Taylor McCauslin
Nick Lakostik
English 1100
October 31, 2015
Slow Descent
For years, women have fought to have equal rights in relation to men. The fight continues and will continue for the foreseeable future. Society has yet to completely overcome this major obstacle to advancement. There is no doubt that this world is run by men. Yet we rarely acknowledge this anymore. We have come to accept the demeaning and de-humanizing ways society portrays women as fact. We rarely blink an eye. This idea is further taken apart and elaborated on by Jean Kilbourne in her video, Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising\'s Image of Women. Advertisements continue to elicit a negative impact on society\'s view of women.
576322428156200One example of such an advertisement is an image of a fairly young looking woman on the floor next to a shoe. The quote on this ad reads, "Keep her where she belongs..." The woman is smiling and seems perfectly content with her current position. The only evident part of her in the ad is her head and slight upper body. She is wearing light makeup and has her hair done nicely while wearing jewelry. She is portrayed as an ideal woman for her time, as one who doesn\'t mind being on the floor and listening to her husband.
Kilbourne argues, "Women\'s bodies are dismembered in ads, hacked apart - just one part of the body is focused upon, which of course is the most dehumanizing thing you could do to someone." This is portrayed in the ad in the form of the woman\'s head being the only part of her shown. This takes away a lot of what makes her a human being, let alone a person with her own personality and thoughts. She is subjected to being property with no independent thought or ideas.
Kilbourne also maintains, "They sell values, they sell images, they sell concepts of love and sexuality, of success and perhaps most important - normalcy," in reference to modern advertisements. This idea is demonstrated by the emotion shown on the face of the advertised women. She seems so happy to be related to a shoe, and content to remain in that position. This further exasperates that women should feel like their position as below their husband is "normal" and should not question it. The ad encourages women to submit to their husband\'s every whim without falter. Thus, women are told to not have self-esteem and that they are the property of their husband.
431990584963000Kilbourne stresses, "…it\'s not that simple but turning a human being in to a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person." The previously mentioned woman is put on the floor next to a man\'s shoe. This is unarguably dehumanizing. Thus, it can easily lead to violence against women. When people see others as a thing instead of a person, what is stopping them from harming said object? Nothing.
Another ad is perhaps one of the most offensive to today\'s society. This advertisement consists of a pear on the vast majority of the page with the heading, "This is no shape for a girl." This is followed by two products that claim to give women a more desirable shape. The ad emphasizes that "girls with too much bottom and too little top" should not be content with their body and need help to address said issues.
Kilbourne suggests, "…girls are getting the message these days just so young, that they need to be impossibly beautiful." This advertisement portrays beauty through a correct body type. It implies that any other shape other than the one suggested is wrong and women with said body type should be ashamed of it and change it. When these messages are so commonly found in society, how can they be ignored? Little girls see them and already start to believe that there is only one correct way to look. This then can lead to several mental and physical instabilities.
Readers later view Kilbourne\'s statement, "no wonder we have an epidemic of eating disorders in our country and increasingly throughout the world." This is indirectly shown in this advertisement. The ad does not explicitly say that eating is wrong for women. Nor does it claim that eating will cause the undesired "shape."