly how much editing is done on photos and the subliminal messages that go along with them. When Kilbourne brought up the fact that “A body type that statistically only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable.” it really shocked me. This stood out because extremely thin models are often the only ones shown, so younger girls will strive for that. That’s extremely unhealthy for the children that think they should look like that, the impossible. Along with this, it sends the message to already thin young girls, that they need to be even thinner. This is all a cause of the increasing eating disorder rates seen in teen girls specifically. On top of this, how the models are portrayed is also worrying. When model after model is sexualized it sends out a very strong message that isn’t noticed most of the time. The message that women are objects is delivered very easily, but often goes unnoticed, which was extremely shocking to me.

    • Dylan Mundy says:

      I agree with Sam in that it is shocking and scary that women are shown as objects, and how it is so normal in out society that we do not even notice it. I also agree with her statement that it is unhealthy for kids to aspire to look like models who do not even look like how they do in pictures due to editing. When a child wants to look as thin as a woman on the front of a magazine, they might not realize that that image is most likely heavily altered to show a body type that is impossible to achieve. Since they might not see that it is edited, they may stop at nothing to get that body type, and that leads to eating disorders, depression, low self-esteem, and even death due to thing like anorexia.

    • Vienna G says:

      I agree with Sam’s idea that women are given unrealistic body expectations through the media, and consequently, develop lower self esteem. Most women’s bodies shown in media and advertising are photoshopped and altered. This creates an unrealistic and sometimes impossible idea of what beauty is. Women often compare themselves to these unachievable standards and feel as if they are too fat. It was also interesting to learn about how this connects to the portrayal of food as well. In advertising, food is often romanticized and sexualized in an attempt to make it a more desirable product. People are depicted as having romantic and sexual relationships with their food, and many food items are shown in erotic situations. This portrayal of food leads to unhealthy eating habits. Women are told that food is romantic and sexual, while also being told that they should eat less in order to become skinnier. These conflicting ideas can lead to the development of eating disorders, and create a toxic atmosphere around both food and body image.

  25. Casey K. says:

    After watching the film I hope that I will be much more aware of what advertisers are truly trying to sell to consumers, such as myself, and hopefully be able to avoid feeding into what the ads are teaching. One thing that really stuck with me is that advertisers use women with the specific look of being white, unattainably thin, and beautiful. I agree with the film in that when women see this image created for them of what a woman “should” look like, it makes their self-esteem plummet and makes women think they must change who they are in order to be “beautiful.” It was saddening to see that even models that are naturally beautiful, could not recognize themselves in advertisements because their images had been airbrushed and retouched so many times. I do not think it is fair to anyone when advertisements objectify people and try to sell certain values and an idea of what it is to be “normal” in society. It is disgusting that women’s bodies are used to sell products in a sexualized manner and that they are typically being depicted as vulnerable or weak. When men are shown as having to be violent, dominant, and “manly,” it is not fair to them either because the advertisements are saying that if boys are not that way there is something wrong with them. I found it very interesting that people spend around two years of their lives watching commercials is quite frightening to think about. I had never thought about it but the film pointed out, even though most people do not realize or think advertisements are affecting them, only a very small percentage of those advertisements are received consciously, where as the majority are received subconsciously. It is mind-blowing the things the advertisements secretly make people think and value, I hope that eventually standards for advertisements change and people don’t think less of themselves because of them.

    • Sorcha H. says:

      I agree with Casey in the sense that women today are being shown these perfect models, that this is what you should look like. This is upsetting because so many young girls are affected by these ads, believing that they have to look like this, though they never will; how does a girl deal with that? This lowers self-esteem and may lead to an eating disorder, where people try to starve themselves in order to look like the models.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      “After watching the film I hope that I will be much more aware of what advertisers are truly trying to sell to consumers, such as myself, and hopefully be able to avoid feeding into what the ads are teaching.” I’m so glad! I think you will be much more aware!

  26. Dylan Mundy says:

    Dylan Mu. (per. 2)

    I found the film Killing Us Softly 4 by Jean Kilbourne very interesting, but also disturbing. It really opened my eyes to how over-sexualizaed people, especially women, are in advertisements. The film also made me realize that, even though we may believe that ads do not affect us personally, we see over 3000 ads per day, and they all affect us subconsciously. This is a scary thing to think about, because you are basically being tricked into having a certain mindset without even realizing it. I also find it disgusting how women are shown as sex objects and as submissive in many ads. Women have also been portrayed in situations in which they are alone with a shadowy figure looming over them. In the ads, the women do not seem scared, and may even appear to be enjoying the situation. On the contrary, if a woman were to be in that situation in real life they would not be that calm. They would probably be very afraid and threatened, but these ads are teaching men that women like it when they are controlled and are teaching women that they are only there to please men. Furthermore, the sexual portrayal of young girls is very disturbing. Seeing an image of a girl who is no older than 10 in a padded bra and a thong is something that can make your skin crawl. However, the media makes this seem normal, and even encourages it. Advertisements also show adult women in child-like outfits, poses, and situations, while also sexualising them. This might make people see things that are normally considered innocent, like young children and the way they dress and act, as sexual. It encourages young girls to be sexy, and for older men to enjoy when a woman looks like an over-sexualised child. Ads also show women who have a very specific, and essentially unachievable, body type. They make it seem like only thin, white, blonde, blue-eyed girls are beautiful, and if you are not any of those things you should change yourself to become them. The idea that being thin means being beautiful encourages eating disorders and very low self-esteem, especially in young girls and teens. As Kilbourne said in the film, “A body type that statistically only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable. Women should not be changed in order to fit the “norm”.” Not only do the majority of women in ads have a body type that 95% of people do not have, but they are also photoshopped. Some magazines will put the body parts of multiple women together, and combine them to make one “perfect” woman. So even the models portrayed by the media do not really look like they do in the magazines, making the goal of ultimate thinness even more unrealistic. Despite all of the discussion of the objectification of women in the film, it also touches on the way men are portrayed in ads. Men are shown as dominant, powerful, and emotionless. Ads teach young boys that in order to “be a man” they must not have any feminine aspects and must enjoy violence and sex. If some men do not identify with these traits, they are seen as not manly enough and are essentially made fun of by ads that portray femininity as a bad thing. Advertisements also encourage violence, especially against women, to men and boys. Many ads for items like clothing and perfume have depicted women in positions where it seems like they were hurt, beaten, or even murdered. The focus on violence being a manly trait is not good for society, and it damages both men and women. Overall, Kilbourne’s film has shown me, and many others, that the world of advertising is twisted and disturbing; it is full of lies, bad morals, and evil methods that mess with emotions and desires to sell products.

