Killing us Softly - Compelling or Ridiculous? 25 replies

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Metall_pingwin

Call me Pingwin

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26th May 2005

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#1 9 years ago

Jean Kilbourne is a social theorist known primarily for her lectures on advertising and women titled "Killing us Softly". The lectures focus on the harmful effects advertising has on women, not too recently (1999) she released the third rendition of her famous talk titled "Killing us Softly 3"

Jean Kilbourne makes a case for her thesis on advertising and its portrayal of women. Simply put, she feels the ads are "violent" towards women and that this violence in ads leads to violence in real life.

You can find a short version of the most important points here:

Spoiler: Show

While the entire lecture (30 minutes) can be watched here: Killing Us Softly 3 Advertising's Image of Women

I'm sure some of you have seen it, those who haven't - I recommend giving a watch.

I made up my mind, but I want to hear from The Pub. What are your thoughts on both her thesis, and the lecture?




Mr. Pedantic

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8th October 2006

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#2 9 years ago

I don't know about advertising telling us what we are.

Personally I don't think that this occurs to such an extent in New Zealand, all the girls I know have fairly normal lives, they don't spend so much money on looking perfect, they don't have any eating disorders, they are normal people.

However, you do see women as objects used a lot in advertising, both in electronic media and in life; for example, exhibitions for cars, boats, anything remotely techy or appealing to males, now has a female face/body attached to it. While this does occur to some extent with males, there is definitely not nearly as much of it as portrayal of women as objects. Maybe girls are just not as attracted to guys as guys are to girls...

As for violence, I don't know. The only advertisements I have seen remotely related to violence towards women are the ads screened on New Zealand TV, the "It's not okay" campaign. Though that's against domestic violence towards children as well, not just women.




Guest

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#3 9 years ago

tl;dr: mass media defines social views and standards.

Didn't see that coming. :lookaround:




NCC1017spock

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25th April 2007

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#4 9 years ago

Yes, the girls that strive for perfection, this destoryes who they are, and what makes them stand out in the crowd. I only pay attention to girls that don't strive for perfectionism, becuase they really mean something.




Blank Stare

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24th July 2004

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#5 9 years ago

The only girls that have a problem with sexy girls being used to lure in customers are the ugs.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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26th May 2003

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#6 9 years ago

If you look at cultures across history then in food-scarce cultures the body beautiful is one with a lot of excess fat, reflecting a relatively good supply of resources; whereas in cultures with an abundance of food the body beautiful is slim and disciplined, representing the self and social control of the individual, which in those situations is the greater survival tool.

It’s a much more pronounced effect of high calorie per acre crop yields and their correlates of hierarchical social structures, coupled with the necessary pedestrian lifestyle, than it is the effect of media. Why, after all did the media evolve this way? If you look at the images of successful men in the media they're not exactly the flabby guys either, but are instead people with over-developed skeletal muscles and pronounced jaws.

If people didn't already think like that then the advertising wouldn't have worked. The aim of advertising is to show people what they want coupled with something they don’t and hope that the associative conditioning makes them want it. You’re not sold a thing you’re sold a lifestyle.

What we’re left with is the reciprocal effect, as kids grow up they see the things their parents want and want that too. But without eliminating the cause of the original desire it would reoccur in the new generation anyway. I think blaming the media is an oversimplification; it’s just one element of the transmission of the values, not necessarily responsible for the causation.




dschill

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14th May 2009

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#7 9 years ago

I dont know i think that it does effect some ppl but these are perhaps just the dumb people in todays society that feel what the t.v. tells them is handed down directly from god himself.




Mr. Pedantic

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#8 9 years ago

I don't think this has been covered yet, so I'd like to point out that beauty isn't just about shape/tone. It's also about skin quality and general poise as well.

If you look at cultures across history then in food-scarce cultures the body beautiful is one with a lot of excess fat, reflecting a relatively good supply of resources; whereas in cultures with an abundance of food the body beautiful is slim and disciplined, representing the self and social control of the individual, which in those situations is the greater survival tool.

Yup. That's why men are still attracted to wider hips and bigger breasts, because that is where women store their fat.

If people didn't already think like that then the advertising wouldn't have worked. The aim of advertising is to show people what they want coupled with something they don’t and hope that the associative conditioning makes them want it. You’re not sold a thing you’re sold a lifestyle.

I suspect in the Pacific Islands, where skinniness is still frowned upon in favour of fatter individuals, advertising would trend towards the heavier physiques.




Junk angel

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29th January 2007

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#9 9 years ago
It’s a much more pronounced effect of high calorie per acre crop yields and their correlates of hierarchical social structures, coupled with the necessary pedestrian lifestyle, than it is the effect of media. Why, after all did the media evolve this way? If you look at the images of successful men in the media they're not exactly the flabby guys either, but are instead people with over-developed skeletal muscles and pronounced jaws.

I think the biggest difference is proliferation. The amount of ads that have women in them is far far higher than the amount of ads with men in them. The men in the ads (unless the ad works by ridicule) tend to also be the epitomes of "masculinity" and I guess if there were a lot more of those ads, you'd see them having a far greater effect on men as well. And isn't the number slowly going up?

Yup. That's why men are still attracted to wider hips and bigger breasts, because that is where women store their fat.

