Beauty and the Beast of Advertising Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D. (email@example.com) is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of women in advertising. Her ﬁlms, slide lectures and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses Jen today. Her book, Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, won the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology in 2000. She is also known for her award-winning documentaries Killing Us Softly, Slim Hopes, and Calling the Shots.
“Everyone has seen blatantly offensive advertisements that portray women as sexual toys or victims of violence. Such irresponsible advertising has rightly touched off cries of protest andorganized action. The following are some of the more subtle ways advertising reinforces cultural values ofsubservience, domination and inequality between the sexes.” --Jean Kilbourne“
DismembermentWomen’s bodies are oftenportrayed and treated asseparate parts, perpetuatingthe concept that a woman’s body is notconnected to her mind andemotions. The hiddenmessage: If a woman hasgreat lets, who cares who sheis?t
SuperiorityThree common tactics usedto establish superiority aresize, attention and position.Notice how the girl is behindthe boy with her hand on hisshoulder, apparently vyingfor his attention. He doesn’tseem to notice her.
CantingPeople in control oftheir lives stand upright,alert and ready to meetthe world. In contrast,the bending of bodyparts conveysunpreparedness,submissiveness andappeasement.
ClowningShown alone in ads,men are often portrayedas powerful and serious.By contrast women arepictured as playfulclowns, Perpetuatingthe attitude that womenare childish and cannotbe taken seriously.
Dominance/ViolenceThe tragic abuse-affection cyclethat many women are trappedin is too often gloriﬁed inadvertising. In this AndrewMarc ad, notice the expressionof anger on the face of the manand the fear and anguish on thatof the woman, though they arein an embrace. He grabs herjacket as she holds his arm,almost affectionately.
Can you identify the stereotype,positive or negative,reinforcing or contradicting,that are being perpetuated bythe following images of menand women in ads?
What are some ways that gender representations in advertising can be positive?