    • Peter W says:

      While advertisement seems to be a collection of evils, acknowledging it’s power is also important. If advertisement focused less on the idea of innocent sexuality and instead promoted better ideals, such as equality and understanding, the moral environment advertising creates would be much more beneficial to human purpose.

  27. Sorcha H. says:

    The film “Killing Us Softly” 4, really made me look at advertisements in a whole new way. In the film, it was stated that in one day we usually see around 3,000 ads; at first I could not believe that, but as I thought about I realised just how pervasive advertising is. We don’t even realize how many ads we see, let alone how it affects us. When you really look at an ad you see what kind of message they are sending about how one should act or look. Women are supposed to perfect and “are acceptable only if we’re young, thin, white, beautiful, carefully groomed and polished.” This is the kind of ideal female body young women are being told that they should look like and if you don’t look like that then you are not considered beautiful. How can a young girl, in this atmosphere, be expected to have good self-esteem? Young girls will try to look like these airbrushed and computer enhanced models and can not possibly live up to these impossible standards. Interestingly, I have found that as much as women have been objectified for years, there has been an “increase in ads that objectify men.” I agree with Jean Kilbourne’s statement about how in recent years objectifying men has become more evident in ads and that, “I don’t want them to do this to men anymore than to women.” Though the objectification of women is different than that of men, it is not right to objectify or sexualize anyone just to sell a product. I find it intriguing that there are so many hidden meanings in ads that people overlook, such as subtle demonstrations of old stereotypes. Now that I understand how ads are presented, it makes me think about the society that we live in and the pressures we live under to attain the unattainable; there is nobody that perfect.

    • Darien E. says:

      It also really surprised me that we are surrounded by 3,000 plus ads every day of every week. This seems like an extremely large number, but it is real, and that is why it is scary. All of these ads bring along the subliminal messages that can really mess with your mind and make one feel bad about themselves for something they do not have control over, like their hair and eye colors.

      • Emma Carolan says:

        I agree with Sorcha in that we do not ever truly realize how many ads we see in a day but I am shocked that the number we typically see is 3000! It is crazy how we see so much of something but pay little to no attention to it. If we payed a little more attention than the issues regarding the sexualization and objectification of women would be able to get better and women will stop being used to sell objects with sex and their bodies.

  28. Sarah T. says:

    I found Killing Us Softly, a very insightful movie. I agree with Jean Kilbourne that advertisements promote concepts that are detrimental to both men and women. From a very young age, women are poorly represented as something to be used and thrown away. For example, many women will not be able to achieve the double standards of beauty. The social norm for women to always be innocent and young, but also sexy and experienced, is truly a damaging notion. Every day women are shown these stereotypes that make a majority of women never seeing themselves as, “desirable or acceptable.” Furthermore, seeing connections between violence and sex are horrifying. The idea that men should use violence to appeal to women is extremely unhealthy. I can open my eyes to not only the objectification of women but to men as well. Men are portrayed as strong and dominant over women. This not only contributes to fear in women of being victims of violence but the masculinity factor that men must achieve by being aggressive. It’s amazing to me that people think that they are not affected by advertisement when many depict how advertisement, “ Tells us who we are and who we should be.”

    • Hillary A. says:

      I agree with your insights on the self-esteem of both women and men after viewing advertisements. While women are the main target of many ads, it is also important to note how men are affected. Building on the point you made in your last sentence, it seems that a wider range of body types in advertisement could make the general consumer population feel more comfortable in their own skin.

    • Hannah L. says:

      I agree with Sarah’s opinion on the outrageous double standard that women are faced with everyday in advertisements. It is impossible for someone to be both experienced and innocent at the same time, yet this is what companies are convincing us we should strive to be. I also like that she brought up the point that men are also affected by ads, although not as negatively as women.