I'd say this is closer to an even older instinct - bigger breasts+wider hips = better childbearing ability. Which was crucial a lot sooner.




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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9th December 2003

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#10 9 years ago

Do ads influence us?

Sure, people remember a name (be it because of a funny advertisement or an annoying one like most of those washingpower and other cleaning liquids/powders/sprays products) when they are shopping and when they intend to buy a certain product they should be more inclined to buy a product they are familiar with. People ofcourse generally do not buy a product because of the ad, as in them seeing an ad and them rushing to the stores to buy that product (brand X peanutbutter or brand Y jeans), though an exception to this may be new techonoly/gadgets.

The main point of advertisment is to get the name to be known, hence why for certain products you may not even need direct advertisment to sell them. People are already familiar with names such as Philips and Sony and when walking around the electronics department/shop they tend to be more inclined to buy from these familiar branches.

So advertising helps, though let's not forget that people also often copy their parents, they got to now certain products/company names and are more inclined to stay loyal to those.

Now, regarding men and women in advertisements. The knife cuts on both sides. Advertisements may use "the ideal men/women" in order to sent out a message "this person is succesful/popularity, use our product to try and achief this success/populairty aswell". But ads must also use use people that are socially accepted, else the producer/product seems detached/allienated and wil have a harder time getting his message out and taken seriously. If an producer would use an fat man or woman to promote their jeans people would all most certainly laugh or react confused. People expect to see a "role model" , often a "perfect" model.

So they use "successful" people in their ads. These accepted ads may tend to influence people in what they perceive to be the social reality/standards. Certain people may feel a stronger need than other to try and fit in this model of perfection.

I myself am not really bothered, I see ads with "succesful" (attractive, well build, popular, trendy, ...) man but I don't really feel the urge to "be like them". I don't see the point in having A branch underpants, expensive parfums and deodarants and so on. Am I free of social acceptance/infleunce? No, I won't shop in certain budget-budget stores because "only poor losers shop their" (even to I also know that is bullshit, those shops may sell good stuff or they wouldn't have many customers left), but I don't see the need to go to a super trendy clothing shop either. So I usually tend to avoid the shops at the far ends of the scale and sticky to a variety of shops in the middle so to say. Then I proceed to walk around and orientate myself, and when something looks good (combination of personal, family and social influence I would guess) I may consider buying it. Ofcourse here it's important how much you value a product type aswell, for me a jean is a jean so I don't really see a difference between A or B branch jeans and thus happily buy a nice looking, modestly prices B branch pair of jeans. I never had the urge to buy fashionable cloths or popular clothing (and shoes etc.) to "fit in". Once few times in highschool people told me to get certain cloths, shoes, gadgets or what not but I mostly ignored them. I adnit I gave it a try once, buying a few expensive cloths but I soon regretted it, they didn't look much better then the stuff I had befoe and were much more expensive so I tried it once, saw no positve effects and stayed true to my princple of "practical, nice looking, who gives a fuck about the label?" .

But if I buy something electronic I tend to do more research into price difference, features, looks, usability (how practical is the product overall), do I trust this brand, should I favour a brand a bit because it is likely top be more compatible with other electronics that I already have? tc etc.) and so on. So I may be less inclined to buy a B branch if I don't know how well their support is (what if it breaks down in a year frm now?) .

But back to the topic at hand. I guess I will have to acknowledge ads do have an influence, and so do social acceptance/views (one influences the other). And perhaps women are more pressured then men. But this probably already start in the early years of childhood were the girls are given blingbling, fancy clothing and so on and all kids of fancy girly girl things. So they start seeing having to wear nice clothing, jewely, nice hair cuts and what else not as a nessecity. The ads may only encourage them furhter. The stereotype boy gets one or two manyl toys (toy car) and some simple, practical cloths so it can mess around in it both in and around the house and thus may learn to put much less time and effort in how he looks.

As for ads that oppresse females, can't say I saw any despite goverment campaigns against various types of abuse (abuse against kids, women, men, ...). :uhm: A few of those ads in the video made me go "err??? is that a supoposed to be a joke/sarcastic or what? :uhm: ". Sure you have a few ads with your stereotype housewife but that's it. There also seems to be a increase in ads with nerdy, clumsy, stupid men and were a women clearly is being shown as being more bright, smart and "better" then the men. Am I supposed to be offended as a man? I can't say I am, mostly because I can hardly take them seriously... they have "fake" written all over them. Which brings me back to my point of social acceptance of ads and how one influences the other.

PS: My view om women? If I spot one that to be clearly seems like a slave to society (fashion) she tend to "lose points". If I spot a women who seems to have this urge to have the latest handbag with blingbling on it, ditto for shoes, clothing and what else not, together with a clear (over)use of maekup, jewelry and other such things I think to myself "One can one try to adapt to some silly image of perfection, poulairty and fashion? THat must cost loads of time and money and you don't gain any points in my book". I feel sorry for them. But this also applies, be it in a different way (as I don't feel sexually atracted to them) men: friends, family, colleagues, aquintances. I pity those who seem to be slaves to consumerism. Those who seem to be kinda shallow and not realize you don't need all that "fancy" stuff to have fun, to be accepted and enjpoy life. I would prefer to stay clear from such shallow people. Sure those shallow people might be a good people at heart, nice people. I'm not saying they aren't, but I just feel a "natural rejection".