Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women

Mar 27, 2024 | People, Videos

Advertising has often been a source of harm and inequality towards women, and this trend has continued today. In her groundbreaking documentary series Killing Us Softly, Jean Kilbourne continues to explore the way in which advertising perpetuates damaging gender stereotypes and the consequences they have on society.

Kilbourne highlights how ads continue to uphold a beauty ideal that emphasizes physical perfection as the most important aspect of being a woman. This is reflected in countless print and television advertisements, which send the message that women must prioritize their physical appearance above all else in order to be accepted and valued. As such, young girls are encouraged to feel ashamed of their natural bodies and focus instead on achieving an impossible level of “perfection”.

The documentary also examines how advertisers link liberation with weight control, thereby contributing to a culture of fat-shaming and prolonging women’s feelings of insecurity about their bodies. Additionally, Kilbourne illustrates how many commercials portray sexuality as women’s main concern while infantilizing grown women or using images of violence against them in order to sell products.

Killing Us Softly takes a hard look at the lasting impact that advertising has had on how we view women today. It is essential viewing for anyone interested in understanding the intersection between media consumption, gender roles, and social justice. With its detailed analysis and insightful commentary, Kilbourne’s documentary is sure to provide viewers with an eye-opening experience that will leave them questioning what it means —and what it takes—to be a woman in our society today.

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David B