    • Vienna G says:

      I think Sarah brings up an interesting point about the double standards that women face in society. In advertisements, women are often show as sexual objects, teaching women from a young age that they should strive to be desirable and sexy. At the same time, women’s innocence is also emphasized in ads, and many women in real life are shamed for embracing their sexuality. Women are also taught that their beauty is the most important aspect of their identity. However, through ads, women are given unrealistic and impossible expectations of beauty. This leads many women to feel as if they can never be beautiful enough.

  29. Peter W says:

    The thing that struck me the most about Killing Us Softly 4 was the use of advertisement as a vehicle for values and social norms. What we value as a society is both portrayed and influenced by advertisements. Women are told to strive for an unattainable beauty, and men are taught to become more violent. One of the more horrifying aspects of modern advertising is the increasing sexualization of young children. It is disgusting to see that we, as a society, have become so obsessed with sexuality that we push it on young children. Where did these values come from? Advertisement is a reflection of the values that we have as a society, as human beings. Are these sickening ideals ones that are inherently carved into us a humans, or a crude abstraction of the human psyche created by a corporation? Whatever it is, it is an interesting effect of increasing connectivity and potential for advertisement in a capitalist setting.

    • Richard R says:

      I agree with Peter on how it is disgusting that so much sexuality is pushed on children. I also like how he describes the beauty women strive to have as “unattainable”, and how he mentions that men are supposed to be violent according to advertisements.

  30. Darien E. says:

    This film helped me realize that the women portrayed in ads are not realistic at all. In the video, the audience is made aware that in order to make one magazine cover, four different photos of four different girls were morphed together to create this ‘alien’ woman who is “perfect”. This is extremely shocking because women are constantly surrounded by these types of ads and most girls grow up wanting to be like them. These women in the ads are not healthy; they are extremely underweight and extremely edited to look “ideal” which is not the right message for young girls. This makes me sad because I would not want my daughter growing up thinking that she has to be skinny in order to “fit in” with society. I want my kids and future generations to feel comfortable in their own skin and to be healthy. This video really brought this issue to life.

    • Alison K. says:

      I agree with Darien when she talks about how the “perfect” woman that everybody wants to be is not even real. Young girls are taught that these standards are normal and if they do not look like this they will not fit in. I agree with her when she says that young girls and women should be comfortable and accepted in the body they have.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      “This makes me sad because I would not want my daughter growing up thinking that she has to be skinny in order to “fit in” with society.” Amen, Darien!

  31. Emma Carolan says:

    After watching the film, “Killing Us Softly” by Jean Kilbourne, I have really opened my eyes to how women are treated in advertisements daily. It is now almost impossible to look at ads the same way without noticing all the hidden messages within them. The women portrayed in advertisements are all seen as very thin and beautiful and this has been affecting our society in many ways. So many women and young girls look at these ads and begin to struggle with many issues such as eating disorders and self-esteem problems because they look in the mirror and see that they do not look like the models in the pictures. The craziest thing is that the body type that so many women all over the world crave is not even possible to have. The reality is, only about 5% of the population of women have the specific body type of being thin, young, beautiful, and polished, while the rest is digitally photoshopped on a computer to make them appear thinner and prettier. What shocked me the most about the film was that not only are ads sexualizing women, but they are starting to do it to little girls and it has only gotten worse throughout the years. Especially in the past couple years, women in ads have been acting and dressing like little girls which appears to be promoting child pornography. Even young girls have been appearing to wear bras, thongs, and heels in advertisements. While these women and girls are shown in a way that promotes sex, they are also in positions that make them vulnerable and inferior to men. Women are always standing in ridiculous positions that make them appear weaker and you would never see a man doing it. In ads, men are always appearing to be masculine, strong, superior, and violent. Watching this film in class has really changed my perspective on the way I view advertisements and hope we can make a change in the near future because of all the secret messages in them that blow over our minds so often.

  32. Hannah L. says:

    Hannah L.
    The film made me see advertisements in a new light. I never realized how much of an effect ads actually have on our daily lives. When Jean Kilbourne said that the average person sees over 3,000 advertisements per day, I was shocked. Although we do not always consciously interpret the ads around us, they are constantly being forced into our brains. This idea reminded me of how I automatically sing the jingles during commercials for famous brands, showing that ads affect us all. Her emphasis on the sexualization and objectification of women and the way in which it affects the self-esteem of girls and women everywhere was eye-opening. The advertising industry plays on emotions and benefits from making people feel that they are not good enough. By convincing women that they must be thin, white, and perfect, profits increase as self-image depreciates. I find it terrifying that companies rely on making people feel worse in order to make more money, and they show no remorse. Sexual terms, phrases, and positions are also strategically used in order to make people feel as though they require the product being sold, contributing to the sense of consumerism in America. It is disappointing to see the lack of progress that our country is making in relation to advertisements.

    • Emma Carolan says:

      I agree with Hannah in that the sexualization of women in ads have been playing a huge factor in the self-esteem of women and girls. Once a women sees the digitally modified thin models in advertisements, she worries why she isn’t that thin and thinks that she isn’t good enough because she doesn’t look like that, despite it being a fake photo that isn’t close to what women in reality really look like at all.

    • Kezia M says:

      Wow Hannah, this is so insightful! I always find myself humming little jingles. I enjoy singing the tune of that Karz for Kids commercial all the time. I do believe advertisements are getting somewhat better though. Currently, I’ve seen some ads including plus size models and people of color. There aren’t very many, but it is an improvement and shows progress.

