Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt Full Essay
Killbourne, Jean (1999). Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel; “Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt”. – A Critical Review
Portrayal of sexually objectified women, and sexually and violently dominating men in advertisement and its impact to the society are discussed in this article by Jean Killbourne Ed.D, an internationally recognized writer whose pioneering work is on and the image of women in advertising.[i] She stated that the over-exposure and objectification of female bodies and sexualities, violence and sexual abuse, and indiscreet ideal masculinity depicted in the advertisements are responsible for the affirmation and normalization of sexual aggression, male violence, and dehumanization done to women in the society. While the roles of the advertisements are actually to connect with the consumers’ desires and meet their needs, in fact, its sex and violence overexposure contained in the advertisement create a social disconnection and distance. Therefore, she criticizes this way of advertising by revealing the dangerous effects to the society’s ideology and perception, specifically women. In addition, this criticism is intended to advertising companies and women in general to realize these ubiquitous phenomena and consider the upcoming impacts to the society, for they later produce more convenient advertisements and return women’s humanized values.
In her article, the author offers a surprising analysis of the way advertising creates and then feeds an addictive and false mindset and perception that often continue throughout adulthood[ii] by her supporting evidences and illustrations, such as statistical data on the rate of sexual assault in the US, keen interpretation of particular advertisements; Obsession by Calvin Klein, Drakkar Noir, Skintimate Shaving Gel, etc, and examples of crime cases of sexual harassments aroused from advertisements influences; the Victoria Secret’s girl and William Kennedy Smith, and women dehumanization happening in High School and Universities’ environment. These approaches are really effective in reaffirming the correlation between sexually and violently overexposure advertisements and its ubiquitous impacts to society especially women.
However, how convincing is the idea that advertisements are the significant determinant of creating and altering ideology and perception to the society? First of all, we need to consider the ‘decoding and encoding’ process in the making of advertisements. The fact that advertisers firstly capturing the certain social symptoms in the society to be later selected for the sake of the success sales of their products arouses a question: which comes first, the ideology of men conquer and women ensnare, or the advertisements capturing that ideology? Therefore, I believe the existence of advertisements is not as the creator of ideology, but as the imaging outcome as the issues already exist in the society long before the advertisements’ expose. These sexual objectification and exploitation on female’s bodies is the result of male privilege in patriarchal society. As our society is male-oriented and women tend to confirm its correctness by accepting and fulfilling values and norms created based on men’s perspective (e.g. women should always appear to be very attractive and sexy), the advertisers take benefit from it by giving more pleasure for the men and more charges to the women to fulfill men’s pleasure in their advertisements. Therefore, mentioning this underlying reason of the occurrence of these portrayals in the advertisements will make it more convincing and ease us to find the exact solution of this problem: firstly by changing the false patriarchal ideology in the society rather than changing the advertisements. Secondly, the author lacks of examples of facts in what kind of society these phenomena mainly happen. In which social stratification? In which level of media literacy?
Despite these criticisms, this article is really worth-reading and knowledge-rich in terms of the purpose of its author; to save women from violence and sexual exploitation. The issue that mass media has really great effects in altering society’s perception has aroused urgency for us, specifically the advertisers, to create more female-friendly and convenient advertisements.
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Essay about Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt by Jean Kilbourne
1577 WordsApr 29th, 20107 Pages
For the longest time now, advertising has played a huge role in how we identify ourselves in the United States with the American culture, and how others identify themselves with all the cultures of the rest of the world as well. It guides us in making everyday decisions, such as what items we definitely need to invest our money on, how to dress in-vogue, and what mindset we should have to prosper the most. Although advertising does help make life easier for most, at the same time it has negative affects on the people of society as well. Advertisement discreetly manipulates the beliefs, morals, and values of our culture, and it does so in a way that most of the time we don’t even realize it’s happened. In order to reach our main goal of…show more content…
Before even beginning the reading, the audience through the title, “Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt,” is able to understand also the personal tone the piece exhibits as well, especially for those who are female. Kilbourne’s support for her argument relies on the Appeal to Authority she makes, citing specific ads of big time companies and businesses to demonstrate how these ads are encouraging sexual aggression and violence. She alleges that ads affect us on an unconscious level stating we’ve become immune to the fact that these ads affect us (417). At the same time, she declares ads are pornographic, since they encourage rape and sexual assault. Kilbourne maintains that all women are vulnerable because “in our culture there is widespread objectification of women’s bodies, glorification of disconnection, violence of women, and blaming of the victim” (433). It all refers back to Kilbourne’s main claim that ads depict individuals as things which encourages sexual hostility. For evidence, she provides data about sexual assault: “According to a 1998 study by the federal government, one in five of us have been the victim of rape or attempted rape, most often before our seventeenth birthday. And more than half of us have been physically assaulted, most often by the men we live with” (430). On top of that, Kilbourne makes it a point to provide visuals and ads