    • Vienna G says:

      I agree with Hannah that the advertising industry plays on people’s emotions in order to sell products, showing how prevalent the idea of consumerism is in American society. Companies will do almost anything to make more money through advertising. Many advertisements exploit negative emotions, and also use sex and violence in order to sell a product. Commercial brands both promote and profit off of a dangerous cultural environment.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      “This idea reminded me of how I automatically sing the jingles during commercials for famous brands, showing that ads affect us all.” Do you remember this part in Fahrenheit 451 when he can’t get Denham’s Dentifrice out of his head?

  33. Hillary A. says:

    “Killing Us Softly 4” was truly an eye-opening film. I had never noticed how prominent the objectification of women is in advertising and pop culture, and the movie brought this to my attention. Once of the most startling observations made by Kilbourne was the fact that although women are the most commonly objectified, there has been a sharp increase in the objectification of men in advertising. This is disheartening to hear, because it seems that instead of recognizing the problem with objectification of any gender, advertising has expanded the breadth of their objectification. Another part of the film that stuck with me was the stigma around weight in the modelling and advertising industries. It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that any company would be willing to hire someone who is dangerously unhealthy to represent them. As prevalent as body dysmorphia and eating disorders are among the female population, one would think that companies would be aiming to fix these issues instead of encouraging them. However, it is good to know that these trends seem to be fading away as European countries begin to create laws regarding weight in advertising. Overall, the film was a dismal view into the reality of advertising, but it seems that advertising can only get better from here.

    • Richard R says:

      I agree with Hilary on how it is a disgrace that any company would hire models that are so skinny it is unhealthy. I also agree with how it is good that there is starting to be change somewhere, like in some countries in Europe that are making laws regarding the body index of models.

  34. Richard R says:

    I enjoyed watching Killing Us Softly 4 because it made me realize how much advertising really affects our society. To me, whats most interesting is how the advertisements portray women. The advertisement companies enhance the models digitally to make them look perfect. I felt like it was a step in the right direction when some of the models spoke out against the digitally enhanced photos, Like when Sydney Crawford said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” She is saying that the photos of her are not what she actually looks like and they were enhanced to look more perfect. One of the worst parts of advertisements is how all of these ideas are pushed on our youth. Young girls and boys are growing up insecure about their bodies because everyone they see on television is skinny and beautiful. That is why there is such high levels of depression and mental illnesses in our youth. In advertisements women are depicted very different than men. Women are depicted often in vulnerable positions, not showing their faces, or they are even sometimes depicted as objects.

  35. Kezia M says:

    Jean Kilbourne enlightened me about the subliminal messages in advertising. I never realized all the hidden meanings behind ads. It is shocking to see how many ads objectify women and preach beauty as the most important characteristic about a woman. Almost all ads, containing models, have been photoshopped to make the model look more fit and attractive. This was basically telling viewer that beauty is everything. Kilbourne said, “If you’re not conventionally beautiful, you’re an object to ridicule and contempt.” Essentially you have to meet the very high bar that advertisements set, and if you do not, you will be mocked and teased. This was very upsetting, but it was also, one of the main reasons “cosmetic surgery increased by 457 percent from 1997 to 2007”. Obviously people can do whatever they want with their body and to each their own, but there was no denying that media and advertisements were the main causes of the escalation of cosmetic procedures. Advertisements are all around us and there is no escaping it, especially since the average person sees 3,000 ads per day. I learned to look for the messages behind ads and to read them better.

    • Lauria M. says:

      I agree with Kezia. Everyone does have the right to choose what they want to do with their body, but it is so clear how everyone is influenced by images of what women are “supposed to” look like instead of what they really do look like. It’s like how Cindy Crawford said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” She is aware how much images of herself are altered to the point where she sees herself and the edited pictures of herself as two different things.

  36. Adam C says:

    After seeing the film, “Killing Us Softly”4, I agree that the dehumanization in advertisements should never happen to men or women. Neither gender deserves to put but into a group or role in how they must look and act. I disagree with the constant objectification of women in advertisements that has only gotten worse over the years. Women should not be turned into some toy or treat. I also disagree with the way people decide what is “perfect” and “normal”. People come in different shapes and sizes, their is no perfect person. We all have imperfections. This is very evident when Jean Kilbourne says “A body type that statistically only 5% of women have, is the only one we ever see as desirable or acceptable. I was angry with the stereotypical way women would always look, while all around the world women look very different but their is very little diversity in advertisements. The setups and positions men and women were in during the ads really stuck with me. Women constantly looking frightened, worried, hurt, or confused but always sexy. As well as men looking fierce, strong, determined and sometimes even angry but always sexy as well. It is so disturbing how society forces women and men into such stereotypical and unnatural groups.

    • Caleb G says:

      I agree with Adam in that neither gender deserves to be put into a group or role and be told how they must act. This completely strips away all individualism in oneself and teaches people that they should be “normal” and behave like everybody else. I think it is interesting how the body type that these advertisements are pushing is so rare. This truly must have a profound impact on the self-esteem of many people.

    • Alison K. says:

      I agree with Adam when he talks about how the media has set a certain idea to be normal. Anything aside from that is shown to be wrong or disgraceful or not desirable. This would mean that over 3/4 of the population is undesirable because not everybody looks like the ideal version of a man or woman, including the model. Many models are altered to look differently than they actually which builds upon the facts that most people do not look like that “ideal” person.

  37. Michael H. says:

    This film was very informational in that it did not just tell you what advertisers are doing but actually showed you the many different ways that they try to sell things to you, without you even noticing. From the film, I agree that advertisers try to sexualize women in their ads, not only from the ads that Jean Kilbourne showed, but from my own personal experience. As seen in the film, is it said that, “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..” This clearly shows that unrealistic expectations of women have come way too far in the recent years, in this case contradicting the expectations. Before watching this film I had no idea how advertisers had been showing subliminal messages in the ads, but after watching it has become very clear how advertisers use very sneaky was into offering other things (such as sex, masculinity, and fitness etc.) in order to get you to pay attention. A couple things that really struck me as very surprising was the fact that on average, we see around 3,000 ads/day, and only about 8% of them are perceived with a conscious mind. This shows that advertisers really try to take advantage of us when we are most vulnerable. Another thing that struck me as very surprising is the fact that on average we spend 2-3 years of our lifetime just watching commercials. To me that is very alarming because it really shows how much information from ads is being forced upon us for so much of our lives. One thing that was especially surprising, yet powerful, was how many celebrities in the ads stood up by saying that it is all fake and that people should not think of the people in the ads as what they should look like. This can be seen when Cindy Crawford said “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” This really shows how much photos in advertisements are digitally altered, making the person in the photo look much better than they actually do in real life. The health issues relating to this can be seen in countries that just started showing digitally altered photos, and as a result of this, there was a sharp increase in eating disorders. To fix this problem, we need to speak out against advertisers and show them that they are in fact, hurting others by doing this.

    • Hadiya Q. says:

      Michael’s example of Cindy Crawford was very powerful. The actress herself wishes to look more like the beautiful portrayed lady in the magazine; and this is ironic because it shows the negative effects of digitation.

    • Caleb G says:

      I think it is outstanding how only 8% of the 3000 ads we see every day are perceived consciously. This truly shows the extent of the role that the media plays in our everyday lives. This information is essentially being forced upon us without our knowledge of consuming it.

  38. Jonathan Y. says:

    “Killing Us Softly 4,” by Joan Kilbourne, was an interesting and informational film, which explores how advertisements reflect the flawed values in our culture. At the beginning it explores the idea and images of “ideal female beauty.” The media portrays women of an “ideal body” as extremely thin, pale, with blond hair, and blue eyes. Photographs will even be altered to create the “perfect woman,” with nothing being out of the ordinary. Not only will the skin tone of colored models be altered, but the proportions will be altered so much, that the women are now anatomically incorrect. However, that is not far enough for some magazines. Some magazines even go as far as amalgamating several models together, for their “ideal look.” Despite making up the majority of ads portraying female beauty, this is is a body type that less than 5% of women have. Not only are women sexualized, they are dehumanized, and when “People are dehumanized, then violence is inevitable.” These high expectations for women provide a message of failure, as it is near impossible to reach that standard of “beauty.” Not only is this standard detrimental to the mentality of women, it is also detrimental to their health. Advertisements often offer slimming pills or diets in order to attain this body. However, studies show that 95% of dieters “regain after 5 years, or gain more.” An epidemic of eating disorders has also spread among women because of this trend. These advertisements provide a toxic culture for women, and for men too. Men are constantly expected to live up to standards of masculinity, which often tend to be brutish, and violent. Men in ads are often depicted as strong, lean, and with chiseled bodies. They are also constantly pressured to prove their “masculinity,” which leads to domestic violence, or other pointless acts of violence or taunting against others.

    • Hadiya Q. says:

      Its good that Jonathan mentioned the flip side, of male gender portrayals, because that was a topic that seemed to be fast forwarded and yet holds the same importance. Men are being portrayed in such a way that breeds more danger in society, because men try to fill these roles they think they need to be. He is right that men have to live up to a degree of “masculinity”. However, this degree is not always achievable, which can have toxic outcomes for the man, and the people around him.

      • Ms. McMane says:

        I think Kilbourne doesn’t talk a great deal about men’s portrayal in advertising because that’s not been her area of study (consider how William Golding said he wrote about boys because he is a boy and knows boys’ experiences), but I’m glad she brings it up. There are other activists like Jackson Katz who are really looking into the depiction of men in advertising now. The Social Justice Club showed his film “Tough Guise” a couple of years ago.

    • Alison K. says:

      I agree with Jonathan and liked how he included how men are affected by the media. They are affected int he same way as women but are taught that they can not be sensitive or compassionate and must be masculine and tough. This idea can be very toxic, especially to young boys. Unlike women, boys are taught to be violent which can hurt the boy and everybody around him

    • Zoe F says:

      I agree with Jonathan , men in ads today are also exposed to unrealistic looks and how they have to be masculine in order to look cool and tough. Its also important to notice how even colored skin of models are lighted to create the effect of being lighter and/or having a more even skin tone showing women that they can’t be good enough with who they are and what they were born with, instead they will be altered to what society thinks is “ideal”.

  39. Vienna G says:

    “Killing Us Softly” was a great film and it really changed the way I view advertising. The film helped raise awareness about the many dangers that advertising has on society, including the objectification of women, and the development of a toxic cultural environment. I was surprised to learn that most of the advertising that people see is interpreted subconsciously, meaning that many people are unaware of the impacts that advertising has on both individuals and society as a whole. One of the things I was most shocked by was the depiction of violence in many of the advertisements. Numerous mainstream advertisements showed women as victims of violence, and often romanticized or sexualized violent situations. This was very disturbing to me because it showed the values of our country, and how violence, especially toward women, is so prevalent in society. I was very moved when Jean Kilbourne said that “turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” This is shown often in advertisements in which women are sexualized in violent situations. Depicting women as sexual objects is often used to justify violence towards them. This idea of objectification leading to violence has also been shown through real life events. When a certain group of people is dehumanized, they are often victims of violence and oppression. In this film, I was also shocked by the amount of sexualization of young women shown in advertisements. Many women were shown in child-like positions and clothing, while also being sexualized. This sexualization of children is very dangerous because it creates an atmosphere that allows for more predatory behavior. This treatment of young girls in advertisements leads to more sexualization in real life as well. This idea was frightening to me because many young girls are exposed to these kinds of sexual advertisements and they are lead to believe that they must appear sexy and desirable at a young age. This creates a dangerous environment for young women. It was shocking to learn about the countless negative impacts that advertising has on society. This movie opened my eyes to the dangerous world of advertising, and I feel that spreading awareness about this issue is the first step to creating widespread change.

    • Hadiya Q. says:

      Vienna is definitely right when she says that objectification is the first step towards violence. She explains how dropping the value of someone causes them to be susceptible very well. Child predatory is a big deal and will be enhanced if girls continue to see these sexualizing ads. Vienna is correct that this issue needs to be spread more, if only for the protection for the future generations.

  40. Hadiya Q. says:

    “Couldn’t say it on TV if it wasn’t true.”
    This is only one of the many lies that Jean Kilbourne explores in her film “Killing Us Softly”. The film is a thought-provoking piece that leads one to challenge the norms that are portrayed in the media today. Kilbourne exposes the truth about women roles in advertising, and sheds light on the dangerous messages being sent out.
    Statistically, 92% of any ad is absorbed into the subconscious, where it can root and begin spreading false expectations. Body expectations is one of the most dangerous forced messages received. Women are taught from a young age that they must look a certain way, have a certain number of pounds, and should use this ideal body for certain activities. This is very dangerous for girls because it gives off the impression that worth is only defined by outward appearance and activity. I agree with her assertion that this is a Toxic Cultural Image, because the environments of the pictures are shady and violent, which implies that danger is sexy and that it is nothing to be afraid of. The most disgusting part was her segment on how digitizing pictures is becoming a thing. It started off with little things, like adding some curves here or subtracting some weight the re on a certain model. But then it moved to a different stage altogether. Where the pictures seen on the magazines were not even real- just layers of many women combined to get the ideal character. This unattainable goal, this unreachable checkpoint, is deteriorating for self image and respect.
    Women’s bodies are also digitized with another object to sell the object through sex appeal. For example, the car add where the head was the catalog picture was very disturbing. By comparing the car to the girl, it showcases one toxic principle of society, which is that women must be seen as objects of pleasure.
    Explorations that will stick with me include the double standards between men and women, who must “be both innocent and sexy, virginal and experienced, all at once”, and the positive conclusion. Like the dilemma Ophelia faced in Hamlet, girls are conflicted with what they must be. They are encouraged to be both sides of the coin, which can be dangerous. However, the ending of the film showcased a progression towards better advertisements, as she tells us how countries have begun helping models in the industry.

  41. Sarah M says:

    The film Killing Us Softly 4, opened my eyes to the detrimental effects of advertisements on the public. I was frustrated when watching the film due to the constant objectification of women portrayed in advertisements. Women are seen as objects, sex symbols, or vulnerable. Often times, women are posed in the media, they are seen in defenseless positions so they can be represented as child-like in ads. An example Jean Kilbourne addressed, was a photo of a grown woman, wearing minimal clothing, holding a popsicle as though she were a child. This can promote ideas of pedophilia for men because it allows men to want women to be like that and allows women to want to be like that. Kilbourne also mentioned an advertisement where a woman had a car as her face and the men was staring at the car longingly as though he were about to kiss “her”. The fact that they did not show her real face only promotes women as an object even more. Essentially saying, men only want sex and cars, and women are only to be objects for sex and men to toy with. I was saddened by the ideals brought up in this film, because it is why society places such strict rules on young girls, teaching them what they should or should not be. Some advertisements mentioned in the film, had women who were photoshopped, promoting false beauty. This is also an attribute to society’s standards for women. Kate Winslet referred to a photo-enhanced photo of her when she said, “I don’t look like that, and I don’t desire to look like that.” Even the models themselves are revolting against the idea of what they are supposed to look like and who they are supposed to be. This really stuck out to me in the film because the media that is portrayed to us is, as they say, “fake news”; however, we apply our standards of beauty based on these impossible ideals that are fed to the us. Therefore, the film was really an eye opener for me and educated me on the advertisements I see everyday and what to look out for in them.

    • Caleb G says:

      I think that the ad you brought up with the woman with the car on her face was very interesting. Not only is it completely objectifying women comparing them to a non-living object, but it also suggests that cars are the only thing that males find interest in. This kind of subverting advertising dictates our lives and affects our decisions, even if we aren’t aware of it.

  42. Caleb G says:

    After watching the film “Killing Us Softly 4” by Jean Kilbourne, my eyes were truly opened to the blatant misogynistic, racist, and objectifying advertisements that we consume every day. I agreed with Kilbourne when she talked about the objectification of women in ads. Sex sells, and companies leverage this through advertisements featuring overly sexualized women. This reduces women down to mere body parts, and essentially dehumanizes them completely. Kilbourne also detailed how these advertisements can have a profound effect on the self-esteem of women. The models that we are advertised are almost always tall and skinny, and have a body type that less than 5% of US women have. Due to the constant bombardment of this body type by the media, most girls tend to develop self-esteem issues due to the fact that they do not have this so-called “perfect” body. One part of the movie that definitely stuck with me was when Kilbourne said that women are “supposed to be both innocent and sexy, virginal and experienced, all at once.” This is clearly an impossible task, but the media continues to push this narrative. No doubt this will lead to a drop in self-esteem of girls, as they become confused as to what kind of person they should be. I was angered by the part of the film that discussed how women in ads are often portrayed as young girls and performing childish acts all while being overly sexualized. This can be classified as borderline child pornography, and I truly find it disgusting that the media is pushing this message.

    • Joseph Gregory says:

      Caleb, you made a really interesting point about advertisers using models with body types shared by so few women. I agree that it sets an unrealistic expectation for how women should look and that this hurts women’s self esteem. The use of quotes really strengthened your argument, and convinced me to see the point of view that you are arguing.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      “I was angered by the part of the film that discussed how women in ads are often portrayed as young girls and performing childish acts all while being overly sexualized. This can be classified as borderline child pornography, and I truly find it disgusting that the media is pushing this message.” Agreed! It’s really frightening.

  43. Joseph Gregory says:

    I had not previously realized how impactful advertisements are on society. I found it interesting, and quite frankly frightening to see how advertisements have sexualized little girls and infantilize women. This is frustrating because it depicts all women as being vulnerable and in need of someone strong to help them, and that makes it difficult for strong independent women to be recognized by men. I agreed with Killbourne’s statement that we do not want to see objectified men any more than we want to see objectified women. Evening the scales does not solve the problem, it just causes a wider variety of people to experience it. Sending the message that it is ok to objectify women so long as we also objectify men does not solve any problems, it only creates new ones. All together, the film shocked me by showing me just how blatantly sexist advertisements can be, and how it affects the people who read them.

  44. Alison K. says:

    Before watching this film I did not realize how often such women are sexualized and treated only as objects. While watching advertisements I only noticed the flashy colors and clever sayings. After watching the film i now see things in advertisements that I have never noticed and it is honestly hard to find an advertisement that does not sexualize women. I found it especially horrible that young girls and even toddlers were being portrayed the same way as women. When being exposed to these thing so early Killbourne says that low self esteem in young girls is increasing rapidly. It is frustrating to see how women are portrayed to be innocent, submissive, and vulnerable. This is sending a message of how women must act. They all must act a certain way which puts a lot of pressure on women, especially young women. Jean says in the film “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.” This standard is impossible to obtain but the media places this concept in our head subconsciously. I feel that it is scary to think that an idea is being put into my mind without me knowing it. I never thought that advertisements had such a big impact on my life until i saw this film. Although this film was very sad to see how easily people are affected by ads, I liked how Killbourne added in the end some of the good. Countries around the world are starting to take action and are showing a more diverse group of women in the media. This is only a start and we have a long way to go but I believe that this film was very eye opening and spreading the word is the first step before change actually happens.

    • Anna P says:

      I agree with Allison that ads have so much more depth after watching this movie. Since the average person only analyzes ads 8% with their conscious, that leaves 92% that remained completely unknown to me until today. Killing us Softly was very eye-opening in that way, thank goodness other parts of the world are stepping up and taking action against the injustice of ads. If only the U.S. could step up like that as well…

  45. Zoe F says:

    Jean Kilbourne’s film really helped me understand how our society portrays ads to the public , giving us the concept that beauty sells most products. In ads we always see pretty and skinny women selling something simple such as foods , cars, and other things that should be unrelated to how we look. Having unrealistic women on ads, who in the “Killing us Softly” film are shown to be created digitally to have the “perfect features”, but whats so upsetting is that there are children teens, and even adults who look at that and think they have to live up to that beauty expectation. I feel like ads instead of selling their products are too focused on trying to find attractive advocates that it ends up being detrimental to the public causing young people to think that they will only be attractive if what they wear is nice or if they are skinny or not. Product ads should put first what is being sold and not selling unrealistic expectations of how men and women look trying to sell the product. While watching the film, I also found it disturbing how even children were subjected to being sexualized in certain ads, selling clothes that are typically made for adults for young children. Another thing is women usually for clothing ads who are with men as well tend to look weaker or doing something considered “sexy” while the man looks dominant and stand still position. This gives teens impressions that they too need to be sexy in order to fit in. One thing Kilbourne said was that the average person spends 2 years of their life watching ads, this to me sounds like so much, when in that time span people are acknowledging that sex is being used to sell and society is trying hard to look like people in ads.

  46. Anna P says:

    I thought I was aware of the problems with the advertising industry until I watched Killing us Softly. Examples of the backwards ads that have actually been marketed before surprised and appalled me. Ads that unsubtly depict brutality towards women, sexualize children, and dehumanize other races are among the few featured. The focus of the film, however, was mostly on the objectification of women. Through the association of women with products and covering of their faces, women are seen only for their bodies in advertising. Since ads are the thing that dictate our norms, this attitude of objectifying women bleeds into the subconscious of the receiving public. If not shown as objects, then women are typically portrayed as tiny and helpless. Not only are men being told that women are weak and theirs for the taking, but girls are being taught that their femininity and desirability are linked with how small and frail they can make themselves. As a result, this generation now faces “an epidemic of eating disorders”. The advertising companies’ disregard for the mental health of their audience is saddening because they will place their profit before anything else. What’s more is that we have no one to blame but ourselves, the ads are only made this way because that’s what sells. Even though the implications and misrepresentations hurt us, we are ultimately the product consumers and only endorse the ads by buying from their companies.

  47. Lauria M. says:

    Before watching this film, I thought that I knew about the issues with mainstream advertising. However, after watching “Killing us Softly”, I’ve realized that there are so many things wrong with the industry that I never even thought of. For example, everyone knows that photos are edited, but I never knew that they could be without the models’ permission. It was inspiring to see people like Kate Winslet come out and say how she did not approve of the edits and say how she didn’t support it. I think more people need to be like her and call out the unrealistic images of body types that are presented to women and young girls. Aside from the images used being fake, companies also try and sexualize advertisements, especially of women. I never knew how many random products that used the bodies of women to sell their products. Women especially young girls don’t need to be exposed to this type of media. These images give the impression that the only thing girls are good for is sex and pleasing men. You can see how this is extremely problematic because girls need to know that they are strong and independent and they don’t need to worry about pleasing anyone but themselves.

    • Katharine G says:

      I agree with Lauria, young girls being raised in a society getting married and having kids is the “norm” is basically telling girls that they shouldn’t pursue their dreams, just do what their husband tells them.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      “Before watching this film, I thought that I knew about the issues with mainstream advertising. However, after watching “Killing us Softly”, I’ve realized that there are so many things wrong with the industry that I never even thought of. ” I’m glad the film made you think!!

  48. Katharine G says:

    The film “Killing Us Softly” 4 opened my eyes to the harsh world of advertising. As a young woman in America, I do feel that on a daily basis we are surrounded by unrealistic beauty standards. As it said in the movie, we may think advertisements don’t affect us, but they almost always do. We compare ourselves to models when we shop, for clothes or makeup, and spend money to look more “normal”, when “normal” isn’t even achievable, not even by the model. Not only that, but nobody should want to look like that, being stick thin is unhealthy, and shouldn’t be admired. Advertisements also objectify women, in a negative way. They portray women as beer bottles and such, showing men that women shouldn’t be loved for their personalities or intelligence, but their looks. This really showed me that not only is advertising derogatory towards women, but it does affect us, whether we like it or not because we still strive to be that unachievable “perfect” person.

  49. Stephen says:

    Stephen C.

    The film Killing Us Softly is honestly one of the most informative and enlightening pieces of work I have ever seen. Jean Kilbourne expertly exposes the way ads affect us, and just how detrimental they really are. I found it terrifying that mainly women are held to such high beauty standards portrayed by ads. The fact that all models are beyond skinny and seem to only have one body type is flabbergasting. How are all women supposed to conform to one incredibly specific beauty standard? And with social media and technology, ads are shoved into everyone’s face almost 24/7. In the movie, Jean Kilbourne states,”And girls are getting the message young. That they need to be impossibly beautiful, sexy, extremely thin, and they also get the message that they are going to fail.” I firmly agree with Kilbourne on this. Not only are ads affecting all women, but especially younger girls are being told that they look wrong and that they should change themselves to have beauty “perfection.” This is incredibly dangerous, and it is something I believe we need to put our foot down on. I would disagree with Kilbourne that ads are getting worse. In certain ways, we have made huge strides since the 1950’s when women were told constantly by ads that they had to be subservient to their husband’s wishes. And with movements like feminism coming into fruition as of recent, I believe that we have come far from the world of ads in the past. While their are definitely aspects that are worse now, like the hyper-sexualization and constant in your face nature of advertisement, in my opinion ads are getting better as a whole.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      “The film Killing Us Softly is honestly one of the most informative and enlightening pieces of work I have ever seen.” Wow! I’m so glad it had an impact on you. If you’re interested in seeing more, check out the filmmaker Jackson Katz’s film “Tough Guise.” I believe he has made a more recent “Tough Guise II.”

  50. Sena Namkung says:

    As a young woman living in the 21st century, this film has opened my eyes widely to the hidden messages of advertising and media. As Jean Kilbourne explains, it is so incredibly offputting and dangerous, in a sense, of how the media [portrays women. In the film, you can see that in the media, you can see women portrayed as being lower than men, and even being abused. Also, there were examples of advertisements that unnecessarily sexualize women and even young girls. I believe that this is toxic to not just women, but men too. Because of these types of ads, men often conceptualize that women always have to be in a certain way or sexualized. The idea of “perfection” has been implanted into countless brains like a bug. This bug has been causing myriad issues on people, mentally and physically. In the media, you see girls as skinny and beautiful, and that blond hair and blue eyes are the definitions of beauty. This has been especially hurtful to non-white communities because people put themselves down because they know they cannot reach that level or standard of “beauty”.

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